While next year’s Mardi Gras festival marks its 40th anniversary, the Mardi Gras Film Festival will also be celebrating a milestone with its 25th festival.

The festival has announced the first ten films that will form part of its 2018 line-up, bringing U.S. festival hits, trans stories and a restored documentary classic to Sydney cinemas.

With the Mardi Gras anniversary and the strong possibility of marriage equality having passed by the time the festival rolls around, Festival Director Lisa Rose spoke of the festival’s ability to capture the current moment.

“When these two momentous events collide, what else could we do but shine?” she said.

“Queer Screen’s values – diversity, creativity, inspiration, inclusiveness and pride – have guided us through the last 25 years of producing film festivals for LGBTIQ communities and current circumstances mean they are now more valid than ever.

“We are delighted to be presenting our silver jubilee festival in what we hope will be the year when same-sex marriage becomes law,” said Rose.

Chief among the teaser selections is Beach Rats, a sultry, sun-soaked coming-of-age drama that received raves at its Sundance premiere earlier in the year and wowed audiences at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

The festival will also present a restoration of Digby Duncan’s Witches and Faggots, Dykes and Poofters, a 1979 documentary that tells the stories of the Mardi Gras 78ers.

And coinciding with Australia’s steps towards same-sex marriage, The 34th documents Ireland’s historic campaign and referendum to make marriage equal.

Another popular festival pick is Signature Move, which sees a Pakistani-American woman run away from her mother’s demand that she find a husband to immerse herself in lucha libre women’s wrestling.

Also of note is They, an arthouse title about a 14-year-old who, through exploring their gender identity, must finally decide if they want to transition.

Saturday Church will take you there, following Ulysses as he goes against his conservative homelife to find solace in voguing and the New York City ballroom scene.

The intriguing Boys for Sale offers insight and access to young men in Japan who sell their bodies, while Kiss Me! offers a French, feel-good romantic romp.

From Brazil, Body Electric follows a group of diverse friends who paint the streets of Sao Paolo red, and Aussie web series Jade of Death brings some sexy supernatural thriller vibes.

The 25th edition of MGFF will also present a retrospective of its My Queer Career section, spotlighting established and up-and-coming Australian LGBTI films and filmmakers.

Tickets and flexipasses for all of these sessions are now on sale at queerscreen.org.au. The festival runs from February 15 to March 1, 2018, with the full program to be announced on January 10.

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