This year’s closing night film at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) was The Coming Back Out Ball Movie, a documentary exploring the stories of older LGBTI people as they prepared to attend the inaugural Coming Back Out Ball.

In October last year, the Coming Back Out Ball saw LGBTI elders head to the Melbourne Town Hall for a night of queer celebration.

The event, which was created by All The Queens Men and presented as a premiere event during the 2017 Victorian Seniors Festival, was supported by the Australia Council, the government’s arts and funding body.

At the time, Director of All The Queens Men Tristan Meecham told the Star Observer he wanted to create the event after encountering a lot of elderly LGBTI people that were closeting their identities in aged care.

“It’s a social epidemic that I don’t think the community are cognisant of,” he said.

“So I wanted to create a large scale event accessible to LGBTI elders made with and for them.

“We’re hoping to create an event that harks back to the big social gatherings of a time gone by, a night of song and dance.”

The new documentary, directed by Sue Thomson, follows a number of people that attended the Ball, and explores the complexities and issues LGBTI people face when it comes to ageing and isolation.

Artistic Director of MIFF, Michelle Carey, said the film was the perfect way to close this year’s festival.

The Coming Back Out Ball Movie is not only heart-warming, fun, and at times hilarious, it is full of revelations as we witness – in some instances, for the first time – the incredible stories of these people who have had to hide who they were for much of their life,” she told the Star Observer.

“They open their hearts and lives up in a most generous way and it is impossible not to be under their spell.

“It speaks so much to who we really could be as a society and is the perfect way to close MIFF, 2018.”

Related story: Meet the Aussie activist who came out as non-binary at 76.

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