You may still be isolating or you may just want to sit inside and have an Australian LGBTQ movie marathon. Either way, we got you covered. Check out our list of Australian-made LGBTQ films.

Head On (1998)

This gritty 1998 feature about a disaffected and aimless young gay Greek man coming into conflict with his family and culture features a charismatic and deeply intense performance by Alex Dimitriades.

The story, based upon the book Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas, covers familiar territory, as Ari rebels against his parents’ cultural values and expectations. The film lacks polish and becomes strangely uninvolving, despite several surprisingly explicit sex scenes.

While the film may have aged poorly, there is no denying that it was revolutionary when it made its way into Australian cinemas.  Tsiolkas, speaking of Dimitriades, said, For a young Greek Australian to choose that role, that was a very brave decision and that was a formidable performance, a great performance.”

Ive said it before and Ill keep saying it. For me, Ari the character in Loaded and Head On belongs as much to Alex as it does to me. Im really proud of that book and that film. It feels like it changed something in the Australian culture,” Tsiolkas told Neos Kosmos.

Upon its release, Head On received critical acclaim and was nominated for 9 AACTA (formerly AFI), awards including Best Film, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Alex Dimitriades), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Paul Capsis) and Best Achievement in Direction (Ana Kokkinos).

(Currently streaming on SBS on Demand and Netflix)

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

The story of three drag queens who drive across Australia from Sydney to Alice Springs was a sensation in 1994. It is still as entertaining and affecting as it was when it was released. It is arguably the greatest LGBTQ film made in Australia and is undeniably satisfying on an emotional level.

The success of the film lies mainly with its incredible cast. Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce, as our madcap trio, are all brilliant, although it is Stamp, as Bernadette, who steals the film with a heartfelt performance. Australian acting legend Bill Hunter is also a true treat as Bob.

The incredible costumes, designed by Oscar winners Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel, are unforgettable, and cinematographer Brian J. Breheny brilliantly captures the unforgiving Australian landscape.

The film was nominated for nine AFI awards and won two for production design and costume design. Terence Stamp was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.

Filled with genuine laughs, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is the essence of a ‘feel-good’ film. The moment when Bernadette questions whether the specimen in the bottle is indeed an “ABBA-turd,” is still as hilarious as it was when the film was released. And let’s not forget the hysterical ping-pong scene.

(Currently streaming on Amazon Prime and Apple TV)

The Sum of Us (1990)

Based upon a play by David Stevens, this 1990 film features Russell Crowe as a young man whose father is incredibly supportive of his being gay, sometimes uncomfortably so. Meanwhile, his widower father, Harry, is searching for a love of his own. While both men support each other’s search for romance, things take a turn when Harry suffers a health crisis.

Crowe has never been more appealing on-screen, and he is matched by the wonderful Jack Thompson as his father. This tender-hearted film still never fails to bring a tear to the eye.

(Currently streaming on Stan)

Holding the Man (2015)

This 2015 film is an adaptation of Timothy Conigrave’s memoir and tells the story of the 15-year relationship between Conigrave and his partner John Caleo, starting from their meeting in high school until John’s death from HIV/AIDS.

The film features beautiful work from Ryan Corr as Conigrave and Craig Stott as Caleo. The supporting cast is filled with wonderful actors, including Kerry Fox, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce and Anthony LaPaglia.

Holding the Man was nominated for six AACTA awards, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Lapaglia) and Best Actor (Corr), and seven Film Critics Circle of Australia awards, winning two for production design and screenplay.

(Currently streaming on Stan)

Sequin in a Blue Room (2019)

This film, released in 2019, truly deserves to be more well known.

Sequin in a Blue Room makes it clear from the beginning that it will have a distinct point-of-view. The opening title of the film reads, A Homosexual Film by Samuel Van Grinsven.”

Van Grinsven, in his directorial debut (he also co-wrote the script with Jory Anast), does a beautiful job of telling the story of Sequin, a gay 16-year-old who is exploring his sexuality by using a gay dating app to have sexual encounters with much older men. However, his desire for anonymous sex has dark and dangerous consequences.

The film features a remarkable performance by Conor Leach in his screen debut, as Sequin, in a very difficult and demanding role. The film is explicit, provocative and uncomfortable viewing, but it’s also fascinating. It also features brilliant cinematography by Jay Grant.

(Currently streaming on SBS On Demand)

Cut Snake (2014)

This 2014 thriller, directed by Tony Ayers, is a tough and compelling crime feature about Merv, a young man trying to leave behind his past as a felon and embark on a new life with his girlfriend, who is unaware of his past. However, when his former cellmate James comes to town, his unexpected arrival threatens to tear apart not only Merv’s new relationship but his entire life.

While the film feels slightly derivative, there is no denying the ferocious and frankly sexy work of Sullivan Stapleton as James. He dominates the film with a tough and scary performance. Whenever Stapleton is on screen, it’s impossible to look away. He is well-matched with Alex Russell, who plays Merv and Jessica de Gouw scores, as well, as Merv’s girlfriend Paula.

The film received five AACTA nominations and five nominations in the Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards, although it failed to win any.

A nifty, though at times formulaic film, which is well worth a watch.

(Currently streaming on SBS On Demand)

52 Tuesdays (2013)

This critically-acclaimed 2013 film tells the story of a teenage girl named Billie and how her mother’s plans to transition affect her own life. Billie’s mother, who now identifies as James, asks Billie to move in with her father for a year while she goes through her transition. In so doing, Billie’s only contact with James comes in weekly Tuesday visits.

The filming of 52 Tuesdays was completed in sequence and lasted for an entire year, and features a cast of first-time actors, including Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Billie and Del Herbert-Jane as James. The actors were given their scripts each week, and while it is an interesting approach, the characters remain at arm’s length and remote, making the film a sometimes frustrating experience. The motivations and sexual exploration of Billie also takes away from the inherent drama of a parent’s transition.

52 Tuesdays made waves in its debut at the Sundance Festival, where director Sophie Hyde won the World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award.

(Currently streaming on Stan)

(And One More For Good-Luck…)

The Getting of Wisdom (1978)

This 1978 film remains a classic of Australian cinema and it is a truly gorgeous film. Based upon the 1910 novel by Henry Handel Richardson, the film is a coming-of-age story of a girl from the bush, Laura Tweedle Ramsbotham, (played by the amazing first-time actor, Susannah Fowle), who comes to study at the Ladies College of Melbourne.

Laura’s early years at the school are marked by the usual petty jealousies, intrigues and lies of school-aged young adults but when she meets Evelyn, Laura develops a deep attraction.

Even the staff of the school begin to notice that the two have become inseparable with the kindly Mrs Chapman noting that it is an “odd friendship.”

Laura has a bout of jealousy after a night at the theatre when Evelyn talks to a man. That night their relationship takes a significant turn. “I hate men. I hate them! I thought you liked me best. Evey, I won’t share you with anybody,” Laura says in a fit of rage; an outpouring of emotion that leads to a surprising turn in their relationship in a later scene.

The Getting of Wisdom is beautifully directed by Bruce Beresford (Breaking Morant, Puberty Blues, Driving Miss Daisy) and photographed by Donald McAlpine (The Fringe Dwellers, Moulin Rouge!). The film was nominated for 5 AACTA Awards, winning one for Best Adapted Screenplay (Eleanor Whitcombe).

(Currently screening on Amazon Prime)

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