Mardi Gras Film Festival: Pride Guide 2024

Mardi Gras Film Festival: Pride Guide 2024
Image: Supplied: Mardi Gras Film Festival, The Summer with Carmen

Queer Screen will present the 31st Mardi Gras Film Festival with a program that somehow surpasses the excellence of its previous festivals. This year, film-lovers and those newly exploring the celluloid universe will be treated to 161 incredible films spread over 77 unique programs. New releases from all over the globe, classics that have been restored to their original glory, fascinating docos, tapas servings of shorts, live performances, panels and many, many mingling opportunities.

“This year’s festival theme revolves around conversation, focusing on films that spark debates, ignite conversations, and get tongues wagging,” said Festival Director, Lisa Rose.

The opening night film is a scorching nail-biter that will do all of the above – once you regain your breath. Femme examines the impact of a brutal hate-bashing on the personality of the victim, who is at first shattered, then, chancing upon an opportunity for revenge, is forced to test his own boundaries.

Femme. Image: supplied

The narrative centrepiece is an animated sci-fi from the Philippines called The Missing. It’s an allegorical story of a man who has no mouth and no memory of the past until a dramatic event leads him on a mental and emotional journey of self-discovery.

For something more light-hearted, The Summer with Carmen is a comical, Greek seaside romp that looks at friendship, pets, cruising, love, and lots of Mediterranean scenery and nudity.

The closing night film is a Sydney premiere, Housekeeping for Beginners, by Australian filmmaker, Goran Stolevski. It’s a comedy/drama set in Macedonia about a woman who unwittingly becomes the den mother motley group of adults and children.

Housekeeping for Beginners. Image: supplied

Stolevski will be at the screening for a Q&A afterwards. The documentaries presented by MGFF always aim to be widely representative and a little different and this year is no exception.

Queendom is a depiction of defiance through expression; its subject, Gena Marvin, is a non-binary performance artist who braves the conservative streets of Moscow in ostentatious couture.

Queendom. Image: supplied

The Last Year of Darkness is about a literal underground makeshift venue in Chengdu, China, one of the last bastions of LGBTQ+ freedom, which is doomed by impending demolition for a development project.

True Aussie grit and cheeky humour makes Isla’s Way a sheer delight – let alone the fact that the film’s star is an 80-year-old, late-blooming lesbian.

You gotta have some nostalgia in a film festival, and this year MGFF presents two milestone classics and a beautifully 4k restored lesbian gem. John Water’s Female Trouble starring the inimitable Divine, is turning 50.

Period coming-of-age favourite, Another Country, celebrates the 40th year since introducing Rupert Everett and Colin Firth as young onscreen lovers.

The luscious, slightly quirky, incredibly sensual, When Night Is Falling will be more captivating than ever after a gorgeous 4k facelift.

When Night Is Falling. Image: Supplied

Not strictly speaking, an LGBTQ+ film, but seriously sooo gay, The Sound of Music returns for the ever popular sing-a-long screening.

If you like your films brief and varied, then check out the various short film packages: Asia-Pacific, Bi +, comedy, gay, hot boys, non-binary, gender diverse, QueerDoc, QueerScream, Sapphic, Transgender, and Women loving Women.

If you need some non-screen time, there’s plenty else happening. Enjoy a live rendition of famous queer film scores performed by the Sydney Cello Quartet. Test your knowledge of queer cinema by signing up for Inqueersition: Queer Screen Trivia. Attend a panel discussion on intriguing filmic topics at the State Library. Do some industry networking and general socialising at the Johnnie Walker Festival Bar.

Finally, don’t forget My Queer Career, Australia’s richest LGBTQ+ short film competition, featuring the best shorts and offering career-enhancing prizes.

All this is but a smattering of what’s on offer at the Mardi Gras Film Festival.

Check out the website for the full program:


In Cinema in Sydney 15-29 February 2024

On Demand Australia-wide 1-11 March 2024

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