Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival returns for its 31st edition this year with over 161 films and events spread across 77 unique programs.
The festival will be held from February 15-29, 2024, at Event Cinemas (George Street and Hurstville), Ritz Cinemas Randwick, Dendy Cinemas, Newtown, the Bearded Tit, Hayden Orpheum Cremorne, Sydney Opera House, the State Library of NSW and the Westpac OpenAir Cinema. The festival will also run online on-demand from March 1 – March 11, 2024.
“The theme focuses on films that start conversations. People will be keen to discuss and dissect them as soon as the credits start to roll,” explains Festival Director Lisa Rose. “There’s so much to sink your teeth into, including several that will inspire lively debate.”
Here’s our list of must-watch films at the festival:
British neo-noir thriller Femme directed by Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping opens the film festival. Jules’ (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) life and career as a drag queen is destroyed by a homophobic attack. He later meets one of his attackers, the deeply closeted Preston (George MacKay), in a gay sauna and wants revenge. Unrecognisable out of his wig and make-up, Jules infiltrates Preston’s life and in doing so discovers the lines of seduction, revenge and power are blurred.
Housekeeping For Beginners
Australian filmmaker Goran Stolevski’s exploration of found family in Housekeeping For Beginners closes the festival.
Housekeeping for Beginners stars Anamaria Marinca as Dita, a woman who never wanted to be a mother and finds herself reluctantly raising her girlfriend’s two rebellious daughters, Mia and Vanesa. A battle of wills ensues as the three butt heads and become an unlikely family that must fight to stay together.
A Portrait Of Love
The documentary A Portrait Of Love celebrates Archibald award-winning artist Craig Ruddy. Told through the eyes of his partner of twenty years, Roberto Meza. Directed by Molly Reynolds, it’s an exuberant tale of creativity and devotion. Both Molly and Roberto will be attending the screening and answering questions afterwards.
In The Room Where He Waits
This exciting feature debut from up-and-coming Australian director and Festival guest Timothy Desphina Marshall is a chilling psychological thriller, set in the claustrophobic hotel room of a theatre actor who returns home for his father’s funeral.
Blue Lights is a sophisticated exploration of love, loss, friendship and forgiveness that unfolds over the course of an evening, when seven close friends and family members come together for a 70th birthday dinner. A captivating dramedy with an ensemble cast, its intricacies and complexities will be the talk of the town. Argentinian director Lucas Santa Ana will personally introduce the film.
Sunflower is the impressive first feature from director Gabriel Carrubba. Tender, atmospheric and touching, it follows Leo, a 17-year-old from working-class Melbourne who is questioning his sexuality.
All Of Us Strangers
Westpac OpenAir Cinema will host a special screening of All Of Us Strangers. Directed by Andrew Haigh and starring Andrew Scott and Paul Mescal, All Of Us Strangers is a heart-wrenching film about grief, love, loneliness and hope.
Trans director D. Smith’s Sundance-winning doco Kokomo City is a frank, fearless and funny exploration of the lives and experiences of four Black trans sex workers in New York and Atlanta. An unforgettable portrait of the modern Black, trans experience in all its complexity.