Milk Bar’s Guide to Melbourne Queer Film Festival

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Since 1991, Melbourne Queer Festival has been one of the oldest and biggest queer film festivals in the Southern Hemisphere. This year, the 22nd Melbourne Queer Festival will run from March 15 – 25 at various locations in the CBD. From comedy to drama and foreign films, there’s something to please everyone at MQFF.

With same-sex marriage being a hot topic in Australia recently, it seems fitting that Canadian rom-com Cloudburst will screen as the festival opener. It follows the story of Dot (Brenda Fricker), a grandmother who is busted out of her nursing home by her partner of 30 years, Stella (Olympia Dukakis). The couple soon embark on a road trip across the border to Canada in a frantic attempt to get hitched, picking up a rogue hitchhiker on the way. Cloudburst will screen on Thurs 15 March, and will be followed by the Opening Night party in the ACMI atrium.

Made in Iran by first-time writer/director Maryam Keshavarz, Circumstance offers a rare glimpse at youth culture and forbidden love inside Iran today. It explores the strained relationship between young Atafeh (Nikohl Boosheri) and her brother, Mehran (Reza Sixo Safai), as he disapproves of the intimate bond she shares with best friend Shireen (Sarah Kazemy). As an official selection for Sundance 2011, this film – screening at ACMI  on Sat 17 March and Fri 23 March – will be highly anticipated amongst festival goers.

German drama/romance Romeos will make its Australian premiere on Sun 25 March at at ACMI. Romeos tells the story of Lukas (Rick Okon) – a nursing student who has been placed in the female dorm because he’s still legally female. Lukas, who is secretive about his transitioning, soon meets the masculine Fabio (Maximilian Befort) and the pair grow close. Lukas soon has to decide whether he should tell Fabio his secret and risk losing his new friend.

Alongside the feature films, MQFF will showcase a number of documentaries. For many young LGBTI people, ‘coming out’ can be a daunting and difficult experience. Help! We’ve Got a Gay in the Class is a Dutch documentary that follows activists as they visit schools to talk to students about LGBTI issues. Screening at 2pm on Sun 18 March, the doco will be followed by a Panel Discussion with Adam Bandt MP and Daniel Witthaus about activism today.

There’s plenty more at MQFF, including shorts, experimental films, and even sci-fi. From topics spanning Proposition 8, out-of-control grunge drummers, male streetworkers, Eastern European activists and lesbian aliens, MQFF caters to just about everything.

MQFF runs from March 15 to March 25. For full listings and tickets visit www.mqff.com.au

Don’t miss out – many sessions are selling out fast!

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