Brisbane Queer Film Festival – Dynamic Stories Going Beyond The Binary

Written by Jesse Chaffey
Category: TV & Film Published: Friday, 06 March 2020 17:04

The Brisbane Queer Film Festival (BQFF) returns in March to present, indulge and empower LGBTQIA+ and gender diverse film, filmmakers and screen content.

Becoming independent in 2017, the festival is a highlight of the queer community calendar in Brisbane, spotlighting stories which go beyond the binary.

For the 21st edition, audiences can expect bold, defiant and refreshingly authentic storytelling by and for the queer community. There are special collections for the niche and allies of Brisbane's queer community.

“We are always proud of the calibre, diversity and inclusiveness in the line-up of films. We’re not the largest festival, but our programme features films chosen especially for Brisbane’s queers, allies and cinephiles,” BQFF Co-Director Shanon King says.

“The opportunity to discover new voices within queer cinema, to be bold in our programming choices, and present the future of queer storytelling, were key elements in curating this year’s programme.”

One of King’s top picks of the festival is Levan Akin’s 'And Then We Danced', the Opening Night film.

“A highlight of the film is of course the dancing! The traditional dance scenes are visually stunning, just as the intimate scene of dancing to Robyn’s 'Honey', seducing one's crush, to experimenting in the queer nightlife and underground clubbing scene in conservative Georgia,” Shanon says. “This film is unmissable for its sensitivity and powerful hold that lingers with you, long after you leave the cinema.”

Not to be missed is Sydney filmmaker Monica Zanetti’s new feature 'Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)'. Featuring a star-studded Australian cast including Janet King alumni Marta Dusseldorp, Rachel House ('Thor: Ragnarok'), Julia Billington ('Mr. Inbetween') and Zoe Terakes ('Wentworth').

Gender Derby BQFF
'Gender Derby'

Other programme highlights include Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Barnett's 'Changing The Game', sensual trans love story 'Port Authority', 'Young Hunter' following a brooding teen exploring his sexuality with a fellow skater, and Cambodian-British filmmaker Hong Khaou's second feature 'Monsoon'.

“We have a double bill of 'Gender Derby' and 'Life Is Short', that are two films I describe as ‘queer as in f... you’ 'day-in-the-life-of' sessions featuring roller derby antics, trans, dyke and queer identity and visibility in the French and Argentinian modern society. Experimenting with formats of storytelling and filmmaking,” Shanon describes.

“'The Teacher' is set against the backdrop of the fight for marriage equality in Taiwan, and is Taiwanese queer cinema as activism. This film is a tender portrait of the stakes of being visible, at the beginning of a change in society. Tender, current and a love letter to Taiwan.”

“In 'Two Of Us (Deux)' we actually see older lesbians visible, enough to call out 'have you got a problem with elderly dykes?'

“This film is a reminder of life's key lessons: you can't choose who you love – and you only live once – so find yourself a neighbour, take them as a lover and plan the rest of your life together, no matter what your age or what your family have to say!”

There are also two Australian premieres from the voices of future trans storytelling: Rhys Ernst's 'Adam', and Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli's 'So Pretty'.

Port Authority BQFF
'Port Authority'

All together, there are 9 features, 3 shorts sessions, 5 documentaries, 2 free sessions, 13 Queensland premieres and 3 Australian premieres.

“We also have a bunch of short films playing in front of features, along with our annual Queer Shorts programmes,” Shanon adds. “'Here With You' – created by an entirely trans cast and crew, 'Fran This Summer' about a young couple, one who is at the beginning of their transition, navigating their comfort levels. 'XY' is an intersex story about discovering your own self, in the wake of doctors' investigations.

“Brisbane filmmaker Talia Newton’s 'Bonnibel Benson And The Plant That Wasn’t Hers', screening with Sydney film 'Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt)' and Christopher Cosgrove’s 'Boldly Go!' will screen on Opening Night – it is always a delight to screen local upcoming filmmakers, keeping the queer lens in Brisbane!”

“What better way than a queer film festival to present authentic queer storytelling?”

Part of the festival’s independence is in its recognition as a member of the Asia Pacific Queer Film Festival Alliance, making BQFF a peer of international queer film festival leaders such as Taiwan Queer Film Festival, Shanghai PRIDE film festival, Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and Seoul PRIDE Film Festival, and locals Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival and Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

Brisbane Queer Film Festival is on at New Farm Cinemas from 5-15 March.

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