Exciting changes are in store for the 2019 season of the annual Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF), Australia’s largest and longest running celebration of queer cinema. For the first time in the events proud history, MQFF will proudly embrace a thrilling new screening partner in Village Cinemas Jam Factory (South Yarra) to present the 2019 Festival.
Over 12 unforgettable days from 14 to 25 March 2019, audiences will enjoy a stellar selection of the world’s finest LGBTIQ cinema across these three fabulous venues – what’s not to love about that?!
Check out which incredible films you can catch in Chapel Precinct as part of Melbourne Queer Film Festival 2019.
2019 MQFF Opening Night Presentation – Papi Chulo
Matt Bomer stars as Shaun, an LA weather man who has a very public meltdown live on air. Asked to take forced leave, he finds himself roaming around LA where he comes across Mexican migrant worker Ernesto, whom he enlists to paint his deck. With little to no language in common the two men form an unlikely and at times awkward duo, as we learn that Shaun is still grieving the end of his relationship with Mexican boyfriend Carlos.
Director John Butler (Handsome Devil, MQFF 2016) has created a funny, tender and surprising comedy that brims with compassion and empathy, providing a much-needed anecdote to the division and hate that is so prevalent in the current political landscape.
On the 10th anniversary of his dad’s death, Joris still tries to come to terms with his father’s absence, while grappling with his indifferent booze-addled mother. When he meets the free-spirited Yad, who is taking care of his feisty grandmother, there is an instant spark between them and a summer romance blooms. Of course not all is smooth sailing for the two young lovers.
This breezy, warm-hearted romantic comedy sails along on the charm of its two leads that make the rocky path to love (Grease cosplay included) a charming and fun watch.
Eva & Candela
This sensual and complex love story traces the love lives of two women, a director and her actress, as they traverse the rocky path of love, domesticity and infidelity.
Swinging back and forth between the past and present, we trace the developing love story of Eva (Silvia Varón) and Candela (Alejandra Lara) as they first meet on a film set and find a creative kindred spirit in each other, which eventually blossoms into love. Over the course of years we see the women’s relationship swing from giddy highs to painful truths as they try to find a way back to the passions they once shared creatively and personally. Brilliantly portrayed by the two female leads, this is a bittersweet and intimate look at the constantly evolving nature of love.
When teenage Kena spots free-spirited Ziki dancing on the streets of Nairobi,the euphoric rush of first love hits her right away. The two begin to flirt, and soon they’re sneaking off for secret dates. The girls know they’re taking a huge risk by being together in their deeply conservative community. To complicate matters further, their dads are running against each other in a local election.
Rafiki is a defiant and ultimately hopeful tale of first love, with blistering chemistry between the two leads. It has won countless awards and been a festival favourite all around the world, but remains banned in its home country of Kenya.
French writer/director Christophe Charrier’s sophomore film offers up an intriguing puzzle box split between two timelines. Part teen-awakening, part erotically-charged thriller, it hangs on brilliant central performances from star Félix Maritaud (BPM MQFF 2018, Sauvage MQFF 2019, Knife + Heart MQFF 2019) and newcomer Nicolas Bauwens, both playing Jonas 20 years apart. Maritaud depicts a 30-something drifter troubled by a dark occurrence in his teenage years, drinking heavily and thrown out by his partner for one infidelity too many. Bauwens takes on the role as a more hopeful teenager, tentatively exploring the boundaries of his emerging sexuality with the aid of new kid Nathan (Tommy Lee Baïk) in a colourfully recreated 90s, Game Boy included. What went horribly wrong? And can a damaged older Jonas find solace in the arms of hunky hotel receptionist Leo (Ilian Bergala)? Charrier keeps you guessing right up until the jaw-dropping climax.
Set in 1985 against the backdrop of apartheid in South Africa and taking its musical cues (and fashion) from British New Wave music and Culture Club, this heartfelt drama follows Johan, a shy ‘small town boy’ who finds himself drafted into the military. In this harsh, macho environment he finds an oasis in the Defense Force Church Choir, the Canaries. Through this group of motley men he discovers camaraderie, the liberating freedom of music and eventually love, questioning everything he thought he knew about himself.
This rousing and moving film will have you reaching for your 80s playlist and dancing down the aisles.
Carmen & Lola
In this touching and sensual Sapphic take on the star-crossed lovers story, two teenagers from a Spanish gypsy community, find themselves at odds with their people when they fall madly in love.
Carmen is engaged to be married, her life laid out for her by her elders. She works as a hairdresser, waiting it out until she can quit and become a housewife and mother. Lola is a feisty young woman who spends her days tagging graffiti and surfing the web for lesbian porn at the local internet caf. When the two women lay eyes on each other an undeniable attraction sparks and they begin a dangerous flirtation that will pit them against their family and peers.
The latest work from acclaimed filmmaker, Yen Tan (Ciao, MQFF 2009, Pit Stop, MQFF 2014) is an emotional and beautifully-observed requiem for a generation of gay men.
It’s Christmas and New York lawyer Adrian returns to his Texan hometown for the first time in three years to reconnect with his conservative, religious parents, and young brother. Not out to his family, Adrian is burdened by the wave of tragedy brought on by HIV/AIDS he’s witnessing first hand. Meeting up with an estranged school friend, Carly, brings Adrian closer to the reality of an uncertain future. With exquisite filmmaking restraint, Yen Tan pierces the heart with a profoundly affecting film.
Guy on Guy Shorts
This package of award-winning films from around the world showcases the connections we forge and the love we make. Turning the spotlight on us, these enlightening tales take you on an unexpected first date, a trip into the desert for an illicit tryst that goes horribly wrong, a drag tribute to mothers and a sensual courtship dance set amongst a bleak and unforgiving housing commission block.
Wild Nights with Emily
Director Madeleine Olnek’s (The Foxy Merkins, MQFF 2015) wonderfully droll and very contemporary period comedy Wild Nights with Emily finally gives poet Emily Dickinson the queer love story she deserves.
The ever wonderful Molly Shannon stars as Dickinson who if history had its way would be considered one of the most famous spinster poets, too timid to even publish her own work. This highly entertaining and sharply feminist film address this misconception and presents us with an Emily, brimming with passion, agency and love for her brother’s wife Susan, the inspiration for her most romantic poems.
When veteran UK drag queen Jackie Collins (played poignantly by London film and stage veteran Derren Nesbitt) receives a fatal diagnosis with six weeks to live, all he wants to do is perform his long-running act, and behave as if all is normal. But between a surprising new friendship with a rising young queen and unfinished business with his estranged daughter, he may just have the most eventful month and a half of his life. This award-winning feel-good comedy sparkles with charm, humour and a sprinkle of good-natured shade.
The Blonde One
Womanising Juan must quickly find a flatmate after his brother moves out. In moves Gabriel (the blonde of the title), JuanÕs stoic and very handsome co-worker, who is recently widowed and struggling to support his young daughter.
What starts off as a seemingly affable living arrangement soon turns to burgeoning attraction, then full-blown desire.
Director Marco Berger (Plan B, MQFF 2010, Taekwondo, MQFF 2016) has made a career out of observing the unspoken erotic nature of menÕs social interactions. With his latest, he explores new territory, delivering one of his most directly passionate and heartfelt films.
Leo is a young gay sex worker who sleeps rough and often puts himself in dangerous situations with his male clients. The streets however offer him a freedom to explore his darkest impulses and to remain unaccountable to anyone. When he meets another sex worker, a straight Moroccan man, the pull of attraction, intimacy and commitment begin to chip away at his uncompromising lifestyle.
Starring the queer cinema poster boy of the moment Felix Maritaud (who features in four films playing at MQFF his year, Enter, Knife+Heart and Boys) Sauvage is an intoxicating and explicit ride that explores the limits and consequences of freedom.
And Breathe Normally
Icelandic writer/director Ísold Uggadóttir’s deeply human drama tells the story of two very different women. Both single mothers, Lára is a trainee border control officer whose desperately needed new job begins to gnaw at her conscience when prodded by young cat-loving son Eldar. Then there’s Adja, an asylum seeker fleeing Guinea Bissau in a fraught attempt to reach her daughter in Canada. Denied passage by Lára, Adja nevertheless comes to the officer’s aid in unexpected fashion. Far from cloying, this is a soaring tribute to the power of female solidarity and the deep bonds of love in a harshly beautiful place.
MQFF has proudly supported and fostered local queer filmmaking talent through its various awards and prizes, over its 29 years.
In 2019, we are thrilled to announce an exciting new initiative and prize, a pitching competition – Pitch, Pleez! This prize will offer Australian LGBTIQ+ filmmakers the opportunity to create original content by assisting the production of a short fiction, documentary or web series pilot. The winning pitch will continue to address MQFF’s central values of celebrating and showcasing proudly different queer stories in an Australian context.
The selected individual or team will be participating in an open session pitch-off event to be held in front of a jury of industry experts and a live audience, so come and cheer on our finalists.
Evan Rachel Wood gives a powerhouse performance as a woman, troubled by her past, who seeks sexual and emotional fulfillment through a series of failed relationships. Her life changes, however, when she befriends and convinces an unhappy sixteen year-old girl (played by Julia Sarah Stone, Weirdos, MQFF 2018) to runaway and live with her. Although the arrangement initially works, it soon becomes clear that there are disturbing power dynamics at play as their friendship morphs into something else. Manipulation, denial and co-dependency fuel what ultimately becomes a fractured dynamic that can only sustain itself for so long. A dark psychological drama that will stay with you long after you leave the cinema.
The self-described ‘Vincent Van Gogh of rap’, Swedish hip hop artist Silvana Imam is a force of nature who smashed into the male-dominated industry and painted rainbow colours all over Sweden. This vital, empowering documentary follows the eloquent and outspoken Silvana with unparalleled access, incorporating concert footage as well as childhood home movies. Central to the film is Silvana’s first meeting with pop star Beatrice Eli and their remarkable emergence as a lesbian power couple who pack out stadiums with their politically charged music. A potent reminder of the power of music to start revolutions.
19-year-old Jose_ is a shy young man who when not working in a busy Guatemalan restaurant or tending to his demanding mother, frequently organises afternoon hotel hookups with men he finds online.
When he meets Louis, a migrant from the Caribbean coast, a romance blossoms and Jose_ begins to imagine another life outside of his cloistered and conservative background. Adopting a naturalistic style and featuring impressive performances from the mostly non-professional actors, Jose_ is a gentle portrait of a young man on the brink of crisis, hope and change.
Dykes, Camera, Action
This is the definitive doco on dyke cinema. More than an opportunity to revisit some lesbian classics (although that’s a real treat too!) Dykes is a delightful and absorbing documentary about queer female identity and representation in film. It includes a look at activist works of the 1970s such as Barbara Hammer’s experimental films, the boom in lesbian cinema in the 1990s, and the mainstreaming of contemporary queer narratives. Expert interviewees include queer filmmakers Rose Troche (Go Fish, The L Word), Cheryl Dunye (The Watermelon Woman) and Desiree Akhavan (The Miseducation of Cameron Post).
20-year-old soccer player Will is on his buck’s night when, handcuffed to a lamppost, he is rescued by the handsome and older Michael. The attraction between the two men is immediate and the two end up back at Michael’s lavish apartment. Once there they find themselves drawn together further as they begin to explore their sexual limits and open up about their lives. Testing the boundaries of their one-night stand, they start to contemplate a future together.
Not unlike The Pass (MQFF 2017), Sodom is a gripping and intimate two hander that exposes the corrosive nature of internalised homophobia and the emotional price of the closet when you are a star athlete.
Two couples, one gay, one straightish, dance and drink into the night. The next morning the debris of a late night party greets their weary, hungover heads. On top of it all, the mysterious David is coming to visit, sending our four protagonists into a spiral of self-doubt, nervous anticipation and recriminations. His charismatic presence hangs over this seductive and alluring chamber piece as these four friends reveal secrets, lies and their obsessive, undying love for David. Directed by Vicente Alves do î (Al Berto MQFF 2018), Sunburn is an intriguing adult drama about moving on from the past and the inability to do so.
German soccer hopeful Leon has joined a Swiss football team as their star hopeful. He quickly catches the attention of his teammate Mario and the two men develop an instant bond. The two friends move in together and not long it becomes apparent that there is more than friendship between them. As they struggle to keep their relationship a secret, these tensions begin to take their toll, personally and professionally.. This thoughtful romantic drama unpacks the complex and damaging nature of homophobia in the sports arena and the costly price involved in rising to the top of your game while staying in the closet.
The Happy Prince
Forget Madonna’s BFF, this is the role Rupert Everett was born to play. A lifelong ambition, he also wrote and directed this lustrous look at the by-then infamous Oscar Wilde’s last days in Parisian exile. Nominated for a Teddy award at the Berlin International Film Festival, it’s at once heart-breaking and divine. Though wracked by financial and social ruin, fallen so far from grace he has to beg for money while dodging debts, the great wit nevertheless retains his incorrigible humour right until the bitter end, when either he or the wallpaper must go. Also starring the ever-dashing Colin Firth as best friend Reggie Turner and Emily Watson as Wilde’s unfortunate wife, this bittersweet and dreamy film is a glorious tribute to a grand man crushed by unkind times.
Alone in the Game
In this moving and inspiring documentary, the price of the closet and homophobia in sport is laid out in stark reality. Through the stories of a group of vocal star gay athletes we see the hardships these men and women have had to endure simply for playing and excelling at something they feel passionate about. Featuring soccer star Robbie Rogers, Olympic medalist Gus Kenworthy and National League soccer player Megan Trapione, they recount their battles with the big business of sports and the culture of exclusion and discrimination which continues to keep many athletes in the closet.
The controversial gay photographer Robert Mapplethorpe brought to vivid life his innermost sexual fantasies, fetishes and desires, becoming in the process one of the most important artists of the 20th century. His legendary life and death has been documented many times before through documentary and countless biographies.
Director Ondi Timoner and star Matt Smith bring an unflinching honesty to their portrayal, unafraid to show the more unattractive and complex aspects of this great photographer’s persona, while in the process documenting a vital and exciting time in New York City that gave rise to artists such as Mapplethorpe’s once lover and creative partner, Patti Smith who also features heavily in this fascinating portrait of a trailblazing artist.
Based on true events, this riveting coming out drama takes place in rural Argentina, as we follow Marco the young son of farmers who is expected to follow in the family business. Marco however has a knack for dressmaking and an eye for the handsome son of a neighbouring farmer. When his father passes away unexpectedly Marco is forced to make some difficult decisions as he comes head to head with family expectation and following his own desires.
Laws of Desire
Desire can take on many shapes and forms as we discover in this sensual and enlightening collection of films that celebrate the different and complicated ways we love. From a love letter to butch desire, to an innocent kiss that takes on deeper resonance and an illicit one night stand with troubling strings attached, these shorts will take you there.
Tomboy Mati loves to ride motorcross bikes and hang with her gang of boys. But when Mati meets Carla, her world becomes unstable. The encounter with the independent girl shows Mati who she could really be: alive and open, and very different from her competitive, demonstratively cool friends. To complicate things further, Mati‘s father is also grappling with his own confused sexual feelings, while her best friend Sebastian throws a spanner in the works when he confesses feelings for her. Director Katharina Mückstein has created an original, multi-award winning coming out drama anchored by a charismatic turn from rising star Sophie Stockinger.
If you’re not heading to The G this year and you’re on the hunt for a spot to watch the game with your crew, check out where the beverages will be bottomless, the food will be top notch and the screens will be airing the greatest sport in the world (to some…).
Culinary delights inspired by Latin America, Italy, Mexico, The Middle East and Jane Doe’s older brother have joined the Chapel Street Precinct.
Thankfully the team at Grand Lafayette are masters at Aizuchi: the Japanese art of listening, and as customers have requested more all-you-can-eat, they have delivered. From this month onward, you’re able to indulge in all your Grand Lafayette all-you-can-eat Japanese favourites and $1 beer, from as early as 11am every Saturday and Sunday.
In Search of the Truth at this year’s Melbourne Fringe.
2019 feels like it’s flying by but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get into shape. Whether you’re getting a late start on your new years resolution or looking for new ways to up your fitness game for Summer, meeting those health and fitness targets has never been easier thanks to Pran Central.
As a Chapel Street resident of a number of years, I’ve noticed a few changes in our community. But I’ve also observed a few things that are iconically Chapel Street that only residents can truly relate to. When you know, you know.
If you’ve never taken a trip to Greville Street, you’re seriously missing out. This petite Prahran street leads you gently from the hustle of Chapel Street, into a warm village of boutique makers, retailers & artists.
The Prahran Square car park is now open for business! 500 undercover parks and electric car charging stations right in the heart of the Chapel Street Precinct. Plus, it’s only $1 for 2 hours!