The MQFF: Always Forward, Never Straight

March is a busy time of year for events and festivals in Melbourne. With L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Grand Prix, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, and the International Comedy Festival, there’s a lot happening!

For our cinephiles it means the return of one of the biggest film festivals of the year,
Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF), which starts off a robust annual calendar of film-related delight.

MQFF holds a unique place in our history as the first film festival to screen at ACMI and over the years it’s grown hugely in size, audiences and prominence. It also holds a place as one of Melbourne’s strongest film and queer festivals on the international stage.

MQFF Opening Night: Lisa Daniel, Magda Szubanski and Claire Jackson

MQFF Opening Night: Lisa Daniel, Magda Szubanski and Claire Jackson

As ever, ACMI is the proud Cultural Partner of the Festival. The catchcry for this year’s program, ‘always forward, never straight’, alludes to a season that is full, diverse, a step ahead and entertaining for everyone. The 169 films from 168 filmmakers stack up nicely in the audience’s favour.

Festival highlights include Struck By Lightning featuring Chris Golfer from Glee, which is already a strong festival favourite in the Tribeca Film Festival. It’s a light-hearted comedy poking fun at high schools in the USA and includes the wonderful talents of Rebel Wilson. There are also two highly anticipated Australian premieres, Monster Pies and Submerge.

With so many films, it’s hard to know where to start. This short teaser introduces Zenne Dancer, an emotionally charged Turkish drama following the complex life of Ahmet:

And this trailer for Monster Pies sets the scene for a moving teen romance between Mike and Will, in a coming-out, coming-of-age drama:

We should mention that festivals don’t just happen on their own. There are so many wonderful people that help to make the MQFF possible each year, such as the loyal and passionate volunteers. Each year, our teams of volunteers work together to help direct and inform audiences, share experiences and ultimately help deliver a better program.

Having started with us as a volunteer and now working as a Festival Assistant at MQFF, ACMI Volunteer Claire Connor is a great advocate of this collaborative approach:

“It was as an ACMI volunteer that I first encountered the Melbourne Queer Film Festival. It’s a seminal event on Melbourne’s queer calendar that attracts a very diverse crowd, with a sense of fun that is infectious.

Ushering sessions with great names like Boobtube and Sex Drives and Videotape was definitely a novelty. Then, last year when I had just taken on the role of Festival Assistant at MQFF, I was a lone female film nerd in a sea of leather-clad men at a late night doco experiencing an emotional group moment; the trans-man in a wheelchair won International Mr Leather!

MQFF is about seeing these specific stories and moments on the big screen, in a community setting. It’ great to work across both MQFF and ACMI as a volunteer and the experience that comes with it.”

ACMI Volunteer Claire Connor with Danae Gibson

ACMI Volunteer Claire Connor with Danae Gibson

Of course, no film festival these days would be complete without a great opening night event (ahem – party!) which always kick off a festival in true style. The MQFF opening night promises speeches from festival officals, the quirky film Gayby, screening simultaneously in both our cinemas, and the not-to-be-missed opening night party.

To complement the festival, a number of events including Live in the Studio: Queering the Small Screen Pt II and The Queer History Slideshow will offer a fully immersive experience.

With so much to see, do, appreciate, and get involved in, it’s easy to see why the Melbourne Queer Film Festival is so loved by audiences.

Special Secret Blog Competition:
To win a double pass to a mystery MQFF event, tell us the name of the filmmaker who has two films in MQFF this year. Email answers to with the subject ‘MQFF blog comp’. The winner will be notified and can pick their tickets up from the ACMI Tickets & Information Desk on the day of the event.

– Joanne O’Hara, Acting Events Team Leader, ACMI and thanks to Claire Connors, ACMI Volunteer for her contribution

Tags: , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply