There have been lesbian and gay film festivals in Sydney since 1978. Initially these were run by the Australian Film Institute. In 1986, the AFI partnered with what was then theSydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, to present an annual ‘Sydney Gay Film Week’during the Mardi Gras festival. The film festival was taken over by commercial concerns in 1991, but still screened as a highlight of the Mardi Gras season.
In 1993, a group of queer Sydney filmmakers, students and others approached Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras with a view to establishing an independent organisation whose primary focus was queer film and screen culture. This organisation, Queer Screen, had the central aim of reclaiming Sydney’s GLBTIQ film festival as owned and operated by the community. From that time, Mardi Gras was the principal funding body of Queer Screen, initially with a five-year funding agreement, followed by a three-year agreement in 1998. This agreement came to an end with the 2001 Mardi Gras Film Festival.
The Mardi Gras Film Festival has grown considerably since 1993. It is now one of Australia’s largest film festivals of any kind, and one of the top five queer film festivals in the world. It is highly regarded by filmmakers all over the world, and is the most important avenue for promoting gay and lesbian titles to distributors and exhibitors in this territory.
For 10 years, Queer Screen’s documentary festival, queerDOC, was the first and only GLBTIQ documentary festival in the world, and the annual My Queer Career competition pioneered queer short film competitions exclusively for locally produced work. Both events are now part of the Mardi Gras Film Festival.
In recent years, new initiatives have grown to include special events and curated programs right across Australia, making Queer Screen one of only a handful of GLBTIQ film organisations world-over to operate a national slate of events throughout the year.
Since 2013, a new film festival, the Queer Screen Film Fest, has become a major event that delivers the latest GLBTIQ movies to the Sydney’s screens in the month of September.
Ahead of the Curve
Bold, iconic, unapologetically LESBIAN, Ahead of the Curve traces the development of iconic lesbian magazine Curve and its impact on the past, present and future.
Mo is a Muslim doctor who loves movies and when he meets actor Kal, they have a connection. But he’ll find it’s his faith in himself, not his religion, that gets put to the test.
It’s a steamy summer in New York and Ben bounces from one hook up to the next as he struggles to cope with events from his past. Then he meets Sam.
Poetic and genuine, Cocoon is a subtle wander through the adolescence of Nora, a young girl just beginning to enter the world of womanhood, sexuality and self.
Our dazzling array of shorts will take you on a journey through sexy encounters, intense moments and much more.
Must Be Painful
After missing a train, Danny, a perpetual student, and his Spanish boyfriend must wait in an empty train station.
In this comedy, a gay millennial gets a boost from a handsome, seasoned professional to get the "D."
See You Soon
A gay man travels across the country to spend the weekend with someone he’s been talking to for months on a dating app.
Stockholm, 1981. Even in paradise there are rules that you have to obey.
A gay app hookup takes an unexpected turn, proving that the best laid plans won't get you laid as you planned.
Tam gets the first tube home alone. In just a crop-top and high-waisted jeans he re-lives his Halloween night out.
The Last Romantics
Two young men share different points of view of the same sexual encounter in a public space.
An altercation breaks out between two young men who are complete opposites.
A gorgeous film about a unique trans experience made all the more splendid by its stellar cast including Alexandra Grey and Jen Richards.
Queer dominatrix Trinity can talk to dead people, in this weird and colourful comedy set in a world with the aesthetics and ideals of avant-garde queer club culture.
The lesbian shorts program provides a unique insight into the excitement, passion, heartbreak, terror, and pure love that comes from female love.
What’s more embarrassing than writing erotic fiction about your crush? Writing erotic fiction about your crush and then accidentally texting it to her.
Night falls in Madrid, Eva and María’s eyes cross paths.
That thing where you meet someone and you can just talk all night long.
Tillie's lonely life as a roadkill removal worker is destabilized when Wanda, a lively stranger, arrives in town.
CC Dances the Go-Go
A little love story + go-go dancing.
Instructions to Let Go
Daphne and Mafer meet at a hotel, they quickly become friends and chemistry begins to emerge between them.
A heartwarming LGBTQ+ love story that spans over six decades, between two Land Army girls during World War II.
Snowy Japan is the backdrop for this warm film about a woman in her 40s rediscovering herself and a long-lost teenage love, triggered by a mysterious letter.
A compulsively watchable three-part miniseries, Proud is the story of a French family spanning generations.
Same But Different: A True New Zealand Love Story
When bumbling single mum Rachel meets cool Kiwi-Samoan filmmaker Nikki it’s love at first sight – at least for Rachel. Can this sexy, mismatched couple find true love?
Second Star On the Right
With a touch of magical realism, drunken confessions, embarrassing encounters and exposed secrets, Second Star on the Right proves that coming-of-age films aren’t only for teens.
1980s Saigon is gorgeous in this dreamy melodrama of two men finding solace in each other’s company.
Steelers: The World's First Gay Rugby Club
For these rugby players, their team has provided them with more than just a sporting outlet, they’ve found happiness and a little humour out on the playing field.
Surviving the Silence
Surviving the Silence follows the untold story of the women who, in a pivotal military trial, helped change US military policy and pave the way for future LGBTIQ+ service members.
Trans and Gender Diverse Shorts
Showcasing eight short films which centre gender diversity, watch this shorts program to gain an insight into the lives of trans and gender-expansive people across the world.
Four mysterious boulders on Waikiki Beach have a hidden history; within them, there are legendary transgender healing spirits.
Non-binary queer artist Syd loathes their dreary day job. Thinking they’ve won the lottery, the office gets trashed with unexpected results.
The Paint Wizzard
Millie The Paint Wizzard, is a transgender housepainter who lives and works out of her bright yellow RV in Austin TX.
The secret yearnings of a child for an alternate identity are traced through a decade of birthday wishes filmed by their mother.
Candis For President
In a world where anything is possible Transgender actress, Candis (Candis Cayne), sets out to become the President of the United States.
They is an intimate portrait of Hobbit and Jake, who have decided to raise their one-year-old child Anoush gender open.
An erotic dance theatre in Lahore prepares for a new show just as a sacrificial goat goes missing, a dreamy trans girl vies for the spotlight, and a naive young boy falls in love.
What even is a male? Why can't I wear a dress? Fuck it. Let's have sex and worry about it later.
Caught between two disparate worlds, the ramifications of a single decision will send shockwaves through Pablo's life and family, in this acclaimed Guatemalan drama.
Tu Me Manques
With a glorious cast of supporting characters, this heartfelt film tackles the sensitive issue of cultural homophobia that has already left an indelible mark in its home country of Bolivia.