Still from ‘You Can Live Forever’

Celebrating the best of homegrown and international queer storytelling, Queer Screen’s 30th Mardi Gras Film Festival promises to awaken all the senses.

The festival runs from 15 February to 2 March in Sydney, with selected films streaming nationally on demand.

Here are the top 5 lesbian must-sees, chosen by Queer Screen Festival Director Lisa Rose.

You Can Live Forever

When queer teenager Jaime begrudgingly attends a Jehovah’s Witness meeting, the last thing she expects is to fall for the daughter of a congregation Elder. Well, maybe not the last thing. The last thing she expects is that the devout and beautiful Marike will fall just as hard for her!

You Can Live Forever offers an honest, authentic portrayal of first love and the connection formed between two young women grappling with seemingly unbridgeable beliefs and values in the early ‘90s.

Screens Friday, 24 February, 6:30 pm at Event Cinemas, George St; Wednesday, 1 March, 8:30 pm at the Ritz, Randwick; plus, streams online and on-demand nationally. Book tickets here.

So Damn Easy Going

Still from ‘So Damn Easy Going’

So Damn Easy Going follows the darkly comedic events that unfold as 18-year-old Joanna desperately tries to manage her ADHD whilst navigating her newfound feelings towards her classmate, Audrey.

The charming Swedish drama powerfully captures the chaotic ways Joanna navigates a whirlwind of predicaments – neurodiversity, self-discovery, grief – to pursue their blossoming romance.

Screens Friday, 17 February, 7 pm at Event Cinemas, George St and Tuesday, 28 February, 8:30 pm at the Ritz, Randwick. Book tickets here.

The Venus Effect

Still from ‘The Venus Effect’

This feel-good, award-winning Danish rom-com follows Liv, a young woman with a sweet but unexciting boyfriend, whose world is rocked by the arrival of a pink-haired, vulva-dress-wearing, Sapphic goddess.

Part family drama, part romance, and set against the backdrop of the picturesque Danish countryside, The Venus Effect is a delicate exploration of change in all its forms.

Screens Thursday, 2 March, 7 pm at Event Cinemas, George St; Friday, 10 March, 8 pm at Mountain Flicks, Mt Victoria and Saturday, 25 March, 6 pm at National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra. Book tickets here.

The Five Devils

Still from ‘The Five Devils’

Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Colour) is mesmerising as the mother of a lonely girl whose special gift brings up a past family love triangle in this genre-bending magical realist film.

Love, mystery and time travel collide when a girl with a hypersensitive sense of smell uses her magical gift to explore her mother’s past in this genre-bending drama from Cannes Director’s Fortnight.

Screens Wednesday, 22 February, 6:30 pm at Hayden Orpheum, Cremorne; Friday, 24 February, 8:30 pm and Wednesday, 1 March, 1:30 pm at Event Cinemas, George St. Book tickets here.

Finding Her Beat

Still from ‘Finding Her Beat’

Women and non-binary performers from Japan, Canada and the USA come together to perform the ancient art of Taiko drumming in an inspiring story of music and strength.

From the moment the beat of the Taiko drums – an instrument long dominated by men – pulses into your bones, you will witness a powerful and moving story of resilience and strength in Finding Her Beat.

Screens Tuesday, 21 February, 7 pm at Event Cinemas, George St; Sunday, 12 March, 4 pm, at Mountain Flicks, Mt Victoria; plus streams online and on-demand nationally. Book tickets here.