Melbourne Queer Film Festival Reveals First Films Of 2017The Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) returns this March with the best and latest in LGBTIQ cinema from around the globe.

MQFF Program Manager Spiro Economopoulos said, “there’s so much to be excited about; a stand-out program of international award-winning features, another Australian Centrepiece this year, Pulse, from MQFF alumni, and I’m particularly excited about our queer classics, including the 21st-anniversary screening of the trailblazing lesbian indie comedy, The Watermelon Woman.”

A Date for Mad Mary

In A Date for Mad Mary, Seána Kerslake performs the festival as ‘Mad’ Mary McArdle, a young woman who returns to her small Irish town after a prison stint. Back home, everyone has moved on, especially her best friend who’s getting married, and Mary is her maid-of-honour. Mary is determined to find a date to prove she’s not the real lost cause everyone thinks she is in this feisty and crowd-pleasing comedy.

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MQFF 2017 Centrepiece is the Melbourne premiere of Pulse, the independently funded debut feature from Australian writer/actor Daniel Monks & director Stevie Cruz-Martin (Marrow, MQFF2016). Mixing sexuality and teen angst with an undercurrent of sci-fi, Pulse is a bold fantasy that follows a gay disabled teen who undergoes a mysterious procedure that gives him the body of a young able-bodied woman to pursue his love object. This continues the Festival’s long-standing commitment to championing Australian film.

Out Run

The rousing documentary Out Run follows Bemz Benedito, leader of the world’s only LGBTIQ political party, Ladlad, who dreams of being the first transgender woman in the Philippine Congress. But in a deeply Catholic nation, rallying for LGBTIQ representation in the halls of Congress is not an easy feat.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four has been screened to acclaim on the international film festival circuit. During the Satanic Panic witch-hunt era, four Latina lesbians were wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting two little girls. Twenty years on, they fight against homophobia and prosecutorial fervour in their struggle for exoneration. In this riveting and powerful documentary, filmmaker Deborah S. Esquenazi takes on the role of investigator along with attorneys at the Innocence Project, helping these women on their long road to justice.

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The Watermelon Woman

Screening as part of our MQFF’s Bring it Back program of newly restored classics of LGBTIQ cinema is The Watermelon Woman. Video shop assistant and fledgling filmmaker Cheryl (played by director Cheryl Dunye), is exploring the life and work of her favourite “mammy” of the 30s and 40s Hollywood cinema, identified only as “The Watermelon Woman”. Her research and a new romance with the seductive customer, Diana (Guinevere Turner), push her to live out the very ideas she’s exploring. The Watermelon Woman is a part love story, part reinvention of African American film history, a classic of New Queer Cinema.

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The work of emerging filmmakers and a commitment to gender-diverse storytelling continues to be a focus for MQFF. TRANSformations is a collection of trans* shorts that celebrate the transformative power of living an authentic life, from the poetic portrait of a trans opera singer, a racy drama about hormones and desire starring gender-fluid model Madison Paige, and a trans woman’s first night out as her true self.


In addition to these first must-see films of the festival, MQFF also unveiled a fresh new look in 2017.

Executive Director Dillan Golightly said, “Last year we had everyone talking with our Proudly Different campaign, and this year we’re rolling out a new logo that embodies the strength of our community, the power of queer cinema, and reflects our place in Melbourne’s cultural scene.”