Australian non-profit first LGBTQIA+ festival invited to prestigious ‘film market.’

Queer Screen ‘Goes to Cannes’ will pack five work-in-progress productions to represent at the acclaimed Marché du Film in conjunction with the 76th Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera this month.

Each year the Marché du Film offers renowned festivals the chance to showcase their selection of original work-in-progress feature titles to sales agents, distributors and festival
programmers during the prestigious Cannes season. This year sees Queer Screen, producers of Sydney’s Mardi Gras Film Festival and Queer Screen Film Fest, joining the invitation-only
line-up as the ‘Goes to Cannes’ program’s first-ever LGBTQIA+ and Australian partner.

Queer Screen’s festival director, Lisa Rose, said the invitation is an enormous honour and a testament to the organisation’s international standing. “We are thrilled about being chosen,” she said. “To be the first ever Australian and the first ever LGBTQIA+ film festival involved is something we are very proud of, and I can’t wait to champion these films.”

Five festivals from across the globe were invited to curate five feature films that were still in post-production to showcase. Marché du Film attendees can view an extract from the films
and see pitches from the filmmakers at an in-person event and online. Rose has hand-picked four Australian and one international production to showcase, including SUNFLOWER, a gay coming-of-age drama from Melbourne filmmaker Gabriel Carrubba.

“Earlier this year, we gave Sunflower $15,000 from our completion fund,” Rose explained. “It’s the most we have ever awarded for a single project. To give emerging talent like Gabriel this opportunity on the global stage is very exciting.”

CLOSING NIGHT from filmmaker Timother Despina Marshall is a queer psychological horror that received $8,000 from the Queer Screen Completion Fund in 2021. “Tim is a Mardi Gras Film Festival alumni,” Rose said.

“Three of his films have been finalists in our My Queer Career short film competition, with Gorilla winning the 2013 Iris Prize, the largest in the world for LGBTQIA+ shorts.”

Dark comedy-drama TRIPLE OH! is a mid-length film/episodic featuring a superb Brooke Satchwell. “It’s funny and sexy,” Rose said. “I loved it when I saw it, and it’s so great to see
director Poppy Stockell seamlessly delivers compelling narrative work after a much-awarded factual career.”

Rounding out the Australian selections is ONE PERSON PROTEST from director Christopher Amos. It is the only documentary of the five selected films about Australian activist Peter Tatchell. The filmmaker’s previous film, Hating Peter Tatchell, screened at the 2022 Mardi Gras Film Festival, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary and is now available on Netflix. “I’m so pleased to continue to support Chris and his showcasing of Peter’s vital activism.”

The international project THE QUEEN OF MY DREAMS comes via Canada and Pakistan from writer/director Fawzia Mirza, who’s making her feature-directing debut after having many of
her shorts screened at Queer Screen festivals over the years. It tells the story of a Pakistani Muslim woman and her Canadian-born daughter coming of age in two different eras. “Fawzia was a guest at our most recent festival in February, and I knew she was toiling away in the post while she was here, so I jumped at the chance to offer her this opportunity, as we don’t see enough queer Muslim stories on screen,” Rose said.

Queer Screens selections will be shown on Saturday, 20 May 2023, at 4:30 pm at Palais K, with filmmakers pitching in person or via recorded video. The film extracts and pitches will also be available online for Marché du Film attendees to view the following day.