We present the winners of the 24th Mardi Gras Film Festival that took place from February 15th – March 2nd in Sydney Australia.
The festivals organizers are very pleased with this year edition. More than 21,000 persons (23% increase from last year) attended 100 screening and different events. The Festival will later tour around Blue Mountains, Parramatta and Canberra (see official website for more information). 40 international filmmakers, activist, advocates and festival directors attended the Festival.
Paul Struthers, the Director of the festival comment: “We certainly showcased Sydney as one of the most diverse and welcoming LGBTIQ film festivals in the world this year. This was highlighted when we hosted the Asia Pacific Queer Film Festival Alliance and GLAAD to discuss LGBTIQ representation in the media in Australia and across Asia Pacific. Everyone involved from staff, volunteers, the Board and especially the audience should be very proud of themselves for an amazing Festival”.
Among the many highlights during the festival we can mention, the screening of two Oscar winners Moonlight and Piper, an inspiring Q&A Session with Rachel Griffiths and Professor Kerryn Phelps at the Australian premiere of When We Rise, and open forum with delegates of the 18 Asian Pacific Film Festivals to discuss queer cinema and their experiences, and the screening of 1 world premiere, 4 international premieres and 31 Australian premieres.
Best Narrative Film
When We Rise by Gus Van Sant – USA | 2017 – 80 min.
This highly-anticipated drama series recounts the history of the LGBTIQ rights movement. Written and created by Dustin Lance Black (Oscar-winner for 2008 film Milk), this part is the first of four and was directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk).
The epic production begins in San Francisco, where Cleve Jones (Austin P McKenzie), a young anti-war campaigner; Ken Jones (Jonathon Majors) a closeted Vietnam veteran; and Roma Guy (Emily Skeggs) a women’s rights activist ostracised for being a lesbian, are finding their feet.
Later episodes star Guy Pearce (as an older Cleve), Michael K. Williams (older Ken), Mary Louise Parker (older Roma), and Rachel Griffiths (as Diane, Roma’s wife). Whoopi Goldberg guest stars as Pat Norman, the first openly gay employee of the San Francisco Health Department and Rosie O’Donnell plays Del Martin, co-founder of the first lesbian organisation in the States.
Black and Van Sant are among a list of big-name executive producers on the series, with Laurence Mark (Julie & Julia, Dreamgirls, I Robot, Jerry Maguire) and Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Milk) also credited.
Handsome Devil by John Butler – Ireland | 2016 – 95 min.
Family Commitments by Hanno Olderdissen – Germany | 2015 – 85 min.
Bear City 3 by Douglas Langway – USA | 2016 – 120 min.
Angry Indian Goddesses by Pan Nalin – India | 2015 – 104 min.
Best Documentary Film
Suited by Jason Benjamin – USA | 2016 – 85 min.
Suited introduces bespoke Brooklyn tailors Bindle & Keep and their clients. From a trans teenager preparing for his Bar Mitzvah to a gender non-conforming cab driver and a trans woman who specialises in workplace discrimination law, their stories unfold as their custom-made clothing is created.
The clients emerge with a suit that not only fits, but is also befitting of who they are and how they want to be in the world. The suit itself is only half of the story; we get real insight into who these people are and why the clothes matter so much. Derek gets fitted for a suit for his upcoming wedding – we’re there when he and his fiancé visit his hometown in rural Pennsylvania, and later when he undergoes surgery.
The tailors have their own stories. Rae saw the gap in the market and asked for an apprenticeship with Daniel at Bindle & Keep. Daniel started tailoring after he was accidentally poisoned and gave up architecture. It helped get his life back on track, and became something of a lifeline to others.
A powerful, emotional, and very stylish documentary. Suited screened at Sundance, festivals across the US, and Canada’s HotDocs.
Political Animals by Jonah Markowitz, Tracy Wares – USA | 2016 – 87 min.
Real Boy by Shaleece Haas – USA | 2016 – 72 min.
Out of Iraq by Chris McKim, Eva Orner – USA | 2016 – 81 min.
Freedom to Marry by Eddie Rosenstein – USA | 2016 – 86 min.
Short Film Competition
Best Short Film Award
Spoilers by Brendon McDonall
Emerging Filmmaker Award
Adult by Jamieson Pearce
Best Screenplay Award
You Deserve Everything by Goran Stolevski
Spoilers by Brendon McDonall