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A wider perspective

Pink Sheep Pink Sheep
Queer Screen has revamped Sydney’s Mardi Gras Film Festival for 2004 with a new management team and a massively expanded program. The festival runs across 3 venues and features a record number of Australian films.

New Australian features include Low Fat Elephants (director Phillip Marzella), Prisoner Queen (Timothy Spanos) and Max: A Cautionary Tale (Nicholas Verso). To lend a historical perspective to the proceedings, filmmaker Barry McKay has scoured the ScreenSound archives to compile Imagining Queer, an overview of gay, lesbian, queer, transgender and camp images from Australian film and television from 1910 to 1970.

As well as Australian work, the festival features many movies from countries not known for their visible gay cultures. The award winning documentary Straight Out (directors Hrafnhildur Gunnarsdottir, Thorvaldur Kristinsson), for example, claims to be Iceland’s first gay film. Yossi and Jagger (Eytan Fox) takes a look at Israeli military life through the true story of 2 officers conducting a secret affair while serving in Lebanon. And in keeping with Australia’s growing fascination with Indian popular cinema, The Pink Mirror (Sridhar Rangayan) is a Bollywood-style look at gay culture on the sub-continent.

For the first time this year’s festival will have 4 youth-orientated sessions open to anyone aged 15 and older. These programs feature international and local entries, including Pink Sheep (directors Peta Jane Lenehan, Craig Boreham), a collaboration between Sydney’s Twenty10 Gay and Lesbian Youth Support and Channel Free.

Finally, for cinema lovers there is a documentary trilogy on gay filmmakers Luchino Visconti, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Rosa von Praunheim.

With such a diverse and extensive program, this year will hopefully see the Mardi Gras Film Festival reclaim its reputation as the home of thought-provoking and provocative queer cinema. RT

11th Mardi Gras Film Festival, State Theatre, Palace Academy Twin, Dendy Newtown, Feb 11-22,

RealTime issue #59 Feb-March 2004 pg. 25

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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