Mardi Gras Film Festival: our top ten picks of Queer Screen’s 2024 program

Catch Cora Bora, Aristotle & Dante, and Kokomo City at the Mardi Gras Film Fest 2024.

This weekend, Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival returns to cinemas across Sydney to showcase some of the best and most boundary-pushing queer films around the world.

Here are ScreenHub’s top ten picks of the Mardi Gras Film Festival.

Read: Queen Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival 2024: we need to talk …

Housekeeping for Beginners

Synopsis:  Dita, unprepared for motherhood, finds herself raising her girlfriend’s daughters, amidst clashes and bonding, exploring themes of privilege and identity.

Director: Goran Stolevski.

Cast:  Anamaria Marinca, Alina Serban, Samson Selim


Cora Bora

Synopsis: Fearing her relationship isn’t going well, Cora returns home to win her girlfriend back, but she realizes much more than her love life needs salvaging.

Director: Hannah Pearl Utt

Cast: Megan Stalter, Chelsea Peretti, Catlin Reilly

Country: USA

Sahela (Companion)

Sahela. Image: Picture Works Australia

Synopsis: Vir Oza and Nitya Behl are a married couple living in the suburbs of Parramatta, Sydney. Vir struggles to come to terms with his identity and the pressures he faces from his family, which is representative through his sailing endeavors in struggling to tie the bowline knot.

Director: Raghuvir Joshi

Cast: Antonio Aakeel, Anula Navlekar, Harish Patel


Old Narcissus

Synopsis: Yamazaki, once handsome, now struggles with aging and the loss of his youthful appeal. The narrative delves into his agony and the challenges he faces due to his narcissism.

Director: Tsuyoshi Shôji

Cast: Atom Mizuishi, Kunio Murai, Kanji Tsuda

Country: JAPAN


Synopsis: Documentary. Dressed in otherworldly costumes, a gay artist from a small town in Russia stages radical public performances that become a new form of art and activism.

Director: Agniia Galdanova

Cast: Gena Marvin

Country: RUSSIA


Synopsis: Jules, a drag queen, is targeted in a horrific homophobic attack, destroying his life and career. Some time after that, he encounters one of his attackers in a gay sauna and wants revenge.

Director: Sam H. Freeman, Ng Choon Ping

Cast: George MacKay, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Aaron Heffernan

Country: UK


Synopsis: A raucous work of queer fantasy and history, Playland conjures a time-bending night in Boston’s oldest and most notorious gay bar. Playland is a boundary-pushing, transdisciplinary, hybrid film centered around the raucous activity of a time-bending night in Boston’s oldest and most notorious gay bar, the Playland Café.

Director: Georden West

Cast: Danielle Cooper, Lady Bunny, Aidan Dick

Country: USA

The Queen of my Dreams

Synopsis: Pakistani Muslim Mariam and her Canadian-born daughter Azra come of age in two different eras against the backdrop of a shared obsession with Bollywood fantasy.

Director: Fawzia Mirza

Cast: Hamza Haq, Amrit Kaur, Nimra Bucha


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Synopsis: Mexican-American teenagers Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana explore their friendship while struggling with racial and ethnic identity, sexuality and family relationships in 1987 in El Paso, Texas.

Director: Aitch Alberto

Cast: Max Pelayo, Reese Gonzales, Eva Longoria

Country: USA

Kokomo City

Synopsis: Documentary. Four Black transgender sex workers tell their life stories in intimate and candid interviews.

Director: D. Smith.

Cast: Daniella Carter, Koko Da Doll

Country: USA

The Mardi Gras Film Festival, run by Queer Screen, runs from 15-29 February 2024. For tickets and more info, please head to the Queer Screen website.

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports