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

This year's festival hopes to inspire discussion and debate, with 161 films and events in February.

Queer Screen’s 31st Mardi Gras Film Festival (15–29 February in cinemas in Sydney and 1–11 March on demand) is looking to start conversations with its 2024 lineup, announced today.

‘The theme [We need to talk …] focuses on films that start conversations,’ said Festival Director Lisa Rose. ‘People will be keen to discuss and dissect them as soon as the credits start to roll. There’s so much to sink your teeth into, including several that will inspire lively debate.’

Featuring 161 films and events, MGFF24 will be showing this year at Event Cinemas (George Street and Hurstville), Ritz Cinemas Randwick, Dendy Cinemas Newtown, the Bearded Tit and Hayden Orpheum Cremorne, and will also include a double bill of music and film at the Sydney Opera House and panel discussions at the State Library of NSW.

The festival opens with the Sydney premiere of British neo-noir thriller Femme, a ‘fierce psychodrama’
featuring phenomenal performances from Misfits star Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and George MacKay (Pride, 1917), about a drag star given the opportunity for revenge following a homophobic attack.

The closing film will be the Sydney premiere of Housekeeping for Beginners by Australian filmmaker Goran Stolevski.

Read: Housekeeping for Beginners review: a luminous tribute to found family

Two of the three world premieres at the festival are Australian titles. Documentary A Portrait of Love
celebrates Archibald award-winning artist Craig Ruddy. Seen through the eyes of his partner of 20
years, Roberto Meza, and directed by Molly Reynolds, it’s described as ‘an exuberant tale of
creativity and devotion’. Both Meza and Reynolds will be attending the screening and answering questions afterwards.

In The Room Where He Waits, meanwhile, was a Queer Screen Completion Fund recipient and one of the projects chosen for Queer Screen Goes to Cannes. This debut from up-and-coming Australian director and festival guest Timothy Desphina Marshall is ‘a chilling psychological thriller, set in the claustrophobic hotel room of a theatre actor who returns home for his father’s funeral’.

Argentinian director Lucas Santa Ana will be on had at the festival to introduce Blue Lights, a ‘sophisticated exploration of love, loss, friendship and forgiveness’ that unfolds over the course of an evening, when seven close friends and family members come together for a 70th birthday dinner.

For information on the festival’s Australian Showcase, Sydney Opera House event, the My Queer Career short-film competition, tickets and more visit the Queer Screen website.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites