MQFF audiences embrace diversity
Australian made feature 52 Tuesdays was the big winner at this years Melbourne Queer Film Festival.
Sophie Hyde's study of gender transition won the $1,500 Audience Choice award for best feature. Linda Bloodworth-Thomason's Bridegroom took out the best Documentary category while Laura Scrivano's The Language of Love won Best Australian Short Film and US directorBryan Horch's Spooners won Best Short Film.
The $3,000 City of Melbourne Emerging Filmmaker Award for Best Australian Short Queer Film went to Nicholas Verso for The Last Time I Saw Richard and Jack Cox's short Trunk won Selectors’ Choice Award for Best Australian Short Queer Film in Celluloid Casserole
MQFF Director Lisa Daniel told gaynewsnetwork she wasn't surprised by 52 Tuesdays winning.
“That film struck a lot of chords with people,” she said.
“People want to support Australian films too and when we have an Australian feature there is an increased interest in looking at what queer themes there are in local films.”
Daniel said that ticket sales increased only slightly this year and was concerned about future sales as many people now have so many other choices for film viewing. But the interest in less commercially viable films also means there is future for festivals.
“We have a pretty solid, loyal audience of people over 40 but getting people under 25 to the festival is really hard. People now just download stuff which is why we add other events like the Queer Comedy Night and the Gay and Lesbian Speed dating which did very well.
“We are trying to get people used to them so there is something other than just film.”
Daniel said their audience has become more “sophisticated” and interested in stories from different cultures and moving away from "fluffy" American comedy themed films.
“They still sell, but we just don't sell them out like we used to for things like Big Gay Musical or Eating Out. We sell quite solidly across the festival, we don't have many sell out events, we just have more solid attendances across the whole 12 days.
“There was an Argentinian film called Hawaii on a Monday night and we had something like 350 people in the cinema which is unheard of. Ten years ago we used to have 20 or 30 in a cinema on a Monday night.
“A lot of the things that did well for us, like Hawaii, Matterhorn and Rosie, won’t get released commercially and they probably won't be on the internet either because they won't attract enough interest.”
Pictured: The Argentinian film and MQFF hit Hawaii