Brisbane Queer Film Festival Unveils Its 20th Anniversary Lineup

Sauvage at Brisbane Queer Film Festival
'Sauvage' is screening at the Brisbane Queer Film Festival. Photo: Supplied

The Brisbane Queer Film Festival is this year celebrating its 20th birthday and has unveiled its 2019 program of queer feature films, documentaries and short films.

This year’s theme of the long-running festival is “Reflection” to highlight the power of films to create awareness, change and acceptance not just within the mainstream society, but within the queer community itself.

“The 20th edition is a reflection of where we have come from and the visibility we have stood for in these 20 years, of holding space for our communities to gather and be visible,” organisers said.

“The festival returns in 2019 to present, indulge and empower LGBTIQA and gender diverse film, filmmakers and screen content.”

At the festival’s opening night gala on March 7, BQFF will partner with Queensland Positive People and the Queensland AIDS Council to present Arthur J. Bressan Jr’s 1985 drama Buddies.

“The first feature-length drama about the AIDS crisis, Buddies has long been unavailable,” organisers said.

“An important voice in independent queer cinema, 33 years after its’ making, the film will be shown in a restored digital version this year at festivals around the world, and to mark the 20th anniversary edition of the Brisbane Queer Film Festival.”

This year’s BQFF will run from March 7 to 17 at New Farm Cinemas, with the full program and tickets available at the website. Get a sample of some of the festival’s highlights below:


When 25 year-old gay yuppie David volunteers to be a “buddy” to an AIDS patient, the gay community center assigns him to Robert, a 32 year-old politically impassioned gay California gardener abandoned by his friends and lovers.

Becoming Colleen (free screening)

Becoming Colleen is more than a documentary about the coming out of an elderly trans woman. It’s a story of two people whose love transcended their traditional gender roles, a small community that comes together to support a friend in pursuit of her greatest dream, and about the joy of finding the perfect pair of shoes.


Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s name remains synonymous today with boundary-pushing and bold artistic contrasts, owing to both his gorgeous black-and-white prints of voluptuous flowers and his stunning, provocative nude studies of the BDSM subculture. Featuring Doctor Who’s Matt Smith, this biopic offers a nuanced portrait of an artist at the height of his craft

Dykes, Camera, Action

Lesbians didn’t always get to see themselves on screen. But between Stonewall, the feminist movement, and the experimental cinema of the 1970s, they built visibility and transformed the social imagination about queerness. A group of queer female filmmakers share moving and often hilarious stories about their lives and how they’ve expressed queer identity through film.

Leitis in Waiting

Leitis in Waiting is the story of Joey Mataele and the Tonga leitis, an intrepid group of native transgender women fighting a rising tide of religious fundamentalism and intolerance in their South Pacific Kingdom.


Léo is 22 and sells his body on the street for a bit of cash. The men come and go, and he stays right here… longing for love. He doesn’t know what the future will bring. he hits the road. His heart is pounding. By refusing to comply with social rules, by refusing anyone to impose anything on them, he experiences tough life on the street as their own normality in this French drama.

Wild Nights With Emily

Molly Shannon plays Emily Dickinson in this dramatic comedy. The poet’s persona, popularised since her death, became that of a reclusive spinster — a delicate wallflower, too sensitive for this world. This film explores her vivacious, irreverent side that was covered up for years, most notably Emily’s lifelong romantic relationship with another woman.


TransMilitary chronicles the lives of four individuals defending their country’s freedom while fighting for their own. They put their careers and their families’ livelihoods on the line by coming out as transgender to top brass in the Pentagon in hopes of attaining the equal right to serve.

Bixa Travesty

As a black transgender from the poor peripheries of São Paulo, the pop character Linn da Quebrada raises her voice for the queers of colour from the favelas. With exorbitant costumes and a lot of twerking she undertakes an electro-musical attack against the white heteronormative gender order of Brazil and the machismo of the local radio music scene.

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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