Lesbian romance opens Queer Screen Film Fest 2019

queer screen film fest portrait of a lady on fire sydney cannes film festival lesbian romance
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Queer romance films from France, Spain and New Zealand are on the lineup for this year’s Queer Screen Film Fest in Sydney.

The lineup features 29 films from twelve countries, focusing on romantic films under the theme ‘Light Your Fire’.

“With our theme we are asking the audience to engage their hearts and minds and join us in witnessing passion on screen in a variety of circumstances,” festival director Lisa Rose said.

“From sexy and intense romances, to passionate causes, strength in adversity, fanatical obsessions with camp classics and the incredible desire to create a family.

“Use the festival to embrace your passion for film and our community and ignite some passions of your own.”

Opening the festival is slowburn 18th century lesbian romance, Portrait of a Lady on Fire. The film won Best Screenplay and the Queer Palm at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Another Cannes hit in the festival program, Pain and Glory, comes from queer film favourite Pedro Almodóvar starring Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz.

Meanwhile, the tender and profund documentary Seahorse charts a gay transman’s journey to the birth of his own child. The witty and sharply observed Benjamin from comedian Simon Amstell closes out the festival.

The 2019 Queer Screen Film Fest returns to Event Cinemas George Street in Sydney from September 18 to 22. To view the full program and buy tickets, head to the Queer Screen website.

See highlights from the 2019 program below:

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Marianne (Noémie Merlant), a young painter, has been commissioned to do the wedding portrait of Héloïse (French star Adèle Haenel), a reluctant soon-to-be bride who refuses to sit for her portrait – and must be studied in secret. Undeniable intimacy and attraction ensue between the two.


Benjamin (Colin Morgan) is a young indie director who has just completed a new film when he falls for sweet musician Noah (Phénix Brossard) and pursues a relationship

Same But Different: A True New Zealand Love Story

When bumbling single mum Rachel meets stunning Kiwi-Samoan filmmaker Nikki it’s love at first sight until a spiteful ex throws a spanner in the works, making Nikki question how serious Rachel is about their relationship.

Vita and Virginia

Based on the stage play by Eileen Atkins, the passionate relationship between Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf is given an intriguingly surreal cinematic adaptation, like no historical period drama you will have seen before!


While scrolling through porn sites, Jakob accidentally stumbles upon 26-year-old artist Kristjan in a cam-chat sex site. As he explores this connection, feelings of anxiety increasingly take control and the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur.

You Don’t Nomi

You Don’t Nomi celebrates the trash masterpiece that is Showgirls. Revelling in all its hilarious flaws, this doco is a must for fans of this all-time camp classic. After the doco, Showgirls itself will be screened. Put on your finest “Versayce”, do your nails and tease your hair and celebrate the camp classic.

Pain and Glory

Depressed filmmaker Salvador is unable to work due to chronic pain. Turning to self-medication, he immerses himself in memories of his childhood, blossoming desires, and first love in hopes of rediscovering his passion for the glory of life.

A Luv Tale: The Series

In a sexy episodic love letter to queer women of colour, A Luv Tale: the Series follows struggling and heartbroken artist, Taylor who picks up a beautiful older woman, Candice, at a bar and takes her home.


30 year old Freddy has long wanted to start his own family, but for him this ordinary desire comes with unique challenges. He is a gay transgender man.

End of the Century

Ocho, an Argentinian poet from New York, and Javi, a Spanish filmmaker from Berlin, meet by chance while in Barcelona. Initially intended to be a brief hook-up, the pair realise they had previously met twenty years earlier.

Killing Patient Zero

The story of Gaëtan Dugas, a French-Canadian flight attendant, who offered to help with early scientific research into the origins of the AIDS virus but who would later be unfairly maligned as the man who introduced AIDS to North America.

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