WATCH: Australia’s own teen lesbian rom-com is coming to cinemas

ellie and abbie and abbie's dead aunt lesbian rom com brisbane queer film festival romantic comedy australian film
Photo: Brisbane Queer Film Festival

Heartfelt and hilarious Australian lesbian rom-com Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) is opening in Australian cinemas this month.

The queer film sees school captain Ellie fall for rebellious classmate Abbie. However teen awkwardness and angst get in the way of her plan to ask Abbie to the year 12 formal.

Then, Ellie is visited by the ghost of her late aunt Tara, a lesbian activist who died in the 1980s. Tara acts as a “fairy godmother” of sorts for the teenager.

Ellie and Abbie debuted at the Mardi Gras Film Festival in February, and won the Audience Award for best feature.

It’s also proved a hit at film festivals with screenings around the country, and is opening in select cinemas next Thursday (November 19).

Filmmaker Monica Zanetti has adapted the movie from her own stage play of the same name.

Young stars Sophie Hawkshaw (Love Child) and Zoe Terakes (Wentworth) play the titular couple Allie and Abbie.

They’re joined by an all-star ensemble cast including Janet King‘s Marta Dusseldorp, Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Rachel House and Starting from… Now‘s Julia Billington.

‘Ellie and Abbie’ combines romantic comedy and drama

Monica Zanetti spoke to of the lack of same-sex rom-coms when she was growing up, particularly family-friendly films.

“My experience of coming out was similar in some ways to Ellie’s experience,” she said.

“I realised I liked someone, and I was so excited about that. I had this wonderfully supportive experience from my parents at the time.

“But as much as I wanted to write a really simple lesbian rom-com – because their really aren’t any in Australia – I couldn’t without acknowledging the people that have come before.”

Zanetti incorporated that history through the character of Tara, played by Billington. She said her openly gay uncle partly inspired the character.

“He lived openly my whole life, but he came out in the 1950s or 60s,” she said.

“He lived very true to himself in a time when I know how incredibly hard that would’ve been.

“Tara is fictional but she’s based on that knowledge that I had an easier time because of those who forged this path.”

Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) is screening around the country, including in limited release from November 19. Visit the film’s Facebook page for screenings near you.

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