1. Reaching For The Moon
Starring Aussie Miranda Otto, this biopic of American poet Elizabeth Bishop who left New York City for Brazil to find inspiration. There, she falls in love with architect Lota de Macedo Soares, who is the daughter of a political figure. Set in the 1960s, the couple must survive the pressure put upon them by her father.
Dawn O’Donnell was a lesbian in the 1950s who built an empire of sex shops, drag clubs and steam rooms. Set in a time when homosexuality was criminalised, this short film explores the seedy underground gay life in Sydney against a backdrop of homophobic legislation.
3. Friends of Dorothy
Photographer William Yang uses his photos to share stories of gay life in Sydney since the late 1960s. From the 80s AIDS crisis to the party scene of the 90s, this film is a must see for anyone interested in political activism, and for some may be a trip down memory lane.
4. Any Day Now
Starring Alan Cumming in what some are calling the performance of his career, this is the true story of a struggling drag performer in 1970s California, who is in a relationship with a closeted lawyer. When the couple take in a child with Down Syndrome who has been abandoned, they must fight a biased legal system to keep their family together.
Tanner is the first in his school to be openly gay, causing all the queen bees to fight to secure him as their ‘gay bff’. The film attracted media attention in the US when it was given a R rating, with some people saying this was solely based on the gay content alone making the MPAA uncomfortable.
6. Two Mothers
Katja and Isabella are happily married, though when they decide to have a child they face a number of legal and emotional obstacles. This German movie highlights how difficult it can be for lesbian couples to get pregnant through artificial insemination.
7. Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth
This feature documentary explores the life of feminist, activist and author Alice Walker. Offering an in-depth insight into her life, it delves deep into her significant contribution to the women’s liberation movement in the second half of the 20th century.
8. Battle of the Sexes
An illuminating documentary of the historic 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and self-proclaimed “male chauvinist pig,” men’s champion Bobby Riggs. This iconic match brought attention to women’s liberation in an accessible way, and is still the most widely watched tennis match to date.
10. Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia
“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” Gore Vidal.
A tribute to one of America’s greatest intellectuals, this documentary sees Gore Vidal spend the final decades of his life fighting to bring awareness to the lobbying culture of Washington.
11. Out In The Line Up
Not many surfers have come out as gay, and this documentary has a look at the few who have, and the taboo surrounding it. It takes an interesting look at how surfing has strayed from its original anti-establishment foundations of freedom, expression and liberation.
12. Valentine Road
This is the heartbreaking story of Lawrence King, an openly gay 15-year-old, who was shot and killed by his classmate after asking to be his Valentine. It brings to life the hard reality of many gay teens in small-town America, who live in fear due to the prejudice of those around them.
13. Vicky - The Gay Gene Comes To Australia
Vicky Gene Robinson, the world’s first openly gay bishop, came to Australia and butted heads with Fred Nile. This doco states his one clear message: that it will take religious .people to undo the harm that religious people have done.
Sydney’s Mardi Gras Film Festival opens February 13
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