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Queer Screen Film Festival

Queer Screen Film Festival


Living in a regional area and being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community can feel isolating. The Charles Sturt Queer Screen Film Festival was held last week in Bathurst to celebrate a sense of inclusion for all members of LGBTQIA+ community. Charlie Contributor, Remy Naughton, reflects on how the LGBTQIA+ community empowers her to be the person she is today.

Written by Remy Naughton

The 2024 Queer Screen Film Festival began last week to launch the start of the Bathurst Mardi Gras.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I entered the venue, but the ambience of the soft lighting as colours of pinks and purples littered the sky while the music of queer artists played softy, made the event feel like a very inviting and safe place to be.

As the sun starts to set over Wahluu (Mount Panorama) and it starts to cool, colours of the rainbow start to light up the Ponton theatre

I was initially nervous to go as my friends were unable to make it, however, after a few minutes people flooded the outside area where delicious charcuterie boards were set full of cheese, olives, chips and dips.

As I was quite early, it was great to have a chat with people who had put the event together.

It was interesting to hear about the technical side as well as why the event is so important to not only the LGBTQIA+ community, but also to all communities that make up the Central West.

While inside though, I saw a certain red lolly bag.

My sweet tooth was more than happy when I stumbled across this treasure trove full of lollies and chocolates!

Smoke started to fill the air as Wiradjuri Elders provided a Smoke Ceremony which we were able to luckily join in on.

While I was snacking away and chatting with other people ready to enjoy the show, the first ding notified the group that the showing was to begin!

As we sat down in the chairs of the Ponton theatre, the introduction to the six films ahead of us played. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it was so full I think there were only three seats left free!

While seated, national superstar Damian de Montemas introduced the elders for a Welcome to Country.

Something I found very insightful was that Indigenous people had 5 genders; female, male, female presenting, male presenting, and everything in between.

I knew the Māori and Cook Islands people had a similar system in place, but I did not know it was the same for First Nations peoples.

This left me to think about how different our world would have been if everyone had followed this ideology many many years ago.

My favourite was the first film, ‘Cold Water’. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the theatre as this one played.

The Australian short film was based in St Kilda where an elderly woman’s retirement is interrupted by her husband’s new hobby.

The film alluded to her husband having dementia and he was reliving a memory.

That memory was lived through a shotgun…

Without spoiling the details of the movie, the ending left everyone in tears.

During the intermission, whispers littered the night sky about each and everyone’s interpretation of what they took from each film.

Each person’s background and their relation to the queer community impacted their thoughts and feelings around each of the showings.

As the ding of the bell played, we sat back down to resume the next three films.

As a queer person, the event and films made me feel safe and empowered to be the person I am.

Each person within the LGBTQIA+ community all have an important story to tell about their experience, and to be able to relate to some of the experiences played out in each film really encouraged me to continue writing stories in hopes that other queer people will feel okay within their own skin.

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This is an SSAF funded initiative
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