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The Melbourne Queer Film Festival, or MQFF, has been running continuously since 1991  . It is the oldest queer film festival in Australia and one of the oldest queer film festivals in the world. It is arguably the largest, or at least the second largest, queer film festival in the Southern Hemisphere  as well as being the second largest film festival in Victoria (second only to the Melbourne International Film Festival).
The Festival screens annually, during March, at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square in the centre of Melbourne and was the first film festival to use that facility. It also uses various other central Melbourne venues - each having excellent access to public transport and disabled access. The Program Launch, which is the official launch of the Festival, is held in February each year.
Up to 2007 it is estimated that over 120,000 people have attended the Festival and other MQFF events.
Who is MQFF?
MQFF is an Incorporated Association that is run by a Board of Management. There are a number of sub-committees made up of Board members and invited industry specialists that implement a large number of the operations of the MQFF. MQFF employs one part-time Festival Director and one part-time Manager. It also employs other personnel on contract such as, a Sponsorship and Business Development Manager, an Operations Manager, Event Producer and Artistic Director for Opening Night and Program Launch. Contractors such as graphic designers, staging and technical personnel, publicists and caterers are also employed .
The Festival relies on more than 250 volunteers to help out at the annual Festival and at other events in areas such as hospitality, ushering, office administration, program guide and poster distribution. Many thousands of hours are contributed by the Board as well as by event production crews, ushers and Festival Club volunteers. The volunteer base is made up of a wide cross-section of members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) community, film buffs, film industry professionals and event production specialists. MQFF also relies on the skills and generosity of its Selection Panel. This volunteer role involves viewing all submitted films and videos then presenting recommendations to the Festival Director regarding program selection and scheduling.
The Festival has about 300 financial members.
Link to the MQFF Website
The core business of MQFF is film screenings, which accounts for over 95% of the business and includes the main Festival held in March each year. The annual Festival includes programs such as Queeries: Bent On Film Youth Program, International Shorts and Feature Films, Documentary Packages, Foreign Language Films, The City of Melbourne Emerging Filmmaker Award, and an experimental program, along with several forums and lectures. International filmmakers and guests attend the Festival each year and are encouraged to contribute to the Festival by their involvement in forums and interviews with the media about their films or programs.
MQFF also holds screenings at the Fairfield Amphitheatre as part of the Midsumma Festival in January and February each year. Throughout the year MQFF holds one-off screenings for its members and the general public at various venues around Melbourne.
Main Client Base
The annual Festival's main client base includes members of the GLBTI (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) communities, film industry people, sponsors, media, film buffs and the general public. Many of these patrons who are from outer suburban and regional areas, as well as interstate would not have the opportunity to see these films outside the Festival, as these films rarely receive commercial release.
Plans for the Future
The continued use of ACMI's world class facilities will enable the Festival to investigate areas of new digital media such as web casting and live internet conferences with overseas filmmakers, as well as exhibitions of art from new-media queer artists. The Festival aims to expand and redefine the term "screen culture" in Australia.
It is planned to expand the existing touring program - it will be touring to: Bendigo, Cairns, Rockhampton, Tasmania & Byron Bay. See "MQFF On Tour" for details.
MQFF On Tour
The MQFF has been touring a substantial part of its program to the Brisbane Powerhouse since 2001. Since 2004, MQFF has toured parts of its program to Bendigo in regional Victoria, for which it now receives some financial backing from the Victorian Government . Both tours were a financial and critical success, with excellent feedback via audience surveys, and requests for further tours. The Brisbane festival has evolved into an independent festival, now the third largest queer film festival in Australia - see .
In 2007 the MQFF toured program highlights to Rockhampton and Cairns. Expansion plans include touring parts of the program to Tasmania and Byron Bay. It is hoped that given the success of touring to Brisbane and Bendigo, and the anticipated success of touring to Tasmania and Byron Bay, the Festival will be able to respond to continued demand for touring to further locations throughout Australia in the future.
- Australian Government, "Website Detail", Culture and Recreation Portal, "n.d.". Accessed June 23 2007.
- Rachel Millar, "MQFVF", BONZA - a RMIT based film resource, "n.d.". Accessed June 23 2007.
- filmfestivals.com.au, "Victoria", 2005. Accessed June 23 2007.
- Tim Irons, "What's New Inside Film: Employment Opportunity - The Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF)", Inside Film Magazine, August 25 2006. Accessed June 23 2007.
- Minister for Tourism - John Pandazopoulos, "Bracks Government Supports Bendigo Queer Film Festival", Victorian Government media release, October 25 2006. Accessed June 23 2007.