Cinema-goers attending this year’s Sydney Film Festival will be treated to the long awaited director’s cut of ‘54’ which restores 40 minutes of the film that was cut to downplay Ryan Philippe’s character’s same-sex love interest.
Miramax Films felt the boy-boy-girl love triangle at the heart of the film was too much for audiences in 1998 – however director Mark Christopher has spend the last 17 years reassembling the film to his original vision and the Sydney Film Festival screening will be one of the few opportunities for people to see the updated version.
Closing the festival will be Australian film Holding The Man – based on the memoir of the same name by Australian actor, writer and activist Timothy Conigrave which itself was adapted for the stage by Tommy Murphy.
Murphy has now filmed the book for the big screen and the film includes two of Australia’s biggest name actors – Guy Pearce and Anthony LaPaglia – in key supporting roles.
Holding The Man tells the story of the romance between two boys who meet and fall in love in high school until their deaths from AIDS 15 years later.
Transgender issues will be explored through the film Sworn Virgin which stars Italian actress Alba Rohrwacher in a story about a girl who swears her eternal virginity to escape the fate of becoming a wife and servant in the mountains of Albania.
Same-sex parenting is explored through the film Nasty Baby – about a mixed race gay couple and their best girlfriend who explore the idea of bringing a new life into the world together before being confronted with a brutal scenario that forces them to take a life.
Nasty Baby stars Kristen Wiig, Alia Shawkat, Mark Margolis and is written and directed by Sebastian Silva who also appears in the film.
Peter Greenaway’s Eisenstein in Guanajuato has not gone down well in Russia as the film explores the great Russian silent filmmaker’s exploration of his sexuality during a period spent in Mexico where it is alleged Eisenstein lost his virginity to a gay man.
Fans of lesbian erotica and S&M will love The Duke of Burgundy a 70’s European art porn film set in a fairytale fantasy world without men.
Fans of Lily Tomlin and American director Paul Weitz will love Grandma – a film exploring three generations of independent womanhood in America.
The film revolves around a lesbian poet and her granddaughter coming to terms with their issues.
Tangerine follows the story of a transgender sex worker who has been released from prison on Christmas Eve only to discover that her lover and pimp has been cheating on her while she’s been inside.
The film was screened at Sundance where audiences were amazed to learn after it screened that the entire film was shot on an iPhone 5.
Australian filmmaker Gillian Armstrong will be showcasing her documentary Women He’s Undressed at the festival – which tells the story of Australian born Hollywood costume designer Orry-Kelly who won three Oscars during the 1950’s despite living as an openly gay man.
Orry-Kelly worked on the films An American in Paris, Les Girls and Some Like It Hot and was nominated for a fourth Oscar for the film Gypsy before his untimely death from liver cancer.
LGBTI parenting themes will also be explored at the festival through the documentary Gayby Baby.
Filmmaker and child of lesbian parents Maya Newell puts her lens to the lives of four kids growing up with same-sex parents – allowing them to speak to their own experiences.
For more details and times and dates for screenings go to the Sydney Festival website to download a festival program
Watch Lily Tomlin in the trailer for Grandma below