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Love Bites – celebrating 40 years of Mardi Gras

At 10pm on Saturday 24 June 1978 around 1,500 people marched in Sydney to demand their very existence be acknowledged and respected. Police violently arrested 53 of them.

Australia’s LGBTQI community now live the achievements of these brave 78ers and all those that have marched for the past 39 years. To celebrate the 40th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras on Saturday 3 March 2018, Screen Australia is proud to join with the ABC to showcase ten true stories from Australia’s rainbow family.

Premiering in the same year that Australia legalised same-sex marriage, the Love Bites documentary series give a glimpse into what life has been like and is like for LGBTQI people. At only 6-7 minutes each, you can binge all 10 docos on iview for free from Sunday 25 February. And after that, experience the first Mardi Gras in special drama event Riot (on ABC 25 February at 8.30pm or on iview), meet Australia’s Indigenous drag queens in Black Divaz (on NITV 1 March at 8.30pm) and enjoy this showcase of Aussie LGBTQI stories.

Beyond the Mirror Ball

Beyond the Mirror Ball

Beyond the Mirror Ball

A Baltimore-born African American voguer and his Aussie lover decide to leave the glamour of Sydney to run an alpaca farm in regional NSW. Beyond the Mirror Ball is a touching look at the generation who remember the AIDS epidemic and took part in the gay rights revolution - literal and figurative survivors.

Written and directed by Luke Cornish. Produced by Josh Feeney and Luke Cornish. Watch on iview


Club Arak

Club Arak

Club Arak / Photo credit Naz Eljarrar

The longest running dance party you’ve never heard of, Club Arak was started in 2002 as a safe place for Sydney’s Arab gay community to come together to enjoy their music, culture and of course to arak (‘sweat’). Exploring the juxtaposition of Sydney’s liberal heart with the conservatism of Australian-Arab cultures, Club Arak shows the incredible impact grassroots movements can have.

Written and directed by Fadia Abboud. Written and produced by Alissar Gazal. Watch on iview


Dances

Dances

Dances / Photo credit Rebecca Marian Irene

Dancers perform real life dating app conversations, including the sometime harsh realities of racism, body shaming and dating whilst closeted, plus more light-hearted experiences like the ‘hey’ loop.

Directed by Ramon Watkins. Produced by Stephanie Westwood. Watch on iview


Dani Boi

Dani Boi

Dani Boi / Photo credit Gunay Demirci

RuPaul's Drag Race is a global phenomenon, but the idea of a ‘drag king’ is still an enigma to many. Melbourne local Dani Weber shares the story of their alter ego ‘Dani Boi’ in the context of what it means to have a non-binary gender, and their experience of growing up in the Sri Lankan / Australian community.

Directed by Logan Mucha. Produced by Zena Bartlett. Watch on iview


Desperately Seeking Shavers

Desperately Seeking Shavers

Desperately Seeking Shavers / Photo credit Alexandra Joseph

Hair seems like such an innocuous topic, but this Victorian creative team show why something so simple can have a huge impact on someone’s sense of identity. Tom, Dawn and Elizabeth share this tale from the trans and non-binary community.

Written and directed by Emmett Aldred. Produced by Christina Radburn. Watch on iview


Fez

Fez

Fez / Photo credit Carnival Cinema

Whether you live in the UK, North America or Australia, there is a good chance you’ve heard (or seen!) the outrageous all-male burlesque shows from the Briefs Factory. Now meet the creative mind behind the hit – Fiu Tuipoloa Ioane Sidney Efeso Faanana (or you can call him Fez). A Samoan-New Zealander, raised in Queensland, Fez shares his incredible insight into how different cultures interpret homosexuality and masculinity, and the audience demand to ‘get their eyes dirty’.

Directed by Jermaine D’Vauz. Produced by Jessica Magro. Watch on iview


Queen Biryani

Queen Biryani

Queen Biryani / Photo credit Alexies Adao and Aldain Brent Austria

If you live in Sydney’s inner west, you’re more likely to know Two Boys in Saris from Time Out’s culinary columns than the actual guys behind the street food hit - Muhammad Ali and Amar. This Love Bite reveals the lives of the two men (and lovers) and their decision to come out to their parents.

Directed by Gary Paramanathan. Produced by Kate Vinen. Watch on iview


Monsta Gras

Monsta Gras

Monsta Gras / Photo credit Liz Ham

Sydney’s spectacular Monsta Gras dance party exists as a counter to what some perceive as the sanitisation of gay culture. Featuring incredible performances and costume, the idea of monster is used to represent ‘the other,’ reminding participants of how much is still left to do to achieve true equality.

Directed by Kelli Jean Drinkwater. Produced by Jain Moralee. Watch on iview


Only Different

Only Different

Only Different / Photo credit Daniel Bolt

Christine Forster and Virginia Edwards sharing their story of coming out later in life was an experience few Australians had heard before let alone been through themselves. Only Different is an emotional interview between a son and his lesbian mother from Jervis Bay NSW, and reimagines her life on Super 8 film had she not felt the need to hide her identity.

Written and directed by Thomas Wilson-White. Produced by Lizzie Cater. Watch on iview


Wicked Women

Wicked Women

Wicked Women

Being able to read LGBTQI news is something we now take for granted, with dedicated online and print publications plus mainstream media coverage. But in the 80s when magazine Wicked Women (1988-1996) was first published in Australia the idea was revolutionary (as were the notorious parties that funded the publication). Featuring incredible archival footage, Wicked Women is the deeply personal tale of Jasper Laybutt.

Produced and directed by Anna Brownfield. Watch on iview