Saturday, December 22, 2012

Shiny, Shiny, Spruicy Fruits - Queer Fruits Film Festival 2012 - INTERVIEWS

QFFF Director Akkadia Ford speaks to Paul Andrew about the shiniest fruitiest screen event on the Australian Film Calendar.

Tell me about one of your all time favourite queer festival films?
All time favourite to date is without doubt Kink Crusaders a brilliant documentary by Mike Skiff. Queer Fruits Film Festival screened this last year to an audience that cheered and clapped all the way through and for about five minutes after the screening. The first time I saw the film was during a private Director's preview of the film with one of the selection panel during early programming for the 2011 festival and the film brought me to tears, so much struggle to just be accepted for who you are. It is an incredible film. Kink Crusaders went on to be awarded the QFFF 2011 Jury Prize.

Your vision for the QFFF this year?
To be inspiring; demonstrate respect for diversity of opinions; increasing support for the increasing transgender community.

How are you building upon previous year’s festival successes?
The festival responds to a specific time & place; being the days leading up to New Year and an influx of GLBTIQ visitors to Lismore for New Year we have to be mindful always of the specific needs of a regional audience.

I always try to program as many premieres as possible, so that visitors - who may also attend other queer film festivals - will be keenly interested in the QFFF program, but also mindful that locals may not get to the urban festivals. The 2012 program has built upon the live performance aspect.

What’s entirely different about this year's festival?
Queer Fruits Film Festival is an independent organisation. It is not 'Tropical Fruits' film festival' they [Tropical Fruits in Lismore] are only connected as one of the local sponsors this year. The festival needs to follow a carefully designed programmed flow to fit into the time & space available.

Entirely new this year,is us showcasing local talent to open Session 4, with Shiny Shiny playing live - this will be a really colourful opener for the pre-New Year Session.

Is there one particular film screened during a previous festival that locals still rave about today?
Yes, there was immense enjoyment for Brokeback Mountain Bikes (Director Nell O' Neill) a lesbian re-versioning and homage to the original film. 

Tell in some detail about a film being screened this year that involves or foregrounds local colour or local talent?
Locals are represented in two different music videos this year, with Brisbane dark electro band Love Like Hate 21 (Director : Contortionist Studios; Producer : Love like Hate)  Love like Hate drive through a surreal landscape and with Lismore electro band Shiny Shiny.

Tell me about one of this year’s BIG screen highlights?

The festival will be screening Sexing the Transman by Buck Angel as the showcase film of the special transgender session on Sunday 30th,only the second time the film has been seen in Australia; it is revolutionary, groundbreaking and timely, much-needed in fact.

Interestingly, several transgender films have been screening recently on ABC, a response to the increasing transgender community.

Prizes are a big drawcard for filmmakers entering their work into festivals; this year’s prizes?
The festival will be happy to present a production prize from Metro Screen in Sydney (Thanks METRO SCREEN), a local filmmaker's award, which includes a Screenworks' membership. there are also category awards and a Jury Prize. 

And Audience Choice awards once again? 

Yes, there is one overall Audience Choice award given. Festival goers always get their say!

Okay Akkadia, the venue, no film festival has an edge unless it is located in an awesome venue?

We are returning to the Grand Auditorium in the Lismore District Worker's Club; this is a gorgeous, old parquetry floored auditorium with VIP mezzanine level and access to the full range of bistros, and bars within the Club for patrons to meet and greet between sessions.

There is an official after-party in the retro-chic glamour of Platinum cocktail bar with guest DJ LADY K, which will be the default festival club and we are also having our opening night drinks there.

Festival etiquette- tell me some of the etiquette required for the festival?

Come to opening night to meet, greet and enjoy complimentary drinks. Turn off mobile phones during sessions. Clap for your favourite films!! 

The Northern Rivers region is also a part of the drawcard for the festival, with so many sun seekers heading north now, tell me about three or four of your personal fave places nearby where festival aficionados can do coffee, eat, camp, bushwalk, swim or relax, make friends or make love?

Depends where you are based; if you are in Lismore the Workers Club offers a great variety of food & beverages at Club prices; there is great organic food at Goanna Bakery; a lot of local GLBTIQ community also eat at Dragonfly Cafe; if you are closer to Byron Bay, boys head to Kings Beach; girls tend to hang out at each other's houses or head to Brunswick Heads
on Friday nights for beers. If you like great food, try the Belongil Bistro.

Do you have a favourite quote pinned on your noticeboard or under a fridge magnet at home?

Yes, a few in fact and here are two of my favourites:

"Damned if you do and dead if you don't" 

"The sight of the stars makes me dream"

PIC : Graupel Poetry  Director/Producer : Bruce Saxway Boys/Drama/Thriller Feature (Australian/Pacific Premiere) (Mandarin/English Subtitles) 
China/Hong Kong (2012)  77 mins

For Festival details and bookings info:

PHOTO ABOVE: Shiny Shiny, Electro Flash Band performing live this year at QFFF.

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