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Romance, politics and audacity collide in a bold celebration of film

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Single, Out was a lifeline, and MQFF is all about these community connections. Adrian Chiarella’s film Black Lips, about a Chinese immigrant who finds direction after encountering an Australian gay man, won MQFF’s best short film award in 2020. His third short, Dwarf Planet, is presented in this year’s Australian shorts package. An intimate portrayal of a life-changing sex work encounter, it’s inspired by Andy Boreham’s short story Concealer. “I enjoy exploring themes of desire and sexuality,” Chiarella says. “It’s rich territory. You discover so much about your own sense of self through desire as a young person, and how that relates to the wider space of the world.”

Will Hutchins stars in Single, Out, which will screen at the 2022 MQFF

Though it can be hard to secure funding, Chiarella, an AFTRS alumni who got his first foot in the industry as an editor, says the limitations of short filmmaking encourage creative audacity. “A lot of filmmakers told me that if you’ve been given a couple of thousand, maybe $10,000, this short film could be the last chance you get to make bold choices without anyone looking over your shoulder.”

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Bold filmmakers, particularly younger ones, have made Economopoulos’ time at MQFF memorable, with shorts opening doors that gatekeepers can’t hold closed. “It’s become a space to tell their own stories,” he says. “They are always the most fun to program, with so much to choose from and such inventive stories.”


Single, Out was a lifeline, and MQFF is all about these community connections. Adrian Chiarella’s film Black Lips, about a Chinese immigrant who finds direction after encountering an Australian gay man, won MQFF’s best short film award in 2020. His third short, Dwarf Planet, is presented in this year’s Australian shorts package. An intimate portrayal of a life-changing sex work encounter, it’s inspired by Andy Boreham’s short story Concealer. “I enjoy exploring themes of desire and sexuality,” Chiarella says. “It’s rich territory. You discover so much about your own sense of self through desire as a young person, and how that relates to the wider space of the world.”

Will Hutchins stars in Single, Out, which will screen at the 2022 MQFF

Will Hutchins stars in Single, Out, which will screen at the 2022 MQFF

Though it can be hard to secure funding, Chiarella, an AFTRS alumni who got his first foot in the industry as an editor, says the limitations of short filmmaking encourage creative audacity. “A lot of filmmakers told me that if you’ve been given a couple of thousand, maybe $10,000, this short film could be the last chance you get to make bold choices without anyone looking over your shoulder.”

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Bold filmmakers, particularly younger ones, have made Economopoulos’ time at MQFF memorable, with shorts opening doors that gatekeepers can’t hold closed. “It’s become a space to tell their own stories,” he says. “They are always the most fun to program, with so much to choose from and such inventive stories.”

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