“Perhaps a ‘queer strand’ of specific funding would be beneficial to make it less competitive for such projects,” Farrant told Encore. “But at the same time, it might reinforce a notion that queer films are not in the same league as mainstream films.”
Farrant won the City of Melbourne Emerging Filmmaker for Best Australian Short Queer Film at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival for the short film Bombshell, which has been sold to SBS and will continue to play at international festivals.
“My experience has been a good one with our TV market. Yes, it was a queer film, but it was also a film about the codes of acceptable behaviour between families. It was about the devastating effects of secrets. I think anyone can relate to that, whether it’s a queer story or not,” explained Farrant.
According to Farrant, to successfully get queer films into the megaplexes, it is ultimately the vision of the filmmaker that must resonate with a larger audience beyond the gay, lesbian and transgender sector.
“Questions of identity, breaking the mould set by parents or society, forbidden love…these themes exist for everyone, not just queer relationships. And yet of course, they exist in a big way for queer relationships because of societal and parental conditioning and taboos,” saidi Farrant.
And, when will Australia have its first mainstream queer film?
“When Kevin Rudd comes out? I’m not sure exactly, but to me it’s all about the quality of the scripts. Priscilla… worked not just because it had gorgeous drag queens singing and dancing on buses; it worked because of its universal themes of the underdog standing up against society and people embracing and accepting themselves,” said Farrant.
In the meantime, the filmmaker is developing two features, one in the UK, and another one in Australia, Strangerland – “which has attached two of our favourite drag queens only playing straight guys – Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving”.