One hundred people enjoyed the Australian premiere of The First Girl I Loved (喜歡妳是妳) as part of the 29th Mardi Gras Film Festival (MGFF) thanks to a flourishing partnership between Advance Diversity Services (ADS) and Queer Screen.
The subsidised screening of the tender same-sex romance was held on February 24 at Event Cinema Hurstville. Information about sexuality and gender issues from ANTRA, headspace and Kogarah Community Services (promoting GLISTEN) was also available in the cinema foyer.
‘We had a fabulous night,’ said ADS Executive Officer Antoinette Chow, ‘and the film was thought provoking.
‘This is the second time we’ve partnered with Queer Screen – and offering cheaper tickets to the wider community affirms we’re an inclusive service and shows LGBTIQA+ people that we support them.’
The First Girl I Loved is directed by Ng Wing-shan and Yeung Chiu-hoi and tells the bittersweet story of teenage best friends Ming Lee (Hedwig Tam) Sylvia (Sz-Wing Yeung) who are both high-achieving students at a traditional Hong Kong girls’ school.
When Sylvia (Sz-Wing Yeung) asks Ming Lee (Hedwig Tam) to be maid of honour at her wedding the women are thrown together and forced to ponder if the heated relationship they pursued as students was love or friendship? And what of their relationship now? What are they left with?
Ms Chow said, ‘The screening was a great way to raise awareness in our community of LGBTIQA+ issues – people’s struggles, heartaches and happiness – and we know this kind of awareness is what brings change, equality and freedom.’
Chair of the ADS Board, Ruth Fyfe, said she was pleased to see that a significant program strand in this year’s MGFF was about queer rebels – an excellent reminder of all the artists, musicians and activists that had carved the path to greater recognition and acceptance of LGBTIQ+ people.
‘But the battle for inclusivity is not over,’ she stressed, ‘and we must keep the good fight going for the whole of the rainbow community.
‘At ADS we work hard to ensure LGBTIQ+ people – including LGBTIQ+ people from CALD backgrounds – find a warm welcome and total acceptance.’
MGFF is an annual event. It offers online and on-demand screenings of festival films to bring the best LGBTIQ+ cinema from around the world to people in Australia.