Hoje eu Quero Voltar Sozinho Dir: Daniel Ribeiro, Brazil, 96 mins, Portuguese with English subtitles

Out Takes 2012 audience favourite short, I Don’t Want To Go Back Alone, has been expanded into this impressive feature. Blind teenager Leo is fully integrated into his high school, though a few bullying kids occasionally make life unpleasant. His best friend Giovanna faithfully looks after him, and he’s chomping at the bit for independence from his over-protective parents. Then, along comes new classmate Gabriel, upending Leo’s world as he finds himself falling in love. The three young leads deliver outstanding performances in this affirmative, coming-of-age romance that’s bound to be another audience favourite. 

Dir: Chris Mason Johnson, USA, 2013, 98 mins

Set in the free-spirited San Francisco of 1985, the visually stunning and beautifully choreographed Test focuses on young dancers Frankie and Todd as hate-love sparks fly between them. Novice Frankie is not quite butch enough for the choreographer, while company veteran Todd is both smoulderingly masculine and more sexually adventurous. Fear of the recently-named AIDS virus is palpable; nobody knew for certain how the disease spread, and dancers feared touching each other. As Frankie and Todd’s tentative romance deepens, the first HIV test is announced and they both wonder... should they take it? 

Dir: Javier Van de Couter, Argentina, 2012, 105 mins, Spanish with English subtitles

Trans actress Camila Sosa Villada stars as Alé, a homeless trans woman who lives in the ‘pink village’ – a slum outside Buenos Aires made up of gay and transgendered people. She survives by collecting recyclables for money. While rummaging through trash, she finds the diary of a woman named Mía. Compelled by Mía’s story, Alé becomes determined to find her eight-year-old daughter and return the diary – an endeavour that takes her into the home of the grieving family. Mía is about the capacity to heal, and the importance of love and connection. 

Mai Dai Kor Hai Ma Rak Dir: Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, Thailand, 103 mins, Thai with English subtitles

Three intertwined stories take a candid, empathetic look at Thai ladyboys’ quests for personal, family and community acceptance – and their achievement: it really does get better. Cosmopolitan and glamorous, middle-aged transwoman Saitarn finds herself out of place in a rural village; a young boy is forced into a monastery after his father finds him dancing in his mother’s clothes; and expat Tonmai discovers that his late, estranged father has left him a ladyboy cabaret in Pattaya. Gorgeous scenery, spectacular performances, and entertaining club routines complete a portrait of transgender lives rediscovered and redeemed. 

Dir: Jenn Page, USA, 2014, 107 mins

An exuberant musical comedy that proves there’s no business like show business, and delivers some damn fine tunes along the way. Perky, naïve young Anthony is a musical theatre performer in Big Timber, Montana who dreams of being on Broadway. Cocky, handsome Tony works in a male stripper revue in NYC. Anthony envisions his big break when he enters a contest to be in an off-Broadway production, and Tony sees dollar signs when he finds a competition entitled ‘America’s Strip Search’. The thing is, these two contests are being run by the same company, and wouldn’t you know it but their submissions get mixed up.... 

Dir: Diederik Ebbinge, The Netherlands, 2013, 87 mins, Dutch with English subtitles

Widower Fred lives alone since losing his wife and son. At 54, his life is one of stultifying routine, attending church and eating his green beans, meat and potatoes at 6 o’clock on the dot every day. One day he offers a room to mentally- impaired homeless man Theo, causing quite a stir in the neighbourhood. A dry, deadpan comedy, Matterhorn soars to one hell of an emotional climax that has had audiences cheering at screenings worldwide. Come see why. 

Dir: Various, USA, 2013, 105 mins

Writer Michelle Tea’s autobiography Valencia comes to life in this fun, collaborative production. Twenty-one queer filmmakers each shot a 5–7 minute short based on a chapter from the book. The result is a raucous and colourful film documenting the fun, anarchy and adventure of being a riot grrl punk in San Francisco dyke culture, with all the romance, grit, heartbreak, experimentation, awkwardness and antics. This film is not afraid to laugh at itself and will make you fall in love with the 90s all over again, like, totally. 

Dir: Scott Gracheff, USA, 2013, 79 mins

Gay rugby player Mark Bingham was one of the passengers who stormed the cockpit of United Flight 93 during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This powerful documentary is an emotional, stirring portrait of both Mark and his mother, Alice Hoagland, who was propelled to become a staunch advocate of gay rights and godmother to the gay rugby community worldwide. Mark’s own home videos and candid interviews with friends, family, and team mates illustrate how his life and deeds inspired a nation. 

W Imię Dir: Malgoska Szumowska, Poland, 2012, 97 mins, Polish with English subtitles

Adam is a Catholic priest in rural Poland, working with troubled teenagers. Handsome and unconventional, the locals accept him as one of their own. But after meeting eccentric, silent Lukasz, son of a simple farming family, Father Adam faces a spiritual crisis. He wrestles with sexual feelings long suppressed as his attraction to soft-spoken Lukasz grows. Superbly acted, beautifully filmed in the lush Polish countryside, In the Name Of... asks important questions about faith, repression and the longing for love.

Winner – Teddy Award, Best Film, Berlin Film Festival 2013 

Dir: Heather Winters, USA, 2013, 71 mins

An award-winning documentary that asks: what is a family? Together 22 years, Nashville songwriter Desmond Child and partner Curtis Shaw approach their best friend Angela to be a surrogate mum. Twin boys are born, with Jon Bon Jovi as their not-so-ordinary godfather. There are many forces to overcome, including fighting for government recognition, and their surrogate mum’s parents not quite understanding their relationship to the boys. However, in the end they make being dads and being gay normal.