30/03/2016 2:32 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Melbourne Queer Film Festival 2016: What You Can Expect To See


Good news, Melbournites. As summer wraps up you're probably looking for fun things to do that don't involve swimsuits. Well, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival kicks off this Thursday the 31st (running until April 11th).

The largest queer film fest in Australia, this year they're airing a huge 128 films from 22 countries, including 38 features, 16 documentaries and 11 Australian premieres. We're surprised there's not a partridge in a pear tree.

"The Melbourne Queer Film Festival is now in its 26th year. Originally called the Melbourne International Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival, our first Festival was held in 1991," Spiro Economopoulos, Melbourne Queer Film Festival Program Manager told The Huffington Post Australia.

"One of the main joys of making the selections for this year's MQFF has been the discovery that there are so many more stories to tell and that mainstream cinema and TV is only a fraction of that's out there. Films like 'Deep Run', a terrific documentary about trans teens struggling with acceptance in America's Bible belt, two muslim teens exploring their same sex attraction in 'Naz and Maalik', or a Moroccan migrant boy finding redemption in the arms of a middle class Spanish teen in 'Hidden Away'," Economopoulos said.

"Personally I am most looking forward to the 'He Hated Pigeons' screening with a live score from Total Giovanni lead singer, Vachel Spirason."

Showing at ACMI, Kino Cinemas and Cinema Nova, the festival runs for just over a week and this year has been sponsored by Film Victoria.

"MQFF is thrilled to welcome Film Victoria on board as a sponsor this year. This is an exciting and meaningful development for the Festival -- the first time in its 26 year history that it has received State Government support," MQFF Executive Director Dillan Golightly said.

Economopoulos’ highlights of the 2016 MQFF program include:

Our Pioneers spotlight on Rainer Werner Fassbinder

The Glamour & The Squalor

Girls Lost

La Belle Saison

The Summer of Sangaile

Closet Monster

Naz & Maalik

You’re Killing Me

When My Sorrow Died

Mala Mala

A still from the film 'Closet Monster'.

"In terms of what people can expect -- if you’re picking a film, choose out of your comfort zone. You won’t be disappointed," Economopoulos said.

Tickets, a full list of films and session times can be viewed online at the Festival's website.