Take your pick from around 100 features, shorts and documentaries focused on LGBTIQ stories.

A cavalcade of queer cinema is coming to Sydney's big screens — yes, it's almost Mardi Gras Film Festival time again. With the movie-focused offshoot of the city's long-running LGBTIQ celebration fast approaching, MGFF has unveiled their stacked program. On the agenda: diversity, new talents and familiar faces aplenty.

While the 2017 selection features almost 100 screenings, where else can we start but with the most recognisable part of this year's lineup? Yes, that'd be James Franco. We've previously noted that the actor pops up just about everywhere, and MGFF really is no different. For fans, or for those who just can't stop themselves watching his work, Franco stars alongside Christian Slater, Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald in King Cobra, which tells the true story of gay porn star Brent Corrigan.

There's more than that on the schedule, of course, with one world premiere, four international premieres and 31 Australian premieres on offer from February 15 to March 2 at Event Cinemas George Street, Cremorne Orpheum and Golden Age Cinema, plus a selection of other venues in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Fellow high-profile titles include the first four parts of new gay rights mini-series When We Rise, featuring Aussies Guy Pearce and Rachel Griffiths, and marking the reunion of Milk writer Dustin Lance Black and director Gus van Sant; Australian films Bad Girl and Teenage Kicks, each relaying coming-of-age narratives in completely different ways; and the Irish duo of A Date for Mad Mary and Handsome Devil, that will open and end the fest by finding their own kind of charm and comedy in their queer tales.

Add a special screening of Golden Globe hit Moonlight, the world premiere of book-to-film adaptation Something Like Summer, a closing party hosted by the Queen of Ireland, aka drag performer Panti Bliss, and even Finding Dory for kids of all ages, and the scene is set for a wide array of perspectives and visions. "While we still feature this year's best coming-of-age movies, we are screening stories about the young and old in our community and everyone in between," says MGFF director Paul Struthers. "Building on last year's expanded program, we have again increased the proportion of lesbian and transgender content and included more people of colour."

Mardi Gras Film Festival 2017 runs from February 15 to March 2 at Event Cinemas George Street, Cremorne Orpheum, Golden Age Cinema and Bar and other NSW and ACT venues. For more information, visit their website.

Published on February 13, 2017 by Sarah Ward

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