Thursday 19 May 2011

Tropical Alternatives film festival returns this weekend

The story of a doctor's "wife" will be the opening feature on Friday evening at this year's Tropical Alternatives Film Festival . It is the work of 25-year-old first-time director, Jonathan Duffy.

Duffy and his partner of some years, Doctor Vincent Cornelisse, left big city life in Brisbane for a tiny country town two years ago to take over a rural practice.

"As a gay couple we weren't sure what sort of reception we'd get from the new community," Jonathan told CairnsBlog.

As the doctor's "wife", Jonathan managers his partner's medical centre at Biggenden, 340 km north-west of Brisbane.

"We were living in Brisbane, close to the middle of the city, so in comparison it was very small and very quiet," Vincent said in an interview with ABC. "We were nervous about moving to the country and unsure what reception we would get as a same-sex couple."

"We had our concerns about it, because neither of us had ever lived in the country. We'd only ever lived in the city, and even in the city there's a fair amount of homophobia. Country Queensland has a particular reputation for being homophobic, more so than the city," Vincent said.

"But there was a method to our madness. I considered moving to a larger rural centre, but we thought if we go to a smaller country town you end up knowing everyone personally. It's much harder to hate you as a person than it is to be homophobic."

"Getting away from a big city was a great thing for us. It made us mature a lot as people, and made us more open minded and easy going," Jonathan says. "While Vincent was working the long hours that come with being a country doctor, I worked hard to find employment and become part of his new community. I listened to every comment anyone said about a previous doctor's partner, and one thing I worked out quickly is that, in my experience, the doctor's partner isn't exactly renowned for being a member of the community."

However, that all changed. "Before I knew it I had more jobs than Vincent and was working more hours. It meant I got to know a lot of the community, and they got to know me apart from Vincent."

Jonathan Duffy will introduce and launch his debut movie in Cairns, however Vincent won't be able to make it.

"I'm bringing a piece of the country to the world premiere in Cairns, Jonathan says. "Thanks to Coleen Cunliffe for lending me your husband, as mine was booked out. I can't get an appointment with him for ages, and it's not good enough!"

The Tropical Alternatives Film Festival opens in Cairns at JUTE Theatre on Friday night and features three locally made documentaries, a short film competition and the best of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

The festival will also travel to Port Douglas and screen at the Clink Theatre.

Friday May 20
6pm TAFF Shorts (70min)
7pm Drinks and Food
8pm Opening and The Doctors Wife

Saturday May 21
2om The Bedroom Commandments
3:30pm Orchids:My Intersex Adventure (1h)
5pm Bear City (104min)
7pm Sea of Purple (106min)
9pm You Should Meet My Son (90min)

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