Mardi Gras Film Festival, Sydney: world premiere of “Ponyboi”, plus “Sidney & Friends” and “Erik & Erika”

"Ponyboi" official selection, Queer Screen's Mardi Gras Film Festival 2019
Queer Screen and IHRA are delighted to invite you to attend the world premiere of the first narrative movie created and starring an openly intersex person, River Gallo. Ponyboi is produced by Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson.

The Mardi Gras Film Festival will also screen two other movies that show intersections of intersex and LGBT issues: Sidney & Friends, and Erik & Erika. All three look like impressive films.

Erik & Erika screens on 17 February at 6pm, Event Cinemas George St. Tickets

On 23 February, Ponyboi screens with Kenyan movie, Sidney & Friends at 3pm, Golden Age Cinema, Event Cinemas, George St, Sydney. Tickets

The event on 25 February, 6.30pm at Event Cinemas Set Bar, Event Cinemas, George St, Sydney, will include a Q&A session with River Gallo and members of IHRA. Free tickets


Ponyboi will be screened on 23 February (Tickets) and on 25 February. (Free tickets)

Synopsis: On Valentine’s Day, Ponyboi, an Intersex sex worker, looks for love and a way out of his seedy life in New Jersey. Through a magical encounter with the man of his dreams, Ponyboi discovers his worth.

RIVER GALLO is a Salvadoran-American filmmaker, actor, writer, and Intersex advocate with interACT. His work explores the dynamics of personal and confessionary storytelling, and media’s healing abilities through re-envisioning minority narratives. He is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Experimental Theatre Wing and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. His first short film “Morgan in Maywood” premiered at the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival and received the “Best LGBT Film” award at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards. “Ponyboi,” which he wrote, co-directed, and acted in, is the first narrative film created by and starring an out intersex person in the history of cinema—produced by British actors Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson. Recently, River made Out Magazine’s list of “the Most Exciting Queer People to Follow in 2019” as well as PAPER Magazine’s “100 People Taking Over 2019”. His work & activism as been featured in Huffington Post, INDIE Mag, them magazine, & The Advocate.

River Gallo

River Gallo. Photo: supplied

Sidney and Friends

Sidney and Friends screens on 23 February at 3pm, Event Cinemas, George St, Sydney. Tickets

In Nairobi, a small community of transgender and intersex Kenyans living on the edge of society face suspicion and outright hostility.

Quietly spoken Sidney, whose family thought he was possessed by demons, talks candidly about being shunned by his parents and subjected to violence. After fleeing his family home, life is a daily struggle in the city.

Guillit, a transboi activist, provides support and friendship to those who society rejects, including Sidney and his loyal best friend, Ben. Maria, a glamorous trans woman, wants to put her abusive past behind her and pursue a modelling career overseas.

Compassionate, eye-opening and ultimately uplifting, Sidney & Friends provides a rare glimpse into a hidden world, drawing attention to the challenges LGBTIQ communities face in Africa.

Sidney and Friends: still image

Erik & Erika

Erik and Erika screens on on 17 February at 6pm, Event Cinemas George St. Tickets

Erik & Erika presents the fascinating true story of intersex and transgender skier Erik Schinegger – a young man declared female at birth and raised as such. Writer Dirk Kämper and director Reinhold Bilgeri emphasise the beauty and power of choice in this film depicting Erik’s extraordinary courage.

Upon the discovery that he is intersex, Erik, a world champion skier, is disqualified and accused of fraud. Faced with countless pressures and preconceived ideas of normalcy, Erik struggles with both his own identity and the identity forced on him by a time and place that stigmatised anything outside the norm. Going against everything he has been taught to believe is right, Erik makes the choice to live as a man – even if it ends up costing him everything.

Ultimately, Erik & Erika is a moving story about bravely embracing your own truth in a world that has yet to accept you.

Erik and Erika: film still