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From the Hays code to Heartstopper - we've come a long way   

Saturday 5 November 2022

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm - Old Geology Theatre, University of Sydney


We’ve come a long way since the old days of Hollywood, when the Hays code relegated queer representations to winks and nudges. Today, the screen plays an important role for authentic and diverse queer representation. Join us for a discussion on how screenwriting is paving the way for queer stories. 

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Lizzie Cater produced Thomas Wilson-White’s feature film THE GREENHOUSE, which premiered at BFI: Flare, and won the Audience Choice Award at the Mardi Gras Film Festival and Best Film at The Gold Coast and Melbourne Queer Film Festivals. Her short films include ST. AUGUSTINE, which premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival; and BIRDIE, written and directed by Shelly Lauman, which premiered Internationally at Toronto International Film Festival, and was one of the first short-form projects acquired by Fox Searchlight. Currently, Lizzie is developing the television series SICK TO DEATH, as well as the comedy series SHADE, which is currently being developed for a US streaming platform. Lizzie is also developing her sophomore feature film, PARADISE YOUTH, with writer and director Jessica Barclay Lawton.


Julie Kalceff is an Emmy award-winning writer and director who wrote, directed and co-produced the television series First Day. This ground-breaking story of a 12 year-old transgender girl starting high school was the first Australian series to star a transgender actor in the lead role and sold to multiple territories worldwide. In 2021, the series won an International Emmy Award, the Rose d’Or, and a GLAAD Media Award. The second season of First Day was released in March, 2022 and is available on Hulu in the US and ABC iView in Australia. Julie first gained international recognition when she created, wrote, directed and produced the global hit digital drama series Starting From Now. Attracting critical and popular acclaim, it is one of the most watched web series in the world - amassing over 190 million views in 230 countries.


Cadance Bell is a celebrated Australian author/director/producer and writer. Coined by Money Magazine "the ultimate slashie", her memoir The All of It: A Bogan Rhapsody was released in July 2022 to universal critical acclaim, and next she's adapting it to a musical comedy limited series. As an LGBTQIA+ advocate, she was the first transgender chickie to become a champion of Women’s Health Week, and she is the co-founder of Rainbow Day, which celebrates its 20th year in 2022, having rasied almost $1million for charitible causes. Her next novel, Letters to Our Robot Son, releases mid 2023 as an Audible Original.


Lisa Rose (she/her) was appointed as Queer Screen’s Festival Director at the end of May 2017. Lisa joined the Queer Screen Board in November 2012 where she originally took on the role of Membership Director, before becoming Vice-President in March 2013. A passionate believer in giving voice to all forms of queer entertainment, Lisa is focused on showcasing and championing diversity.

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Thomas Wilson-White is an award-winning queer director and screenwriter. He wrote the highly anticipated Heartbreak High reboot for Netflix which was #1 in Australia and top 10 in 45 countries within its first week. He is currently writing a show for Paramount+, the Rock Eisteddfod Film for Aquarius Films and his second feature film Wildflowers with the support of Screen Australia and script editor Anna Seifert-Speck (Ammonite, Supernova, Gods Own Country). His debut feature film The Greenhouse premiered in 2021 at the Mardi Gras Film Festival, BFI: Flare, Frameline45 and played at over 30 other festivals. It won Best Direction in a Feature Film (budget under $1M) at the 2021 Australian Directors Guild awards and was acquired by Netflix ANZ. He has a Masters of Screen Arts from AFTRS, where he specialised in queer theory.

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Grace Valerie-Lynette (she/her) is a contemporary musical writer working in the podcasting and television sector. Grace’s own written and produced musical podcast Twinemies charted at #3 in the Australian Comedy Fiction Podcasts charts, and charted top 20 internationally in NZ, the US, Austria, Singapore and Japan. Her work has been spotlighted by Apple under their New & Noteworthy banner, Spotify under their Fictional Faves banner, and as a musical writer she has been featured by BroadwayWorld. Some of the highlights of her past year have included winning the Virgin Australia Commercial Pitch Competition twice over, being a judge at the Australian Podcast Awards, being a finalist in the Queer Screen Pitch Off competition, working with Varuna House in their Young Writers Studio program, and being a featured writer at the Byron Bay Writers Festival and the Young Writers Festival. Currently, she works in Television and Podcast Development at Fremantle Media.

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