The full programming line-up for the 2021 INSIDE OUT 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival has been unveiled and it includes some hits that came out of SXSW even like Potato Dreams of America, Alone Together (Charli XCX Documentary), Ma Belle, My Beauty and Opening Night Selection. Language Lessons starring Natalie Morales (who directs also) and Mark Duplass. Hot Docs hit FANNY: RIGHT TO ROCK also surfaces here giving us a chance to see it again! The Festival runs Ontario-wide online May 27-June 6, 2021.
Check-out the line-up below:
LANGUAGE LESSONS, directed by Natalie Morales. (USA / Narrative) Natalie Morales explores platonic love masterfully in Language Lessons, demonstrating that no matter how hopeless, isolated or distant we are, finding love and friendship is always possible.
ALONE TOGETHER, directed by Bradley Bell, Pablo Jones-Soler. (USA / Documentary) Alone Together goes in depth with Charli XCX as she faces mental health issues, rekindles her relationship, and connects with vulnerable LGBTQ+ fans in need.
A DISTANT PLACE, directed by Park Kun-Young. (South Korea / Narrative). A Distant Place is a wistful drama about love and family, set in the dazzling countryside of Hwacheon County in South Korea.
KNOCKING, directed by Frida Kempff. (Sweden / Narrative). When Molly moves into a new apartment after a tragic accident, a strange noise from upstairs begins to unnerve her.
MA BELLE, MY BEAUTY, directed by Marion Hill. (USA, France / Narrative). The buzz about this Sundance Audience Award winner suggests that Ma Belle, My Beauty primarily explores a polyamorous relationship. In fact, what the film more poignantly explores are the yearnings and complexities of characters who happen to be, among other things, polyamorous.
POTATO DREAMS OF AMERICA, directed by Wes Hurley. (USA / Narrative). Potato Dreams of America is an unlikely autobiographical fantasia that uses magical realism and plenty of humor to honour mothers, immigrants and dreamers everywhere.
SEE YOU THEN, directed by Mari Walker. (USA / Narrative). A decade after abruptly breaking up with Naomi, Kris invites her to dinner to catch up on their complicated lives, relationships, and Kris’s transition.
CAN YOU BRING IT, directed by Tom Hurwitz, Rosalynde LeBlanc. (USA / Documentary). Can You Bring It resurrects one of the most essential works of art to come out of the AIDS era and celebrates the people who brought the masterpiece to life.
FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK, directed by Bobbi Jo Hart. (Canada / Documentary). Fanny: The Right to Rock tells the story of one of the best bands—Filipina-American and LBGTQ+ bandmates included—that you have likely never heard.
MAMA GLORIA, directed by Luchina Fisher. (USA / Documentary). Mama Gloria invites you into the world of role model, charm school founder and powerful trans activist, Gloria Allen.
YES I AM – THE RIC WEILAND STORY, directed by Aaron Bear. (USA / Documentary). Ric Weiland is a name you’re probably not familiar with, especially in association with a tech giant like Microsoft. This captivating documentary explores Weiland’s life and work as an out and proud computer genius.
A SEXPLANATION, directed by Alexander Liu. (USA / Documentary). From neuroscience labs to church pews, A Sexplanation features provocative conversations in the pursuit of sexual truth and knowledge.
BEING THUNDER, directed by Stephanie Lamorre. (France / Documentary). Sherente Harris, a two-spirit genderqueer teenager from the Narragansett tribe in Rhode Island, boldly challenges the status quo of what it means to be a queer Indigenous person in a world bound by binary gender roles.
BEYTO, directed by Gitta Gsell. (Switzerland / Narrative). Adapted from a novel by Swiss-Kurdish writer Yusuf Yesilöz, Beyto, which won the Prix du Public audience award at Switzerland’s Solothurn Film Festival, wrestles with the tension between cultures, and between a family’s sense of honour and a person’s need to be true to themselves.
BOY MEETS BOY, directed by Daniel Sánchez López. (Germany / Narrative). Taking inspiration from the mumblecore genre, Boy Meets Boy is a brief but romantic encounter between two young men who fall for each other over the course of a single day.
DRAG INVASION, directed by Alberto Castro. (Peru / Documentary). Drag Invasion tells the story of a surprising phenomenon that mobilized, energized and empowered LGBTQ Peruvians.
EVERYTHING AT ONCE, directed by Alberto Fuguet. (Chile , Spain / Documentary). Blurring the lines between traditional documentary and film essay, Everything at Once observes the work of two Catalan photographers and their vision of emphasizing the sex appeal of the working class.
GENDERATION, directed by Monika Treut. (Germany / Documentary). In 1999, Monika Treut made one of the first documentaries—Gendernauts—about trans people living in San Francisco. Twenty years later, Monika reunites with some of the film’s subjects to see how their lives have evolved in the intervening years. Screens with a newly restored version of Gendernauts.
I CARRY YOU WITH ME, directed by Heidi Ewing. (USA, Mexico / Narrative). Acclaimed filmmaker Heidi Ewing makes her narrative feature debut with I Carry You with Me, a bittersweet true story of an aspiring chef’s dreams and romantic encounters.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SURVIVAL, directed by Yana Ugrekhelidze. (Germany / Documentary). Instructions for Survival, one of the most striking documentaries to come out of this year’s Berlinale, elegantly navigates the story of a couple fighting for freedom against terrifying threats in their homeland.
KAPANA, directed by Philippe Talavera. (Namibia / Narrative). Kapana takes a familiar narrative and gives it new life in the first Namibian film featuring a gay love story, supported by breakout performances and a promising message for queer African rights.
LEADING LADIES, directed by Ruth Caudeli. (Colombia / Narrative). Ruth Caudeli (Second Star on the Right) returns to Inside Out with Leading Ladies, a reflection on how different perspectives and memories affect one group of queer women.
LOVE, SPELLS AND ALL THAT, directed by Ümit Ünal. (Turkey / Narrative). United by a twenty-year-old spell, two women journey through the neglected corners of their memories as they explore the island of Büyükada, Istanbul, in Love, Spells and All That.
MOFFIE, directed by Oliver Hermanus. (South Africa, UK / Narrative). South African auteur Oliver Hermanus delivers a brutal but radiant story of young gay desire on the Angolan war front.
MY FIRST SUMMER, directed by Katie Found. (Australia / Narrative). Nestled in the delicate interactions of two teenage girls, My First Summer offers viewers the distant, pastel colours of a first childhood romance.
POPPY FIELD, directed by Eugen Jebeleanu. (Romania / Narrative). In Poppy Field, it is not only misguided zealots shouting “Abomination!” that create the problem; it’s the machismo that holds the thin blue line together, and the anger that simmers underneath.
SUMMERTIME, directed by Carlos López Estrada. (USA / Narrative). Inspired by a showcase featuring diverse high school performers, Carlos López Estrada collaborates with young poets, many of whom are LGBTQ, to develop their work into an inspiring narrative and love letter to the youth of Los Angeles.
SWEETHEART, directed by Marley Morrison. (UK / Narrative). As sun-soaked as one can get at a caravan park in Dorset, Sweetheart follows A.J. as she attempts to balance an embarrassing family vacation with the terrifying adventure of first love.
TWO, directed by Astar Elkayam. (Israel / Narrative). Two follows a couple as they set out on the long road to conception and realize their dream of having a baby.
WALK WITH ME, directed by Isabel Del Rosal. (USA / Narrative). Walk With Me follows a young mother who must take some personal risks to find the happiness she has been seeking.
SPOTLIGHT ON CANADA
BLOODTHIRSTY, directed by Amelia Moses. (Canada / Narrative). Bloodthirsty, the latest astonishing film from Canadian director Amelia Moses, is guaranteed to make your skin crawl with its vivid imagery and eerie sound design.
DAWN, HER DAD & THE TRACTOR, directed by Shelley Thompson. (Canada / Narrative). When a young woman with a startling resemblance to her mother arrives home for her mother’s funeral, one family begins an odyssey toward understanding.
HOW TO FIX RADIOS, directed by Casper Leonard, Emily Russell. (Canada / Narrative). In Casper Leonard and Emily Russell’s stunning first feature, young queers carve out their own destiny in a rural community in Southern Ontario.
#TMI, directed by Ashlei Shyne. (USA / Series). #TMI is a comedy series that follows Aaliyah Jones, a bisexual woman who recently became single when her ex-girlfriend Simone moved to Berlin.
DINETTE SEASON 2, directed by Shaina Feinberg. (USA / Series). The staff and regulars at a Brooklyn-based diner scramble to keep their favourite hangout afloat after the sudden death of its owner.
ENBY, directed by Morgan Strug. (Canada / Series). Enby, a 20-something human living in East Van has finally found the words that match their identity.
QUERENCIA, directed by Mary Galloway. (Canada / Series). Querencia is a love story that follows two Indigenous queer women from divergent backgrounds as they navigate and explore their complex Indigiqueer identities and their differing cultural upbringings.
TRANS IN TRUMPLAND, directed by Tony Zosherafatain. (USA / Series). Trans in Trumpland takes an intricate, inspiring road trip from State to State into the lives of four remarkable, resilient trans people.
Adam (Mark Duplass) longs to become fluent in Spanish again. He is apprehensive when he discovers that his husband paid for online Spanish lessons with teacher Cariño (Natalie Morales). Once they get to chatting however, Adam finds a friendship he did not expect – and one that will become even more important as their weekly lessons progress.
LANGUAGE LESSONS is a sweet slice of life tale about two wayward souls connecting over Zoom calls. While some may scoff at the Film taking place entirely over the video chat service and on video messaging taken with an iPhone, it makes what happens to this friendship between two characters all the more poignant and raw. So many of these scenes are uncut, making the extended conversations between Duplass and Morales feel all the more authentic and revealing. There is an honesty here in having each scene so focused on the characters’ faces and expressions that simply cannot be replicated if it were a traditionally made picture with both Actors in the same room. While some moments feel a bit too drawn out, I appreciated how it never felt flashy or overly-elaborate but always managed to feel special.
Duplass is as great as you expect, maybe even better. He has a knack for really honing in on the vulnerability of his character Adam and develops his personality quite beautifully over the course of the 92-minute running time. He shines in every moment, especially in the Film’s most emotional scenes. Morales is enjoyable and more than holds her own against Duplass. She is slightly more enigmatic and does not go nearly as deep as he does, but is still rather wonderful in all of her scenes. LANGUAGE LESSONS is her feature directorial debut and I am very intrigued to see what she does next.
LANGUAGE LESSONS screens at SXSWWednesday March 17, 2021 starting at 3 PM.
SXSW 2021 kicks-off March 16 and runs through March 20, 2021 this year. Team Mr. Will is thrilled to bring you coverage virtually this year, giving you the scoop on some of the hottest titles to premiere at the Festival. The Film Festival component of SXSW includes digital Premieres, Screenings, and Q&As, a total 75 films, 84 short films, 30 special events, 5 episode premieres, 6 episodic pilots and more.
Here are some of Team’s most anticipated titles of SXSW 2021 which should be on your radar:
MR. WILL (Twitter: @mrwillw)
POTATO DREAMS OF AMERICA
Wes Hurley writes and directs this quirky autobiographical Dark Comedy details his journey from a child fleeing the USSR with his mail order bride mother, to the United States in search of a better life. In-competition as part of the Narrative Features program, the Film examines the pressures of a young man to conceal his sexuality and what it means for him and his mother to continue hiding it. Above this, the coming-of-age story navigates the new immigrant experience as a high schooler and what it’s like, adding a bit of inclusion and diversity to the programming slate at SXSW. It screens 11:00 AM on Tuesday, March 16, 2021.
WOMEN IS LOSERS
Lissette Feliciano directs and writes this Feature starring Lorenza Izzo (Once Upon a Time…. in Hollywood). The Dramedy centers on a young woman named Celina‘s (Izzo) world is turned upside down when she gets pregnant and the cycle of poverty that occurs when her family aren’t supportive and it is up to her to rewrite her destiny with an empowering message. And Canada’s Simu Liu (Kim’s Convenience) also stars! WOMEN IS LOSERS is in-competition in the Narrative Features program and streams Tuesday, March 16, 2021 10:55 AM.
DEMI LOVATO: DANCING WITH THE DEVIL
Global Superstar Demi Lovato made headlines after being rushed to the hospital following an opioid overdose. This Documentary goes deep as she speaks candidly about her ordeal and demons over the past decade, opening SXSW 2021. The four-part DocuSeries directed by Michael D. Ratner, arrives on YouTube Originals March 23, 2021, but we will have a chance to see it first at the Festival, followed by a Q&A. So stoked to hear about the star’s re-claiming back of her own life and lessons learned. The Film screens Tuesday, March 16, 20217:00 PM with Q&A to follow at Tuesday, March 16, 2021 9:00 PM.
INTRODUCING SELMA BLAIR
Selma Blair is the first star I ever took a Selfie with and I’ll never forget that moment and how kind she was to me! Blair has been very open about her battle with Multiple Sclerosis and this Documentary directed by Rachel Fleit, bravely recounts her journey dealing with mortality and self-acceptance. This is about empowering and inspiring in the face of crippling disability and we can’t wait to be uplifted and hear Blair speak openly. This Film just got picked-up by Discovery+ so there will by a chance for all to see soon. This screens Tuesday, March 16, 2021 beginning 3:00 PM.
THE LOST SONS
This Documentary from Ursula Macfarlane is a story so unbelievable you have to see it to believe. The story centers on a man named Paul Fronczak who was kidnapped at a young age only to be reunited with his parents by the FBI. Case closed. But then growing-up he always felt there was something different about him from his family and when he decides to delve deeper, a whole world unbeknownst to him is unravelled. We see at what cost truth comes at. Riveting storytelling which will rivet you. THE LOST SONS screens beginning Tuesday, March 16, 2021 5:00 PM.
AMANDA GILMORE (Twitter: @GilmoreAmanda)
This was my most anticipated of SXSW 2020 and thankfully they’ve included it in this year’s lineup. It follows a film development executive whose “guiding voice” has been lying to her about everything. It stars Olivia Munn, Luke Bracey, Justin Theroux, and more. This screens Thursday, March 18, 2021 5:00 PM.
Writer-Director Stacey Gregg is making her feature-directorial debut with Here Before. It’s a psychological thriller, starring the ever-talented Andrea Riseborough, and follows a bereaved mother who begins to questions her reality. This screens Wednesday, March 17, 2021 1:00 PM.
Natalie Morales is making her feature-directorial debut and starring in this drama about a Spanish teacher (Morales) and her student (Mark Duplass), who develop an unexpected friendship. Critics are already praising for its exploration of platonic love. This screens Wednesday, March 17, 2021 3:00 PM.
Canadian actress and filmmaker Megan Park is making her feature-directorial debut at the fest. It follows student Vada as she navigates the emotional impacts of a school tragedy. It’s got a powerful cast consisting of Shailene Woodley, Jenna Ortega, John Ortiz, Julie Bowen, and more. This screens Wednesday, March 17, 2021 5:00 PM.
THE SPINE OF THE NIGHT
This Midnighter animated film has a killer Cast consisting of Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, Betty Gabriel, Joe Manganiello, and more. It’s being described as an ultra-violent, fantasy epic about dark magic falling into sinister hands. This screens Thursday, March 18, 2021 9:00 PM.
DAVE BALDWIN (Twitter: @davemabaldwin)
BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION
Harry Shum Jr. (who you will remember from Crazy Rich Asians, the Shadowhunters TV series and last fall’s romantic drama All My Life) leads this Midnighter as a ’90s Video Archivist who gets involved a conspiracy around pirated broadcasts. Sight unseen, that sounds like a film that plays in the same sandbox as David Cronenberg’s legendary horror film Videodrome. I am not expecting a film that is nearly as grotesquely gnarly as that, but I cannot help but be intrigued by whatever Director Jacob Gentry has cooked-up here. Since it is screening on Day 1 of the Film Festival, I will not have to wait long to find out. Premieres Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 9:00 PM.
When I was in High School, I worshipped at the altar of Kevin Smith. The man had a gift for writing hilariously-profane dialogue and had the means of injecting the kind of quiet poignancy you would never expect from stoner comedies. Clerks remains one of the biggest influences on my writing career, so having the opportunity to be among the first to see a Documentary on the life and times of Smith has me breathlessly anticipating Director Malcolm Ingram’s film. This was one of the films that was supposed to be at last year’s Festival, so here is hoping there is a great reason why they waited for this year’s Festival to premiere. Premieres Wednesday March 17, 2021, 1:00 PM.
I am weary of getting excited about films that receive praise and buzz after premiering in Berlin, but I am willing to make an exception for Mark Duplass. The multi-hyphenated Actor and Filmmaker stars here with Natalie Morales as a student who develops a friendship with his Spanish teacher over Zoom classes. Duplass’ independent work tends to stumble into the personal and the natural, and I expect Language Lessons to fall along the same lines. There is an inventiveness that comes with telling a story over Zoom (just ask last summer’s super effective Horror chiller Host), so I may be setting my expectations a bit too high – but I have faith that I will really enjoy this one. Premieres Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 3:00 PM.
I am a fan of Midnight movies, can you tell? This one concerns a wealthy family, their guests, a fancy dinner and the mysterious server tending to their every need. It certainly sounds like something creepy is amiss just from the logline, and the mysterious still accompanying it of a woman staring at a broken shard of glass has my curiosity piqued. And did I mention it is spoken entirely in Welsh? Sounds like the only thing missing is the screaming crowd I won’t possibly be able to replicate around me. Premieres Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 9:00 PM.
HOW IT ENDS
I was not able to watch HOW IT ENDS at Sundance in January, so I was very excited to see it pop up in the “Festival Favourites” section on the SXSW schedule. The story revolves around the personal journey Liza (Zoe Lister-Jones, who Co-Wrote/Co-Produced/Co-Directed with her husband Daryl Wein) takes on her way to an end of the world party and everyone she runs into along the way. I have been a longtime fan of Lister-Jones’ work in Film and Television (her character Fawn Moscato on New Girl still cracks me up), so I am intrigued to see how funny a film about an asteroid hurtling towards Earth can be. With a Supporting Cast featuring Nick Kroll, Lamorne Morris, Charlie Day, Whitney Cummings and Olivia Wilde, this one feels bound to be something special. Premieres Thursday, March 18, 2021 3:00 PM.