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.
The 30th annual INSIDE OUT FILM FESTIVAL kicks-off this week, running October 1-11, 2020. Showcasing 150 films and 9 episodic series. The Festival will go by a digital platform this year as we navigate the Pandemic. Programming will be made available via insideout.ca and also via Inside Out’s new AppleTV and Roku apps. This will allow INSIDE OUT patrons to customize their own schedules from home for the first time ever.
Headlining the Festival this year is a special conversation with talent from Netflix‘s upcoming Series BOYS IN THE BAND, adapted from the popular Broadway Play. The Series premieres on Netflix September 30, 2020.
Also Gabriel Range‘s David Bowie Biopic STARDUST, filmed in Toronto, will open the Festival with a special Drive-In Premiere at Ontario Place. The Premiere will feature Drag Queen and Drag King performances by: Drag Queens:
–Shada Jada Hudson
Acclaimed Festival favourites also will surface at INSIDE OUT this year including THE OBITUARY OF TUNDE JOHNSON, COWBOYS, NO ORDINARY MAN and TIFF ’20 fan favourite, SHIVA BABY.
Our George Kozera (@PartyG) had the pleasure of previewing some of the key titles at the Festival and here are some of his thoughts:
NO HARD FEELINGS
Parvis (Benny Radjaipour) has been sentenced to 120 hours of community service at a Red Cross refugee centre located in Hannover, Germany to be a Farsi translator. Though born in Germany to Iranian parents, he struggles with the various dialects, which affects him emotionally. As a happily-open young gay teenager, partying late nights at local bars and using apps for sexual hook-ups, he tones his image and mannerisms down somewhat when at the refugee camp as to not bring unwanted attention to himself from glaring homophobic eyes. After one frustrating translation session, Parvis sits on a stoop, wiping away tears, and is approached by the handsome, curly haired Amon(Eidin Jalali), with whom he shared furtive glances with up to this point, who offers a sympathetic ear (much to the chagrin of his fellow soccer playing buds). Amon is at the camp alongside his sister Bana(Banafshe Hourmazdi), both awaiting word on their immigration status. The three young people become great friends and Parvis and Amon fall in love with each other.
It is easy to see why NO HARD FEELINGS won the Teddy Award for Best LGBTQ film at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. The performances by the three leads are refreshing as they go about their daily lives chanting their mantra: “the future is ours”. Their optimism is intoxicating to watch, despite their feelings of not really belonging anywhere and coping with the racism and homophobia they frequently encounter.There are powerful scenes of many young adults in the refugee centre with looks of despair on their faces as they await their fates that was heartbreaking to see. But whatever the future has in store for the three main characters, we root for them as they approach their lives with hope and dreams to fulfill. NO HARD FEELINGS deserves to be seen.
BREAKING FAST fills a void that is sorely lacking: a charming, funny Rom-Com first date movie for gay men. It has it all…the two very attractive leads, the campy (but all knowing) gay best friend, the gorgeous exteriors (this time, it’s West Hollywood), fabulously decorated homes. Throw-in witty banters, a love of Musical Theatre, a Soundtrack that include songs from Lizzy, Sarah Vaughn and TLC, plates upon plates of sensually-photographed food as well as deep dark secrets and you have a classic movie for the ages!
Mo (Haaz Sleiman) is a gay Muslim doctor, out to his family, who gets dumped by his boyfriend Hassan (Patrick Sabongui, best known for his recurring role on TV’s “The Flash”) on the first day of IFTAR (the meal after sunset during the holy month of Ramadan) for fear of being outed by a family member. Fast-forward a year later, same time of the year. Mo is still aching the loss but grudgingly accepts the invitation to celebrate the nth anniversary of his best friend Sam’s 21st birthday. As Sam, Amin el Gamal illuminates the screen with panache, style and bitchiness! At the party, Mo meets Kal (Michael Cassidy) and the attraction is instant and eventually theirs is a relationship of sweeping romantic gestures as they celebrate Iftar together. Minus any intimacy between the two as those are verboten during Ramadan and Mo is a devout Muslim. After a contentious accidental meeting with Kal’s mother (Veronica Cartwright) that ultimately brings out secrets Kal has and with Hassan trying to reconnect with Mo, the relationship has hit an impasse.
Writer/Director Mike Mosallam has a deft hand, eye and ear and he navigates through the turbulent waters of being gay and Muslim with valid opinions on both ends of the spectrum with intelligence. I also admired how he portrays an interracial relationship without that being an issue. The chemistry between Sleiman and Cassidy is authentic and the Cinematography is sensual.
And, if you’re like me, the “Climb Every Mountain” scene at a karaoke bar will leave you all goosepimply and teary-eyed. BREAKING FAST is priority viewing.
Have you ever seen an undiscovered star miraculously burst through the galaxy and light up the heavens? Let me introduce you to one by the name of Matt Fifer, the Writer/Director/Producer/Editor of CICADA, a movie consummate on so many levels that it continues to resonate with me days after seeing it and will undoubtedly make my list of the best in 2020.
As this Movie opens with a “based on true events” disclaimer, it should come with no surprise that Fifer also plays the lead role of Ben. Once engaged to a woman, this mopey, handsome bisexual man having meaningless sex with anyone and everyone is portrayed provocatively and humorously in a series of vignettes. Then he meets an attractive black man in front of a used book store. Sam (Sheldon D. Brown) is easily charmed by Ben’s flirtatiousness and quick wit and the two hook-up. Set against a backdrop of a never more beautiful looking Manhattan and Greenwich Village, their relationship blooms and as they blossom together, they slowly reveal their inner fears and demons which range from the insecurities of admitting who they are to their family members to much more shocking revelations of sexual and physical violence, racism and homophobia. Their relationship has hit numerous stumbling blocks and we watch and hope they can survive as a couple. I know I am being deliberately vague about their many obstacles, but one of the powers of CICADA is the sense of discovery that sucker punches you in the heart. Like a great Documentary, Fifer and Brown (who also contributed to the Screenplay) expertly navigate the topics with finesse.
While on the topic of experts, Cobie Smulders (from the recently cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns TV series “Stumptown”) dominates the screen in her role as Ben’s psychiatrist and Neil Patrick Harris’ real-life husband David Burtka shines subtly in his role as a DILF who hires Ben as a House Painter.
Fifer is a powerhouse hyphenate. Taking his incredible acting chops talents aside, his vision is a fully realized accomplishment; from sweepingly-romantic scenes replete with too many laugh out loud one-liners to heartbreaking circumstances, CICADA must be seen. It’s cinematic gold.
A monster breakout hit at this year’s TIFF and already written about on this site by my talented colleague, Amanda Gilmore, I just want to quickly add how much I loved SHIVA BABY and I hope this Movie resurges Polly Draper’s career. Her comic timing is brilliant. I literally almost fell-off my chair when she accuses her daughter of being too thin by saying “You look like Gwyneth Paltrow on food stamps”. Hollywood Casting Agents: can’t get Oscar and Emmy winner Allison Janney? Hire the Divine Ms. Draper.
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
AHEAD OF THE CURVE is a Documentary Feature about Franco Stevens who, with grit and determination, printed the first lesbian lifestyle glossy Magazine. “Curve” was the first of its kind as the many talking heads in this Film (that include Melissa Etheridge and SAG and Obie winner, Lea DeLaria) expound what a significant impact it made on their lives. The Movie opens with the fear that the print edition of this iconic Magazine may be heading towards extinction and how an online version could successfully compete in an already over-saturated environment. I was fascinated with all aspects of starting and maintaining the many successes that was Curve magazine and the constant battles initiated by the readers over the use of the lesbian on the cover versus words like gay, dyke, queer, etc.
Where AHEAD OF THE CURVE falters with me is that it spends considerable screen time on many topics and issues that, though very important (homophobia, transphobia, legal inequities…the list goes on), had little to do with the Magazine itself or the life of Franco Stevens. Whereas earlier in the Movie, there are many theories, humorously depicted, as to why the magazine was first called “Deneuve”, these same women express shock and indignation when the magazine is sued by Catherine Deneuve for infringement. Much of Stevens’ personal life is glossed over. She married a man at 19 and after one class realized she was gay…that was a head scratching revelation. I found many aspects of AHEAD OF THE CURVE informative and interesting but, all in all, for me, it’s a noble misstep.
THE OBITUARY OF TUNDE JOHNSON
Written by then 19-year-old Stanley Kalu (now 23) then having its world premiere at TIFF ’19, THE OBITUARY OF TUNDE JOHNSON is, sadly, as timely today as when it was first conceived. The Movie opens with its Narrator saying “Tunde Johnson departed this life 9:30pm, May 28th, 2020 at the hands of police officers in Los Angeles, California”, the day he came out as gay to his wealthy Nigerian-born parents. His crime? Being black while driving. Using “Groundhog Day” as a template, we relive Tunde’s school day and his tragic fate over and over again, though the reasons for the death change as the story takes us along different paths. Nevertheless, death for sitting in an expensive car or walking alone in a prosperous neighbourhood or standing in front of a store smoking a cigarette is heinous and difficult to watch. Steven Silver (Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why”) gives a multi-faceted, intense performance in the lead role and is complimented greatly by all the Supporting Actors, which include David James Elliott. Director Ali LeRoi succinctly and eloquently depicts the movies many issues as racism, police brutality, LGBTQ acceptance, drugs and mental health. It is a searing commentary on the consequences of being black in America, made even scarier if you’re young and gay. THE OBITUARY OF TUNDE JOHNSON is a towering and powerful achievement.
NO ORDINARY MAN
NO ORDINARY MAN is a fascinating documentary that focuses on the life of Billy Tipton, a popular Jazz Musician in the ’40s and ’50s whose Trans identity was not publicly revealed until after his death in 1989. In a male-dominated Jazz scene from which women musicians were excluded, the talented Tipton found work and fame dressed as a man; he married a woman and together they adopted 3 children (from whom he continued to keep his gender a secret). After his death, the tabloid newspapers and TV shows (including Oprah and Geraldo) fixated on the salacious and a posthumous Biography, titled “Suits Me” added flames to the horribly-misinformed fire. I found NO ORDINARY MAN absolutely engrossing and illuminating as Trans men are sadly under-represented in the arts. TV shows like “Pose” and multiple Emmy nominated Laverne Cox shed positive portraits of Trans women but who gets more media attention: Chaz Bono or Caitlyn Jenner? Not only do Directors Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt employ Tipton’s photographs, music and personal tape recordings, the “talking heads” interviews shed insights into a world of Transmasculinity and gender versus sexuality. I particularly enjoyed sequences where Trans men were reading from a Script about a proposed Tipton Biopic and their unique and individual interpretations of how Tipton would react, intermingling with their own thoughts and experiences. NO ORDINARY MAN is groundbreaking and triumphant.
The handsome, charismatic and talented Henry Golding (Crazy Rich Asians) is the centerpiece in the introspective, languidly-paced MONSOON from writer/director Hong Khaou. Playing Kit, he returns to the country of his birth, Vietnam, to scatter the ashes of his late parents. While there, he reunites with his childhood friend, Lee (David Tran), meets an Art Curator, Linh (Molly Harris) and has an online hook-up with Lewis (Parker Sawyers), the son of a troubled Vietnam War vet. The lush Cinematography of modern day Vietnam only accentuates the rich heartfelt performances by everyone in MONSOON.
When you’re a closeted gay teen attending high school in picturesque rural Ireland, life would be so much easier if everyone just thought you were in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. Which is exactly what Eddie (Fionn O’Shea) and Amber (Lola Petticrew) do; they become each other’s’ beard. DATING AMBER takes us on their journey filled with uncomfortable hugs and kisses in public and awkward meetings with their parents as they individually deal with their own coming out processes.
Like Garbo, I rarely laugh but could not help myself guffawing throughout. The two leads are as supremely talented as they are photogenic. Writer/Director David Freyne infuses the screen with authenticity and charm, with letter perfect performances from all the supporting characters. DATING AMBER is a richly composed and executed movie and a must-see!
Troy kidnaps his child, Joe from his estranged wife Sally and the two travel on horseback through the wilds on Montana towards Canada. Flashbacks show us 11 year old Joe’s discomfort wearing a dress at a family picnic and the exceptionally close bond with Troy. When Joe tells Troy that she is not a Tomboy, but a boy trapped in a girl’s body, his total and complete acceptance of the news contrasts dramatically from how Sally reacts.
COWBOYS is a powerful and complex movie, tackling the subject matter of being a transgender child with grace and eloquence. Not only is this Steve Zahn’s (as Troy) best screen performance ever, young trans actor Sasha Knight’s accomplishment belies his age. As the police officer in charge of finding the two outcasts safely, the always great Ann Dowd adds another feather to her accomplished cap. Against the majestic backdrop of the Montana forests, COWBOYS resonates with compassion.
All is not awash in 2020. INSIDE OUT, North America’s largest LGBTQ Film Festival has announced earlier this week it will be going digital, effectively merging their Toronto and Ottawa editions of the Festival. The Festival, now it its 30 edition runs October 1-11, 2020.
In converting to a digital format this year, the Festival will be hosted on the Cinesend platform incorporating films with live events, Q&As, and exclusive conversations with LGBTQ talent.
The full lineup of short films below, many grouped by Carly Rae Jepsen song names! Feature films to come.
POMPEII (United Kingdom) – Marco Alessi / Harry Lighton / Matthew Jacobs Morgan Wearing only a crop-top and high-waisted jeans, Tam feels conspicuous. So he plugs in his earphones and begins reliving his messy Halloween night via social media.
2 DOLLARS (United States) – Robin Cloud As a black queer artist, Syd deals with daily challenges from ignorant co-workers and a killer workload. When they enter the office lotto pool, everything changes.
ACROSS, BEYOND, AND OVER (United States) – Brit Fryer / Noah Schamus Two trans men who used to date in middle school reconnect over a long weekend and develop a hybrid documentary about their past.
ADELINE, THE GREAT (United States) – Jessica Siqueiros A woke boarding school student questions her commitment to activism when she finds herself with no friends, countless enemies, and facing some very serious accusations that threaten to get her expelled.
ZANMI (Martinique) – Nadia Charlery A New Year’s Eve party in Martinique with friends and champagne leads to an innocent game with unexpected consequences.
BODY SO FLUORESCENT (Canada) – David Di Giovanni Desiree and Shenice go out for a fun night of dancing, but when Shenice takes things a step too far, Desiree is confronted with who Shenice really is and how Desiree may be the one responsible for her insidious transformation.
POSTMARKED (United States) – Malakai With the help of an eccentric woman, some gas station snacks, and a torch of bright burning hope, Scooter sets out to find his estranged trans sister.
BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE (Brazil) – Leandro Goddinho It is the first week of 2019 in Brazil and a new president takes office. Locked in a hotel room, two teenagers decide to change the course of their lives.
HOW TO SAY I LOVE YOU AT NIGHT (United States) – Andree Ljutica A single-take film explores notions of male-on-male intimacy, sexuality and violence,during one romantic encounter gone wrong.
HAVANA (United States) – Faith Strongheart Antonio, an immigration officer by day, sells exit visas illegally by night. His secrets go beyond his work, though: he is also hiding his relationship with Jian.
EN MI ALMA (United States) – Sara Pinar Onder Power dynamics shift between an asylum officer and an asylum seeker when they run into each other at a bar.
WE’RE NOT HERE (Australia) – Bonnie Moir Anton, a closeted right-wing Finnish politician, meets his secret lover, Ryan, for a weekend getaway in the Mediterranean.
POMPEII (United Kingdom) – Marco Alessi / Harry Lighton / Matthew Jacobs Morgan Wearing only a crop-top and high-waisted jeans, Tam feels conspicuous. So he plugs in his earphones and begins reliving his messy Halloween night via social media.
BUCK (United States) – Elegance Bratton / Jovan James Caught in the midst of a depressive fugue, Lynn turns to debauchery to ease his troubled soul only to discover that achieving happiness is complicated.
I WANT TO SEE GELLIVARE BURN (Sweden) – André Vaara Teenage misfits Amandus and Johan find solace in an unconventional friendship, challenging the norms of their provincial Swedish town.
Call Me Maybe
CINDY (Australia) – Rosanagh Griffiths Cindy’s first time performing in drag might be camp and outrageous, but is it a success?
QUEST FOR JASMINE (United States) – Amanda Hawkes / Jackie MacLean Amara tries to make a love potion in hopes of finding romance.
LADYLIKE (United States) – Rachel Bickert / Emily Tapanes A queer woman in the American South shatters deep-rooted religious beliefs and cultural stereotypes within her conservative community.
THROUPLE (United States) – Chrissie De Guzman Hungover from a bad breakup, a not-so-great stripper makes a house call to a progressive married couple.
ORIGAMI (Iran) – Marjan Hashemi A young woman makes an origami bracelet for her crush but when it’s intercepted by her teacher, she must go to great lengths to retrieve it.
SQUARE ONE (United Kingdom) – Emily Jo Sargent A semi-autobiographical film demonstrates fishing as a way to avoid sex.
I KNOW HER (United States) – Fawzia Mirza In the afterglow of a seemingly fated hookup, two women realize that perhaps they have a little too much in common.
SUPER ZEE (Canada) – Nathalie Younglai A queer Black superhero swoops in to save her woman crush from the microaggressions at the office.
Cut to the Feeling
DIRTY (United States) – Matthew Puccini Marco cuts class to spend the afternoon with his boyfriend. Things do not go as planned.
ARE WE HERE YET? (United States) – S. Chidi Amadiume A couple moving in together discover they don’t know as much about each other as they thought.
SUNDAY (India) – Arun Fulara When Kamble makes his weekly visit to the neighbourhood barber shop, it’s not just for a shave.
BLACK HAT (United States) – Sarah Smith Shmuel is a pious Hasidic man but, when his family leave town for a few days, he will step out of his simple life and into a more complex world.
BOLDLY GO (Australia) – Christopher Cosgrove A young gay man is hiding an embarrassing secret about his body but when a long-term crush begins seducing him at a party, he is forced to confront his shame.
SEE YOU SOON (United States) – Tyler Rabinowitz A gay man travels across the country to spend the weekend with someone he’s been talking to for months on a dating app.
ACUITZERAMO (United States) – Miguel Angel Caballero Salvador, a gay Mexican elder who has lost his partner of 15 years, calls his partner’s estranged son, Anthony, to tell him of his father’s passing.
DUNGAREES (United Kingdom) – Abel Rubinstein Transgender Blake and cisgender Cane hang out, play video games and grapple with their insecurities. This is their love story.
TAPE (United States) – Jojo Ernholtz A high school hockey team is preparing for the most important game in their season. However, sixteen-year-old Rooney is more focused on her teammate Alex.
THE BUTTERFLY (Japan) – Shiho Fukada Kota Ishijima spent most of her life hiding from who she is. After finding the strength to live that truth, her life comes full circle as she awaits the birth of her first grandchild.
REHEARSAL (United Kingdom) – Valentina Gordeeva Anna and Emma have decided to marry but first they must come out to Anna’s conservative mother.
LA GLORIA (United States) – Mary Evangelista In the days following her suicide attempt, a queer lovelorn teen finds connection and solace with her abuela through the secret language of dreams.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER (Taiwan) – Siew Hong Leong On the day Taiwan passes its same-sex marriage law, Wen-de’s daughter is at home, celebrating her new engagement to her girlfriend.
THE MISTRESS (Puerto Rico) – Pati Cruz During her husband’s funeral, Maritere receives an unexpected visit.
MOMSTER (United States) – Drew Denny When notorious bank robber “the Momster” catches her daughter Angel mid-gunfight, Angel thinks she’s being rescued — until she realizes she has to do the saving.
I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance
THE WOODPECKER (United States) – Courtney Bush / Will Carington / Jake Goicoechea On his way to Brad’s animal-themed housewarming party, Richard stops at a pharmacy and calls a close friend for advice about his costume.
ISLAND QUEEN (United States) – Zackary Grady / Jenn Harris On the day a teenage hockey player secretly plans to try out for the figure skating team, he gets trapped on a ferry boat.
MUY GAY TOO MEXICANO (United States) – Lorena Lourenco As he prepares for a date, J.D. seeks advice from two dissimilar people.
ACRIMONIOUS (United Kingdom) – Olivia Emden Set against the backdrop of multicultural, leave-voting West London, Acrimonious follows Emeka, a gay British Nigerian who is newly divorced.
PETE CAN’T PLAY BASKETBALL (United States) – Nick Borenstein In a world where all that matters is basketball, Pete can’t play basketball.
AFTER THAT PARTY (Brazil) – Caio Scot Leo never imagined he would see his dad kissing another man in the middle of a party…until it happened.
DECEASED ONES (United States) – Kate Hopkins When two friends get involved in the niche service of role playing the dead, they’re forced to help heal grieving strangers through a surreal game of make-believe.
LAZY (SUNDAY) (United States) – Cameron Miller-Desart Tired of their friends trying to set them up, two friends turn errands into a fake date, only to find it might not be fake at all.
PERFECTLY FRANK (United States) – Dan Hunt Perfectly Frank is a short documentary chronicling the life of Frank Vilardi, a retired accountant from Long Island who, in his late sixties and after forty years of marriage, comes out.
LIVING OUT LOUD: LBTQI MOVEMENT BUILDING AND FEMINISM IN GEORGIA (United States) – Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy While officially a secular nation, church and state are far from separate in Georgia, where homophobia is common. Eka Aghdgomelashvili, a Georgian feminist activist and trailblazer, is on the front lines of the fight against homophobia.
KEYBOARD FANTASIES: THE BEVERLY GLENN-COPELAND STORY (United Kingdom) – Posy Dixon Capturing five decades of relentless musical output and shifting manifestations of gender and sexual identity, and set against a backdrop of profound social change, the film celebrates the life of Beverly Glenn Copeland who, at 75, is embarking on his first international tour.
LIAR (Canada) – Wayne Burns Two young men meet for a hookup on a church rooftop.
THEY LOOKED AT ME AND I SMILED (Canada) – Ben Edelberg Artists use their bodies as a medium and canvas while existing in their natural environments. Are they performing?
SWIMMERS (Canada) – Chris Ross Swimmers follows two strangers—Gloria and Sarah—after they meet one summer evening when Sarah pool hops through Gloria’s backyard.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNICORN (Canada) – Mina Sewell Mancuso A young girl argues with her parents and her Catholic school, demanding that her confirmation sponsor be her transgender aunt.
THE WAY WE ARE (Canada) – Amanda Ann-Min Wong The stories of four queer Asian women are presented within an immersive experience of past and present, revealing the real-lives of a different generation.
GHOST (Canada) – M. H. Murray Benjamin is ghosted by his lover.
BING! BANG! BI! (Canada) – Jessica Huras At an inopportune moment, a struggling actor takes a stance on her bisexuality.
MY TRANS JOURNEY (Canada) – Elizabeth Trojian Transgender icon Dr. Carys Massarella helps patients work to overcome personal challenges and thrive in their transitions.
BANANAS (Australia) – Rachel Anderson Bananas takes a curious, playful look at two awkward, honest, and warm Australian-born Asian friends who are growing up between two cultures in Australia’s Sunshine State, Queensland.
THE OTHERSIDE (Nigeria / Côte d’Ivoire) – Adesua Okosun This story follows three people in the LGBTQ community, one queer woman, one trans man, and one trans woman, living in Abidjan. Each character takes us into their world and changes the narrative of West Africa.
MISEDUCATED (United States) – Kevin Pinckney In this coming-of-age story, Anton finds himself in his first love triangle –which happens to involve his “straight” best friend Dillion.
CRAZY (United States) – Rachel Leyco Crazy follows two queer Asian-American frenemies in their early twenties who are battling mental health conditions that teach them they are more alike than they realize.
APRICOT (United States) – Sam Icklow / Jake G Thompson A queer Romy and Michele for the 21st century, Apricot is your fruity summer obsession packed into ten dreamy episodes.
BUTCH PAL FOR THE STRAIGHT GAL (United States) – Assaad Yacoub This reality-based comedy about five women, known as the Fierce5, empowers straight women to throw away societal gender norms and fearlessly harness their unique inner voice.
Now That I Found You
BREAK IN (United States) – Alyssa Lerner When Nousha accidentally texts erotic fiction to her crush, she enlists best friend Oliver to set out on a mission to delete the text.
CANDIS FOR PRESIDENT (United States) – Michelle Peerali Candis Cayne sets out to become the President of the United States with the help of her sarcastic television producer sidekick, Andrea.
DON’T FORGET TO GO HOME (Australia) – Victoria Singh-Thompson Two Indo-Fijian sisters miss their cousin’s wedding to go on a drug-fuelled bender.
TOMOKO (France) – Margaux Esclapez After losing her eyesight, Tomoko meets a young stripper named Amber who allows her to explore her fantasies and liberate herself.
A POSTCARD TO NINA (United States) – Ronald Baez Longtime Instagram pen pals Jean and Nina meet in person for the first time and stumble through a well-meaning dinner with Nina’s ultra-conservative father.
HYPED (Greece) – Alkis Papastathopoulos Vera and Lola are anxious about their first big night out together, and struggle to connect.
FRIENDS LIKE THAT (United States) – Francesca De Fusco After getting dumped, Maia seeks solace by crashing with her best ex Alex.
HUSH (United States) – Tin Lee A teenage girl sets out to discreetly master her burgeoning sexuality with the help of a new friend.
WHERE MY GIRLS (United States) – Mads Engel Three queer women reflect on the creativity, community, and hustle required to make it in a culture that has left them to their own devices.
A WIDER SCREEN (United Kingdom) – Joe Hunting Shot within VRChat, A Wider Screen takes an intimate, insightful look into how virtual reality is affecting people’s social lives for the better.
BREAKWATER (Brazil) – Cris Lyra A group of young lesbians from São Paulo go on a trip to a remote beach for the new year’s celebration.
JESSE JAMS (Canada) – Trevor Anderson A young Indigenous musician and his rock band bring mumblepunk to the Interstellar Rodeo. Jesse Jams is a rock ‘n’ roll survival story of a different stripe.
THE SUCK (United States) – Austin Bunn A collector finally decides to give up his strange collection.
DRESS UP LIKE MRS. DOUBTFIRE (United States) – Will Zang This throwback looks at the 1993 film, Mrs. Doubtfire, and its cultural impact on drag culture in Hollywood films.
DARLING (Pakistan / United States) – Saim Sadiq An erotic dance theater in Lahore prepares for a new show just as a sacrificial goat disappears.
MEMORIES REVEALED (France) – Quentin Worthington Over the course of 10 months, a camera travels to Buenos Aires, Argentina and Hanover, Germany to meet the founding members of the Archivo De La Memoria Trans Argentina, the first existing Trans Archive in the world.
WELCOME BACK, LENNY (United States) – Vuk Lungulov-Klotz Lenny is back in NYC and crashing at her cousin’s place. As a thank you, she cooks dinner for her and some friends, but the night takes a turn.
ACROSS, BEYOND, AND OVER (United States) – Brit Fryer / Noah Schamus Two trans men who used to date in middle school reconnect over a long weekend and develop a hybrid documentary about their past.
THE CHANGE UP (United States) – Jordan Auten When Tatum and Harley go out for drinks, Tatum becomes distracted by memories of his troubled childhood.
THE ROGERS (United States) – Dean Hamer / Joe Wilson An intimate glimpse of the Rogers of Samoa, the first visible group of transgender men in the Pacific.
FRATELLO (United States) – Jamie DiNicola Fratello explores the ways in which gender warps and infiltrates intimacy.
HERE WITH YOU (United States) – Noah Schamus When Imani goes to her friend’s housewarming party, she meets a man who piques her interest.
Tug of War
VERT (United Kingdom) – Kate Cox When Jeff and Emelia are gifted a virtual reality set that reveals a person’s “ideal self,” they discover a secret that could shift their relationship indelibly.
IN ORBIT (France) – Soham Chakraborty / Hanxu Chen / Meton Joffily / Justin Polley / Julia Trouvé In a far future, Sonia is about to be transferred from her space station to a newer one, but isn’t ready to let go.
THIS IS A TEENAGE LOVE LETTER (Canada) – Tessa Hall A young woman writes a letter to her past love and to what the future might hold.
SAFE AMONG STARS (United States) – Jess X. Snow A queer Chinese-American woman struggles to tell her immigrant mother and her partner the reason why she left school.
FIFTH FLOOR ON THE LEFT (Croatia) – Renata Lucic When Maja’s parents come to Zagreb to visit their daughter, she must hide the truth about her relationship with her roommate, Nika.
RIDE OR DIE (United States) – Josalynn Smith Paula and Jamie are on their way to Thebes—Thebes, Kentucky that is. As they drive through the Midwest, they make a few stops along the way that deepen their relationship.
SWIPE UP, VIVIAN! (United States) – Hannah Welever Two agoraphobic women find love via a virtual dating app.
TENDER (United States) – Felicia Pride After an unexpected one night stand, two women at very different stages of their lives, share an even more intimate morning after.
FEELING FLUSH (United States) – Erin Brown Thomas Vicki idolizes her new girlfriend Samantha but draws the line when it comes to her time on the porcelain throne.
Want You in My Room
SUCKMEOFF, PRINCESS! (United States) – Tristan Scott-Behrends Enjoy this menagerie of colourful Busby Berkeley dicks and heartbreaking autobiographical anecdotes.
MOTTA (Netherlands / United Kingdom) – Nish Gera Motta follows Brazilian artist Fabio da Motta as he questions the boundaries between fantasy, power, provocation and art.
PLANTONIC (Canada) – Krit Komkrichwarakool A unique relationship flourishes between an aspiring artist and the plant man who is growing in his garden.
KIKO’S SAINTS (France) – Manuel Marmier Kiko, a Japanese illustrator on assignment in France, is suddenly overwhelmed with inspiration while spying on a gay couple on the beach.
FLOSS (China) – Popo Fan Ting finds it difficult to commit to his relationship because he has a secret that is difficult to reveal: he has a tooth fetish.
FREE FUN (Turkey) – Fehmi Öztürk When Kika enters a virtual reality world looking for fun, she encounters something she never expected.
THE FATHERS PROJECT: CHAPTER 4 (United States) – Leo Herrera Fathers is a sci-fi short docuseries that imagines the world if AIDS had never happened and a generation had lived to change the world.
DEEP CLEAN (United Kingdom) – David Wilson Cleanliness is next to godliness, as illustrated in this celebration of objectophilia and self-pleasure.
CONNECTIVE TISSUE (United States) – Oliver Bernsen Over the course of one night, six people are bound together by one thing: a 7-year-old girl’s severed leg.
SOMETHING IN THE CLOSET (United Kingdom) – Nosa Eke A queer teenager struggles with her sexuality, as desires manifest their way from the depths of her eerie closet into reality.
FAMILY (Canada) – Mark Pariselli Partners Cal and Jamal embark on an autumn road trip to the cottage. A roadside flirtation turns ominous and the creeping sense of dread intensifies at a deserted farm.
BLACK PILL (United States) – Jessi Gaston Set in a near-future techno-dystopia, a suicidal shut-in orders pills from a mysterious online company in a last-ditch attempt to fulfill their wildest fantasies.
CLEANSE (United States) – Magdalene Burger A lonely energy healer continues to push her body and her spiritual health to the brink when she is confronted with an especially horrific healing session.
HAND OF POWER (Canada) – Dara Gellman Interrogating both present-day and retrospective cultural narratives about gender, this video work examines the gestures of the filmic hand.
THE QUIETING (Canada) – Ali Liebert On the night before an important date, Maggie, 33 and newly queer, confronts her crushing anxiety and internalized homophobia.
THE OFFICE IS MINE (United States) – Michael Varrati Fuelled by paranoia that he’s being replaced by a new gay at work, Zac sets off on a collision course, ready to prove the office isn’t big enough for them both.
POLLY AND THE POCKETS (Canada) – Gabriella Arno Lead singer of the band Polly and the Pockets, Polly must face her fears when her crush arrives at the school dance where her band is performing.
MY BROTHER IS A MERMAID (United Kingdom) – Alfie Dale My Brother is a Mermaid is a social realist fairy tale about a transfeminine teenager, as seen through the eyes of their 7-year-old brother.
WERE YOU GAY IN HIGH SCHOOL? (United States) – Niki Ang Two queer women recall their awkward, closeted high school days of kissing boys and experiencing straight-girl crushes.
LIT (United Kingdom) – Emma Miranda Moore Tension and excitement run high as a clandestine game of Spin the Bottle has unexpected consequences.
S.A.M. (United Kingdom) – Neil Ely / Lloyd Eyre-Morgan Two teenage boys, both named Sam, meet at the swings each week to escape their dysfunctional home lives, while slowly falling in love.
WONDER (United States) – Javier Molina An 11-year-old kid growing up in the hood secretly dreams of trick-or-treating as Wonder Woman for Halloween.
NANCY FROM NOW ON (New Zealand) – Keely Meechan Nancy From Now On is a coming-of-age film about a young Maori boy who has a burning desire to become a drag queen.
The full Festival line-up to be announced in coming weeks, in addition to how to purchase tickets.
The InsideOut Festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year and there are some amazing events coming your way May 22-June 30, 2020. This period will give members and the public access to feature Short Films, Features, Exhibitions and more to look back at this past 30 years. The full Festival will run October 1-11, 2020.
30TH ANNIVERSARY DIGITAL EXHIBITION “Out of the Archives / Inside the Community: 30 Years of Inside Out”
The digital events will kick off with the launch of phase one of the 30th anniversary online exhibition entitled “Out of the Archives / Inside the Community: 30 Years of Inside Out”. This interactive exhibition features a walk through Inside Out’s history with an exclusive look at past pictures, press clippings, posters, flyers for dance parties, and a whole slew of other materials that have been brought out of the archives.
Says Inside Out’s 30th anniversary exhibition curator, Krista Davis: “Over the past 30 years Inside Out events have queered the streets of Toronto. From theatres to coffee shops, to venues that have been torn down and replaced by condominiums, these coordinates map our history.”
“For our 30th Anniversary, we’ve dug into our archives for memories and pulled out pictures, press clippings, posters for sing-a-longs, flyers for dance parties and exhibition co-presentations and a whole slew of other materials we’ve saved. Join us for a walk through this digitized ephemera as we remember the events that help shape this queer city.”
This exciting first phase of the exhibition, a virtual walk-through of Inside Out’s history in Toronto, is now live on insideout.ca/30years.
30TH ANNIVERSARY SHORT FILM PROGRAM
Beginning Monday, May 25th and going to June 30th, a curated selection of short films will be available to screen exclusively on Inside Out’s website.
The 30th anniversary committee, led by Director of Programming Andrew Murphy, includes Jenna Dufton (Programming Manager), Chris Chin, Michele Pearson Clarke, Scott Ferguson, Nik Redman, and Sonya Reynolds.
Program 1: Best of Best of the Fest
From audience awards winners to programmer’s pics, Best of the Best of the Fest offers up a solid cross section of short film festival faves spanning three decades.
INTERVIEWS WITH MY NEXT GIRLFRIEND, directed by Cassandra Nicolaou (Canada 2001)
Starring a cast of Toronto celebrities including Ann-Marie Macdonald, Diane Flacks, Karen Robinson, Shoshana Sperling and Moynan King, nine women are questioned by an unknown interviewer to see if they measure up.
*2001 Audience Award, Best Short Film
HELLO, MY NAME IS HERMAN, directed by Karine Silverwoman (Canada 2007)
Hello, My Name Is Herman poignantly and humorously describes the relationship between a 91-year-old Jewish man, his lesbian granddaughter and her girlfriend.
*2007 Audience Award, Best Short Film
OH-BE-JOYFUL, directed by Susan Jacobson (UK 2016)
Rita is about to kick the bucket, but before she does she’s got one last job to do: drag her granddaughter out of the closet.
*2016 Audience Award Winner, Best Short Film
FOR NONNA ANNA, directed by Luis De Filippis (Canada 2018)
In this raw and graceful testimony of intersectional womanhood, a trans girl has to care for her Italian grandmother. She assumes that her Nonna disapproves of her — but instead discovers a tender bond in their shared vulnerability.
*2018 Emerging Canadian Artist Award, Luis De Filippis
HOLE, directed by Martin Edralin (Canada 2014)
Billy, a gay man with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita who is struggling to find physical and sexual intimacy.
*2015 Best Canadian Short Film
STOP CALLING ME HONEY BUNNY, directed by Gabrielle Zilkha (Canada 2013)
Stop Calling Me Honey Bunny follows our bunny couple on their dedicated journey to revive their sex life. From role play, to sex toys, to sex therapy, the roller coaster sexploration these bunnies endure is exciting, thrilling, humiliating, exhausting and, at times, quite touching.
*2013 Best Canadian Short Film
THE GOLDEN PIN, directed by Cuong Ngo (Canada 2009)
Long, a young Vietnamese-Canadian swimmer, finds himself struggling between the expectations of his family and the demands of his heart. English & Vietnamese with English subtitles
*2009 Best Canadian Short
THE THING, directed by Rhys Ernst (USA 2012)
A woman, a transgender man, and their cat travel towards a mysterious roadside attraction known as “The Thing.”
SHE DON’T FADE, directed by Cheryl Dunye (USA 1992)
She Don’t Fade by Cheryl Dunye examines the sexuality of a black lesbian, Shae Clarke. Clarke, played by Dunye herself, tells of “her new approach to women” and takes us on a journey to find her.
WAACK REVOLT, directed by Sonia Hong (Canada 2013)
WAACK REVOLT is a cheeky love story that begins during an audition, in the 1940’s Classic Hollywood era. This is where the lovers first meet and commence their love for “waacking”. Outraged by their dance, the public exclaim that they aren’t allowed to “waack” in public, but only behind closed doors.
*2014 Best Canadian Short Film
Program 2: Local Heroes
At the heart of Inside Out has always been the annual Local Heroes (formerly Hogtown Homos) screening. So many familiar names, chosen family members, and even a few former staff members are featured in this celebration of our top drawer talent in our own backyard.
SEEKING SINGLE WHITE MALE, directed by Vivek Shraya (Canada 2011)
Become absorbed in this study of a brown body in (queer) white spaces.
5 DYSFUNCTIONAL PEOPLE IN A CAR, directed by Pat Mills (Canad 2009)
A 43-year-old woman, her 21-year-old boyfriend, her unhappily married sister, an aging mother and a burgeoning lesbian niece take a ride into discontent one winter’s afternoon.
BLACK MEN AND ME, directed by Michèle Pearson Clarke (Canada 2007)
Black Men and Me is an experimental documentary short in which a woman explores her position as a Trinidadian dyke and her complex relationship with black men. Shot in a barbershop, a traditional gathering place for black men, she has her head shaved while she reflects on her black masculinity.
*2007 Best Canadian Female Short Award
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JACKIE SHANE, directed by Sonya Reynolds and Lauren Hortie (Canada 2014)
Toronto, 1963. Jackie Shane – a black, queer, soul-singing, flamboyant Nashville-born, Toronto-based musician – had a hit song on the charts. The song was a sensation, and with the lyrics “Tell her that I’m happy, tell her that’s I’m gay; tell her I wouldn’t have it any other way”, it was also an underground gay anthem. But before being able to fully enjoy the fruits of this success, Jackie suddenly disappeared.
AKIN, directed by Chase Joynt (Canada 2012)
With haunting suburban visuals backed by the rich sounds of Toronto based-band Ohbijou, Akin powerfully engages in a relationship between an Orthodox Jewish mother and her transgender son as they navigate silent secrets of a shared past.
GIRL CLEANS SINK, directed by Sook-Yin Lee (Canada 2005)
A lonely couple meet in a Laundromat, where their clumsy attempt at a sexual liaison leads to revelations, embarrassments, and a little bit of compassion.
CUP CAKE, directed by Allyson Mitchell (Canada 1998)
Cupcake is Girl as chubby eye candy. She takes us on a quest for the perfect dessert. She is proof that eating is sexy. Cupcake talks without shame, about desserts that she loves.
THE NIGHT CLEANER, directed by Blair Fukumura (Canada 2017)
A lonely janitor forms a connection with a homeless man that leads her into mystical terrain.
MONSTER MASH, directed by Mark Pariselli (Canada 2015)
A Halloween hookup turns into something more for a pair of morbid misfits costumed as Horror Cinema’s most iconic female characters.
SOUL SUCKA, directed by Chrisitina Zeidler (Canada 1996)
Chrome, fur, shades, shoes – it’s an all-femme action-packed ride. Sexy, trashy and aggressive.
TOUCH, directed by Jeremy Podeswa (Canada 2001)
Touch is an uncompromising work about emotional scarring, the cycle of abuse, and the perverse nature of desire. In a poetic and highly stylized treatment, the film details the tragic journey of a physically and psychologically abused teenaged boy from early childhood trauma through to adolescent dysfunction.
SUSPECT, directed by Patricia Rozema (Canada 2005)
In a gender-swapping adaptation of philosopher Mark Kingwell’s essay “Who is the Suspect?”, Rozema questions our comforting tradition of creating tidy fictional chains of cause and effect that provide the libidinal release of a puzzle solved.
TOGETHER AND APART, directed by Laurie Lynd (Canada 1991)
A delightful musical drama about sexual and professional choices, Together and Apart is a tale of reunited lovers and facing our choices.
100 CRUSHES CHAPTER 6 – THEY , directed by Elisha Lam (Canada 2014)
The director’s feelings of envy and resentment of a roommate’s pronoun-of-choice eventually evolve into delight in one simple word.
Program 3: 30 Years of CanQueer
This program offers up three decades of our nation’s best in queer storytelling. From the political, to the deep end, this program is bound to inspire some great conversation with a dash of nostalgia.
WE’RE TALKING VULVA, directed by Shawna Dempsey (Canada 1990)
A five-foot, six-inch rappin’ vulva, in an unexpected parody of the music video genre, leads the viewer on a complete description of female genitalia.
DANCE TO MISS CHIEF, directed by Kent Monkman (Canada 2011)
Dance to Miss Chief – a playful critique of German fascination with North American “Indians” that is guaranteed to make you want to get up and shake your booty! This remix of contemporary and vintage footage celebrates Miss Chief’s on-screen romance with leading man, Winnetou, fictitious “Indian” from Karl May’s German Westerns.
REX VS. SINGH, directed by Richard Fung, John Greyson and Ali Kazimi (Canada 2009)
In 1915, two Sikh mill-workers, Dalip Singh and Naina Singh, were entrapped by undercover police in Vancouver and accused of sodomy. This experimental video stages scenes from their trial, told four times: first as a period drama, second as a documentary investigation of the case, third as a musical agit-prop, and fourth, as a deconstruction of the actual court transcript.
HELPLESS MAIDEN MAKES AN I STATEMENT, directed by Thirza Cuthand (Canada 2000)
A helpless maiden is tiring of her consensual s/m relationship with her lover, and “evil” queen. She wants to break up. An impassioned monologue in a dungeon with our heroine in wrist cuffs quickly becomes an emotionally messy ending in flames.
AUDITION TAPE, directed by Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay (Canada 2003)
Gay white male, 5’11”, 155 lbs, 29 years old, good singing voice and co-ordination, desperately seeks job as performer in a Russian girl pop group. History, sexuality and identity collide in a musical monologue inspired by outtakes from American Idol competitions.
DEEP END, directed by Bretten Hannam (Canada 2012)
When 13-year-old Dane’s older brother comes out as gay, he spends the day at the community pool trying to figure out what it means for both of them.
SWERVE, directed by Andrea Dorfman (Canada 1999)
Swerve tells the story of a group of friends who embark on a road trip which winds up in an uncomfortable lesbian love triangle.
WHY I HATE BEES, directed by Sarah Abbott (Canada 1998)
Why I Hate Bees is a comedic journey into a young girl’s memories of near death, based on the short story by Canadian writer Nancy Jo Cullen.
THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY, directed by Trevor Anderson (Canada 2012)
A musical documentary that tells the true life story of Trevor’s great-uncle Jimmy in six original songs.
Running May 26-30, 2020, the 2020 LGBTQ FILM FINANCE FORUM also will be taking place allowing LGBTQ Producers creating LGBTQ content an opportunity to pitch to top decision makers like Netflix, Neon, Bleecker Street, IFC Films, Gamechanger Films, Killer Films, MK2, Bankside Films, Powderkeg Studios and GLAAD.
Films will be available free for Inside Out members at insideout.ca
The 2019 Inside Out LGBTQ Film Festival officially is in high-gear having kicked-off last Thursday, May 23, 2019 at TIFF Bell Lightbox. This 29th edition of the Festival, the third most popular Film Festival in Toronto continues seeing a boost in profile, hosting premieres for several buzzed titles including Elton John Biopic ROCKETMAN opening in theatres this weekend, Mindy Kaling-penned and starring LATE NIGHT, Mike Doyle‘s SELL BY, a Documentary about Cult Classic Showgirls, YOU DON’T NOMI and among others, Armistead Maupin‘s TALES OF THE CITY, which premieres on Netflix June 7th.
Showrunner Lauren Morelli (Orange is the New Black) and stars including our v. own Paul Gross (Due South) and Murray Bartlett (Looking) came out for a day of Press in support of the series revival, visiting many stop-offs around the City including CP24 Breakfast, Breakfast Television and The Morning Show. They also treated Inside Out attendees with a special appearance at the screening for the Series and walked the Festival’s signature Rainbow Carpet.
This latest incarnation of the Series picks-up 20 years after where the boundary-pushing 1993 PBS Series left off with Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) returning to 28 Barbary Lane to varying reactions, reuniting with her estranged daughter Shawna played by another Canadian talent, Ellen Page. Larger than life Anna Madrigal is reprised by Olympia Dukakis.
Gross, who starred in the original Series returns as Brian Hawkins and Bartlett stars as Mouse. More on the Series here.
See the Trailer:
See some Snaps – Murray Bartlett, Lauren Morelli + Paul Gross (left to right):
Inside Out runs through Sunday, June 2, 2019. More on the Festival here.
Now in its 29th year, the 2019 INSIDE OUT LGBTQ FILM FESTIVAL is set to take place May 23 to June 2, 2019 in Toronto with a variety of Special Presentations, Galas, Short Films and Special Events to celebrate the LGBTQ Community on an international scale. The Festival is comprised this year of 27 Narrative, 13 Documentary Features and 94 Short Films spanning 11 days. INSIDE OUT ranks third behind TIFF and HOT DOCS as the biggest Film Festival in Toronto.
The Festival is flashier than ever this year with Elton John Biopic ROCKETMAN opening the Festival and Sundance price-topper LATE NIGHT, written by and starring Mindy Kaling closing things out. Netflix also will present eagerly-awaited Armistead Maupin‘s TALES OF THE CITY. It was just announced yesterday that Netflix has agreed to a four-year partnership to support LGBTQ Filmmakers, starting with the Festival. YOU DON’T NOMI, which chronicles the rise of critically-panned SHOWGIRLS to its cult status also looks to delight fans, among options to be highlighted below.
We’ve had a chance to preview some of the Festival’s offerings. Here’s a bit more!
TALES OF THE CITY
Fans of the beloved 1993 PBS Series will be thrilled that TALES OF THE CITY soon will stream on Netflix. This Sequelae Mini-Series sees original characters Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) and Anna Madrigal (Olympia Dukakis) return as the Adaptation of Armistead Maupin’s Book Series. The Series is set some 20 years later as Mary Ann returns back to 28 Barbary Lane to mixed reactions after leaving behind Brian Hawkins (Paul Gross who also returns) to focus on her career and she meets her estranged daughter Shawna (Ellen Page), forced to confront the aftermath of her exit head-on. Anna Madrigal, a free-spirited, pot-growing landlord still is a magnetic force and we meet all sorts of characters from different walks of life and sexual orientations, including new characters in the mix like Mouse (Murray Bartlett), Margot (May Hong) and Ben (Charlie Barnett). Molly Ringwald and our v. own Victor Garber also have recurring roles. Author Michael Cunningham (The Hours) serves as Producer.
Like its Predecessor, the Mini-Series in 2019 still is pushing boundaries, examining characters as complete, sexual beings. San Francisco and the Music are just as central to the story as its characters.
Tuesday, May 28, 9:00 pm
TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
YOU DON’T NOMI
As a young boy in the 1990s who knew how to watch scrambled Pay-Per-View, I was a big fan of Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls. I did not initially realize how critically-derided the Film was, but nearly 25 years later the Film has become a certified Cult Classic. With this in mind, Director Jeffrey McHale has crafted the Documentary You Don’t Nomi as a means of exploring the Film’s enduring fandom and notoriety.
And for Showgirls fans, the end result is captivatingly-flawed. You Don’t Nomi is basically a Video Essay comprised of extensive clips from Showgirls, news reports, behind-the-scenes footage, archived interviews, voiceover from multiple interview subjects (including Drag royalty Peaches Christ) and clips from about 60 other movies/shows that vaguely tie into their readings of the Film. But no matter how they feel about Showgirls, the majority of McHale’s interviewees seem to just contradict each other. The Film has no clear thesis, and as a result, feels disjointed and all over the place. Which is a real shame, because the discussions comparing recurring motifs and blatant misogyny in Verhoeven’s other works, the Media’s unfair treatment of Lead Actress Elizabeth Berkley, and how a rape victim found peace playing Berkley-inspired characters in Off-Broadway musicals, are all pretty compelling to watch and listen to – but none of them receive the depth they deserve.
You Don’t Nomi sets-out from the start to be a deep exploration about a so-called “masterpiece of shit”. But in the end, it throws in too many topics and never seems to know what to properly examine.
Friday, May 31, 9:15 pm
TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Taking its opening cue from Lady Bird, CUBBY opens with a contentious car ride between Mark and his mother Peggy as she drives him from Indiana to his new job in New York City. As portrayed by the Movie’s Writer/Producer/Co-Director Mark Blane, our hero is a mass of contradictions…on medications, not always honest and a talented artist. The opening credit states that this movie is “Based on a lie” and we quickly learn that the job his mother thinks he has at an art gallery really turns into a babysitting job for precocious six year old Milo. Mark also fantasizes about, and graphically sketches, Leather-Man, an iconic image straight from Tom of Finland.
CUBBY is pure joy, due to the addictive performance and screen presence of Mark Blane and wonderfully supportive by a Cast of interesting secondary characters. Special notice must be given to Patricia Richardson (best known for her multiple Emmy nominated turn in Tim Allen’s Home Improvement). CUBBY tackles a variety of topics with humour, insight and sensitivity. It is a lovely mix of photographing Brooklyn at its height and clever animation. It is an impressive feature debut and I look forward to Mark Blane’s next project.
Sunday, May 26, 4:30 PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Year ago, I went nowhere without a spritz or 2 or 7 of Halston’s 1-12 cologne from its Elsa Peretti’s designed bottle. It was decadent, unique and expensive – much like Halston’s couture dresses for women. Before Versace came to prominence, the American born designer celebrated women with sexy classy clothes that moved on their bodies with unbridled sensuality. HALSTON is a fascinating documentary that takes us from his beginning to working the women’s hat counter at Bergdorf Goodman to a multi-million dollar conglomerate. Highlighted by interviews with Liza Minnelli (his Hollywood muse and bestie), director Joel Schumacher, jewelry designer Elsa Peretti and Marisa Berenson to name just a few, HALSTON offers many exciting tidbits – he designed the Olympic athlete’s outfits for the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics and was responsible for the hot pants craze that circumnavigated the globe. The primary focus of this documentary is the business end of the Halston empire. Whereas it touches often on his personal life – the raucous weekends in Fire island, his friendships with the Warhol crowd and Studio 54, the cocaine abuse plus his long-term toxic relationship with Victor Hugo (NOT the author of “Les Miserables”!), these are glossed over and not fully explored. HALSTON tells us the story of the decline of the man’s business. He went from designing clothes for the moneyed elite to making clothes to be sold at JC Penney; or, as described in this movie, going “from class to mass”.
HALSTON never fails to fascinate. Whereas the tabloid part of me would have liked to hear and see more of the prurient side of this flamboyant and self-centered fashion genius, there is a wealth of stories about his work ethics and business acumen that had me totally engrossed. It is a must-see.
Wednesday, May 29, 9:15 pm
TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
FROM ZERO TO I LOVE YOU Kennedy-esque looking Jack (Scott Bailey) is happily married to a voluptuous wife with two young daughters. He also has a history of trysts with cater waiters at a friend’s birthday party and hooking up with men at local gay bars, which he discusses in-depth with his shrink, hoping to find a cure to stop these assignations. Then one day he meets Pete (Darryl Stephens), a handsome young man who has a long history of having failed relationships with married men, much to his parents’ chagrin that only want him to meet a nice, single gay man. The first 45 minutes of FROM ZERO TO I LOVE YOU perfectly mirrors the beginnings of a new, exciting relationship; art galleries, antique shops and dinners at high end restaurants to witty discussions over the merits of the books by Jacqueline Susann. Even the Philadelphia landscapes are filmed with a sensual glow. Then it starts…promises made and broken, trust issues leading to infidelities. Even Pete’s father tells him, “It’s not love. It’s chaos”.
The second half of FROM ZERO TO I LOVE YOU turns into a mockish soap opera with four too many eye rolling coincidences. Despite earnest and believable performances by the 2 lead actors plus a spirited job from Adam Klask as a new boyfriend, this beautifully-filmed movie turns into a cliché-ridden misstep.
Now in its 29th year, the 2019 INSIDE OUT LGBTQ FILM FESTIVAL is set to take place May 23 to June 2, 2019 in Toronto with a variety of Special Presentations, Galas, Short Films and Special Events to celebrate the LGBTQ Community on an international scale. The Festival is comprised this year of 27 Narrative, 13 Documentary Features and 94 Short Films spanning 11 days. INSIDE OUT ranks third behind TIFF and HOT DOCS as the biggest Film Festival in Toronto.
The Festival is flashier than ever this year with Elton John Biopic ROCKETMAN opening the Festival and Sundance price-topper LATE NIGHT, written by and starring Mindy Kaling closing things out. Netflix also will present eagerly-awaited Armistead Maupin’s TALES OF THE CITY. It was just announced yesterday that Netflix has agreed to a four-year partnership to support LGBTQ Filmmakers, starting with the Festival. YOU DON’T NOMI, which chronicles the rise of critically-panned SHOWGIRLS to its cult status also looks to delight fans, among options to be highlighted below.
ROCKETMAN, directed by Dexter Fletcher. (UK/ USA) – Rocketman is an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years. The film follows the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John. This inspirational story – set to Elton John’s most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton – tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. Rocketman also stars Jamie Bell as Elton’s longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as Elton’s first manager, John Reid, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother Sheila Farebrother. With Bryce Dallas Howard, Richard Madden, Taron Egerton.
LATE NIGHT, directed by Nisha Ganatra. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. Written by Mindy Kaling, directed by Nisha Ganatra (whose film Chutney Popcorn capped off Inside Out in 2000), and starring Emma Thompson, Late Night might seem too good to be true. When late-night talk show host, Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is accused of being “a woman who hates women,” she hires her first and only female staff writer, Molly (Mindy Kaling).This lack of inclusion is only the tip of the iceberg for the show, which is also suffering from low ratings and an unsupportive network. Wanting to prove that she is more than just a diversity hire, Molly sets out to help Katherine and to save her show, one punchline at a time. Late Night tackles misogyny and white privilege, while taking a closer look at the complicated working life of women with and without power. With Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow.
ARMISTEAD MAUPIN’S TALES OF THE CITY, directed by Alan Poul. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. Inspired by the books of Armistead Maupin, Netflix’s Original Series, Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, begins a new chapter of this beloved story. Mary Ann (Laura Linney) returns to present-day San Francisco to celebrate Anna’s 90th birthday, and is reunited with her daughter Shawna (Ellen Page) and ex-husband Brian (Paul Gross), twenty years after leaving them behind to pursue her career. Fleeing the midlife crisis that her picture-perfect Connecticut life created, Mary Ann is quickly drawn back into the orbit of Anna Madrigal (Olympia Dukakis) and the residents of 28 Barbary Lane. Spanning nine novels and multiple television series, Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City for Netflix brings us back into the queer world of San Francisco where so much has changed. What has remained constant are Anna and her chosen family. The Centrepiece Gala will screen the first episode, followed by an onstage conversation with showrunner Lauren Morelli (Orange is the New Black), Murray Bartlett (Looking), and Paul Gross (Due South).
GOOD KISSER, directed by Wendy Jo Carlton. (USA) – International Premiere. What’s a girl to do when her girlfriend suggests a date with a very alluring stranger? This three-way fling is deliciously unveiled in Good Kisser, a new film by Wendy Jo Carlton (whose Jamie and Jessie are Not Together played at the Festival in 2012). Awkward Jenna reluctantly agrees to a threesome with her girlfriend Kate and a mysterious, sophisticated woman named Mia. Over the course of a sultry summer evening, sparks fly, games are played, promises are broken, and secrets are revealed. Nothing will ever be the same. Is Jenna in over her head? Will Jenna and Kate’s relationship survive the night? All bets are off when it comes to good kissers. Good Kisser lays bare a hot relationship in transition—and you will never look at a Popsicle the same way again. With Julia Eringer, Rachel Paulson, Kari Alison Hodge.
SELL BY, directed by Mike Doyle. (USA) – World Premiere. Sell By proves that love is a dangerous game for a group of self-absorbed friends who are trying to navigate their own romances. Nobody said love was easy. Adam (Scott Evans) and Marklin (Augustus Prew) seem to have the world in the palm of their hands, but their love life could use improvement. Marklin’s rise as a social media influencer, and Adam’s struggle to switch from ghost painting to creating his own work, has caused a rift between them. As their five-year relationship grows colder, they must decide whether to go all in or explore other options. Meanwhile, Cammy (Michelle Buteau) is failing to find her way in the world of online dating, and Haley (Zoe Chao) has to fend off an almost-legal student who’s hot for teacher. In this hilarious, heartfelt film, Sell By emphasizes that vanity, with all its problems, can also get in the way of love. With Scott Evans, Augustus Prew, Michelle Buteau, Zoe Chao.
YOU DON’T NOMI, directed by Jeffrey McHale. (USA) – International Premiere. You Don’t Nomi traces the redemption of director Paul Verhoeven’s film Showgirls, from notorious flop to cult classic. When it was first released in 1995, Showgirls was met by critics and audiences with near universal derision, which included thirteen record-breaking Razzie Awards nominations. You Don’t Nomi brilliantly draws on archival footage and thoughtful commentary to chart the film’s eventual rise to a more favourable notoriety. Leaving no stone unturned, we relive many memorable scenes from Showgirls, while digging deeper into the film’s darker side. It will not surprise anyone that many of the people interviewed onscreen are gay, including well-known super fan, Peaches Christ. Is it a masterpiece or pure garbage? McHale’s documentary answers the very important question: can’t it be both?
A DOG BARKING AT THE MOON, directed by Xiang Zi. (China/Spain) – Canadian Premiere. Unhappiness can become such a habit that we forget about its root cause. In her assured and lyrical debut feature, writer-director Xiang Zi introduces us to a family living with sorrow at its core, although the source of that sorrow may not be all that it seems. Ever since she was young, Huang Xiaoyu (Gaowa Siqin) has been cheering for her parents’ divorce, particularly in light of evidence that her father might be gay. Arriving home from the United States to have her first child, Western husband at her side, Xiaoyu already seems demoralized. Her father is cheerful but absent, and her mother, played by veteran actress Renhua Na, is a bundle of nerves and disgruntlement. As the curtain pulls back, we can see that secrets (although her father’s were less well kept) run in the family. Revealing the story over various time periods, Xiang invites the viewer to act as a fly on the wall, enticing them to watch as astutely observed moments unfold in the history of a family who have barely been able to keep up appearances. Teddy Jury Award, 2019 Berlin International Film Festival
ADAM, directed by Rhys Ernst. (USA) – International Premiere. Adam, the much awaited first feature from director Rhys Ernst (Transparent), brings Ariel Schrag’s unconventional boy-meets-girl novel to life, giving us a nuanced look at sexual identity in the early 2000s. Awkward high schooler Adam (Nicholas Alexander) does not have a way with women. When an opportunity arises to spend the summer in New York with his older sister Casey (Margaret Qualley), he seizes the chance to spread his wings, meet women and finally gain some experience. His plan is thwarted by the fact that Casey mostly attends L Word parties and marriage equality marches. When he tags along to a party with his sister’s queer friends, he meets Gillian and, hoping she likes men, strikes up a conversation. When Gillian mistakes Adam’s gender identity, he can’t quite bring himself to correct her error and the two grow closer. Before long, what began as a simple misunderstanding evolves into a complicated mix-up, proving how out of his depth Adam truly is. Ernst and Alexander carefully break down a complicated character and create an honest, engaging and raw coming-of-age story. Official Selection, 2019 Sundance Film Festival. With Nicholas Alexander, Margaret Qualley, MJ Rodriguez, Chloë Levine.
BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, directed by Hannah Pearl Utt. (USA) – International Premiere. When Rachel Gurner’s charming date walks her to her front door and asks if she has roommates, she quietly admits that she does. What she doesn’t admit to is that she lives above a small theatre with her father Mel, her sister Jackie (played by hilarious co-writer Jen Tullock), and her preteen niece, Dodge. It’s a real romance killer. The truth is Rachel has no time for relationships. She takes responsibility for almost every aspect of her family’s lives, from housekeeping to managing their upcoming theatre show. When Mel suddenly passes away, everything they know is put in jeopardy. If this isn’t enough, their father’s outdated will reveals that the mother they believed to be dead is, in fact, alive and is playing a lead role in a popular soap opera. Hannah Pearl Utt writes, directs, and stars in this family drama that gives us license to poke a little fun at life’s misfortunes. Official Selection, 2019 Sundance Film Festival. With Jen Tullock, Judith Light, Mike Colter.
BIT, directed by Brad Michael Elmore. (USA) – World Premiere. Desperate to get away from her small-town roots and find a like-minded community, Laurel hits the road for Los Angeles as soon as she graduates from high school. Sure, people in L.A. are different, but do these people seem extra different? Yes, they do, because they are vampires. On her first night out in the city, Laurel attends a warehouse party and befriends a mysterious group of punk feminist women, led by the intimidating Duke. Laurel is surprised to have met her people so quickly, but her luck turns when one of them feeds on her blood and leaves her for dead. Waking up and realizing she might have become a vampire, Laurel confronts the women who converted her and is given a choice: go back to a boring life or join an ultra-cool vampire squad. Could it possibly be that simple? Of course not. Starring trans actress Nicole Maines as Laurel, Bit is supernatural, super feminist, and super queer. Not to mention the most fun you’ll have at the movies this year.
THE BLONDE ONE (UN RUBIO), directed by Marco Berger. (Argentina) – Canadian Premiere. Things grow hot and heavy between roommates Gabriel and Juan in this steamy, heartfelt film from acclaimed Argentinian director, Marco Berger (Plan B; Absent; Taekwondo). Gabriel is attracted to his roommate and co-worker, Juan. But what chance does Gabriel have, given the number of women streaming in and out of Juan’s bedroom? Overcoming his shyness, Gabriel takes a risk and makes the first move. To his surprise, he finds Juan eagerly responsive. But as their relationship intensifies, Juan wonders if he can give Gabriel what he wants—to bring their relationship out into the open. Marco Berger sets the story in the characters’ everyday lives, and shows subtle signals of attraction as well as the pervasive homophobia and machismo that impacts Gabriel and Juan’s deepening love.
FROM ZERO TO I LOVE YOU, directed by Doug Spearman. (USA) – In this entertaining romantic dramedy, commitment-phobic Pete (Darryl Stephens, Noah’s Arc) and married-with-children Jack unexpectedly fall for each other, and life becomes suddenly complicated. Pete, a gay man living in Philadelphia, has a history of involvement with married men. Enter Jack, with a wife and kids in the suburbs. When sparks fly, Pete must ask himself if he can handle yet another relationship with a married man, while Jack will have to decide if he’s ready to leave his wife. As Pete nears his decision, an opportunity arises that causes him to question whether he is better off with, or without, Jack. Featuring strong chemistry between the leads, director Doug Spearman (Hot Guys with Guns) creates authentic characters in this highly engaging, obstacle-filled romance.
THE GROUND BENEATH MY FEET (Der Boden unter den Füßen), directed by Marie Kreutzer. (Austria) – Canadian Premiere. The Ground Beneath My Feet is a masterful thriller that looks at the intersection of mental health and womanhood through the experiences of Lola (Valerie Pachner), an ambitious workaholic on the verge of a nervous breakdown. A ruthless and skilled consultant, Lola is on the brink of her dream promotion. Everything is put in jeopardy, however, when her sister, who lives with paranoid schizophrenia, attempts suicide. Forced to balance work and her sister’s care while trying to hide family matters from co-workers, Lola is stretched beyond her limits. Exhausted and suspicious of everyone around her, including her boss and secret lover, Elise, Lola begins to lose her grip on reality. Marie Kreutzer’s nuanced portrait of Lola explores the very fine line between order and chaos, balance and instability.
KNIVES AND SKIN, directed by Jennifer Reeder. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. In Knives and Skin, Jennifer Reeder takes the classic American high school movie and turns it completely on its head, adding magical realism, pop-song choirs, and a feminist twist. At first glance, this rural Illinois high school seems like any other: popular football players and their cheerleader girlfriends, marching band nerds, the feminist loner, and the unassuming kid in the mascot costume. But when their peer Carolyn Harper goes missing, the students are forced to confront the cracks in the façade, along the way revealing their true selves and new, unexpected connections. The disappearance also exposes parent’s secrets and highlights the town’s overriding dysfunction. Part teen comedy, part musical and part thriller, Knives and Skin is the badass feminist high school movie we have all been waiting for. With Kate Arrington, Tim Hopper, James Vincent Meredith, Tony Fitzpatrick, Marika Engelhardt.
SAINT FRANCES, directed by Alex Thompson. (USA) – Occasionally things happen in life that make us feel as if the universe is enjoying a cruel joke at our expense. At the onset of a hot summer in Chicago, and having had no time to recover from or process a recent abortion, Bridget begins a job as nanny to stubborn six-year-old Frances. With Bridget’s life in disarray and Frances struggling to adjust to the birth of a baby brother, the two begin to form a bond. But as Bridget moves more deeply into the world of Frances and her moms, her personal relationships suffer and she loses sight of life outside of her job. Featuring standout performances across the board—most notably from six-year-old Ramona Edith-Williams—Saint Frances is a film about family in all of its forms.
SECOND STAR ON THE RIGHT, directed by Ruth Caudeli. (Colombia) – Young at heart and lost in life, Emilia is far from having it all figured out. She’s unemployed, in a relationship she won’t commit to, and the odd one out in her friend group in almost every way possible. As an actor whose theatre work is high in concept but low in attendance, Emilia teaches acting classes while she awaits her big break. When she is unexpectedly fired, she is forced to take a job working for her best friend Angelica. As Emilia sinks more deeply into a comfortable life, she grows further away from herself. If this isn’t enough to manage, she is also trying to figure out exactly what her relationship with Mariana is. Everything comes to a head at Angelica’s bachelorette party, where a few too many drunken truths are revealed. With clear vision, director Ruth Caudeli spotlights the highs and lows of female friendship, and masterfully answers the question: does growing up have to mean giving up?
A NIGHT AT SWITCH N’ PLAY, directed by Cody Stickels. (USA) – World Premiere. There’s something very queer happening at a bar in Brooklyn, and in the new film A Night at Switch n’ Play you are invited to come and watch. Switch n’ Play is a queer performance collective that stages fabulous subversive drag and burlesque shows. The ensemble explodes traditional gender roles, pushing the limits of what drag and burlesque can be. But more than that, they area tight-knit family of outsiders who welcome queer audiences into their world and create a safe, tantalizing space where everyone can be themselves. The film introduces diverse members of the collective and sprinkles in a generous helping of delicious live performances. If you spend just one night with Switch n’ Play, you’ll never want to leave.
CIRCUS OF BOOKS, directed by Rachel Mason. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. In 1976, Karen and Barry Mason fell on hard times and were looking for a way to support their three young children. An ad by Larry Flynt, who was seeking distributors for Hustler Magazine, became their unexpected saviour. The Masons soon found themselves owners of Circus of Books, a popular Los Angeles queer bookstore. Their establishment eventually became the biggest distributor of gay porn in the United States, which led to federal obscenity charges during the Reagan era. This fascinating documentary, directed by their daughter Rebecca Mason, looks at her parents’ unlikely story: how they kept the details of their work from their children, the impact of the AIDS crisis, and how their involvement with the LGBT community didn’t fully prepare them for having a gay son. Featured interviews include LGBT activist Alexei Romanoff, drag superstar Alaska (Justin Honard, a former employee), and porn legend Jeff Stryker.
GAY CHORUS DEEP SOUTH, directed by David Charles. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus plan a tour of the Deep South in order to bring acceptance and love to many of those who live with discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ laws. Led by conductor Tim Seely and joined by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, the Chorus begin their journey, skeptical of potential audience reaction. They learn, however, that their performances are bringing people together. The Chorus uses the universal language of music to give queer communities in the Deep South a safe and welcoming environment in which to celebrate their identities and orientations. Gay Chorus Deep South shows us that it is not as important who you love, but that you are capable of love, aiming to go beyond mere tolerance to a place where everyone can feel accepted and celebrated for who they are. With Tim Seeling, Chris Verdugo, Jimmy White, Steve Huffines.
HALSTON, directed by Frédéric Tcheng. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. Before Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and Calvin Klein, there was Halston, a suave young man from Des Moines, Iowa, who took Manhattan by storm and defined 1970s style, designing everything from Jackie Kennedy’s pillbox hat to Girl Scout and NYPD uniforms to a JC Penney clothing line. At the height of his career, when he wasn’t throwing tantrums over imperfect seams and wrangling his out-of-control lover, Halston was travelling with a pack of models known as the Halstonettes, and spending drug-fueled nights at Studio 54 with Bianca Jagger, Liza Minelli and Andy Warhol. In this comprehensive look at the designer’s meteoric rise and humiliating fall, French-born director Frédéric Tcheng, who has made documentaries about Dior, Vreeland and Valentino, proves he knows his Ultrasuede from his hot pants. Mixing candid interviews with archival footage that evoke the man and his era, Halston captures the spirit of a genius. Also, a warning: don’t believe your own hype.
SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (Special Sneak Preview), directed by Roman Chimienti, Tyler Jensen. (USA) – Actor Mark Patton is ready to scream. Thirty-four years after his first lead role in Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, the rising star experienced what became a real-life nightmare when the movie was dubbed, “The gayest horror film ever made.” Unbeknownst to the closeted actor, whose budding career was smack-dab in the middle of Hollywood’s AIDS-phobic ‘80s, his first big break turned out to be a gay panic film that earned him the title of first male scream queen. His career in ruins, Patton vanished from the spotlight. As it turned out, the true villain wasn’t Freddy Krueger at all, but screenwriter David Chaskin, who denied that he wrote any gay subtext and who instead blamed the young actor. Documentary filmmakers Roman Chimienti and Tyler Jensen document Patton’s pilgrimage as he attempts to make peace with this dark past, and confronts the entire film cast and Chaskin himself.
WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS, directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. “A group of tween girls chant into megaphones holding clenched fists high and showcasing colourful badges sporting the words, “Black Lives Matter” and “Radical Beauty.” Meet the first troop of Radical Monarchs, a group of young girls of colour who are standing at the front lines of social justice. Set in Oakland, We Are the Radical Monarchs documents, over a three-year period, an alternative movement to the Girl Scouts. Its members earn badges for completing social justice units that incorporate being an LGBTQ ally environmental activism, and disability justice. The group, started by two queer women of colour, is anchored in the belief that girls of colour need dedicated spaces and a foundation that is rooted in fierce, interdependent sisterhood, self-love and hope. This dynamic film follows the first troop of Radical Monarchs and chronicles the co-founders’ struggle to develop, expand and advance the organization and their mission to create and inspire a new generation of social justice activists.”
SPOTLIGHT ON CANADA – Supported by CBC
DRAG KIDS, directed by Megan Wennberg. (Canada) – Drag origin stories are overflowing with misfit kids who were bullied at school and at home because of their love of feminine clothes and cosmetics. But what if those kids were free to be themselves from an early age? Drag Kids introduces us to four fabulous youngsters who have been given that very opportunity. Stephen, Jason, Bracken, and Nemis, age nine to eleven, are already fierce drag queens. They come from different backgrounds but all share a love of fabulous frocks and glittery makeup. When the kids are brought together by their deeply loving, supportive parents, they bond over costumes, makeup and a love of drag. But do they have what it takes to perform and compete with adult queens? Drag Kids takes a joyous look at what can happen when parents support their children’s dreams of fabulousness.
DYKES IN THE STREETS, directed by Almerinda Travassos. (Canada) – World Premiere. Picture it—1981, a summer day in Toronto, 300 lesbians carrying signs and balloons, marching down Yonge Street and loudly chanting, “We are the D. Y. K. E. S!” The march that day was a triumph for pride and visibility. But how have things changed for queer women in Toronto since that protest? How has the movement changed? Who does it represent? And where is it going now? Almerinda Travassos’s new documentary, Dykes in the Streets, poses those questions to a variety of queer women in Toronto. Against a backdrop of remarkable archival footage of Pride from 1981, 1991, 1996 and 2016, the women talk about their experiences with queer activism in Toronto. As our LGBTQ2S+ communities grow and change, Dykes on the Streets raises many timely questions about what has been achieved and what still needs to be done. The screening will be followed by an extended Q&A.
QUEER COOLIE-TUDES, directed by Michelle Mohabeer. (Canada) – Toronto Premiere. In a reclaiming of the slur coolie, filmmaker Michelle Mohabeer’s creative essay documentary explores the experiences of queer Canadians from the Indo-Caribbean diaspora. Beginning with Mohabeer’s personal experience, the documentary moves through a series of interviews with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Instead of succumbing to pressure to find a shared narrative or common ground, the documentary embraces the complexities of how factors such as gender, age and mobility inform identity in nuanced ways. A powerful collection of testimonies, the film traces the intergenerational lives, histories, familial relations and sexualities of its interview subjects. Speaking to the limits of identity and the violence of mainstream categorizations, Queer Coolie-tudes is a documentary that, using intimate testimonies and experimental visual exploration, illustrates the importance of not accepting erasure.
QUEERING THE SCRIPT, directed by Gabrielle Zilkha. (Canada) – World Premiere. “I learned about myself through this show. I saw myself in this character,” explains an enthusiastic fan in Queering the Script, a sparkling celebration of queer fangirls and the shows they love. Queerness on television has moved from subtext, in series such as Xena: Warrior Princess, to all-out multi season relationships between women, as seen on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost Girl, and Carmilla. But things still aren’t perfect. In 2016, a record number of queer women died on fictional shows, which broke the hearts of queer fans and launched a successful fight for better, more diverse LGTBQ2S+ representation. Stars such as Ilene Chaiken, Stephanie Beatriz, Lucy Lawless and Angelica Ross join with the voices of numerous kickass fangirls in this fast-paced history of queer women’s representation of contemporary television. Queering the Script not only charts the evolution of queerness, but also demonstrates the extraordinary impact of activism on its many diverse fans, ensuring that they see themselves accurately portrayed onscreen.
BEING IMPOSSIBLE (YO IMPOSSIBLE), directed by Patricia Ortega. (Venezuela/ Colombia) – International Premiere. Finding your identity is difficult at the best of times, but what if a critical piece of your history has been kept from you? When Ariel has sex with her boyfriend for the first time she experiences intense pain. Her mother gives her strict instructions to visit a very specific doctor but will tell her nothing else. To make matters more confusing, Ariel has developed a strong attraction to her new co-worker, Ana. Everything comes to a head when Ariel discovers that she was born intersex, which affords a new understanding of who she really is and the opportunity to explore what she really wants. Being Impossible provides a sensitive, non-sensational way of looking at the complexities of gender and sex. With Lucia Bedoya, Maria Elena Duque.
BILLIE AND EMMA, directed by Samantha Lee. (Philippines) – North American Premiere. Set in the ‘90s, Billie and Emma explores the turbulent nature of young love and the importance of having someone to laugh with through it all. After getting into trouble, Billie finds herself exiled to the rural plains to live with her aunt. She decides to keep a low profile, determined to make it through the last year of high school incident free and return to the city. And her plan almost works, until she meets star student Emma. Emma coaxes Billie out of her shell and their relationship soon becomes more than friendly, which throws a wrench into Billie’s plan to leave, and threatens to tarnish Emma’s star reputation. Things become even more complicated when Emma finds out that she’s pregnant. Samantha Lee, a fierce advocate for greater representation of women and LGBTQ+ communities in cinema, delivers a heartwarming high school romance that is steeped in charm and expansive expression. With Gabby Padilla, Zar Donato.
BRIEF STORY FROM THE GREEN PLANET, directed by Santiago Loza. (Argentina/ Germany/ Brazil/ Spain) – Canadian Premiere. Winner of the Teddy Award at this year’s Berlinale, A Brief Story from the Green Planet follows trans woman Tania on a strange and surprising odyssey. When Tania receives the news that her grandmother has passed away, she returns to her hometown with two friends to take care of her grandmother’s estate. Tania realizes she has inherited more than she bargained for when she discovers a peculiar creature in the house. Her grandmother’s dying request is that Tania return this friendly companion to the place where it first appeared, led only by the help of a mysterious map. When the road gets rough, the travelers must overcome their fears and work together to complete their mission. An odd premise breaks open to reveal a heartwarming tale about chosen family and the power that outsiders wield when they stick together. With Paula Grinszpan.
CATAMARAN, directed by Swarnavel Eswaran. (India) – Catamaran is a gripping drama told from the point of view of a stoic but loving fisherman who finds out his niece’s true desires are not what he imagined. After a devastating tsunami shakes up Singaram’s family, he takes it upon himself to adopt his orphaned niece Anandhi and nephew Mani. Singaram’s simple plan is complicated by his niece’s refusal to marry. His traditional perspective causes a rift in the family, forcing Anandhi to tell her uncle about her love for Kavita, a woman who teaches at a nearby school. Singaram works to come to terms with her confession while the rest of the village insists that he find her a proper suitor. Complemented by beautiful scenery, the budding lesbian romance is set as the backdrop for a film about a society that is constantly breaking its own rules despite its firm footing in heteronormativity.
CUBBY, directed by Mark Blane, Ben Mankoff. (USA) – International Premiere. Creator Mark Blane has a knack for sensitively handling material that others might avoid. His 2012 book and play, The Rock & The Ripe, attracted controversy because of its theme of queer teen suicide, and his feature film debut, Cubby, also refuses to look away from uncomfortable moments. When scruffy man-child artist Mark Nabel (played by Blane) arrives in Brooklyn to begin an art gallery job that he’s invented to fool his mother, he’s forced to take a job babysitting a six-year-old in order to pay the rent. As Mark develops his nurturing side, doing his best to protect his charge from bullies, he comes to terms with his sexual and romantic interests, particularly his encounters with Leather-Man (Christian Patrick of Interior. Leather Bar and Kink.com fame), a fantasy figure he meets in a neighbourhood park. With humour that’s both gentle and acerbic, Cubby captures the difficulties, and the opportunities that come from being a complicated person in a complicated world. With Mark Blane, Lucy DeVito, Patricia Richardson, Pete Y. Kim.
FABIANA, directed by Brunna Laboissière. (Brazil) – Canadian Premiere. The life of a long-distance trucker isn’t easy, and proves especially challenging for Fabiana, a 56-year-old trans woman who spends her life crisscrossing the highways of Brazil. In director Brunna Laboissière meditative documentary, we follow Fabiana during her final days on the job as she prepares to retire from the road. Perched behind the wheel, cigarette in hand, Fabiana is both engaging and mysterious, speaking openly about her various sexual conquests and relationships. But she is also emotionally wary, afraid to show her deep feelings and fears. We watch as Fabiana struggles to reveal her lesbian identity to a female friend, hiding the truth from her, and later we witness Fabiana’s tense relationship with her girlfriend, Priscilla. Laboissière is a compassionate filmmaker who is not afraid to ask the tough questions. In the end, we are left with a poignantly tender portrait of a woman who embraces life and who lives by her own rules. With Fabiana Camila Ferreira.
THE GARDEN LEFT BEHIND, directed by Flavio Alves. (USA) – The Garden Left Behind traces the relationship between Tina, a young Mexican trans woman, and Eliana, her grandmother, as they navigate Tina’s transition, and strive to build a life for themselves as undocumented immigrants in New York City. As Tina begins the process of transitioning, Eliana struggles to understand Tina and fears that their life together in America is no longer what they bargained for. Tina finds camaraderie in a small but mighty transgender advocate group but, soon, also finds herself having to fight for the life that she’s meant to live—facing violent threats, insurmountable medical costs, questions about her legal immigration status, and increasing skepticism from the man she loves. This film touches on the very real threat of violence against trans women of colour in America and does include a scene with graphic violence. For more information, please visit our website at www.insideout.ca. With Carlie Guevara, Michael Madsen, Edward Asner.
JACK & YAYA, directed by Jennifer Bagley, Mary Hewey. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. Growing up trans in a rural community can feel isolating and lonely. But Jack and Yaya, who grew up with neighbouring backyards, had each other every step of the way. Years later, despite living in separate States, they remain best friends. Jack, only a few years into his transition, struggles to decide whether to move forward with gender-affirming surgery, while Yaya tackles the bureaucratic nightmare of legally changing her name in New Jersey, an eighteen-step ordeal. Through Skype calls and visits, Jack and Yaya are behind each other for every setback and every milestone. Drawing on home videos and conversations with their eclectic cast of friends and family, Jack & Yaya proves that hardships and distance are no match for a friendship that seemed destined from the start.
JOSÉ, directed by Li Cheng. (Guatemala/USA) – Canadian Premiere. Chinese-American director Li Cheng lived in Central America for two years interviewing gay and marginal youth, and learning about Guatemalan culture and history, in preparation for his second feature film, José. The film follows 19-year-old José, who lives at home with his religious mother in hardscrabble Guatemala City. He manages to sneak off for the occasional motel hookup, but when he meets Luis, a construction worker from the Caribbean coast, José is forced to make choices he would rather avoid making. Working in a gritty, realist style with an impressive cast of nonprofessional actors, José captures the thrill of love and sex in an environment that’s not conducive to either of them. The tender, loving care Cheng applied to the subject matter certainly paid off in this sweet and moving drama, which won the Queer Lion at last year’s Venice International Film Festival.
MEMORIES OF MY BODY (KUCUMBU TUBUH INDAHKU), directed by Garin Nugroho. (Indonesia) – North American Premiere. Political and social upheaval in Central Java forces a closeted young dancer out into the world. There, he meets remarkable people as he struggles to come to terms with his emotional impulses and sexual identity. Orphaned at a young age, Juno is drawn to dancing and joins a Lengger dance group. Lengger is a traditional dance form from the island of Java, where dancers play with fluid gender identity. In four beautiful chapters we follow Juno through adolescence into adulthood, witnessing his blossoming talent while exploring the more graphic nature of the dance’s origins as well as the men that surround him. Part political commentary, part dance film, part coming-of-age story, everyone that crosses Juno’s path steps into his narrative—his 1980s dance guru; a chiseled prizefighter engaged to be married, and a closeted politician. Inspired by the life of famed dancer and choreographer Rianto—who also narrates the film—Memories of My Body sheds light on the buried trauma and complex life of an oppressed gay man.
PAPI CHULO, directed by John Butler. (Ireland) – In the midst of a California drought and his own personal heartache, weatherman Sean (Matt Bomer) takes a leave of absence following an extremely embarrassing televised breakdown. What is a workaholic to do with so much unexpected free time? Deciding to focus his energy on home improvement instead of self-care, Sean gets to work but soon realizes just how handy he isn’t. On a whim he decides to enlist migrant worker Ernesto (Alejandro Patiño) to lend a helping hand and some vital expertise. When Sean realizes that Ernesto is also a great listener, Sean sees their time together as an opportunity to vent his problems, and the two become unlikely friends. Threatening their relationship is Sean’s unwillingness to deal with his life and, before he knows it, he has no choice but to face the truth. Sean, meet rock bottom. Papi Chulo blends comedy with social commentary and, in tender moments, shows how meaningful life can be when we take time to listen to others. With Matt Bomer, Alejandro Patino.
SOLACE, directed by Tchaiko Omawale. (USA) – Finding your own path when everyone around you wants you to be someone different can feel insurmountable. Solace examines these conflicting pressures and the toll they invariably take. When her father dies, Sole, a bright, politically engaged seventeen-year-old, is sent across the country to L.A. to live with her intensely religious and controlling grandmother (performed stunningly by Lynn Whitfield). Desperate to return to New York, Sole convinces her erratic neighbour and new friend, Jasmine, to join an art/activist group with the aim of winning a grant that will help Sole return home. But with Sole acutely drawn to Jasmine’s freedom and disorder, will all that chaos distract her from her endeavour? Solace is alive with heart-wrenching performances—most notably by lead, Hope Olaide Wilson—in this authentic and complicated coming-of-age story. With Hope Olaide Wilson, Chelsea Tavares, Lynn Whitfield, Glynn Turman.
TRANSFINITE, directed by Neelu Bhuman. (USA) – World Premiere. “Tranfinite is a multicultural, queer, genre-busting, sci-fi, omnibus film showcasing trans people as they come into their power. Nine different shorts from a multicultural collective of writers from across the gender and sexuality spectrum open up an empowering space for trans people to dream. Their dreams are of love and loss, revenge for childhood bullies, the wonder of one’s own language, a magical garden, earth and water protectors, important lessons from a trans elder, and a trans woman who possesses the power to change the world for the greater good. The shorts show trans people working together to create nurturing community spaces for working, loving, teaching, and, most important, for thriving. With outstanding performances and a lush score, Transfinite imagines a poetic space of infinite possibilities and tells unique stories about trans people by trans people themselves.” With Harmony Santana, Cooper Chow, Barnaby Falls, Liz Anderson.
VISION PORTRAITS, directed by Rodney Evans. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. What happens when visually impaired artists work in visual media? Vision Portraits introduces us to several artists who navigate that formidable challenge. Rodney Evans, director of queer classic, Brother to Brother, is slowly losing his vision and questioning what this will mean for his creative output. His soul-searching leads him to other artists (a photographer, a dancer and a writer) who are legally blind or visually impaired. Evans is eager to understand how they handle the constraints of creating work in traditionally visual media. What results is a quiet yet powerfully personal film where all four artists work through questions and answers about their identity, art, and vision. Vision Portraits introduces us to fascinating artists who confront their disability and create art imbued with a unique perspective on the world.
VITA & VIRGINIA, directed by Chanya Button. (Ireland/ UK) – Before film and TV screens featured queer women’s lives, we read love letters written by notable heroines such as Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf. In Vita & Virginia, filmmaker Chanya Button (2015 Inside Out’s Burn Burn Burn) brings writing to life, demonstrating how a relationship shaped two author’s paths and inspired one of Woolf’s most famous works. Before they met, charismatic socialite Vita (Gemma Arterton) decided that the famously elusive Virginia (Elizabeth Debicki) would be her next conquest. When Vita’s plan comes to fruition, the two forge an unconventional love affair that pushes social boundaries and tests the limits of their marriages. Virginia’s emotional struggles and Vita’s impulsiveness combine for a chaotic romance, which ultimately fuels Virginia’s creativity and empowers her to channel Vita’s persona into a novel, Orlando. Button’s modern take on this iconic relationship will satisfy longtime fans of Woolf and Sackville-West, while serving as a beautiful introduction to those who have yet to discover them.
ZEN IN THE ICE RIFT (Zen sul ghiaccio sottile), directed by Margherita Ferri. (Italy) – Canadian Premiere. Zen is a rowdy 16-year-old living in a small village on top of the Italian Apennines. Despite being a rising star on the local hockey team, they can’t seem to connect with anyone. The only time Zen isn’t alone is when being bullied at school or during hockey practice. In fact, they seem destined to make a high school career out of their loneliness, until Vanessa comes along. As the hockey team captain’s beautiful girlfriend, Vanessa seems to have it all, yet she shares Zen’s feelings of being misunderstood. But there just might be hope for them as they embark on what becomes an unexpected friendship. Ferri’s stylish and assured first feature follows two teenagers who are seeking the courage to explore their true selves. With Fabrizia Sacchi.
ANNE+, directed by Valerie Bisscheroux. (Netherlands) – Canadian Premiere. When it comes to queer women and dating, we often recognize universal rites of passage: first love, the older woman, the closeted—or the wild—one. In this smart, sexy new web series from the Netherlands, Anne is looking back on her liaisons with various girlfriends, as she moves into a new apartment. Each episode features one of Anne’s past relationships, from its swoony beginnings to the depressing, frustrating, or inevitable end. Along the way, Anne learns a great deal about herself and what she wants. This series takes an honest, funny look at what it means to be young and in love. And as Anne works her way through her past romances, you just might recognize some of your own ex-girlfriends. All six episodes of Anne+ will be screened in this program. With Hanna van Vliet, Eline van Gils, Sharai Rodrigues, Djamila Landbrug, Kirsten Mulder.
CAMP CHAOS, directed by Cory Krueckeberg. (USA) – World Premiere. A series that opens with a sex act while a voiceover provides a poetically erotic monologue can lead to some assumptions, but Camp Chaos is just as much a self-empowering makeover show as it is a raunchy fantasy. As the first episode unfolds, we learn that real-life social media hottie Matthew Camp is setting out to recreate some of his sultriest sexual memories. We watch him video chat with a series of guys about their sexual desires until one shows up in real life to help Camp with his project. And then there’s the reveal: a hardcore staging of the memory we’ve been hearing about throughout the episode. Sizzling stuff that treats sexuality both seriously and playfully. Matthew Camp and show creator Cory Krueckeberg are returning to Inside Out with a vengeance, having previously screened Getting Go, the Go Doc Project, which won the Special Jury Award in 2013. The first episode of Camp Chaos will screen in this program.
EASTSIDERS: SEASON 4, directed by Kit Williamson. (USA) – World Premiere. With the interconnecting plots of a soap opera, but ripe with dark, queer humour and just the right amount of gratuitous sex, the web turned Netflix series EastSiders is back for a fourth and final season. Created, written, directed by and starring Kit Williamson, who has appeared on Mad Men and The Good Wife, EastSiders also features Williamson’s real-life partner, John Halbach, as part of a strong ensemble cast. In its final season, Williamson’s character Cal and boyfriend Thom (played by As the World Turns’s adorable Van Hansis) have journeyed far beyond the anxieties about monogamy that launched the series. EastSiders delivers not only laughs and intrigue, but also offers wry observations on modern queer life, particularly among the denizens of Los Angeles’ trendy Silver Lake neighbourhood. The first two episodes of Season Four will screen in this program, followed by a panel. With Kit Williamson, Van Hansis.
THE FILTH, directed by Jamie Holt. (USA) – World Premiere. Life is messy and mettlesome for two muddle-headed best friends who are trying to make a go of life and love in L.A., in Jamie Holt’s hilarious half-hour comedy series, The Filth. Stella, a bisexual plumber who moonlights as a go-go dancer, is perpetually anxious and commitment-phobic. Max, an aspiring actor whose career has stalled, needs constant affirmation and is crazy in love with his allegedly straight roommate, Danny. Stella and Max bond when they realize how much of their lives seem to be mired in filth. But things begin to look up when Stella meets super cute fellow go-go dancer, Jocelyn. And Danny seems to be getting ready to finally leave the closet behind. Are things about to change for Max and Stella, or will they both find ways to sabotage their own happiness? Recalling tragicomic series such as Please Like Me, The Filth is a wickedly funny tribute to the chaos of modern life. All five episodes of Season One will screen in this program. With Christopher Cullen.
RAZOR TONGUE, directed by Rain Valdez. (USA) – World Premiere. A razor-sharp tongue is a great asset, but what happens when the people you cut are those closest to you? Razor Tongue deftly navigates the calling out—and the being called out. Whether sitting through a floundering Tinder date or a terrible job interview Belle calls out microaggressions and bad behaviour from men whenever she sees it. But when someone turns the tables on her in public, she begins to wonder about how effective public shaming actually is. There has been ample talk recently about the call-out culture, especially in LGBTQ2S+ communities, and Razor Tongue—anew web series from Rain Valdez of Transparent—cuts to the heart of the issue. All seven episodes of Razor Tongue will screen in this program. With Rain Valdez, Sterling Jones, Alexandra Grey, Carmen Scott.
VIDA: SEASON TWO PREVIEW & CONVERSATION, directed by Catalina Aguilar Mastretta. (USA) – Winner of the 2019 GLAAD Media Award for Best Comedy Series, the groundbreaking Vida is returning for an action-packed second season. Developed by showrunner Tanya Sarachoand an all-Latinx writers’ room, Vida burst onto the digital small screen in 2018 to critical acclaim—in particular from Latinx critics, praising its authenticity—and introduced us to a diverse, captivating and super queer cast of characters living and loving in the rapidly gentrifying world of East Los Angeles. Vida centres on sisters Emma and Lyn (Mishel Prada and Melissa Barrera),who return to their Eastside neighbourhood following their mother’s death, only to learn that their mother kept many secrets—including the fact that she had a live-in partner, Eddy (rising non-binary star, Ser Anzoatugui). In partnership with Starz, Inside Out is proud to present the first two episodes of Season 2, followed by an onstage conversation with guests that include Mishel Prada and Ser Anzoatugui. Word to the wise: Binge on Season 1 on Starz NOW!
We are living in the Golden Age of television and digital series, and this program brings a selection of queer and trans episodes to the cinema screen.
FEMME QUEEN CHRONICLES, directed by Ahya Simone Taylor. (USA). Chanel and her friends Eryka, Amirah, and Shevon all are just trying to make it through the day without getting clocked as trans women–or clocking someone else over the head.
I’M FINE, directed by Andrew Ceperley. (Canada). Jeff brings Zachary to meet his mom who is recovering after a health scare. While there, Zachary unearths some hidden insecurities that even Jeff isn’t ready to face.
MIGUEL, directed by Daphna Levin, Tom Salama. (Israel). Miguel is a heart-wrenching true story of a gay man’s determination to fulfill his dream of adopting a child.
THESE THEMS, directed by Jett Garrison. (USA). These Thems, a comedic digital series, follows four queer characters: a newly out lesbian and her gay best friend, a trans man who’s still in the closet at work, and a nonbinary educator.
Now in its 29th year, the 2019 INSIDE OUT LGBTQ FILM FESTIVAL is set to kick-off later this month. The 11-day Festival ranks third only behind TIFF and Hot Docs as the largest Film Festival in Toronto!
In advance of the Festival is the LGBTQ Finance Forum, taking place on May 30 – 31, 2019, providing LGBTQ-identified producers and/or producers creating LGBTQ content an opportunity to pitch their projects directly to top decision makers.
These projects include:
BLUE JEAN (UK) / Director: Georgia Oakley, Producer: Hélène Sifre
Logline: In 1988, a closeted teacher is pushed to the brink when a student threatens to expose her sexuality.
BOYFRIEND (CANADA & INDIA) / Director: Ashim Ahluwalia, Producer: Kelly Balon, Anand Ramayya
Logline: A middle-aged gay production manager, has his privileged world jolted when he picks up a 19-year-old lower class hustler in a popular cruising area in South Mumbai.
DISCLOSURE (USA) / Director: Sam Feder, Producer: Laverne Cox (exec.), Amy Scholder, Sam Feder
Logline: Disclosure is an unprecedented look at the depiction of transgender people and experiences throughout the history of film and television, revealing how Hollywood has simultaneously reflected and manufactured our deepest anxieties about gender. Over 100 years of footage, from A Florida Enchantment (1914) to Pose (2018), is woven together with the personal stories of prominent media figures like Laverne Cox, showing both the consequences of depicting marginalized communities without their participation, and the liberatory potential of the medium when their voices are centered.
ERIN’S GUIDE TO KISSING GIRLS (CANADA) Director: Julianna Notten, Producer: Claire Allore
Logline: In the emotional world of middle school, Erin, a spunky 12 year-old and the only out person in her grade, panics when her best and only friend, the brilliant Liz, is accepted into a private high school and instead of confronting all her big feelings about this, redirects her energy towards the mysterious new girl and instant-crush, Sydni, but in working towards her first real relationship, realizes she could be losing Liz in the process.
GOLDEN DELICIOUS (CANADA) / Director: Jason Karman, Producer: Kristyn Stilling
Logline: 16 year old Jake Wong is a people pleaser caught between living out his father’s dreams of becoming a basketball star, his girlfriend’s dream of their future together, and his newly awakened feelings for the boy next door. As his life spins out of control, Jake must realize his own hopes, dreams, and sense of self, before his self-sabotage ruins his relationships with the people who love him the most.
LAVENDER (UK) / Director: Jake Graf, Producer: Andee Ryder
Logline: Gay. Transgender. Pregnant. All Matt needed was an elderly French catholic to show him it was the most normal thing in the world. Lavender is a character-driven drama about a trans man’s struggle to accept the impending birth of his child, his revised role in society and most importantly himself, with only an old French spinster for support. An examination of the duality between mind and body, self identity and perceived identity.
TRIBE (CANADA) / Director: Joseph Amenta, Producer: Alexandra Roberts, Daniel Sedore
Logline: Three adolescent boys become enraptured with life in the queer world as they experience it for the first time. It isn’t until a loss of life forces them to acknowledge the reality they have chosen to leave behind.
BEFORE I CHANGE MY MIND (CANADA) / Director: Trevor Anderson, Producer: Alyson Richards, Katrina Beatty
Logline: In 1986 Red Deer, an androgynous 12-year-old enters a clandestine relationship with the school bully, making increasingly dangerous choices to get popular.
WHAT I CALL HER (CANADA) / Director: D.W. Waterson, Producer: Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs
Logline: The estranged mother of 25-year old Kate is on her death-bed. Kate drafts a scathing obituary for her that reflects Kate’s view that her mother was abusive.
The 2019 Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival runs from May 23 – June 2, 2019. Click here for more.
Running May 24 to June 3, 2018 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, the INSIDE OUT LGBT FILM FESTIVAL is set to kick-off! Several high-profile Films set to premiere at the Festival including Opening Night Gala A KID LIKE JAKE starring Jim Parsons and Claire Danes, HEARTS BEAT LOUD starring Kiersey Clemmons and Nick Offerman and THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST for which Chloë Grace Moretz won Best Actress at Sundance earlier this year. Hotly-tipped also is HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES starring Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman, which will see a digital release in early June.
Our Team preview for you some of the Festival’s most-talked-about titles and we will be providing you updates on some of these as the Festival commences!
In the meantime, here are some hidden treasures at Inside Out:
A MOMENT IN THE REEDS
Review by George Kozera
A MOMENT IN THE REEDS opens with Leevi (Jaume Puustinen) in a car with his father Jouko (Mika Melender) driving through the Finnish countryside. The emotional estrangement between the two is palpable. Leevi just arrived from Paris, where he is studying literature, to help renovate the family lake house and pointedly deflects the questions from his dad about his life and living arrangements. Arriving at the cottage, Leevi learns that his father hired a handyman to help with the renovations. A foreigner. Fortuitously, Tareeq (Boodi Kabbani) arrives, and whereas he cannot speak Finnish, his carpentry skills far outweigh Leevi’s and the father and son communicate with him in English.
When the father is called away on business, the two young men bond while working together, then drinking beers in the sauna and on the porch afterwards. The attraction between them is tangible and intense and they eventually wind up in bed together.
Whereas the plot of A MOMENT IN THE REEDS is somewhat derivative of many gay-themed dramas, the romance between Leevi and Tareeq is realized exquisitely with moments of sensuality coupled with revelations shared (Tareeq’s struggles with being a Syrian refugee living in Finland and Leevi’s emotions dealing with his dead mother). Billed as the first LGBT Romance from Finland, Writer/Director Mikko Makela fashioned a beautifully-accomplished, emotionally involving Movie. Kudos.
A MOMENT IN THE REEDS plays at the TIFF Bell Lightbox,June 3, 2018, 4:45 pm
Review by Justin Waldman
Derek Dodge’s Documentary Hurley focuses on racecar legend Hurley Haywood, and his struggles with being gay in such a “macho” sport. The Documentary focuses on Hurley’s career as well as his relationship with Peter Gregg on and potentially off the racetrack. This also serves as HurleyHaywood’s official ‘coming-out’, as he was worried that doing so would dampen his career and he would not be accepted by the racing world.
This is a Sports Documentary with an LGBTQ underbelly. It focuses more on Haywood’s career than it does his personal life and relationships. However, when it does get into his personal life and relationships it becomes a beautiful story of courage and acceptance and shows that sometimes in life being who you want to be is harder than it should have to be.
Hurley is an eye-opening examinayion about his career and the toxic masculinity that surrounded the sport in the ’70s and arguably even today, and the love that is shared between his partner and himself for being able to overcome the adversary that is Motorsport.
Hurley screens at Inside Out on Monday May 28, 2018 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, 7 pm.
Review by George Kozera
Bearded hunky Spaniard Bruno (Richard Garcia) arrives in Reykjavik, Iceland to look for his companion, Norberto, who left him without any explanation. While waiting for any kind of information from the police, his sister tells him to meet up with another ex-pat Spaniard, Arnau(Raul Portero) while there. Thus begins GRIMSEY, a journey around Iceland about a man looking for answers and/or closure.
Arnau, a tour guide, meets up with Bruno who is somewhat rude to him. When Bruno is told by the police that Norberto was last seen in a little town of Vik, he phones Arnau to apologize for his behaviour earlier and tells him he’s on his way to the small town north of Reykjavik to continue his quest. Suspension of disbelief number one: who shows at Bruno’s rental seconds before he leaves? Arnau. (How did he find Bruno and how did he know which car rental he was at?)
Arriving in Vik, only to be told that Norberto left three weeks prior heading further north, suspension of disbelief number two occurs: they meet another ex-pat gay couple from Spain who actually met and dined with Norberto. Back in the car. Scene after endless scene where we hear Bruno’s messages to Norberto which include pearls like “I feel my heart as a hotel. A hotel that you can leave without saying goodbye” and confessing that he was always a terrible travel companion with him and had been unfaithful. (No wonder Norberto ran away without a trace). We also hear Arnau’s messages to an ex-boyfriend which also doesn’t paint him in a positive light.
As a Road Trip Movie, GRIMSEY is endlessly fascinating. Iceland is a country rich in diverse landscapes and the cities they stop at are picturesque. The real star of this Movie is the beauty of Reykjavik. Written and directed by the two leads, as a narrative this Film is a bit lagging with scenes lasting longer than they should or have touches that suggest that GRIMSEY perhaps veers a bit to much to vanity rather than substance.
GRIMSEY plays at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, May 25, 2018, 7:15 pm.
OCTAVIO IS DEAD!
Review by George Kozera
In OCATVIO IS DEAD!, Tyler (Sarah Gadon) just lost her job when she finds out the father she never met had passed away and she is the sole beneficiary of his estate. Her mother Joan (played in full throttle eccentric mode by Rosanna Arquette) sees this as an opportunity to stop her years’ long medical insurance fraud and sponge off her daughter but Tyler decides to run away in the middle of the night and go to her father, Octavio’s (Raoul Trujillo), house to learn more about the man she knew nothing about. Thus begins Canadian Writer/Director Sook-Yin Lee’s atmospheric new Drama.
While rummaging through her father’s belongings in his filth-covered, book-lined apartment, Octavio appears to her in the form of a ghost. She also finds a photo of him besides a handsome young man, who she ultimately finds working at a gentleman’s club. To gain access to the facility, she lops off her hair, puts on her daddy’s suit, shirt and ties and successfully meets Apostolis (Dimitris Kitsos). They immediately bond and, consequently, secrets are revealed.
Sarah Gadon (Alias Grace), looking very much like and channeling a young Angelina Jolie, gives a compelling performance as Tyler, however unbelievable she looked and acted as a guy. It is accomplished and interesting. Best known for her work on Much Music, CBC Radio and in Film (Shortbus), Sook-Yin Lee’s writing and directing seem to be influenced strongly by David Lynch. Trying to combine supernatural elements with grotesque secondary characters and surreal imagery doesn’t always work in her favour but it doesn’t fail her vision either. Kitsos has very little to do but look pretty and be half-naked and Trujillo provides menace, tinged with sadness.
OCTAVIO IS DEAD! may be overreaching at times, but it is rarely uninteresting. It plays at TIFF Bell Lightbox on June 2, 2018 at 9:15 pm.
Review by George Kozera
In Ryerson University graduate, Drew Lint’s, feature length debut, M/M, this Writer/Director takes us deep inside a world of sexual and psychological obsession to a techno beat and rhythm. Golden-haired Matthew (Antoine Lahaie) recently moved to Berlin from Montreal. His is a lonely existence, made even more untenable with occurring dreams of statues staring at him. While at his job working at an indoor swimming pool facility, he gets a message on his cellphone, via a gay dating app, from Matthias (Nicolas Maxim Edlicher), seductively lounging across from him. Whereas nothing happens after that first communication, Matthew follows Matthias where he watches him shower, then trails him all the way to his apartment where he sees him in a sexual embrace with another guy. The obsession with the sexually voracious Matthias intensifies to not only stalking him but to Matthew changing the way he looks and dresses to mirror Matthias. When Matthias is hospitalized in a coma after a motorcycle accident, Matthew moves into his apartment and starts to live his life as Matthias does. Is it no surprise they share the same name; are they, in essence, the same person?
M/M is the most visually impressive directorial Feature Film debut I’ve seen since Kogonada’s Columbus. Drew Lint masters colours and textures seamlessly and breathtakingly. His use of whites and grays delights as does the occasional use of computer graphics. His storytelling is also impressive as it concisely encompasses many themes: loneliness, sexuality, the Social Media, art as a commodity. There are moments in the Movie that go on a bit too long or add nothing to the narrative but that can be attributed to a first-timer throwing all that he can to stimulate the senses.
M/M is a provocative, atmospheric and fascinating. Drew Lint is a name to remember and follow.
M/M plays at the TIFF Bell LightboxMay 30, 2018 at 9:15 pm
Running May 24 to June 3, the 28th annual INSIDE OUT TORONTO LGBT FILMFESTIVAL is about ready to kick-off! Some high-profile Films including recent winner at Sundance, Desiree Akhavan‘s THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST (starring Chloë Grace Moretz and Sasha Lane) are set to premiere. As announced previously, Silas Howard‘s A KID LIKE JAKE (also at Sundance) starring Jim Parsons and Claire Danes, will kick-off the Festival!
Comprised of 49 Films total, this year’s lineup includes 5 world premieres, 7 international premieres and 27 Canadian premieres from 27 countries.
Other high-profile titles include Sundance selection HEARTS BEAT LOUD (Brett Haley), CANARY (Christiaan Olwagen), HALF THE PICTURE (Amy Adrion) and 1985 (Yen Tan).
The 2018 feature film program includes a total of 49 films. The lineup includes 5 world premieres, 7 international premieres and 27 Canadian premieres from 27 countries.