The 28th annual Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival takes place May 24 to June 3, 2018, and includes both feature and short film programming championing innovative LGBTQ filmmakers from across the globe.

Opening the festival is the international premiere of Silas Howard’s A KID LIKE JAKE, and to close is the Canadian premiere HEARTS BEAT LOUD from director Brett Haley. This year’s Centerpiece Gala will be the world premiere of Christiaan Olwagen’s CANARY, and the annual Women’s Gala will feature Amy Adrion’s acclaimed documentary HALF THE PICTURE. Additional Special Presentations include the international premiere of 1985 from Yen Tan and the Canadian premiere of THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST from Desiree Akhavan. 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.

In total, 28 narrative and 21 documentary features will debut over the course of the 11 day festival. The feature program includes 6 Galas and Special Presentations, 10 Premieres, 6 Icons, 4 Spotlight on Canada and 23 International Showcase. The festival will also screen 84 Shorts from a wide variety of exciting emerging and established LGBTQ filmmakers.

“Our programming team has raised the bar again this year in delivering a lineup that truly represents the broad diversity of our LGBTQ communities and histories” said Andria Wilson, Executive Director of Inside Out. “With new offerings including our Bell Media Festival Lounge, and the expansion of our LGBTQ film financing forum, this year’s festival will offer more opportunities than ever for connection, conversation, and celebration.” The festival, which launched the first ever annual LGBT Finance Forum, is quickly becoming an international home and incubator for LGBTQ filmmakers, both emerging and established.

“This year’s program offers up an impressive lineup of some of the year’s most anticipated LGBTQ+ films, with world premieres alongside award winners from the world’s top festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, and SXSW,” said Andrew Murphy, Inside Out’s Director of Programming. “As industry and distribution models continue to evolve, so too must Inside Out as we strive to offer thoughtful, interactive, and meaningful film and networking opportunities to our queer film communities and allies.” In addition to Murphy, the programming team includes Jenna Dufton, Cecilio Escobar, Scott Ferguson, Charlie Hidalgo, Allia McLeod and Nik Redman.

Single tickets are now on sale via insideout.ca or by phone at 416-599-8433.

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● Twitter: @InsideOutTO 
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● YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/InsideOutToronto

The 2018 feature film selections are as follows:

GALAS AND SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

OPENING NIGHT
A KID LIKE JAKE, directed by Silas Howard. (USA) – International Premiere. While preparing applications to private schools for four year-old Jake, Alex and Greg are told to focus on what makes their child unique, which, according to their preschool advisor, Judy, is Jake’s gender-expansive play. When Jake begins acting out in preschool, Alex and Greg must come together to lend support and not lose each other in the process. With Claire Danes, Jim Parsons, Octavia Spencer, Amy Landecker, Ann Dowd, and Priyanka Chopra. 

CENTERPIECE
CANARY (KANARIE), directed by Christaan Olwagen. (South Africa) – World Premiere. Set in South Africa in 1985 against a backdrop of apartheid, religion and war, Canary is a charming musical drama that chronicles one teen’s struggle to find his voice. 

CLOSING NIGHT
HEARTS BEAT LOUD, directed by Brett Haley. (USA) – International Premiere. Frank and Sam are the coolest of father/daughter duos. Frank owns a record store in Brooklyn, Sam is months away from heading off to UCLA pre-med, and every week the two get together for family jam sessions. The only problem? Frank’s store is failing and he finds himself in need of a new career path. When he and Sam write a particularly catchy song during their weekly session, Frank has an idea. They should start a band! As Sam struggles to balance her studies, her budding romance with Rose and her father’s sudden intense interest in creating music together, their relationship begins to crack. And when that catchy song goes viral, they are forced to make some major life decisions. With Kiersey Clemons, Sasha Lane, Nick Offerman, Ted Danson, Toni Collette.

WOMEN’S GALA
HALF THE PICTURE, directed by Amy Adrion. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. The documentary goes further than merely offering up disappointing statistics. The story told in Amy Adrion’s vital debut feature is one that manages to paint a clear picture of the severity of the damage while instilling hope for the future. Featuring compelling interviews with some of our most prolific female directors, this film takes an inspired look behind the camera and into the careers of your favourite filmmaking women. With Ava DuVernay, Jill Soloway, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Lena Dunham, Jamie Babbitt, Miranda July, Nisha Ganatra, Kimberly Pierce.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

1985, directed by Yan Tan. (USA) – International Premiere. It’s been three years since Adrian returned from New York City to spend Christmas with his Bible Belt family in Fort Worth, Texas. Hiding behind the guise of a successful life in the Big Apple, he struggles to divulge the truth about his sexuality and his health, before it’s too late. But being honest is proving to be more difficult than he expected. With Jamie Chung, Virginia Madsen, Cory Michael Smith, Michael Chiklis.

THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST, directed by Desiree Akhavan. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. Cameron Post is your average teenage girl. But after a prom night mishap in which she is caught in the act with another young woman, Cameron is sent to a facility that seeks to eliminate same-sex attractions. Despite being subjected to discipline and “de-gaying” methods, she finds herself in a new and exciting community. For the first time, Cameron connects with others like her, and finally has a chance to see herself reflected in the world. With Chloe Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck.

PREMIERES

L’ANIMALE, directed by Katharina Mueckstein. (Austria) – Canadian Premiere. Mati works part time at her mother’s veterinary clinic, learning the ropes so that she can follow in her footsteps. Outside of work, however, Mati’s mother understands so little about her daughter, forcing graduation dresses on her and questioning Mati’s desire to spend all her free time on her motocross bike with the local boys. When Mati develops feelings for a young woman from town and her mother uncovers a secret that her father has been keeping, the family must decide which is more important: living honestly or doing what is expected of them. With Sophie Stockinger, Kathrin Resetarits, Dominik Warta.

FREELANCERS ANONYMOUS, directed by Sonia Sebastian. (USA) – International Premiere. In a moment of drug-induced clarity, Billie quits her job. While searching for a new one she stumbles across a misfit group of unemployed women in a church basement who call themselves “Freelancers Anonymous”. Like Billie, this band of socially awkward ladies want to work but are hopeless at finding jobs, until Billie persuades them to launch an app to reach potential clients. If she could only convince the wedding-obsessed Gayle to support her risky career move, Billie would be all set. With Lisa Cordileone, Alexandra Billings, and Natasha Negovanlis. 

HARD PAINT (TINTA BRUTA), directed by Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon. (Brazil) – Canadian Premiere. After noticing a decline in his chatroom income, and following an untimely court appearance, Pedro decides to track down another online performer, Boy25, and accuses him of stealing his act. But Boy25 turns out to be more than a rival, acquainting Pedro with the exuberant, artsy underground of their hometown of Porto Alegre. With Shico Menegat, Bruno Fernandes, Guega Peixoto.

HURLEY, directed by Derek Dodge. (USA) – World Premiere. In the world of 1970s car racing, Hurley Haywood was cool, calm and collected. A five-time 24 Hours of Daytona winner, three-time Le Mans winner and TransAm champion, Haywood was a Hollywood archetype: a strikingly handsome man brought up by a good Midwestern family. Yet Haywood was often overshadowed by racing partner and volatile mentor, Peter Gregg “the Batman to his Robin” whose abrupt suicide in 1980 shook the sport to its core. And yet Haywood had secrets of his own. Despite multiple encounters with women, some that included public appearances alongside Penthouse models, he remained elusive about his personal life. 

MALILA: THE FAREWELL FLOWER, directed by Anucha Boonyawatana. (Thailand) – North American Premiere. When Shane learns that his former lover, Pitch, has been diagnosed with cancer, Shane returns to his old village to be with him. As Pitch devotes his time to Bai Sri, attempting to heal his body and spirit, the two men seek comfort in one another’s arms and remember their trauma in the difficult years apart. In a desperate effort to save Pitch, Shane embarks on a spiritual journey that will cause him to question everything in his life. With Sukollawat Kanarot, Sumret Muengput, Anuchit Sapanpong.

NIGHT COMES ON, directed by Jordana Spiro. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Angel is released from juvenile detention after serving time for unlawful possession of a weapon. She’s thrown back onto the streets with nothing but a few dollars in her pocket, a broken relationship with her girlfriend, and a focused determination to seek revenge on her father for murdering her mother. With Dominique Fishback and Tatum Marilyn Hall.

POSTCARDS FROM LONDON, directed by Steve McLean. (United Kingdom) – Canadian Premiere. New to the city, teenage Joe dreams of adventure but is short on cash. He is soon taken under the wings of the Raconteurs, a group of sex workers who believe that knowing the history of gay art is key to their success. Joe learns the ropes but discovers he has an unusual affliction every time he sees an art masterpiece he is transported inside the work. Could Joe”s condition be a gift, or his downfall? With Harris Dickerson, Leonardo Salerni, Shaun Aylward, Kiera Bell.

RETABLO, directed by Alvaro Delgado Aparicio. (Peru) – Canadian Premiere. Newcomer Junior Bejar shines in his portrayal of Seguno Paucar, a young boy learning the craft of artisanal Peruvian story boxes (retablos) under the watchful eye of his father Noe. Although the background of their life is full of beauty, spectacular mountain views, vibrant towns and colourful festivals, the local culture can be extraordinarily unforgiving. Segundo reveres his father but struggles with wanting to follow in his footsteps. With Junior Bejar and Amiel Cayo. 

SKATE KITCHEN, directed by Crystal Moselle. (USA) – International Premiere. Camille lives on Long Island and spends most of her days skateboarding alone. After a serious injury, Camille’s single mother finds her daughter’s hobby too dangerous and forces her to quit. But the pull is too strong. After discovering the young women of “The Skate Kitchen” on Instagram, Camille heads to New York City, board in hand. She is quickly adopted by the group and, before she knows it, she is living her dream skating and partying with her very own crew. But Camille comes to understand the complexities of the group dynamic when she befriends a boy from a rival group of skaters. With Kabrina Adams, Tom Bruno, Thaddeus Daniels, Jaden Smith.

WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE, directed by Colin Minihan. (Canada) – Canadian Premiere. On the eve of their one-year wedding anniversary, Jules and Jackie become embroiled in a merciless battle when they find themselves pitted against the most unexpected of adversaries: each other. As violence rains down upon their idyllic forest getaway, the women engage in vicious psychological warfare that will test the limits of their instinct to survive. With Brittany Allen and Hannah Emily Anderson.

ICONS

ANTONIO LOPEZ 1970: SEX, FASHION, & DISCO, directed by James Crump. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. With collaborator Juan Eugene Ramos, Antonio Lopez created ultra-chic fashion illustrations and helped launch the careers of now-iconic women, Grace Jones and Jerry Hall included. Moving through the decadent world of music and fashion, the film immerses us in stunning archival footage and interviews with Lopez’s closest friends and muses. With Jessica Lange, Pat Cleveland, and Karl Lagerfeld. 

BIXA TRAVESTY, directed by Kiko Goifman and Claudia Priscilla. (Brazil) – Canadian Premiere. 
Emerging from the favelas of Sao Paolo, Quebrada is a startlingly original voice who, along with her friend and collaborator, Jup do Bairro, smash gender assumptions and racism with their electrifying live performances. In a series of frank interviews, Quebrada speaks candidly about her experiences as a black trans woman and about her steadfast commitment to self-love. But Quebrada’s vulnerable side is also revealed through intimate archival footage, including home movies that document her recovery from cancer. 

EVERY ACT OF LIFE, directed by Jeff Kaufman. (USA) – International Premiere. Every Act of Life profiles world-renowned playwright Terrence McNally’s groundbreaking career in theatre and film. McNally’s resume includes Kiss of the Spider Woman, Master Class and The Full Monty, to name a few, and Every Act of Life chronicles these career triumphs along with professional and personal lows. Whether winning Tony awards, battling addiction, falling in love, or fighting for LGBTQ rights, McNally’s life story shows us the powerful effect that the arts, and artists like him, can have on the world.  With Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, F. Murray Abraham, Larry Kramer, Nathan Lane, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci, Billy Porter, Christine Baranski and more. 

LARGER THAN LIFE: THE KEVYN AUCOIN STORY, directed by Tiffany Bartok. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. Born in a small Louisiana town, Kevyn Aucoin dreamed big and found his way to New York City. A pioneering makeup artist, Aucoin was renowned in the fashion world for his innovative and trendsetting ideas. Throughout his career, he worked with some of the biggest names in fashion and entertainment, but his rise to the top came at a cost. With Cher, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and more. 

SILVANA, directed by Mika Gustafson, Olivia Kastebring, and Christina Tsiobanelis. (Sweden) – Canadian Premiere. Silvana opens at the beginning of self-proclaimed lesbian, feminist, anti-racist, punk rapper Silvana’s career and reveals an artist who has the whole world ahead of her. As the film charts her rise to fame, it also follows her romance with popstar Beatrice Eli from swoon-worthy beginnings to what would become music world domination, one feminist lesbian anthem at a time. As Silvana draws more and more attention, the pressure mounts, and she must work to keep her career and relationship afloat. With Silvana Imam.

TO A MORE PERFECT UNION: U.S. V WINDSOR, directed by Donna Zaccaro. (USA) –  Canadian Premiere. The great love story of Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer first captivated audiences in the documentary Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement, a recounting of the couple’s long journey toward their 2007 wedding right here in Toronto. Their story, however, was far from over. When Thea passed away in 2009, Edie was faced with a monstrous estate tax bill, the federal government firmly denying benefits to same-sex couples. And so began the fight. 

SPOTLIGHT ON CANADA – Supported by CBC

THE FRUIT MACHINE, directed by Sarah Fodey. (Canada) – World Premiere. After the Second World War, Canada, and much of the Western world, became preoccupied with national security. Against the backdrop of Cold War paranoia, Canada began investigating federal employees who might be susceptible to blackmail by Soviet spies. Homosexuality, along with drunkenness and adultery, was considered a “character weakness” and became grounds for surveillance and interrogation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under the directive of the newly established Security Panel. Over the course of four decades, thousands of men and women had their privacy invaded and their careers ruined. 

LOVE, SCOTT, directed by Laura Marie Wayne. (Canada). Love, Scott follows the life of Wayne’s friend, openly gay musician Scott Jones, three years after he was the victim of an attack outside of a club in Pictou County, Nova Scotia. Now paralyzed from the waist down, Jones’s curiosity, charm and sense of humour remain intact, as do the family and community that surround him. While this documentary addresses small-town homophobia and the failings of the justice system (the assailant was never charged with a hate crime), Jones’s incredible resilience is very much the heart of the film. 

M/M, directed by Drew Lint. (Canada/Germany) – Canadian Premiere.  Matthew is a young Montrealer who has recently moved to Berlin. He longs to make a fresh start but living in a strange new city leaves him feeling isolated and withdrawn. Things begin to change, however, when he meets Matthias. Charismatic, striking and sexy, Matthias is everything Matthew wants to be, and soon Matthew’s interest escalates from infatuation to obsession. He shaves his head, buys look-alike clothes and stalks Matthias through the streets of Berlin. After a motorbike accident lands Matthias in intensive care, Matthew seizes the opportunity to assume Matthias’  identity. In a bid for dominance, their shared power struggle careens between brutal passion and violence. With Nicolas Maxim Endlicher, Antoine Lahaie.

OCTAVIO IS DEAD, directed and screenplay written by Soon-Yin Lee. (Canada) – World Premiere. Tyler is unemployed and unsettled after learning that her father, a man she’s never met, has died and left her everything, including an apartment cluttered with the detritus of a complicated life. Her mother Joan, played by the legendary Rosanna Arquette, doesn’t even want to talk about it. Impulsively deciding to explore her father’s stomping grounds before the apartment is sold, Tyler’s curiosity about her father slowly evolves into a sensual exploration of her own identity and desires. With Sarah Gadon and Dimitris Kitsos. 

INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE 

A MOMENT IN THE REEDS , directed by Mikko Makela. (Finland) – Canadian Premiere. Leevi revisits his hometown in Finland to help renovate the family’s lake house. He is accompanied by Tareq, a lonesome Syrian refugee who is employed by Leevi’s father. By way of handy labour and broken language, Leevi and Tareq’s affections begin to grow. When Leevi’s father is called away on business, the young men’s connection deepens and they discover a shared need to distance themselves from their families in order to live openly. With Janne Puustinen, Boodi Kabbani, and Mika Melender. 

ALASKA IS A DRAG, directed by Shaz Bennett. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. After being discovered and recruited by a boxing coach, outsider Leo sees an opportunity to break free from the small-town burden of fish canning and getting beaten up by bullies, not to mention the potential of impressing the cute new boy in town, Declan. With the help of his resilient sister Tristen, Leo sets out to pack a good punch, keeping sight of his real dream: drag superstardom.  With Martin L. Washington Jr., Matt Dallas, and Maya Washington. 

ANCHOR AND HOPE, directed by Carlos Marques-Marcet. (Spain / UK) – Canadian Premiere. Eva and Kat live a humble, carefree life aboard their London canal houseboat, just as Kat had always envisioned. But after the death of their beloved pet cat, Eva realizes she wants more: she wants to start a family. Kat is apprehensive about such a huge change, but when her best friend, Roger, drops in from Barcelona to party with the ladies, the trio drunkenly toys around with the idea of making a baby together. Forced into a corner, Kat succumbs to the plan and, before she knows it, she’s on a path to full-blown adulthood. As Eva enjoys her pregnancy and Roger fantasizes about his new role, Kat begins to feel further and further away from both Eva and Roger and the life that she wanted. Can her relationship with Kat survive their feuding to become a realized dream? With Oona Chaplin and Natalia Tena.

CALL HER GANDA, directed by PJ Raval. (USA). In 2014, Jennifer Laude was murdered by an American marine. This senseless crime revealed the day-today dangers that trans women face in the Philippines, compounded by American imperialism. The Visiting Forces Agreement made prosecution of her killer difficult. Three women, trans activist and journalist Meredith Talusan, lawyer Virgie Suarez, and Jennifer’s mother Julita, search for answers while fighting and seeking justice for Jennifer. 

DADDY ISSUES, directed by Amara Cash. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. Maya spends her days escaping into her drawings and social media, where she cyberstalks the enigmatic Jasmine. Jasmine is an aspiring designer in an emotionally charged, co-dependent relationship with neurotic sugar daddy, Simon. When Maya and Jasmine’s paths finally cross, the two embark on a romantic relationship that provides Maya her dream of first love and Jasmine the inspiration she needs to jump start her career. A bizarre love triangle soon emerges, however, and we learn that Maya and Simon have more in common than merely their love for Jasmine.  With Madison Lawlor, Montana Manning, and Andrew Pifko. 

THE DEVIL’S MAGNIFICENT (EL DIABLO ES MAGNIFICO), directed by Nicolas Videla.. (Chile / France) – Canadian Premiere. Piloting the occasionally hostile Parisian streets, dancing through traffic, or ruminating on the necessity of mascara or the travails of sex, Manu is a genuine eccentric. Dressed in a fur coat and sunglasses, and with a whole lot of sass, she navigates former and potential lovers with grace and wisdom beyond her years. With Manu Guevera, Daniel Larrieu, and Vicktor Philip. 

EVENING SHADOWS (SURMAEE SHAAM), directed by Sridhar Rangayan. (India) – Canadian Premiere. Kartik is a photographer living a contented life with his boyfriend in Mumbai, far from the prying eyes of his religious family. Upon returning to his conservative hometown in South India, he is shocked to discover that his overbearing father has arranged to marry him off to a childhood friend, Neela. Feeling tremendous pressure from his family, Kartik impulsively comes out to his mother, the only person who has ever really attempted to understand him. His decision presents serious ramifications that could not only destroy his relationship with his parents, but also threaten his safety and well-being. With Mona Ambegaonkar, Faredoon Dodo Bhujwala, and Arpit Chaudhary. 

FISH BONES, directed Joanne Mony Park. (USA) – Canadian Premiere.  Hana is stuck between two worlds. She tends to her ailing mother and helps her brother at the family restaurant, but she also wants to focus on her modelling career. Her priorities are challenged even further when she meets and falls for Nico. Straddling emotions, family, and career expectations, Hana must decide what is truly best for her future. With Joony Kim and Cris Gris.

GENDERBENDE, directed by Sophia Dros. (Netherlands) – Canadian Premiere.  The film profiles five young people in the Netherlands who identify as non-binary or genderqueer. They discuss important issues in their lives such as which bathroom to use, whether to take hormones, and how to accurately reflect their identity on dating apps where male or female are the only gender options. We witness their daily struggles as these young people are constantly besieged by curious strangers. 

GRIMSEY, directed and screenplay written by Richard Garcia and Raul Portero. (Spain) –  North American Premiere. After his breakup with Bruno, Norberto decides to leave everything behind and disappear to Iceland. Bruno, however, won’t give up on their relationship and he travels to Reykjavik on a mission to find his ex. Following his arrival, Bruno meets Arnau, a fellow Spaniard who is working as a tour guide. The pair set off on a journey that will take them around the country and ultimately to the remote island of Grimsey. With Richard Garcia, Fanny Gautier, and Helga Thury Ingvarsdottir. 

HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES, directed by John Cameron Mitchell. (USA) – Toronto Premiere.  Set in the London suburb of Croydon during the Silver Jubilee year of 1977, fanzine editor Enn meets Zan, a mesmerizing member of an alien cult who has taken human form to complete a mission on planet Earth. It’s love at first stare, and soon Enn and Zan are embarking on a misadventure to learn the basics of punk and how to succeed in anarchy without really trying. With Elle Fanning and Nicole Kidman, and Ruth Wilson

LEZ BOMB, directed by Jenna Laurenzo. (USA) – International Premiere. Lauren decides to take the plunge and come out to her family at Thanksgiving dinner. But when her roommate Austin shows up, the family assumes he is her boyfriend and what follows is a downward spiral into madness. As more and more family members arrive it seems less and less likely that Lauren will find her voice. Will she ever be able to come out to her parents? Will her brother stop hitting on her girlfriend? Will her uncle burn down the house with his secret pot smoking? When it comes to a family gathering, anything is possible. With Jenna Laurenzo, Brandon Michael Hall, Cloris Leachman, Bruce Dern, Steve Guttenberg, Kevin Pollack, and Elaine Hendrix. 

MAN MADE, directed by T. Cooper. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. Man Made follows four men who are training for Trans Fit Con, the only all-transgender bodybuilding competition in the world. The strength on display, however, transcends the physical: Rese is a young father struggling with periods of homelessness; Dominic seeks out his family of origin; Kennie admits to himself and to his loved ones who he is for the first time, and Mason, a loving husband who struggles with mental illness, works continuously to be the man he’s always wanted to be, inside and out. 

MARIO, directed by Marcel Gisler. (Switzerland) – Canadian Premiere.  For every Gus Kenworthy coming out story, far more closeted athletes struggle between living an authentic life or remaining closeted for the sake of succeeding in professional sport. Enter Mario, star player and captain of his football team. Mario’s sights are set on being promoted to the main squad, but his game is thrown off course when handsome new striker Leon joins the team. With what initially feels like a budding coming-of-age locker room romance, Mario comes out of left field in this poignant, timely story that focuses instead on the claustrophobic panic felt among LGBTQ players who are pressured to hide their sexuality. With Max Hubacher, Aaron Altaras, and Jessy Moravec. 

MONTANA, directed and screenplay written by Limor Shmila. (Israel) Following the death of her grandfather, Efi returns to her hometown for the first time in years. The visit results in a chance meeting with Karen, a married friend of the family, that soon blossoms into romance. With the good comes the bad, as being home also forces Efi to confront the childhood secrets she once ran from. When she discovers that these secrets also affect Karen’s family, Efi must be willing to put her own happiness aside and do what is right. With Noa Biron, Avi Malka, and Hai Maor. 

MR. GAY SYRIA, directed by Ayse Toprak (Turkey/France/Germany) – Canadian Premiere. Mr. Gay Syria follows two Syrian refugees trying to rebuild their lives and create the largest platform possible to shed light on the refugee crisis and how it effects the LGBTQ community. With roadblocks at every corner, we witness the struggle for one gay Syrian vying for the title of Mr. Gay World in order to live freely.

MY LIFE WITH JAMES DEAN (MA VIE AVEC JAMES DEAN), directed by Dominique Choisy (France) – Canadian Premiere. When soft-spoken film director Geraud Champreux (Johnny Rasse) arrives on France’s picturesque Normandy coast for screenings of his latest arthouse movie, there’s nobody there to greet him. But he somehow manages to attract a motley crew of locals who bring their own drama along on his little tour.

PATERNAL RITES, directed by Jules Rosskam (USA) – Canadian Premiere. Some actions can never be forgiven, while other inactions are equally unforgivable. Paternal Rites, a searing, personal experimental film by filmmaker Jules Rosskam, sensitively examines how histories of abuse can haunt a family long after the perpetrator has died. Paternal Rites is a thoughtful, nuanced examination of the aftermath of abuse. 

THE REST I MAKE UP (Sneak Preview), directed by Michelle Memran (USA) – World Premiere. A chance encounter between two creative women results in a fruitful collaboration. The Rest I Make Up is a fascinating film about a unique playwright and the disease that threatens to silence her. The Rest I Make Up is a loving portrait of a creative woman who remains vibrant, funny, and alive in the face of disappearing memories. 

THEY, directed by Anahita Ghazvinizadeh (USA/Qatar) – Toronto Premiere. Sometimes the decisions we make when we are young are meaningless and will have no effect on our lives as adults. But sometimes these decisions mean everything. They is a groundbreaking film that takes a penetrating look at one teenager who is at a very significant fork in the road. Executive-produced by Jane Campion, Anahita Ghazvinizadeh’s feature debut is a beautiful and intimate examination of one young person’s path to living authentically. 

TODAY MATCH AT 3 (HOY PARTIDO A LAS 3), directed by Clarisa Navas (Argentina/Paraguay) – Canadian Premiere. We celebrate any film that features one or two strong and nuanced queer female characters, and Today Match at 3 features a whole team’s worth. Today Match at 3 is especially appealing for anyone who has ever participated in organized sports. But what makes this film shine is its naturalistic, fully developed portrayal of a diverse collection of energetic queer women. 

WHITE RABBIT, directed by Daryl Wein (USA) – Canadian Premiere. White Rabbit stands out as intersectional feminist gold in a time where we are encouraged to identify and point out social inequalities. Daryl Wein (Breaking Upwards, Lola Versus) invites us to experience what moved him so deeply upon first discovering Bang and her performance art: we are confronted with the harshness of institutional racism and our gut responses to such injustice. 

YOURS IN SISTERHOOD, directed by Irene Lusztig (USA). Between 1972 and 1980, at the height of its popularity, Ms. Magazine was being read by women from all walks of life, thousands having written letters to the publication expressing both gratitude and annoyance at the magazine’s take on feminist issues. Director Lusztig calls Yours in Sisterhood as much a study in “unfinished business” in the work of feminism as it is a cinematic love letter to the powerful resolve of women whose voices are finally being heard.

The 2018 short film selections are as follows:

SPOTLIGHT ON CANADA
SHORTS: Local Heroes – From familiar faces to fresh meat, this is our annual collection of some of the best this great city has to offer. 

WE FORGOT TO BREAK UP, directed by Chandler Levack. (Canada). After a few years absence, Evan unexpectedly returns one night to face his now famous former bandmates. 

PROSE, directed by Shawn Bracke. (Canada). The power of influence and the destruction of intelligence are portrayed through dance. 

STRIPPED, directed by Javon Boreland. (Canada). Go behind the scenes with Mz. Lady Ice as she reveals the struggles and triumphs that come with being a female exotic dancer. 

CHERRY COLA, directed by Joseph Amenta. (Canada). Two drag queens move through the city on a night of debauchery, insight, and revenge. 

VERTICAL LINES, directed by Kyle Resume. (Canada). Dave and Andrew reach a deeper level of closeness when they share personal self-harm experience. 

THE MORNING AFTER, directed Tricia Hagoriles. (Canada). Two women, in the middle of their own life crises, try to find physical respite together, only to have an emotional one-night stand. 

QUEEN OF HEARTS, directed by Lindsey Addawoo, Kyisha Williams. (Canada). A powerful young queen struggles to navigate supernatural abilities that are tied to her emotions when tragedy strikes those closest to her. 

SHORTS: Stories We Tell – A celebration of #Canqueer excellence, this program captures the compelling diversity of our homegrown talent. 

CHARLIE, directed by Lesley Johnson. (Canada). Two high school girls navigate the blurred lines between friendship and love. 

EVERYTHING MUST GO, MY LOVE, directed by Jocelyn Roy. (Canada). A young intellectual and his boyfriend witness the destruction of the neighbourhood movie theatre where they fell in love. 

PRE-DRINK, directed by Marc Antoine- Lemire. (Canada). Longtime best friends, Alexe and Carl resolve to take their relationship to a new level where they have sex for the first time. 

EXHUMATION, directed by Daniel McIntyre. (Canada). Peeling back the shrouded image, Exhumation is a film that reanimates lost desire. 

IRIS, directed by Gabrielle Demers. (Canada). As the storm outside rages, a special lust for Laura grows inside Emanuelle. 

LIONS IN WAITING, directed by Jason Karman. (Canada). The newest member of a minor league hockey team fights for ice time after being hazed, and ultimately finds the courage to be comfortable in his own skin. 

SILVIA IN THE WAVES, directed by Giovana Olmos. (Canada). Through mourning, a
family is finally able to truly know Silvia.

SHORTS: 10 Things I Love About You

VIOLET AND JUNE, directed by Linnea Ritland (Canada). Violet attempts to confess her love for her best friend June, but it’s never the right time. June’s boyfriend is always around, June stands her up, Violet’s away for a month animating bug fight,“but her feelings for June keep coming back. And back. And back again. 

DO I HAVE BOOBS NOW?, directed by Milena Salazar, Joella Cabalu. (Canada). In opposition to Instagram’s censorship policies, trans activist Courtney Demone launches the viral campaign #DoIHaveBoobsNow, in which she posts topless photos of her transition on social media. 

SLEEPOVER, directed by Jimi Vall Peterson. (Sweden). After a night at the movies, Emil and Adam head home for a sleepover. Nothing tests unspoken feelings more than sharing a double bed with your crush.

JELANII’S DANCE, directed by Maggie Carroll. (USA). Jelanii dances because he’s able to express how he feels without having to say anything.

ONLY WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ME (APENAS O QUE VOCÊ PRECISA SABER SOBRE MIM), directed by Maria Augusta Vilalaba Nunes. (Brazil). Laura and Fabio meet at a skate park and their friendship blossoms into something deeper. But when Laura disappears without a word, Fabio tracks her down to uncover the reason why. 

FLASH FLOOD, directed by Alli MacKay. (Canada/USA). In this beautifully animated documentary, a flood washes over the planet and reveals three unique perspectives on gender and identity.

ZINZAN, directed by Ben Walton. (New Zealand). After his son insists on bringing his boyfriend to practice, a rugby-mad father fears for his son’s chances of getting onto the national team. 

POP ROX, directed by Nate Trinrud. (USA). Jesse decides to profess her love to her best friend Roxanne with a grand gesture. What could possibly go wrong?

BATHROOM RULES, directed by Charlie Hidalgo. (Canada). Charlie’s trip to the washroom shows how the lack of gender neutral bathrooms impacts students academic performance, safety, and mental and physical health. 

KICK THE CAN (TARRO), directed by Andres Losada. (Colombia). A group of teenagers play a friendly game of Kick the Can. Two of them hide together: one has an idea, the other has a secret.

SHORTS: BOLD – BOLD celebrates voices outside the mainstream. This program offers a fresh perspective, exploring the complexities of the black experience in all its diversity, humour, pain and triumph. 

FRAN THIS SUMMER, directed by Mary Evangelista (USA). Teenage lovebirds, sensitive Francis and skater Angie, spend the summer shacked up at home while Fran begins their transition.

STRIPPED, directed by Jevon Boreland (Canada). Go behind the scenes with Mz. Lady Ice as  she reveals the struggles and triumphs that come with being a female exotic dancer.

TALK THE TING, directed by Shelby Zoe Coley (USA). Talk the Ting follows the London-based podcasting collective SISTREN, rendering an intimate portrait of black sisterhood. 

A DROP OF SUN UNDER THE EARTH, directed by Shikeith Cathey (USA). In this short experimental film, a shy black boy turns emotional and sexual trauma into dreams about love.

SHORTS: Boys on the Side – Beards, besties and breaking new ground.

SWIMMING POOL, directed by Carlos Ruano (Spain). Two friends decide to go swimming at the Scientology Centre pool, but first they must pass a lie detector test. 

BEARD, directed by Christopher Crompton (USA). In this tale as old as time, Gabe forces his best friend Chrissy to masquerade as his fake girlfriend, with embarrassing results. 

SILVERLAKE AFTERNOON, directed by Michael Osborne (USA). Michael’s first encounter with another man promises to be pretty great but also pretty awkward. 

THE SHIT! (AN OPERA), directed by Kevin Rios (USA). After a particularly impressive trip to the bathroom, Frankie is inspired to bottom for the first time. 

TEENAGE THREESOME (SCHEIDEWEG), directed by Arkadij Khaet (Germany). A young woman, her crush, and her stepbrother figure out if two is company or three’s a crowd.

MATTER AND MANNER, directed by Nigel DeFriez (USA). Pennsylvania, 1890. A prejudiced gentleman and a prideful housemaid have a gay old time at Matter Manor! 

SHORTS: Hope Floats – Families have a way of bringing out the drama but, if we’re lucky, they also bring love. From overbearing mothers to aging grandmothers to conservative fathers, this program is all relative. 

FOR NONNA ANNA, directed by Luis De Filippis (Canada). As a young trans woman cares for her Italian grandmother, she discovers a tender bond in their shared vulnerability.

MASKS, directed by Mahaliyah O (USA). A closeted medical student risks being outed to her family when a masked gunman opens fire at a gay nightclub.

OUTLINES, directed by Ellie Rogers (UK). Sarah arrives at her father’s apartment earlier than expected, only to come face to face with a hired escort. 

THE MORNING AFTER, directed by Lauren Minnerath (USA). A young woman introduces her African-American girlfriend to her conservative father on the morning after the 2016 election.

LIFE AFTER, directed by Ria Tobaccowala (USA). While packing up her daughter’s apartment, a single mother discovers how little she knew about her only child’s life. 

SHORTS: Forces of Nature – The pull of an ex, a fall down the stairs, the apocalypse, we can’t compete with the forces of nature. 

POST-APOCALYPTIC POTLUCK, directed by Guinevere Turner (USA). Three friends gather for a potluck just as the world falls into apocalyptic ruin.

FRAN THIS SUMMER, directed by Mary Evangelista (USA). Teenage lovebirds, sensitive Francis and skater Angie, spend the summer shacked up at home while Fran begins their transition.

WILD GEESE, directed by Susan Jacobson (UK). When Amy catches her husband with another man, she falls down the stairs and wakes up believing that it’s 1999 and that she and her first girlfriend are still just a couple of 16-year-olds in love. 

SHE’S MARRYING STEVE, directed by Erika Kramer (USA). A woman is invited to her ex-girlfriend’s wedding and, despite everyone’s disapproval, decides to go. 

UNDONE, directed by Francesca Castelbuono (UK). Two straight-identified women wake up after spending the night together and come to terms with how they feel about each other, and about themselves.

SHORTS: He’s Just Not That Into You – Dating in 2018: An Investigation. 

FOREIGN LOVERS, directed by Timothy Ryan Hickernell (USA). A lonely New Yorker meets a mysterious man, in this meditation on love and life in the digital age.

THE THINGS YOU THINK I’M THINKING, directed by Sherren Lee (Canada). A burn survivor and amputee goes on a date with a non-disabled man for the first time since his accident. 

FEMME, directed by Alden Peters (USA). Carson journeys toward self-acceptance by way of a manic existential crisis and a drag queen fairy godmother. As one does. 

THIRST, directed by Eoin Maher (UK). After another disappointing hookup, Drew reflects on his desires and insecurities.

BURN BRIDGE, directed by Rhys Jones (UK). Closeted teenager Harry has fallen for Jamie, his closest friend. When Lucy arrives on the scene, Harry must compete for Jamie’s attention, bringing his true feelings closer to light.

BLOOD OUT OF A STONE, directed by Ben Allen (UK). Michael has set a challenge for his first date with Dan, but Dan is totally out of his comfort zone. Will they be able to find common ground?

SHORTS: Mad Love – Love, a many-splendoured thing, lifts us up where we belong. But it’s also a battlefield. This program explores the ups and downs of this crazy little thing we call love. 

TEDDY, directed by Christopher Sweeney (UK). Paul’s best friends are killed in a car crash and he must quickly decide if he can raise their child, with or without his boyfriend.

ABLUTION, directed by Omar Al Dakheel (USA). The bond between a disabled Muslim father and his son is tested when love is pitted against religion.

ONLY FOOLS RUSH IN, directed by David Morages (Spain / USA). Before his student visa expires, Carlos spends one last night in New York with Mark. Will they do whatever it takes to stay together?

HOTEL BOY, directed by Michael Sondergaard (Denmark). A young man accompanies a politician to a hotel room. Under the surface lies a big misunderstanding, while outside, a journalist is waiting for the next big headline.

THE RABBI, directed by Uriya Hertz (Israel). Michael is a greatly admired rabbi at a Jerusalem Yeshiva. When his favourite student, Gadi, shares with him his innermost secrets, Michael’s world comes into question.

MALIK, directed by Nathan Carli (France). Tonight, Malik has decided it’s time for him, and for the man he loves, to be free.

THE JUMP OFF, directed by Jovan James (USA). A young gay man in a passionate down-low relationship struggles for legitimacy with his closeted lover.

SHORTS: Practical Magic – Whether deciding to start a family or learning to dance, it takes two to tango. The films in this program show that making love work is magic, practically. 

FOXY TROT, directed by Lisa Donato (USA). A married lesbian couple are unexpectedly faced with relationship issues when they take ballroom dance lessons.

BEFORE TODAY (ONTEM), directed by Thiago Kistenmacker (Brazil). A woman flees a promising date when she is confronted with her past. She must face the child she was before becoming the woman she wants to be.

SOFTCORE, directed by Varun Sanga (Canada). Two bridesmaids form an unlikely connection over their bizarre sexual awakenings. 

FEEDBACK (LARSEN), directed by Margot Gallimard (France). Maude and Clothilde have been together for several years, but they no longer see each other. When Maude suddenly loses her hearing, everything comes sharply into view. 

BABY GRAVY, directed by Marley Morrison (UK). In a rural pub restaurant on a busy motorway, Brona and Alex await the arrival of a man called Karl. Can you guess why?

SHORTS: Real and Spectacular – From brunch to tattoos to thrusting, there are many ways LGBTQ folks are making a difference in the world. This program is all about the real and spectacular. 

HOME MADE, directed by Dian Khong (Canada). Home Made is an intimate, contemplative portrait of two queer tattoo artists navigating an industry that is traditionally dominated by white, straight, cisgender males. 

MARK ME, directed Erin Batchelder (USA). This handmade documentary sheds light on the multigenerational impact of the AIDS crisis on one Irish Catholic family.

JUCK (THRUST), directed by Olivia Kastebring, Julia Gumpert, and Ulrika Bandeira (Sweden). Juck follows the Swedish movement created by a group of women seeking to exercise their freedom of expression and expand perspectives on femininity and gender. 

3 SIBLINGS (3 LRMAOS), directed by Sheena Rossiter (Canada). Three siblings of varying gender identities and sexual orientations bring us into their world during Sao Paulo’s LGBT Pride Month. 

BRUNCH QUEEN, directed by Sean Horlor and Steve Adams (Canada). A hilarious gay couple (who can’t stand each other’s company but are still very much in love) prepare for the opening night of a musical based on their infamous insult diner. 

SHORTS: Riding in Cars with Boys – In subway cars and automobiles, these films explore the ways in which one chance meeting can change our lives forever, and with varying results. 

THAT’S ME ON THE RIGHT, directed by Justin Young  (USA). Another dating dead end makes an unexpected right turn.

JUST PAST NOON ON A TUESDAY, directed by Travis Matthews (Brazil / USA). Two strangers visit the penthouse of a recently deceased lover only to find themselves learning more about each other.

TOP 10 PLACES TO VISIT IN SAO PAULO (TOP 10 LUGARES EM SAO PAULO), directed by Akira Kamiki (Brazil). Two photographers go for a Sunday stroll around Sao Paulo trying to connect with the city, and slowly fall in love.

ACE, directed by Jordan Gear (USA). Ace follows the emotional journey of a shy newcomer who discovers an attraction to Z that he can neither ignore nor fully embrace.

SISAK, directed by Faraz Ansari (India). A romance emerges between two men riding the Mumbai local trains, over a period of many nights.

SHORTS: The Truth is OUT There – Like, way out there. From full Cats makeup, feline trinkets, alien sex to hauntings, this program celebrates the weird as in wacky, creepy, and out of control. 

BALLET JAZZ, directed by Maxime Robin (Canada). Karine and Karine share one dream: to dance in the musical Cats on Broadway. But on audition day, their road trip from a remote Quebec suburb to New York City goes horribly, hilariously wrong.

FROLIC’S HAUNT, directed by Elizabeth Littlejohn (Canada). A team of eager volunteers in Toronto set out to change accessibility issues on Halloween by creating a first-of-its-kind haunted house that comes with a unique scare system.

HELD DOWN BY A SHADOW, directed by Alex Peace (USA). Scarlett hasn’t gone to bed with the lights off in a very long time. Every night, without fail, she wakes up in the dark unable to move, and she’s not alone. 

THE CLEANSE, directed by Lucas Omar (USA). In order to join the Queer Clique, Kayden must complete the Cleanse. No food. No sex. Just juice. Things get weird.

LITTLE BILL’S PEEP SHOW, directed by Kevin Rios (USA). After an intimate moment is shared online, Little Bill must cope with the consequences of being a homophobic bully.

THE CURE, directed by Mike Olenick (USA). A mom cries, photos fly, cats spy, and bodies collide in this sci-fi soap opera that highlights the secret dreams of people who are desperately seeking ways to cure their fear of loneliness.

SHORTS: Thrive – This collection of trans short films celebrates the diverse voices of the trans community. From Austria to Tonga, from France to the Philippines, witness global trans activists as they take a stand.

DIFFERENT, directed by Benjamin Lemaire (French). Months ago, I came out to my parents as transgender. Before talking to them I was hopeful. I was terrified, but I was hopeful.

ASTRI AND TAMBULAH, directed by Xeph Suarez (Philippines). Astri and Tambulah are deeply in love. Everything seems perfect except that Bajao traditions require Astri to marry a woman she hardly knows.

PEARLS, directed by Shelley Thompson (Canada). Miranda realizes that her child can only become the woman she is by defying her father and leaving their farm, but not without first gifting her daughter a beloved heirloom.

LADY EVA, directed by Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson (USA / Tonga). In the Kingdom of Tonga, traditional culture clashes with modern religious zealotry. A young transgender beauty contestant is given an ultimatum by her Mormon family.

MATHIAS, directed by Clara Stern (Austria). Mathias must find his way in his new identity as he struggles in a new job and a long-term relationship. 

SKIN, directed by Adam Golub (USA). This experimental portraiture seeks to preserve the spirit of Dandara Zainabo, a 19-year-old trans activist living on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. 

About Inside Out:
 
Now in its 28th year, the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival is the largest event of its kind in Canada, showcasing the best and most diverse films by, for and of interest to LGBT communities. For 11 days, the Festival draws crowds of more than 32,500 to screenings, artist talks, panel discussions, installations and parties that showcase more than 175 films from Canada and around the world. Inside Out acknowledges the support of Lead Sponsor RBC, Premier Sponsor Bell Media, and Official Airline Delta. 
 
Find Inside Out on:
 
Hashtag: #InsideOut18
Twitter: @InsideOutTO
Instagram: @insideoutfestival
Facebook: facebook.com/InsideOutFilmFestival
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/InsideOutToronto

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.