Out and About
Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival opens with Rocketman – May 23 to June 2, 2019
2019 Gala and Special Presentation highlights include festival opener ROCKETMAN, Dexter Fletcher’s hotly anticipated Elton John biopic that screens before it opens in wide release May 31). Also expecting some hype is festival closer LATE NIGHT, from Nisha Ganatra and starring Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson, as well as the Centerpiece Gala of “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City”, a Netflix’s original series debuting in June, starring Ellen Page and Laura Linney, and adapted by Lauren Morelli (Orange Is The New Black), with a cast of many queers and allies.
The 29th annual Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival (Inside Out) revealed its full feature and short film lineup. This year’s festival will take place May 23 to June 2, 2019, and the feature film program includes a total of 40 films, representing 32 countries. The lineup includes five world premieres, six international premieres, 14 Canadian premieres, 27 narrative and 13 documentary features. The feature program will be composed of Galas and Special Presentations (6 films), Premieres (10 films), Icons (6 films), Spotlight on Canada (4 films) and International Showcase (16 films). The festival will also screen 94 Shorts from a wide variety of exciting LGBTQ filmmakers. Phew!
The Festival opens its 29th edition with the highly anticipated Elton John biopic ROCKETMAN, starring Taron Egerton, with two exclusive screenings at TIFF on May 23, and closes the festival with the Canadian premiere of the Sundance crowd-pleaser LATE NIGHT, from director Nisha Ganatra, starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling. This year’s Centerpiece Gala will be the Canadian premiere of Netflix’s upcoming series “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City”, starring Ellen Page and Laura Linney, which you’re going to want to watch. It’s an updated conception that’s based around the original 1993 series, bringing us back to Barbary Lane, but in 2019. Things have change. Today times with clever writing, and open-minded acting. Yes, Olympia Dykasis is back!
The annual Women’s Gala will be Wendy Jo Carlton’s GOOD KISSER, a sensual exploration between three females. Special Presentations include the world premiere of SELL BY from director Mike Doyle, starring Scott Evans, Augustus Prew, Kate Walsh and Patricia Clarkson, and the international premiere of Jeffrey McHale’s documentary YOU DON’T NOMI, which traces the redemption of director Paul Verhoeven’s notorious film Showgirls, from flop to cult classic, and where this tale will land.
As we continue to want instant gratification, this year’s festival includes a new Episodic program, with six series premieres, including the world premiere of the fourth season of Netflix’s steamy “Eastsiders”, as well as the Canadian premiere of the second season of Starz’s GLAAD award-winning drama “Vida”, more steam. The additional four episodic short-form stories, a selection of queer and trans independent episodes, will play in one program block.
Take a look at the Festival trailer, and scroll below for the full program.
New Netflix and Crave Partnerships
Inside Out and Netflix announced that they are entering a new four-year partnership in support of LGBTQ filmmakers in Canada. The partnership will kick off with the 2019 edition of the festival. As part of the partnership with STARZ, Bell Media streamer CRAVE has also collaborated with Inside Out to launch an LGBTQ collection that will house queer content from across its portfolio.
Single tickets can be purchased online at insideout.ca.
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The 2019 feature film selections are as follows:
GALAS AND SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
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’S 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.
SPOTLIGHT ON CANADA SHORTS
LOCAL HEROES – Our annual collection of what this great city has to offer, this year’s Local Heroes brings us a wide assortment of queer treats that include ballroom, bicycling, textile vaginas, and a carrot.
SOFT SPOT, directed by Justine Stevens. (Canada). Kris, struggling with the surprise death of an ex-lover, sidesteps her girlfriend’s post-gin and tonic advances.
WAR MOVIE, directed by Matt Landry. (Canada). An argument over a film they just watched spirals into real life drama between two best friends.
TERMINALLY IN LOVE, directed by Emily Jenkins. (Canada). Terminally in Love takes a first-person journey into the mind of a neurotic stoner.
DO YOU EVEN CARROT ALL?, directed by Daniel Sterlin-Altman. (Canada). Everybody wants to reach Carrot, but he doesn’t seem to carrot all.
HAUS, directed by Joseph Amenta. (Canada). A displaced black queer boy finds refuge in his city’s underground Kiki Ballroom scene.
LORETTA’S FLOWERS, directed by Brendan Prost. (Canada). On a long summer’s day in Toronto, a young woman cycles between increasingly intimate encounters but remains trapped in a pattern of insatiable longing.
QUEEN, directed by Sabina Lambert. (Canada). Working at a drag bar, Alex is immersed and inspired by the wondrous self-expression of the drag queens as they perform on the neon-lit stage.
MY FUZZY VALENTINE, directed by Ben Edelberg. (Canada). A pulsating world of bug-eyed lesbian sasquatches and vaginal caves is created from reclaimed textiles courtesy of legendary Allyson Mitchell.
STORIES WE TELL – #Canqueer excellence from coast to coast, this program puts our homegrown talent in the spotlight.
THE TRAGIC FALL OF VALERIE MALLORY FINKERSTEIN, directed by Martina Monro. (Canada). On the day of her best friend’s surprise birthday party, Valerie must publicly confess her love or lose her love forever.
STAGE NAME: VICTORIA, directed by Taran Morriseau. (Canada). Stage Name: Victoria takes an intimate look at a drag queen who is starting his career in the community of Fort William First Nation.
LOST CAT, directed by Laura Bergeron. (Canada). At a turning point in her life, Nathalie tries to overcome her failure and come to peace with her inability to connect with herself and others.
DOCKING, directed by Trevor Anderson. (Canada). Trevor reflects on his fear of dating.
BIIDAABAN (THE DAWN COMES), directed by Amanda Strong. (Canada). Accompanied by a 10,000-year-old shapeshifter and friend known as Sabe, Biidaaban sets out on a mission to reclaim the ceremonial harvesting of sap from maple trees.
SKIES ARE NOT JUST BLUE, directed by Lysandre Cosse-Tremblay. (Canada). Identifying as queer and Muslim is a reality for Yara, A. and brothers Monib and Tariq.
IFTIIN, directed by Ladan Mohamed Siad. (Canada). A genderqueer Somali-Canadian teenager spends the day taking their grandmother to her appointments, forcing the two to confront their assumptions of one another.
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 show casing 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.
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.
MARIELLE AND MONICA, directed by Fabio Erdos. (Brazil). Marielle Franco, a Brazilian LGBT and human rights activist, was killed in March 2018. Her widow, Monica Benicio, continues her fight for better treatment of the poor, the LGBT community and black Brazilians.
BATTY BOY, directed by Blain Ho-shing, Dior Clarke. (UK). Dolcie Woods, a young black boy raised in a deprived area of North London, faces the struggles of fitting into a community ingrained with strong cultural and homophobic beliefs.
FABULOUS, directed by Audrey Jean-Baptiste. (France). Ninja is famous around the world for her fierce ballroom performances, but she is not as well-known in her native country of French Guyana. But a trip home to teach a workshop might change that.
OTHER BLACK BOYS, directed by Nyles Washington (USA). A queer black college student is forced to confront the masks he wears when an old friend comes to visit.
COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY – This program features everything from a man who finds himself attached to an older married couple, an intergenerational infatuation, and an intersex sex worker navigating the city.
ZERO ONE, directed by Nick Neon. (USA). When Jimmy Park visits home for the first time in years, he’s forced to make peace with the ghost of who he could have been.
PONYBOI, directed by River Gallo, Sadé Clacken Joseph. (Canada). On Valentine’s Day, Ponyboi, an intersex sex worker, looks for love and a way out of his seedy life in New Jersey.
LAVENDER, directed by Matthew Puccini. (USA). A young gay man grows increasingly entangled in an older couple’s marriage.
HOW I GOT TO THE MOON BY SUBWAY, directed by Tyler Rabinowitz. (USA). After being diagnosed with ALS, a curmudgeonly older man goes to the hospital with his partner to record his voice bank before he loses the ability to speak
LAND’S END, directed by Ben Strebel. (UK). Road trip and love story combine as Adam’s addiction to an older man leads him down a path that he might not be ready for.
DADDY LESSONS – Hookups never go as expected, especially when expectations run high.
INFINITE WHILE IT LASTS (INFINITO ENQUANTO DURE), directed by Akira Kamiki. (Brazil). An asexual man and a gay man fall in love but must overcome their differences to make their relationship work.
MY LONELINESS IS KILLING ME, directed by Tim Courtney. (UK). When Elliott lures the animalistic Jack to his apartment for a late-night hookup, they unexpectedly unearth a dark emotional connection.
THRIVE, directed by Jamie Dispirito. (UK). A hookup between two young men turns into an essential heart-to-heart.
DADDY, directed by Christian Coppola. (USA). After the death of his wife, an 80-year-old man checks into the Plaza Hotel to celebrate their first anniversary apart, hiring a male escort to take her place.
POSITIONS, directed by: Justin Ducharme. (Canada). A day in the life of a two-spirit male sex worker as he visits his clients, Positions is an exploration of sexual desire, the quest for financial stability, and the pursuit of agency over one’s own body.
GIVE IT UP OR LET ME GO – Secrets, playful lies, and deception are the glue that holds this program together.
PARKING, directed by Ahmad Seyfipour. (Iran). A thief encounters two men having sex in the back seat of a car in a parking garage, and a tense standoff ensues.
THREE MONTHS (TROIS MOIS), directed by Sasha Alcoloumbre. (Canada). A romance is shaken when a young man belatedly reveals his HIV status to his lover.
BATTY BOY, directed by Blain Ho-shing, Dior Clarke. (UK). Dolcie Woods, a young black boy raised in a deprived area of North London, faces the struggles of fitting into a community ingrained with strong cultural and homophobic beliefs.
BABY, directed by Jessie Levandov. (USA). Baby is a coming-of-age queer love story of a young man roving the Bronx on a Saturday afternoon.
TOGETHER (SPOLU), directed by David Benedek. (Slovakia). Roommates Micah, Simon and Robo are following their personal pathways, but when the road becomes rocky their bond proves to be more than just simple friendship.
BREAK ME (KNUS MEG), directed by Irasj Asanti. (Norway). Mansour’s love for his best friend Andreas is put to the test when Mansour’s religious father decides to take him to their home country to get married.
BOUNDARIES, directed by Rhys Jones. (USA). Jared takes extreme measures in order to get attention from his ex-boyfriend.
I CAN LOVE YOU BETTER – Love can be a real if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry situation. Through unrequited crushes, home renovations, and the wobbly first steps of queer love, these shorts allow us to lean into laughter.
EVERYTHING’S GREAT!, directed by Linnea Ritland. (Canada). Everything’s Great! follows an awkward, hapless lesbian as she bounces between a messy non- relationship and her alcoholic-dad-soaked home life.
THE HALF WALL (VEGGEN), directed by Ida Eldøen. (Norway). Norwegian with English subtitlesWhen the topic of home renovation comes up, a gay couple find themselves in a heated and deeply serious discussion over a bathroom wall
THE GAYBYSITTERS CLUB, directed by Savannah Dooley. (USA). When Kristy finds out her best friend Mary Anne might be dating a BOY, she calls a Babysitters Club emergency meeting.
IF THIS IS WRONG, directed by Chelsea Woods. (USA). When Maria is forced outside her digital comfort zone, she finds real-world connection in an unexpected place
LADY LIBERTY, directed by Taylor Nagel. (USA). After aspiring comic Shea is dumped by her first love, she begins to explore her queer identity and confides in a stranger, Quinn, a very cool and confident gay woman.
MISDIRECTION, directed by Carly Usdin. (USA). Camila is your average college freshman with a big, gay crush on her roommate. A chance encounter with a street magician teaches Camila to channel her energy into a new hobby.
NOT READY TO MAKE NICE – No two families are the same, and if anything can prove this it would be this collection of shorts. Join us for the drama, laughter and embarrassment – again and again.
MILLER & SON, directed by Asher Jelinsky. (USA). A mechanic spends her days running her family’s auto shop and her nights being true to herself, until an unforeseen event threatens the balance of her compartmentalized life.
OUTDOORING, directed by Maxwell Addae. (USA). A young man arrives at his sister’s baby-naming ceremony with a plan to steal the proceeds so he can run away and keep a personal secret hidden.
A FAMILY AFFAIR, directed by Florence Keith-Roach. (UK). When Annabelle wakes up in a stranger’s bedroom on her 30th birthday, she thinks the day cannot get any worse. But then Bernard walks in.
99, directed by Nick Borenstein. (USA). A mother and son shop for a Bar Mitzvah gift at a 99 Cent store.
BUBBLE, directed by Alyssa Lerner. (USA). During the 2008 financial crisis Filipina teenager, Frances, is determined to avoid two unstoppable forces: her family’s home foreclosure and a creeping realization that she’s gay. Winner of 2018 Inside Out’s Pitch Please competition.
THE CONFIRMATION (KONFIRMATIONEN), directed by Marie Louise Damgaard. (Denmark). Mathias just wants to be a normal teenager, but on the day of his confirmation his overprotective mother threatens his plan to fly under the radar
READY TO RUN – The right choice isn’t always the best choice. This program showcases split-second decisions and messy meetings.
DANTE VS. MOHAMMED ALI, directed by Marc Wagenaar. (Netherlands). When Wolf is forced to fight against his best friend Alexander during a weekly boxing match, Wolf refuses and tries to convince his friend to run away together.
INVOLUNTARY ACTIVIST, directed by Mikael Bundsen. (UK/ Sweden). A teacher is forced to choose between betraying his family or his values when his older sister asks him to step back into the closet for a single night. This is the 10th short film produced by a winner of the Iris Prize.
DARIO, directed by Jorge A. Trujillo Gil, Manuel Kinzer. (Germany). Darío loves to dance but his disapproving mother makes it hard for him to be himself.
LISBOA-SANTARÉM, directed by Frederico Nobre de Carvalho. (Portugal/ UK). Lisboa-Santarém tells the story of two young men whose journey across the south of Portugal will forever shape the way they approach new encounters.
BROKEN SUNFLOWER HEARTS, directed by Miguel Angel Caballero. (USA). When his ex-boyfriend Sam shows up on his doorstep, Anthony weighs the impact this will have on his life and on young daughter Luna.
REAL AND SPECTACULAR – From trans trailblazers to intersex activists to gay porn stars to a pair of elderly lesbian entertainers, this program highlights a few of the very real and very spectacular members of our communities.
A NORMAL GIRL, directed by Aubree Bernier-Clarke. (USA). A Normal Girl brings to light the widely unknown struggles of intersex people, through the story of intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis.
RICK, directed by Jan-Peter Horstmann. (Germany). Rick is gay and deaf and a porn star.
HOW TO MAKE A RAINBOW, directed by Ryan Maxey. (USA). How to Make a Rainbow observes a young girl and her mother over two years as they journey through the realities of a parent in transition.
LEE & WANDA, directed by Rob Eagle. (UK). This touching portrait of two lesbian entertainers, together for almost 60 years, looks back at a lifetime of performing.
FRAMING AGNES, directed by Chase Joynt. (USA). In the late 1950s, a woman named Agnes approached the UCLA Medical Center seeking sex reassignment surgery. Her story was long considered to be singular until never-before-seen case files were found in 2017.
BATTLE CRY, directed by Kyle Reaume. (Canada). At the longest-running queer theatre in the world, Toronto’s most cerebral drag queen, Pearle Harbour, prepares to take the stage for her new show, Battle Cry.
THERE’S YOUR TROUBLE – Not for the faint of heart, this collection of shorts is queer–as in weird–and showcases the very best in LGBTQ horror, sci-fi, and things that are just plain strange.
STIGMA (ESTIGMA), directed by David Velduque. (Spain). It’s Friday night, the doorbell
rings, and Alex welcomes in his worst nightmare.
I WAIT FOR THE NIGHT, directed by Arthur Chaumay. (France). A discussion between two
boys on the shores of an abandoned lake will force one of them to face his inner demons.
CONVERSION THERAPIST, directed by Bears Rebecca Fonte. (USA). A pansexual, polyamorous trio kidnaps a ‘pray-the-gay-away’ evangelical conversion therapist, hoping
to help him see the light.
BATHROOM TROLL, directed by Aaron Immediato. (USA). After Cassie is tormented
in the women’s washroom at school, a demonic vengeance troll awakens to avenge her.
FLOTANDO, directed by Frankie De Leonardis. (Spain). A Russian astronaut comes to on an ISS space module after an accident and…wait a minute…is that someone knocking on the door?
JEREMIAH, directed by Kenya Gillespie. (USA). A high school football player is forced to confront his deepest fears after a strange encounter with a mysterious figure.
SWITCH, directed by Marion Renard. (Belgium). During her first sexual experience, a teenage girl discovers she possesses a disturbing skill.
THRIVE – Dating, parenting and spirituality. This year, Thrive takes a closer look at these topics, featuring trans stories that go beyond our gender markers, and asking bigger questions about the human condition.
WILL I SAY SO, directed by Jamie DiNicola. (USA). Two men are on a first date and each has a secret. Can they find the courage to speak the truth and accept one another?
THE BONY LADY (LA FLACA), directed by Thiago Zanato. (Brazil/ Mexico/ USA). A Mexican transgender woman and leader of the Santa Muerte Cult in Queens prepares for her yearly celebration of the Bony Lady.
TELL BY DATE, directed by Sarah Ball. (USA/ UK). Ryan has something important to tell his seven-year-old son but comes up with every excuse to avoid it. He needs a “tell-by date.”
RANI, directed by Hammad Rizvi. (Pakistan/ USA). A poor, socially outcast Pakistani transgender woman sets out to take care of an abandoned baby.
AUTUMN, directed by Rollyn Stafford. (USA). A transgender woman tries to make it to the Miss Oregon audition but first has one quick stop to beat up some thugs.
WAKING HOUR, directed by Nava Mau. (USA). A trans woman is pursued by a potential lover at a party and must balance concerns about her safety and her desire for intimacy.
I (ÉG), directed by Halla Tryggvadottir. (Iceland/ Lithuania). A young trans person living in a small town travels to the city searching for freedom.
TOP OF THE WORLD – Young in age but beyond their years, the subjects of these films are taking on everything from first crushes to state legislation.
MACK WRESTLES, directed by Erin Sanger. (USA). Mack Beggs broke records and changed history when he won the Texas State title as a transgender wrestler.
LADIES DAY, directed by Abena Taylor-Smith. (UK). Amma spends the day in an Afro-Caribbean salon having her hair braided. The shop is full of fun, gossip and laughter, but how will she deal with the casual homophobia?
SEQUINS, directed by Michael Beddoes. (UK). Paul Bigsby’s life is turned upside down when he enlists the help of a jaded Blackpool drag queen in order to realize his dream.
THE ONE YOU NEVER FORGET, directed by Morgan Fox. (USA). A 14-year-old boy excitedly prepares for his first dance, but when his date arrives he’s faced with a split-second decision.
LISTEN, directed by Jake Graf. (UK). Featuring young trans actors in trans roles, Listen frankly depicts some of the myriad struggles experienced daily by trans children and teenagers.
ANEMONE, directed by Amrou Al-Kadhi. (UK). A second-generation teen searches for a way to express their non-binary identity.
MAYBE, directed by Kathryn Cole. (USA). After an unexpected encounter in Waikiki, a
young girl explores her sexuality in secret, causing new rifts between her and her religious Filipino family.
WIDE OPEN SPACES – Wide open spaces make room for some big mistakes. Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about?
THE CONRADS, directed by Teryl Brouillette. (UK). Joss Conrad learns that her
IVF treatments were successful when her wife is out of town. The only problem is, Joss is not sure this is what she really wants.
TONIGHT (HALAYLA), directed by Emily Shir Segal. (Israel). Tonight, Tom will meet her younger girlfriend’s group of friends for the first time. At the end of the night, she’ll have to make a choice.
OTHER LOVING, directed by Lise Angelica Johnson. (USA). A woman experiencing
heartbreak rediscovers love in an unconventional way.
MUDPOTS, directed by Cate Smierciak. (USA). In a stolen moment at Shelby’s surprise going away party, she and her best friend, Jess, will finally acknowledge something more between them.
LADIES DAY, directed by Abena Taylor-Smith. (UK). Amma spends the day in an Afro-Caribbean salon having her hair braided. The shop is full of fun, gossip and laughter, but how will she deal with the casual homophobia?
THIS PERFECT DAY, directed by Lydia Rui. (Australia). Julia, a wayward youth, walks into a music store. This could be the day that changes their life.
THERE YOU ARE, directed by Lisa Donato. (USA). A trans woman must dress like a man to say goodbye to her dying grandmother.
LONG DISTANCE, directed by Anoop Lokkur. (Australia). A young Indian woman living in Australia gets a call from her mum back home.
YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE – This collection of shorts is all about looking for love wherever you can find it…at your kid’s school, in your school, online, during a tarot card reading, or at your ex’s house.
LOVE ON THE CARDS, directed by Nathan Hannawin. (UK). Frustrated by her failing love
life, Tess turns to a tarot card reading for clarity.
THE NIGHT BEFORE, directed by Mragendra Singh. (USA). On the night before her wedding, Shae pays a visit to her ex, Nikki, a woman she ghosted years ago.
THE DATE, directed by Emmalie El Fadli. (UK). Lizzy and Olivia might be total opposites but they do have one thing in common: they both swiped ‘right’ on each other.
U FOR USHA (U USHACHA), directed by Rohan Kanawade. (India). Usha, a single mother and farm labourer in rural India, finds herself drawn to a female teacher who works at a local primary school.
BREASTFRIENDS, directed by Eleanor Rogers. (Ireland). A driven young female relay runner begins to question her sexuality when a new member joins the team.
XIAO XIAN, directed by Jiajie Yu Yan. (Spain). Xiao Xian’s mother has put her in charge of finishing a dress and her daughter obeys, as usual. But when the girl’s best friend shows up looking to party, Xiao Xian can’t say no.
STARZ FESTIVAL LOUNGE – The STARZ Festival Lounge will serve as the official home of our Industry Programs, our Guest and Industry Registration, our Community Partners Hub, a pop-up Delta Airlines Sky Club Lounge, a daily Inside Out Happy Hour – and a space for us all to call our own. Join us Monday through Friday from 12:00pm to 10:00pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00pm to 9:00pm. You’ll find us at the Artscape Sandbox, directly behind the TIFF Bell Lightbox at the corner of Adelaide and Widmer Streets (entrance on Widmer, north of the parking garage).
INSIDE OUT LGTBQ FILM FINANCE FORUM – The world’s only LGBTQ Film Financing Forum brings together Canadian and international feature film projects-in-development with a slate of international industry executives for professional development and one-on-one pitch meetings. This year’s roster of projects represent the broad spectrum of LGBTQ experience from some of our sector’s most exciting creators. Day One will include workshops and panels for the Producer participants, with several events open to Industry passholders. Thursday, May 30 – Friday, May 31.
PITCH, PLEASE! SHORT FILM PITCH COMPETITION – Join us as we take crowdfunding live in this interactive pitch competition where filmmakers will have just five minutes each to compete for victory and for your dollars! With support from our Industry partners, we’ll be bringing filmmakers to the stage to share their short film pitches with our jury and with you, the audience. The jury’s pick will walk away with a guaranteed prize, but you can pledge your support for any of the projects in competition and provide direct funding to these artists-on-the-rise. The winner will be announced at the Inside Out Awards Brunch on Sunday, June 2. Saturday, June 1, 1:00pm-3:00pm.
INSIDE OUT AWARDS BRUNCH PRESENTED BY URBANSOURCE CATERING – At this year’s Awards Brunch, we are serving end-of-festival realness and, for the first time ever, the presentation of our Audience Awards will be on the menu! Join us for coffee, mimosas and delicious eats from our friends at UrbanSource as we celebrate the work of our exceptional 2019 filmmakers. Sunday, June 2, 12:00pm-3:00pm.
QUEERING VIRTUAL REALITY: VR AT INSIDE OUT – Queer stories come in all shapes, sizes, and formats. Be sure to pop into the Inside Out STARZ Lounge to take in these fantastic virtual reality experiences. Check the STARZ Lounge schedule online for details. Free admission.
ANOTHER DREAM, directed by Tamara Shogaolu. (USA). Another Dream brings to life the gripping, true life story of an Egyptian lesbian couple. Faced with post-revolution backlash against their community, the women must choose between love and home.
AUTHENTICALLY US, directed by Jesse Ayala. (USA). Step into the lives of three transgender people in the American Northwest who are living authentically and taking action to make communities safer.
MADE THIS WAY: REDEFINING MASCULINITY, directed by Irem Harnak, Elli Raynai. (Canada). Composed of photographs and virtual reality volumetric testimonials, Made This Way: Redefining Masculinity is an interactive mixed-media documentary that explores how transgender subjects are challenging gender norms and redefining traditional masculinity.
PINK MARKET – The Pink Market is a queer craft / fashion / art / literature fair – and it’s back at Inside Out’s Lounge by popular demand! Featuring more than 30 LGBTQ+ local vendors, this is your chance to support Toronto’s vibrant queer art scene while mingling with fellow film fans. Saturday, May 25, 12:00pm-8:00pm and Sunday, May 26, 12:00pm-6:00pm.
GET BENT: DRAG PARTY – Calling all freaks! Get Bent is a QTPOC drag collective that likes to get weird, political, and most of all, messy. Friday, May 24, 9:30pm.
LOCAL HEROES PARTY – Come celebrate our hometown heroes and pack the dance floor like the Gardiner at rush hour. Thursday, May 30, 9:30pm.
THRIVE AFTER PARTY – Widely known as the best dance party Inside Out has to offer, Thrive is back for a full night of fun for everyone. Friday, May 31, 10:00pm.
ROMY AND MICHELE’S TEA DANCE – Romy: Gawd, I wish I were a lesbian. Michele: Do you want to try and see if we are? With your host & DJ: Bright Light Bright Light. Sunday, June 2, 3:30pm-6:30pm.
OPENING GALA PARTY – Join us to kick off this year’s festival and take in the view from the rooftop at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Dance your heart out with DJs Sikh Knowledge and and LL Cool Wei. Need a dance break? Be dazzled by local Queens Manghoe Lassi and Tifa Wine, while mingling with filmmakers and guests. Thursday, May 23, 9:30pm.
WOMEN’S GALA PARTY – We are back with LSTW to bring you another incredible night celebrating queer women, non-binary filmmakers and artists of all genders, at our Women’s Gala After Party at The Rec Room. Saturday, May 25, 9:30pm.
CLOSING GALA PARTY – As we approach our 30th birthday we can’t party like we used to. That’s why we’re moving our Closing Night Party to Saturday. Now you can spend the next day in a dark cinema instead of sitting beneath the harsh fluorescent lights in your office. Drink, dance, skee-ball, repeat. Saturday, June 1, 9:03pm.
GOETHE PARTNERSHIP: QUEER AS GERMAN FOLK: LGBTIQ* QUEER CINEMA – Early gay activist and filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim put it in a nutshell: It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives. This was the title of his work that, in 1971, helped initiate the emancipation of West Germany, easing it out from under Paragraph 175* to its current status and to a place where queer and queer-friendly audiences want to go. This film series reflects the motivating path to success as well as outstanding queer German cinema that has arisen over the past five decades.
SILENCE = DEATH (FROM THE AIDS TRILOGY), directed by Rosa von Praunheim (East Germany, 1990). Saturday, June 1, 12:30pm.
COMING OUT, directed by Heiner Carow (East Germany, 1989). Saturday, June 1, 2:15pm.
WESTLER, directed by Wieland Speck (West Germany, 1985). Sunday, June 2, 12:30pm.
TICKET OF NO RETURN, directed by Ulrike Ottinger (West Germany, 1979). Sunday, June 2, 2:30pm.
Find Inside Out on:
- Hashtag: #InsideOut19
- 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.