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2007 05 18
Inside Out Film Festival

The Inside Out Gay and Lesbian Film Festival isn’t just a film festival; it’s a community happening. The often contentious relationships within the LGTB community are forgotten as campy queens, erudite lesbians and feisty trannies sit side by side to watch films which are by turns devastating, erotic and hilarious. This festival holds a special place in my heart not for the films themselves, but for the film-goers who aren’t afraid to flaunt their sexuality or be outspoken ; check out the drag queen’s fantastic outfits pre-film and hear offensive film scenes greeted by boos, or steamy sex scenes elicit cheers. No arms-crossed-chin-stroking-Toronto-film-snob responses, these.

Read on for my four picks for films about or in Toronto, as well as six films dealing with issues such as First Nations queer-identity, gay activism, queer twins, mental health and tranny issues of identity. The following film descriptions have been adapted from the Inside Out site.

Toronto-Related Films

Title: Hogtown Homos

Playing: ROM. Thursday May 25, 9:45 pm.
Type: Series of 14 shorts

Our annual celebration of homegrown talent, this year’s program features the witty, the wise and the downright weird. All the works highlight the unique creative vision of local artists and exemplify why Toronto remains at the forefront of film and video art.

Will Munro's Dirty Load
Underground queer artist Will Munro sheds light on his DIY underwear creations and his legendary queer punk performance haven, Vazaleen.

Supposed to
A found footage video constructed from fiction films, self-help guides and corporate training videos, reminding us that our destiny is still unknown.

The Secret Life of Houses
As a man tours his parent’s house with a real estate agent, memories of his youth and his burgeoning sexuality flood back.

Black Men and Me
A woman explores her position as a Trinidadian dyke and her complex relationship with black men.

The Boychoir of Lesbos in New Shoes
A city symphony starring the divine Boychoir of Lesbos.

In Four Years (adjectives and adverbs)
A self-portrait capturing the filmmaker’s current state in exclusively descriptive terms.

The Stars Are Ruined
Features 22 local Toronto glitterati filmed in glorious Super8, a document made with love in dedication to stars of the past, present and future.

Duncan Hines Schumann
Best friends share the experience of shopping for, baking and eating a moist and deluxe cake.

In Cairo
R.M. Vaughan recounts his journey to Egypt in a series of slow reverse dissolves that show the narrator standing, like a classic tourist, before the pyramids and the Sphinx.

A piece of paper found in the park uncovers secret desires.

Artist Seeks...
While a recorded telephone message plays, images from online dating profiles flash in the background, revealing a strange intimacy.

Call Me Daisy
News flash: King Kong is actually a lesbian ape named Daisy.

Butch or Consequences
Louise, an old school butch, falls for a pretend TV lesbian; in her desperation to be with her she participates in a fictional makeover show, Inside Out: Deviant Dyke to Diva.

Rubb My Chubb: Fat Activism and the Fat Femme Mafia
A short documentary about the fiery fatties of the Fat Femme Mafia.
Title: Queer Youth Digital Video Project
Playing: Isabel Bader Theatre. Saturday May 26, 2:30 pm.
Type: Series of 7 shorts

Raw energy, ideas and talent UNITE Inside Out and Charles Street Video are proud to present the ninth annual Queer Youth Digital Video Project. This year, a group of quick-witted youth under the age of 25 came together to learn the process of short, no-budget videomaking from experienced Toronto-based video artists. After months of preparation, these new works are being introduced to the world, bringing you the freshest voices from the heart of our growing communities.

If You Could Only See
A story about the break up of a friendship between three bisexual teenagers in which two of the girls are lovers. The video looks at different perspectives on the relationship and what went wrong.

A mother wants her son to succeed in life yet finds herself grappling with more immediate issues.

Queer 1: Straight Won
In an arena full of sex, love and balls, what team do you score for?

Committed to Recall
Sometimes we forget how our memories shape us.

Love and hate are grounded in reality, revealing that neither can exist without the other.

Hello, My Name Is Herman
Prepare to meet the filmmaker’s 91-year-old grandpa, Herman.

Jet Lag
Air travel, detachment, immigration...where is home?
Language: English, Portuguese with Eng Subtitles
Title: Íve Heard the Mermaids Singing
Playing: ROM. Saturday May 26, 6:45 pm.
Type: Plays with short film; Suspect (an adaptation of a Mark Kingwell essay)

Inside Out is pleased to present a special 20th anniversary screening of Patricia Rozema’s groundbreaking Canadian lesbian film, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing. It is a quietly amusing and fresh tale told from the point of view of Polly (Sheila McCarthy), a self-admitted ‘organizationally impaired’ temporary secretary. In her videotaped confession, she tells us how she got caught up in a voyeuristic fascination for her new boss, the beautiful and ambitious curator (Paule Baillargeon) of the Church Gallery, an art gallery in downtown Toronto. Polly, innocent beyond her years, witnesses many things quite beyond her understanding: pseudo-intellectual ‘art talk’ and a sexual relationship between the curator and a young woman named Mary (Ann-Marie MacDonald). Polly responds to her discoveries through her hobby of amateur photography. After expeditions around the city, snapping pictures of her various new obsessions, she develops her pictures in her bachelorette-pad bathroom. In the little red womb of her bathroom, she spaces off and slips into the black and white worlds inside - worlds where she can fly, walk on water and hear the mermaids singing.
Title: Proud Lives: Chris Bearchell
Playing: ROM. Saturday May 26, 12:15 pm.
Type: Plays with 1 other film; Politics of the Heart

Chris Bearchell is a towering figure in the history of gay liberation in Ontario. Chris began writing for the Body Politic (TBP) in 1975, and co-founded some of the first lesbian and gay organizations in Canada. In 1981, after the mass arrests of gay men by Toronto police in raids on four gay steambaths in Toronto, Chris inspired 2,000 angry demonstrators with her words. In 1986 she was a central figure in the campaign to win non- discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in Ontario. Those of us who today live with greater openness and freedom in our lives owe much to this brave soul.
Other Films of Interest

Title: Byron Chief-Moon: Grey Horse Rider
Playing: Isabel Bader Theatre. Saturday May 19, 2;30 pm.
Type: Plays with 1 other film; Cloudbreaker

Multi-talented Byron Chief-Moon is one of the most captivating First Nations artists working today. His artistic creations begin with his people's traditional stories, his attachment to the land and his community, as well as the inner conflict he faces existing within Aboriginal culture and the wider community. The documentary also explores his identity as a First Nations two-spirited gay man and a father of three adopted children. Through stories told to him by his grandparents, he explores rites of passage, the loss of rituals, new myths and Mother Earth. In his culture, he is said to possess a dual spirit, both feminine and masculine. This film shows how he has managed to live with this polarity and how it constantly informs his work.
Title: Up From the Gutter, Yours in Struggle
Playing: NFB. Saturday May 19, 3:30 pm.
Type: Series of 7 shorts

Giving a voice to the fighters in our communities - whether defeated, depleted or victorious - who struggle to keep us all alive, Up from the Gutter, Yours in Struggle keeps up with the heavy heartbeat of resistance. See you in the streets and on the screen. Curated by Tara-Michelle Ziniuk.

It's Me It's Me (Ndim Ndim)
A portrait of Funeka Soldaat, an out lesbian and anti-abuse activist living amid the controlled homophobia of her community in Khayelitsha, South Africa.

On My Skin (En Mi Piel)
On the cusp of transition from female to male, Logan Gutierrez-Mock, a light-skinned person of mixed race, realizes he will soon be passing not only as a man, but also as a white man. He journeys to Mexico to connect with his family and Chicano heritage.

Panthers vs. Harper
To ensure Stephen Harper and his delegates never converge in Montreal again, the Pink Panthers fuel up the Sodomobile and head to the Conservative Party’s conference.

At Home with Desalojos Realtors
A mock infomercial about the gentrification of San Francisco’s Mission District. Make yourself at home, but don’t get too comfortable.

Set sometime in the future-present, Homotopia chronicles a group of radical queers dedicated to dismantling the State and undoing Empire, while looking totally fierce. Love Revolution, Not State Delusion.

Market This Queer Radicals Respond to Gay Assimilation
Market This explores the queer community’s desire for radical politics. Part historical document, part case study in organizing and all the while expressing the need for a multi-generational, multi-racial, feminist, anti-capitalist and queer collective movement.

Escrito poetically gestures at the contradictions of what it means to be a queer immigrant in the USA.
Title: Electroshock
Playing: Isabel Bader Theatre. Tuesday May 22, 5 pm.
Type: Plays with one other film; In the Dark (À l'ombre

Based on a true story, Electroshock is a captivating portrayal of love torn apart. The setting is Spain under the oppressive right-wing regime of Generalissimo Franco. In 1972, two bookish schoolteachers, Pilar and Elvira, form an intensely close friendship that soon becomes much more. But Fascist Spain does not tolerate their same-sex love, and neither does Pilar’s mother, a wealthy society lady. She commits her daughter to a psychiatric hospital where she undergoes electroshock treatments while images of naked women flash on a screen in front her, all in order to ‘cure’ her condition. Electroshock is a powerful and emotional drama, demonstrating the power of hate and fear to hinder same-sex desire, and a testament to the lasting force of the love between two women during repressive times.
Title: Red Without Blue
Playing: Isabel Bader Theatre. Saturday May 26, 5 pm.
Type: Feature Film

In 1983, Mark and Alex Farley were born minutes apart in the Big Sky country of Missoula, Montana. The twins’ early lives were quintessential by-products of their all-American family: picture perfect holidays, a second home by the lake and supportive parents who cheered them on every step of the way. However, by the time the twins were 14, the perfect façade of their life was shattered: their parents divorced, they came out as gay, and a joint suicide attempt precipitated the forced separation of Mark and Alex for two and half years. Shot over a three-year period, Red Without Blue follows the lives of each sibling as they awkwardly enter adulthood and migrate towards opposite coasts. Red Without Blue is a compelling document, portraying the unwavering bond of twinship through times of transformation.
Title: Boy I Am
Playing: ROM. Sunday May 27, 2:45 pm.
Type: Plays with one other film; Wrong Bathroom

There are many viewpoints on the transgender experience. When it comes to female-to-male transition, feminists and theorists have a heap of opinions and sometimes call into question personal choice and rights with contentious accusations of trend-following and male privilege-gaining. Boy I Am touches on those dialogues, but it also provides insight into the stories, real-life experiences and social resistance FTMs face on the journey of becoming men. Among the subjects interviewed are three young FTMs in New York City: Nicco, a queer trans male who began taking hormones five years ago; Norie, who identifies as a straight trans male, was raised by his evangelical Haitian mother and is currently saving money for top surgery; and Keegan, who identifies as a straight trans male and is about to have his surgery, yet mulls over whether or not to take hormones. We hear their thoughts on race, class, activism, relationships and their struggles in becoming who they are. Their stories are totally engaging and told with respect.
Title: The Gymnast
Playing: Isabel Bade Theatre. Friday May 18, 9:45 pm.
Type: Feature Film

The Gymnast is a visually stunning film about the courage to step outside of convention. The story follows Jane (Dreya Weber), a former Olympic gymnast who was at the top of her game until a devastating injury ended her career. Now 43, she is in a loveless marriage, unable to get pregnant and working a tedious job as a massage therapist. Floating through life on antidepressants, Jane has an unbelievably strong body but a weak spirit. A chance meeting draws Jane back to the gym where she meets her old instructor Nicole and her beautiful and graceful student Serena (Addie Yungmee), a 28-year-old dancer. The Gymnast is a compelling and romantic film that challenges notions of both ability and identity.

Image from the film The Gymnast, from the Inside Out site.
[email this story] Posted by Liza Badaloo on 05/18 at 08:25 PM

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