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Inside Out's Incredible LGBTQ Film Lineup
Inside Out's Incredible LGBTQ Film Lineup
Inside Out, the largest LGBTQ film festival in Canada and the third largest LGBTQ film festival in the world, starts today and runs through June 2 in Toronto. With thousands of attendees expected, the festival continues to grow. "The strength and diversity of this year's lineup demonstrates the vital role that LGBTQ film festivals play in today's industry landscape," said Executive Director Andria Wilson. With new support from Netflix, the festival aims to support original productions by international LGBTQ filmmakers.
The 2019 feature film program includes a total of 40 films, representing 32 countries. The lineup includes five world premieres, six international premieres. and 14 Canadian premieres. The festival also includes a wide array of short films and episodic selections. Explore the feature film lineup in this gallery and find out more about the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival.
May 23, 7:30 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
May 23, 7:45 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
May 23, 9 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
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, 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. Directed by Dexter Fletcher. (UK/ USA) Opening night film.
June 1, 7 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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 punch line 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. Directed by Nisha Ganatra. (USA) - Canadian Premiere. Closing night film.
Vita & Virginia
May 28, 7 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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 authors' 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. Directed by Chanya Button. (Ireland/UK)
Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City
May 28, 9 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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), 20 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 Centerpiece 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). Directed by Alan Poul. (USA) -Canadian Premiere. Centerpiece Gala presentation.
May 25, 7:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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. Directed by Wendy Jo Carlton (USA) - International Premiere.
May 24, 9:30 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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 have 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. A 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. Directed by Mike Doyle (USA) - World Premiere.
You Don't Nomi
May 31, 9:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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 a record-breaking 13 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, the film lets us 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 on-screen 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? Directed by Jeffrey McHale (USA) - International Premiere.
A Dog Barking at the Moon
May 27, 9:30 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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. Directed by Xiang Zi (China/Spain) - Canadian Premiere.
May 30, 9 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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, Chloe Levine. Directed by Rhys Ernst (USA) -International Premiere.
Before You Know It
May 24, 9:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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 theater with her father, Mel, her sister, Jackie (played by hilarious cowriter 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 theater 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. Directed by Hannah Pearl Utt (USA) - International Premiere.
May 24, 7 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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. Directed by Brad Michael Elmore (USA) - World Premiere.
The Blonde One
May 25, 9:30 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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 coworker, 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 impact Gabriel and Juan's deepening love. Directed by Marco Berger (Argentina) - Canadian Premiere.
From Zero to I Love You
May 26, 9:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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. Directed by Doug Spearman (USA).
The Ground Beneath My Feet (Der Boden unter den Füßen)
May 26, 7 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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 coworkers, 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. Directed by Marie Kreutzer. (Austria) - Canadian Premiere.
Knives and Skin
May 29, 9:30 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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 facade, along the way revealing their true selves and new, unexpected connections. The disappearance also exposes parents' 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. Directed by Jennifer Reeder. (USA) - Canadian Premiere.
May 27, 9:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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 6-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 6-year-old Ramona Edith-Williams -- Saint Frances is a film about family in all of its forms. Directed by Alex Thompson (USA).
Second Star on the Right
May 27, 7:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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 theater 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? Directed by Ruth Caudeli (Colombia).
A Night at Switch n' Play
June 1, 2:30 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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, the group is a 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
May 24, 6:45 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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 savior. 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. Directed by Rachel Mason. (USA) - Canadian Premiere.
Gay Chorus Deep South
May 25, 2:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus planned 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 members 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. Directed by David Charles (USA) - Canadian Premiere.
May 29, 9:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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 traveling with a pack of models known as the Halstonettes and spending drug-fueled nights at Studio 54 with Bianca Jagger, Liza Minnelli, and Andy Warhol. In this comprehensive look at the designer's meteoric rise and humiliating fall, French-born director Frederic 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 evokes the man and his era, Halston captures the spirit of a genius. Also, a warning: Don't believe your own hype. Directed by Frederic Tcheng (USA) - Canadian Premiere.
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street
May 25, 5 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Actor Mark Patton is ready to scream. Thirty-four years ago, after his first lead role in A 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. Directed by Roman Chimienti, Tyler Jensen (USA) - Special sneak preview.
We Are the Radical Monarchs
May 30, 7 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
A group of tween girls chant into megaphones holding clenched fists high and showcasing colorful badges sporting the words "Black Lives Matter" and "Radical Beauty." Meet the first troop of Radical Monarchs, a group of young girls of color 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 color, is anchored in the belief that girls of color 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 cofounders' struggle to develop, expand, and advance the organization and their mission to create and inspire a new generation of social justice activists.
Directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton (USA) - Canadian Premiere.
May 24, 5 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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 9 to 11, 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. Directed by Megan Wennberg (Canada).
Dykes in the Streets
May 25, 12:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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. Directed by Almerinda Travassos (Canada) - World Premiere.
May 30, 4:45 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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. Directed by Michelle Mohabeer (Canada) - Toronto Premiere.
Queering the Script
May 26, 12:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
"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 multiseason 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 on-screen. Directed by Gabrielle Zilkha (Canada) - World Premiere.
Being Impossible (Yo Impossible)
May 31, 5:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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 coworker, 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, nonsensational way of looking at the complexities of gender and sex. With Lucia Bedoya, Maria Elena Duque. Directed by Patricia Ortega. (Venezuela/Colombia) - International Premiere.
Billie and Emma
May 24, 4:45 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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. Directed by Samantha Lee (Philippines) - North American Premiere.
Brief Story From the Green Planet
May 28, 9:30 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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. Directed by Santiago Loza (Argentina/Germany/Brazil/Spain) - Canadian Premiere.
May 31, 7:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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. Directed by Swarnavel Eswaran (India).
May 26, 4:30 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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 their 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 6-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 neighborhood park. With humor 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. Directed by Mark Blane, Ben Mankoff (USA) - International Premiere.
May 27, 5 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
The life of a long-distance trucker isn't easy, and it proves especially challenging for Fabiana, a 56-year-old trans woman who spends her life crisscrossing the highways of Brazil. In director Brunna Laboissiere's 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. Laboissiere 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
May 26, 7:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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. With Carlie Guevara, Michael Madsen, Edward Asner. Directed by Flavio Alves (USA).
Jack & Yaya
May 28, 4:30 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
Growing up trans in a rural community can feel isolating and lonely. But Jack and Yaya, who grew up with neighboring 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 18-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. Directed by Jennifer Bagley, Mary Hewey. (USA) - Canadian Premiere.
May 28, 6:45 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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, Jose. The film follows 19-year-old Jose, 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, Jose is forced to make choices he would rather avoid making. Working in a gritty, realist style with an impressive cast of nonprofessional actors, Jose 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. Directed by Li Cheng. (Guatemala/USA) - Canadian Premiere.
Memories of My Body (Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku)
June 1, 2:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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. In a movie that's 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. Directed by Garin Nugroho (Indonesia) - North American Premiere.
May 29, 7 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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 Patino) 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. Directed by John Butler (Ireland).
May 26, 5:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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 17-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 neighbor 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 endeavor? 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. Directed by Tchaiko Omawale (USA).
June 1, 4:30 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
Transfinite is a multicultural, queer, genre-busting, sci-fi, omnibus film showcasing trans people as they come into their power. Nine 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 on 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. Directed by Neelu Bhuman (USA) - World Premiere.
May 27, 7 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 1
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. Directed by Rodney Evans (USA) - Canadian Premiere.
Zen in the Ice Rift (Zen sul Ghiaccio Sottile)
May 25, 9:15 p.m. TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
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. Directed by Margherita Ferri (Italy) - Canadian Premiere.