The 31st annual Inside Out Toronto 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival taking place online from Thursday May 27th until Sunday June 6th has revealed its full film lineup streaming on the Inside Out platform, with 143 titles, including 33 feature films and five episodic series. The 2021 festival will
The 2021 festival’s opening nighter will be the Canadian premiere of Natalie Morales’ socially distant platonic love story Language Lessons, which we reviewed when it world premiered at the Berlinale and went on to win the audience award at SXSW. Closing this year’s Inside Out will be the Charli XCX documentary Alone Together, which we reviewed at SXSW. The film follows the musician as she writes, records and releases a full album in 40 days, while confronting mental health issues and connecting with her LGBTQ+ fans. Both films will stream live in the evening to ticket and pass holders. Inside Out’s closing night party will be hosted by Club Quarantine, the underground queer nightclub that popped up during the pandemic and takes place on Zoom, where dance parties feature a buoyant mix of disco, funk, soul and hip-hop that have drawn hundreds of thousands of virtual partygoers.
Narrative highlights from the festival lineup include premieres of the Sundance Audience Award-winning film Ma Belle, My Beauty, which explores the complexities of a queer polyamorous relationship, the International Premiere of Wes Hurley’s autobiographical dark comedy Potato Dreams of America, which follows a gay boy growing up in the Soviet Union whose escapism of choice is pirate broadcast American movies, and Mari Walker’s critically acclaimed drama See You Then, that takes place over an evening as two exes meet up ten years following their break up. The festival will also host the world premiere of Shelley Thompson’s transgender family drama Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor, in the Spotlight On Canada program.
Documentary highlights from the program include premieres of the Zachary Quinto-narrated film Yes I Am – The Ric Weiland Story, which introduces viwers to one of Microsoft’s first computer programmers whose efforts to establish representation and resources for the LGBTQ community still have a profound impact today, Fanny: The Right to Rock, that shines a well-deserved spotlight on a pioneering Filipina-American queer all-female rock band that changed music forever (and still kicks ass today), and the Peruvian activist film Drag Invasion, which examines an LGBTQ community in Peru faced with extreme conservative religious culture, who find empowerment and mobalization in watching episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
“United, we come together-apart for Inside Out’s Covid Edition 2.0. Having pulled off the 30th anniversary Covid Edition in October 2020, our team has worked tirelessly to bring us a stellar festival line-up and return to our sweet spot on the May calendar,” says Inside Out Executive Director Lauren Howes. “We worked with optimism that we would be able to safely hold limited in person events this year, and instead we embrace the bubble! It is our desire to be here for you, as your bubble enhancers. We hope with our programming you will find the breath of fresh air that inflates you, and the effervescence that buoys you.”
“This past year hasn’t been easy. We miss you, and we miss our filmmaking family around the world. That’s why we set out to curate a festival to help us all feel something, and maybe feel a little less alone,” says Director of Programming Andrew Murphy. “Our 31st edition is bookended with two very special films, both shot during the pandemic that reflect our longing for connection during this topsy turvy time. We strive to accurately represent a community in flux, a community in turmoil, and a community with resilience, featuring finger on the pulse documentaries and narratives, curated alongside fantastical love stories that remind us of the before, and hopefully, the after times.”
Individual tickets for digital screenings, ticket packages, and all-access passes are on sale now at insideout.ca.
31st Inside Out Toronto 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival lineup:
LANGUAGE LESSONS, directed by Natalie Morales. (USA / Narrative)
Natalie Morales explores platonic love masterfully in Language Lessons, demonstrating that no matter how hopeless, isolated or distant we are, finding love and friendship is always possible.
ALONE TOGETHER, directed by Bradley Bell, Pablo Jones-Soler. (USA / Documentary)
Alone Together goes in depth with Charli XCX as she faces mental health issues, rekindles her relationship, and connects with vulnerable LGBTQ+ fans in need.
A DISTANT PLACE, directed by Park Kun-Young. (South Korea / Narrative).
A Distant Place is a wistful drama about love and family, set in the dazzling countryside of Hwacheon County in South Korea.
When Molly moves into a new apartment after a tragic accident, a strange noise from upstairs begins to unnerve her.
MA BELLE, MY BEAUTY, directed by Marion Hill. (USA, France / Narrative).
The buzz about this Sundance Audience Award winner suggests that Ma Belle, My Beauty primarily explores a polyamorous relationship. In fact, what the film more poignantly explores are the yearnings and complexities of characters who happen to be, among other things, polyamorous.
POTATO DREAMS OF AMERICA, directed by Wes Hurley. (USA / Narrative).
Potato Dreams of America is an unlikely autobiographical fantasia that uses magical realism and plenty of humor to honour mothers, immigrants and dreamers everywhere.
SEE YOU THEN, directed by Mari Walker. (USA / Narrative).
A decade after abruptly breaking up with Naomi, Kris invites her to dinner to catch up on their complicated lives, relationships, and Kris’s transition.
CAN YOU BRING IT, directed by Tom Hurwitz, Rosalynde LeBlanc. (USA / Documentary).
Can You Bring It resurrects one of the most essential works of art to come out of the AIDS era and celebrates the people who brought the masterpiece to life.
FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK, directed by Bobbi Jo Hart. (Canada / Documentary).
Fanny: The Right to Rock tells the story of one of the best bands—Filipina-American and LBGTQ+ bandmates included—that you have likely never heard.
MAMA GLORIA, directed by Luchina Fisher. (USA / Documentary).
Mama Gloria invites you into the world of role model, charm school founder and powerful trans activist, Gloria Allen.
YES I AM – THE RIC WEILAND STORY, directed by Aaron Bear. (USA / Documentary).
Ric Weiland is a name you’re probably not familiar with, especially in association with a tech giant like Microsoft. This captivating documentary explores Weiland’s life and work as an out and proud computer genius.
A SEXPLANATION, directed by Alexander Liu. (USA / Documentary).
From neuroscience labs to church pews, A Sexplanation features provocative conversations in the pursuit of sexual truth and knowledge.
BEING THUNDER, directed by Stephanie Lamorre. (France / Documentary).
Sherente Harris, a two-spirit genderqueer teenager from the Narragansett tribe in Rhode Island, boldly challenges the status quo of what it means to be a queer Indigenous person in a world bound by binary gender roles.
BEYTO, directed by Gitta Gsell. (Switzerland / Narrative).
Adapted from a novel by Swiss-Kurdish writer Yusuf Yesilöz, Beyto, which won the Prix du Public audience award at Switzerland’s Solothurn Film Festival, wrestles with the tension between cultures, and between a family’s sense of honour and a person’s need to be true to themselves.
BOY MEETS BOY, directed by Daniel Sánchez López. (Germany / Narrative).
Taking inspiration from the mumblecore genre, Boy Meets Boy is a brief but romantic encounter between two young men who fall for each other over the course of a single day.
DRAG INVASION, directed by Alberto Castro. (Peru / Documentary).
Drag Invasion tells the story of a surprising phenomenon that mobilized, energized and empowered LGBTQ Peruvians.
EVERYTHING AT ONCE, directed by Alberto Fuguet. (Chile , Spain / Documentary).
Blurring the lines between traditional documentary and film essay, Everything at Once observes the work of two Catalan photographers and their vision of emphasizing the sex appeal of the working class.
GENDERATION, directed by Monika Treut. (Germany / Documentary).
In 1999, Monika Treut made one of the first documentaries—Gendernauts—about trans people living in San Francisco. Twenty years later, Monika reunites with some of the film’s subjects to see how their lives have evolved in the intervening years. Screens with a newly restored version of Gendernauts.
I CARRY YOU WITH ME, directed by Heidi Ewing. (USA, Mexico / Narrative).
Acclaimed filmmaker Heidi Ewing makes her narrative feature debut with I Carry You with Me, a bittersweet true story of an aspiring chef’s dreams and romantic encounters.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SURVIVAL, directed by Yana Ugrekhelidze. (Germany / Documentary).
Instructions for Survival, one of the most striking documentaries to come out of this year’s Berlinale, elegantly navigates the story of a couple fighting for freedom against terrifying threats in their homeland.
KAPANA, directed by Philippe Talavera. (Namibia / Narrative).
Kapana takes a familiar narrative and gives it new life in the first Namibian film featuring a gay love story, supported by breakout performances and a promising message for queer African rights.
LEADING LADIES, directed by Ruth Caudeli. (Colombia / Narrative).
Ruth Caudeli (Second Star on the Right) returns to Inside Out with Leading Ladies, a reflection on how different perspectives and memories affect one group of queer women.
LOVE, SPELLS AND ALL THAT, directed by Ümit Ünal. (Turkey / Narrative).
United by a twenty-year-old spell, two women journey through the neglected corners of their memories as they explore the island of Büyükada, Istanbul, in Love, Spells and All That.
South African auteur Oliver Hermanus delivers a brutal but radiant story of young gay desire on the Angolan war front.
MY FIRST SUMMER, directed by Katie Found. (Australia / Narrative).
Nestled in the delicate interactions of two teenage girls, My First Summer offers viewers the distant, pastel colours of a first childhood romance.
POPPY FIELD, directed by Eugen Jebeleanu. (Romania / Narrative).
In Poppy Field, it is not only misguided zealots shouting “Abomination!” that create the problem; it’s the machismo that holds the thin blue line together, and the anger that simmers underneath.
SUMMERTIME, directed by Carlos López Estrada. (USA / Narrative).
Inspired by a showcase featuring diverse high school performers, Carlos López Estrada collaborates with young poets, many of whom are LGBTQ, to develop their work into an inspiring narrative and love letter to the youth of Los Angeles.
SWEETHEART, directed by Marley Morrison. (UK / Narrative).
As sun-soaked as one can get at a caravan park in Dorset, Sweetheart follows A.J. as she attempts to balance an embarrassing family vacation with the terrifying adventure of first love.
TWO, directed by Astar Elkayam. (Israel / Narrative).
Two follows a couple as they set out on the long road to conception and realize their dream of having a baby.
WALK WITH ME, directed by Isabel Del Rosal. (USA / Narrative).
Walk With Me follows a young mother who must take some personal risks to find the happiness she has been seeking.
SPOTLIGHT ON CANADA:
BLOODTHIRSTY, directed by Amelia Moses. (Canada / Narrative).
Bloodthirsty, the latest astonishing film from Canadian director Amelia Moses, is guaranteed to make your skin crawl with its vivid imagery and eerie sound design.
DAWN, HER DAD & THE TRACTOR, directed by Shelley Thompson. (Canada / Narrative).
When a young woman with a startling resemblance to her mother arrives home for her mother’s funeral, one family begins an odyssey toward understanding.
HOW TO FIX RADIOS, directed by Casper Leonard, Emily Russell. (Canada / Narrative).
In Casper Leonard and Emily Russell’s stunning first feature, young queers carve out their own destiny in a rural community in Southern Ontario.
#TMI, directed by Ashlei Shyne. (USA / Series).
#TMI is a comedy series that follows Aaliyah Jones, a bisexual woman who recently became single when her ex-girlfriend Simone moved to Berlin.
DINETTE SEASON 2, directed by Shaina Feinberg. (USA / Series).
The staff and regulars at a Brooklyn-based diner scramble to keep their favourite hangout afloat after the sudden death of its owner.
ENBY, directed by Morgan Strug. (Canada / Series).
Enby, a 20-something human living in East Van has finally found the words that match their identity.
QUERENCIA, directed by Mary Galloway. (Canada / Series).
Querencia is a love story that follows two Indigenous queer women from divergent backgrounds as they navigate and explore their complex Indigiqueer identities and their differing cultural upbringings.
TRANS IN TRUMPLAND, directed by Tony Zosherafatain. (USA / Series).
Trans in Trumpland takes an intricate, inspiring road trip from State to State into the lives of four remarkable, resilient trans people.
The full Inside Out shorts lineup can be found here.