Tue. Oct 20th, 2020

30th Inside Out Toronto LGBTQ Film Festival lineup announced

The annual 10-Day festival will run virtually with drive-in and special events and be available to audiences across Ontario from October 1-10

TORONTO, ON (September 9, 2020) – The 30th annual Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival (Inside Out), championing innovative LGBTQ filmmakers from across the globe, has revealed its full film lineup debuting on the Inside Out streaming platform that will showcase 150 films and 9 episodic series. The announcement was made today by Inside Out’s Executive Director Andria Wilson and the festival’s Director of Programming Andrew Murphy. Inside Out, which launched the first ever annual LGBTQ Film Finance Forum and has established itself as an international home and incubator for LGBTQ emerging and established filmmakers, will take place online and with special drive-in events from October 1-11, 2020. 

Inside Out’s digital platform, which will be available for anyone in Ontario as well as registered industry and press members, will be accessible via insideout.ca, and through Inside Out’s new AppleTV and Roku apps, launching October 1st. Audiences will be able to customize their own watch lists and schedule from their comfort of their own homes, using their home entertainment systems.

Inside Out in partnership with Netflix will host an exclusive conversation with special guests and talent from the Netflix film THE BOYS IN THE BAND, based on the hit broadway play starring Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, among others. THE BOYS IN THE BAND will be available to stream ahead of the event on Netflix when it debuts on September 30th. 

Other highlights from the festival lineup include a Special Presentation timed event screening of THE OBITUARY OF TUNDE JOHNSON, the feature directing debut of Everybody Hates Chris co-creator Ali LeRoi, the modern-day western film COWBOYS, starring Steve Zahn, Jillian Bell, Ann Dowd, and young trans actor Sasha Knight, Emma Seligman’s comedy of discomfort SHIVA BABY, starring Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon and Dianna Agron, and the Irish sleeper-hit rom-com DATING AMBER, starring Fionn O’Shea (“Normal People”) and newcomer Lola Petticrew.

Documentary highlights from the program include AHEAD OF THE CURVE, chronicling the life of the best selling lesbian culture magazine Curve, which will also screen as a special Drive-In event in the Ottawa region, as well as Icons program selections KEYBOARD FANTASIES: THE BEVERLY GLENN-COPELAND STORY, which catalogs the career resurgence of trans musician Glenn Copeland who created a self-released electronic album over thirty years ago, NO ORDINARY MAN, which explores the legacy of Billy Tipton, a 20th-century American jazz musician and trans icon, and Ashley O’Shay’s powerful documentary UNAPOLOGETIC, that shines a light on organizations that fight racial injustices against Black women in the United States.

The lineup will also include showcasing two films that came out of Inside Out’s LGBTQ Finance Forum – a Special preview Presentation of the film JUMP, DARLING, an offbeat family drama starring Oscar-winner Cloris Leachman and Thomas Duplessie, presented as a Drive-In screening, as well as BREAKING FAST, a sweet romantic comedy about a gay practicing Muslim fitting into the myriad pleasures of West Hollywood life, starring Haaz Sleiman and Micahel Cassidy.

The opening night film for the festival, which will be announced at a later date, will showcase a special drive-in event for a film at Ontario Place presented by RBC Royal Bank. A mix of pre-recorded and live virtual Q&As are expected with cast and crew from films being shown at the festival.

“In 30 years of LGBTQ film exhibition, we’ve never seen an edition of Inside Out quite like this,” said Andria Wilson, Executive Director. “These past 6 months have necessitated innovation, imagination, and collaboration as our teams and festival colleagues around the globe have adjusted our models to this moment. What we’re sharing with you today is the result of that internal and external journey, which has been guided by our mission to elevate the works of LGBTQ2 filmmakers and connect them with our diverse communities.”

“The queer community is no stranger to extraordinary situations. Who could have predicted a global pandemic would become the entry point to mobilize around new ideas, new connections and collaborations, to ensure we could still deliver the best and safest possible 30th anniversary,” said Andrew Murphy, Director of Programming. “Film is really now the safest way to travel, and this year’s lineup provides a unique opportunity to escape into the many complicated queer worlds via the brilliant minds of our filmmakers, icons, and peers.”

Inside Out, in addition to being a resource for LGBTQ filmmakers and showcasing their work through the annual festival, is one the world’s leading LGBTQ film organizations, founded the world’s only LGBTQ Feature Finance Forum, and has launched two key film funds within the past few years – RE:Focus, which supports queer and trans women and non-binary filmmakers, and the OUTtv Outspoken Documentary Fund. There are four films that are beneficiaries of the RE:Focus Fund in the 2020 lineup.

The 2020 feature film program includes a total of 150 films, representing 30 countries. 

As in past years, films will be in competition for jury and audience awards. For the first time ever, award winners will be revealed on opening weekend, giving audiences the opportunity to view the winning films throughout the entire festival. Jurors confirmed for Inside Out this year include:

● International First Feature Jury: Jude Dry, Associate Editor at IndieWire, Jazz Tangcay, Artisans Editor at Variety, and producer Inuka Bacote-Capiga (Eastsiders, The Forty-Year-Old Version)

● Canadian Jury: Actress/writer Natasha Negovanlis, cinematographer/director Ashley Iris Gill, and musician/educator Scott Jones

The programming team, led by Director of Programming Andrew Murphy, is comprised of Jenna Dufton (Programming Manager), Jacob Crepeault (Programming Assistant), and programmers Ferdosa Abdi, Rasheed Bailey, Katherine Connell, Ferrin Evans, Scott Ferguson, Claire Jarvis, Zeinah Kalati, Allia McLeod and Nik Redman.

Individual tickets for digital screenings, as well as 5-ticket packages and the All Access Pass, are on sale today at 12:00pm ET at insideout.ca. Drive-ins and other special event tickets will be on sale in the coming weeks.

In addition to the conversation event for THE BOYS IN THE BAND, additional panelists and conversations will be announced in the coming weeks.

The 2020 feature film selections are as follows:

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

JUMP, DARLING (Exclusive Preview), directed by Philip J. Connell. (Canada). 

One of the recent success stories to come out of Inside Out’s LGBTQ Finance Forum (2017) and Telefilm’s Talent to Watch program (2018), JUMP, DARLING is an offbeat family drama set in the heart of Eastern Ontario. (Narrative). 

THE OBITUARY OF TUNDE JOHNSON, directed by Ali LeRoi. (USA). 

Tunde Johnson, an African-American teen, is stuck in a Groundhog Day nightmare, waking up to experience the same day over and over again—the day he dies at the hands of Los Angeles police officers. (Narrative). 

SPOTLIGHT ON CANADA

SEX, SIN & 69, directed by Sarah Fodey. (Canada). 

The decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada may seem like it happened centuries ago, but Sarah Fodey’s retrospective documentary explores how Canada’s push for LGBTQI2S equality was met with resistance in the 20th century.

SPIRAL, directed by Kurtis David Harder. (Canada). 

Spiral, an atmospheric horror film set in 1995, headlines Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (Canada’s Drag Race; UnReal) and Ari Cohen (It) as couple Malik and Aaron. (Narrative). 

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE THIS PLACE, ANYPLACE, directed by Lulu Wei. (Canada). 

If you grew up in Toronto, it’s likely that Honest Ed’s comes to mind as one of the city’s historic landmarks. Unfortunately, the now demolished Honest Ed’s no longer welcomes guests to its Bloor and Bathurst corner, but its impact lives on in this captivating documentary from local filmmaker Lulu Wei. (Documentary). 

WELL ROUNDED, directed by Shana Myara. (Canada). 

Well Rounded is a documentary for all the fat, queer, racialized women who so rarely see themselves represented in the media. Here, six female entertainers are given space to share their stories and celebrate their bodies. (Documentary). 

ICONS

AHEAD OF THE CURVE, directed by Rivkah Beth Medow and Jen Rainin. (USA).

Franco Stevens’ best selling magazine Curve has raised visibility and shown the world that lesbian culture is everywhere. Ahead of the Curve documents the incredible life of Stevens through remarkable archival footage and interviews with superstars Melissa Etheridge, Kim Katrin Milan, Lea Delaria, among others. (Documentary). 

KEYBOARD FANTASIES: THE BEVERLY GLENN-COPELAND STORY, directed by Posy Dixon. (USA). 

Capturing five decades of relentless musical output and shifting manifestations of gender and sexual identity, and set against a backdrop of profound social change, the film celebrates the life of Beverly Glenn Copeland who, at 75, is embarking on his first international tour. (Documentary). 

NO ORDINARY MAN, directed by Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt. (Canada).

No Ordinary Man captures Billy Tipton’s complicated legacy, a burden for some and an inspiration for others, with in-depth critiques and affirmations for the trans icon and his portrayal in the media. (Documentary). 

UNAPOLOGETIC, directed by Ashley O’Shay. (USA).

Unapologetic is an empowering documentary that shines a light on organizations that fight racial injustices against Black women in the United States. (Documentary). 

YOUR MOTHER’S COMFORT, directed by Adam Golub. (Brazil).

In the face of a crumbling Brazilian democracy, trans activist and politician Indianara Siqueira fights to protect a safe house on behalf of herself and her chosen family. (Documentary). 

INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE

ALICE JUNIOR, directed by Gil Baroni. (Brazil)

Shimmering on the surface and full of heart, Alice Junior centres on the titular Alice, a trans YouTuber determined to experience her first kiss. (Narrative). 

BREAKING FAST, directed by Mike Mosallam. (USA). 

Where does a gay practicing Muslim fit into the myriad pleasures of West Hollywood life? In writer-director Mike Mosallam’s sweet romantic comedy, Breaking Fast, there are no hard and fast rules. (Narrative). 

CICADA, directed by Matthew Fifer and Kieran Mulcare. (USA).

Set against the backdrop of New York in 2013, Cicada examines the bond between two troubled strangers who develop an honest connection. (Narrative). 

COWBOYS, directed by Anna Kerrigan. (USA).

With standout performances by Steve Zahn, Ann Dowd, Jillian Bell, and young trans actor Sasha Knight, Cowboys is the captivating story of a young man who knows exactly who he is, and a father who will do anything to protect that. (Narrative). 

DARK CITY BENEATH THE BEAT, directed by TT The Artist. (USA).

Marketed as an audiovisual experience, Dark City Beneath the Beat explores Baltimore club culture through profiles of the city’s rising DJs, dancers, producers, and artists. (Documentary). 

DATING AMBER, directed by David Freyne. (Ireland). 

Fionn O’Shea (Handsome Devil, Normal People) and newcomer Lola Petticrew deliver delightful performances in this gentle, bittersweet Irish charmer that quickly became the quarantine summer sleeper hit across the UK. (Narrative). 

DEAR LEO, directed by Emma Rappold. (USA).

Dear Leo follows the story of Annie Duncan as told through letters to her pen pal, her younger cousin, Leo.

DRY WIND, directed by Daniel Nolasco. (Brazil). 

This provocative film, set in Brazil’s rural Southwest, follows the daily life of Sandro, a middle-aged bear who is consumed by his sexual fantasies. (Narrative). 

ELLIE AND ABBIE (& ELLIE’S DEAD AUNT), directed by Monica Zanetti. (Australia). 

Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) is a refreshing—and hilarious—queer take on that age-old genre, the romcom. (Narrative). 

GOSSAMER FOLDS, directed by Lisa Donato. (USA). 

Two Kansas City neighbours forge an unlikely but charming friendship in Gossamer Folds, the feature film debut by Lisa Donato, who penned the Inside Out 2017 hit, Signature Move. (Narrative). 

I AM SAMUEL, directed by Peter Murimi. (Kenya/Canada/UK/USA). 

Filmed over five years, I Am Samuel highlights Samuel and his queer friends as they grapple with the prospect of freedom at the cost of losing connection with their families. (Documentary). 

KELET, directed by Susani Mahadura. (Finland). 

Complete with all the elegance of ballroom culture and the glamour of the fashion world, Kelet is a melange of beauty and personal expression as seen through the eyes of a young Black trans woman possessed with a fiery passion for mainstream attention.

Screens with Ìfé, directed by Uyaiedu Ikpe-Etim. (Nigeria).

LINGUA FRANCA, directed by Isabel Sandoval. (USA/Philippines). 

Isabel Sandoval’s third feature film is a gentle portrait of Olivia, an undocumented transgender Filipino woman in desperate need of a green card in Trump’s America. (Narrative). 

LITTLE GIRL, directed by Sébastien Lifshitz. (France).

Award-winning filmmaker Sébastien Lifshitz follows Sasha’s family for a year, capturing with insightful and delicate, subtle camerawork, a year in the life of a family who are setting an example for trans youth and for families around the world. (Documentary). 

MILKWATER, directed by Morgan Ingari. (USA). 

Milkwater, Morgan Ingari’s sharp first feature, tenderly balances humour and drama while focusing on the distinctive challenges faced by queer folks who are trying to become parents. (Narrative). 

NO HARD FEELINGS, directed by Faraz Shariat. (Germany). 

As a punishment for shoplifting, Parvis (Benjamin Radjaipour) must perform community service as a Farsi translator at a refugee shelter. Born in Germany to Iranian exiles, Parvis is not shy about his queerness. He’s always hitting the clubs and setting selfie thirst traps. But there’s as much awkwardness as intrigue when he befriends Iranian shelter residents, brother and sister Amon (Eidin Jalali) and Banafshe (Banafshe Hourmazdi), who are waiting to find out if they have a future in Germany. (Narrative). 

ONE IN A THOUSAND, directed by Clarisa Navas. (Argentina/Germany).

With its long, handheld takes, Clarisa Navas’ second feature feels like a documentary, intimately following a group of queer teens as they dance bodily, swap sensuous stories, and play sexually charged games of hide-and-seek.  (Narrative). 

PIER KIDS, directed by Elegance Bratton. (USA). 

Elegance Bratton’s documentary rectifies historical erasure through portraits of queer adolescents who are both homeless and people of colour, and who find community and connection in Christopher Street, NYC. (Documentary). 

SHIVA BABY, directed by Emma Seligman. (USA). 

Danielle is already dreading meeting her neurotic parents at a family shiva, but what awaits her is far worse than she could have ever imagined. (Narrative). 

TAHARA, directed by Olivia Peace. (USA). 

Tahara‘s pitch-perfect tone examines the loss and betrayal, and the messy rite of passage, of falling for your best friend. (Narrative). 

THE STRONG ONES, directed by Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo. (Chile). 

Considered an expansion of writer-director Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo’s 2015 award-winning short San Cristóbal, his debut feature, Los Fuertes sparkles with scenic delights: bike rides, bingo, beach walks, adorable toques and excellent performances from handsome young actors. (Narrative). 

THE WHISTLE, directed by StormMiguel Florez. (USA). 

The Whistle shines a light on pre-Internet LGBTQ2S+ community-building, creating an incredible archive of queer life in 1970s and ‘80s Albuquerque. (Documentary). 

 TWILIGHT’S KISS, directed by Ray Yeung. (Hong Kong). 

Romantic encounters can happen at any age,and Ray Yeung’s new feature sweetly portrays the unexpected attraction between two elderly men in Hong Kong. (Narrative).

TWO OF US, directed by Filippo Meneghetti. (France).

A heartbreakingly beautiful tale, and a romance rarely seen onscreen, Two of Us proves that love, no matter the obstacles, is worth fighting for. (Narrative). 

WELCOME TO THE USA, directed by Assel Aushakimova. (Kazakhstan). 

Don’t be misled by the title. This debut feature by Kazakhstani director Assel Aushakimova is a memorial not to the United States but to the director’s home country and the tortuous navigation it takes to be queer in a former Soviet republic. (Narrative). 

EPISODIC 

I AM SYD STONE, directed by Denis Theriault. (Canada).

Hollywood heartthrob Syd Stone finds a connection that immediately creates drama onscreen and off.

RURANGI, directed by Max Currie. (New Zealand). 

Returning home can be challenging, and Rurangi reveals how one individual navigates the pitfalls of a rural, conservative town in order to reconnect with his loved ones.

SHORTS

The previously announced shorts lineup can be found here.

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