Inside Out Festival

The Inside Out Festival turns 20

The Inside Out Festival must be reading my mind. My three main conversation topics these days are James Franco, Bears, and Jamie Travis' short film The Armoire....weird that this year's festival lineup has them all.

The 20 Years of Queers edition of the Toronto LGBT Film and Video festival will pack in more than 100 screenings from May 20 to May 30, including an anniversary retrospective, an international spotlight series on South America, exhibitions, live performances, and panels.

Inside Out launches its 11-day run with a narrative take on HOWL, in which James Franco plays Allen Ginsberg, on May 20 at the Isabel Bader Theatre. It's reported to be partly a Ginsberg biopic, partly about the obscenity trial surrounding the poem's publication, and also partly animated.

I had the opportunity to screen The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, the closing Gala film. This BBC-produced Sapphic period piece follows the loves and losses of a 19th century Yorkshire landowner. Not a hit nor a miss, but could easily have been improved with more sex or story. Then there is Oy Vey! My Son is Gay!, a romantic comedy that goes something like this: A nice young man, from a nice Jewish family, meets Mr. Right, and has to break it to his mother that he will not be marrying a nice Jewish girl. What could possibly happen here?

Undertow leads this year's spotlight on South America with beautiful cinematography from the Peruvian coastline. In this one, a married fisherman and father-to-be has a scandalous love affair.

On the doc side, I was surprisingly drawn into the sad story of Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Warhol Superstar. And Prima Donna: The Story of Rufus Wainwright's Debut Opera gives us a sneak peek behind the opera's rocky rehearsals, just before its North American premiere at Luminato next month.

What's a surefire way to get me lined up for a movie? Bears. Furry, famous, and local Toronto Bears. Malcolm Ingram's doc Bear Nation promises an "insightful and thoroughly enjoyable examination of the hairy subculture of hirsute homosexuals" on May 25th.

Inside Out will be celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans films and filmmakers from May 20th to May 30th, 2010. Visit the festival website for venues and show times. Tickets ($8/$10/$20/$25) are available at 2 Carlton Street and online.

Still from Howl courtesy of Inside Out.

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