inside out film festival toronto

5 films to see at the Inside Out Film Festival

The 22nd annual Inside Out LGBT Film Festival begins this long weekend, featuring the best in queer cinema and stories. No matter what your preferred genre, Inside Out has it all--from steamy stealthy romances to hard-hitting documentaries about drug addiction. You'll also find films on Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill, shorts programmes dedicated to trans-issues, lesbian encounters and Scandinavian men and finally, even comedies about dysfunctional families and gay science fiction fan clubs.

To help you sift through all the selections, here are 5 films you shouldn't miss.

FRIDAY MAY 18 / HIT SO HARD / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 2 / 5PM
In the early 90's when Hole was hitting their stride, Courtney Love was known to brag about how in a music industry dominated by men, her band's drummer (Patty Schemel) was a lesbian. Unfortunately, as Hole rose to the top, Schemel was in a spiral, addicted to the hard rock lifestyle and drugs that were also part of the territory. Hit So Hard won an Honourable Mention at San Francisco's Frameline Film Festival and features home video that Schemel shot at the time, combined with interviews with contemporaries, making it a must-see at the festival.

TUESDAY MAY 22 / KEEP THE LIGHTS ON / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 1 / 9:15PM
The Centrepiece Gala of the festival is a devastating American film about a gay couple trying to keep themselves afloat while one of them falls apart. Love and destruction play against each other in the story of Erik, a Danish filmmaker, and Paul, a closeted lawyer with a troubling addiction to crack. Winner of Best Feature Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, director Ira Sachs will be in attendance and the ticket includes admission to a pre-film reception hosted at 401 Richmond.

THURSDAY MAY 24 / LOCAL HEROES / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 1 / 7PM
Toronto the Good is celebrated at Inside Out--the Local Heroes screening incorporates works of film from recognized filmmakers and newcomers. From a tale about an Orthodox mother relating to her transgender son, to online dating horror stories, a story of a couple battling Alzheimers and a musical about a bagel, Local Heroes will have you laughing, crying and perhaps, reminiscing. Be careful, this screening sells out every year, so buy your tickets now!

SATURDAY MAY 26 / YOU ARE NOT ALONE / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 1 / 2:15PM
This year Inside Out has programmed an International Focus on Scandinavian cinema and the gem in this program is the 70's classic You Are Not Alone. Instead of being a morose tale of forbidden love, the story blooms as two boys in a boarding school fall in love. One, the popular kid and the other, the headmaster's son. When they are confronted with an injustice to a classmate, they embark on a youthful rebellion to change the status quo, even if it means revealing their relationship.

SUNDAY MAY 27 / I AM A WOMAN NOW / TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 2 / 4:15PM
My favourite recommendation of the festival is this Dutch film about five trans women, all in their seventies, who trace their surgeries back to one pioneering doctor in Casablanca 40 to 50 years ago. This early generation of post-op women give perspective on their lives and the aging process in this brilliant documentary about finding yourself, self discovery and rebirth.

Clearly, there are many more films that deserve mention, and here are some others that you should add to your must-see list. Call Me Kuchu (previously at Hot Docs), Stud Life The Outlands, She Monkeys and the sexy Sagat.

The Inside Out LGBT Film Festival runs from May 17 to 27 with all screenings taking place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Ticket prices vary so visit the Inside Out ticketing website for more details.

Still from Hit So Hard


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