You’re probably familiar with Pride Toronto and other popular, long-awaited festivals and activities that happen during the summer. But have you ever heard of a gay parade in the Arctic? Well, it just so happens that an unusual pride event in the capital of Canadian Nunavut spurred interest among two filmmakers and was the decisive spark in igniting a desperately needed discussion about LGBTQ rights within the Inuit community.
Upon the Centennial celebration of Finland, award-winning filmmaker Dome Karukoski presents a moving biopic of one of the country’s most beloved sons. Tom of Finland is a roughly 115 minute biographical dramatization that aims to reveal the creative genius behind the famous homoerotic illustrations. Shot across 3 different countries, the film presents nearly 50 years of Laaksonen’s life, from his time in the war until his death in 1991.
Just as reliable as the Spring thaw, BFI Flare once again presents an exquisite showcase of the world’s best LGBT films. As one of the longest running LGBT film events in the world, BFI Flare attracts storytellers from all walks of life. This year’s Short Film category was no exception, offering everything from quirky to melancholy in bite-sized portions that can be consumed while you’re awaiting your next Uber.
Being different is not a blessing or a curse, it’s what you make it – and you have the power to make it into anything you want. This is the seemingly idealist, but sublimely compelling message of Jewel’s Catch One, a heartening documentary on the most revered and cherished disco for the LGBT community in Los Angeles. Despite its historical roots, the film focuses less on providing a comprehensive chronicle of the club’s evolution and more on shedding light on the ethnic violence in Hollywood, as well as how bravery and a strong purpose can impact the lives of thousands of people.
LadLad is the world’s first LGBT political party. Established and based in the Philippines, the party ran two unsuccessful campaigns for seats in their Congress – the first in 2010 and the second in 2013. That 2013 campaign is the subject of the 2016 documentary Out Run, which chronicles an entire year leading up to that election.
The documentary, titled Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America, puts a lot of the politics behind the ongoing immigration debate aside to give us a personal take on what it’s like living in the United States under the constant threat of deportation – all the while trying to pursue the American Dream it has promised despite the road blocks that come with being undocumented.
My first acquaintance with Argentinian filmmaker Marco Berger goes back to spring 2014 when his exquisitely understated gay romance Hawaii screened at the BFI Flare, London LGBT Film Festival. Fair warning: if you’ve seen that film and found the whole “will they/won’t they” tension a bit frustrating, you might have a hard time stomaching Taekwondo’s incredibly protracted relationship tease. Berger in fact reprises the same kind of core tension in this newest effort, albeit the story and the whole context that feed such tension are rather different.
The Pass spans 15 years through the rise and fall of a closeted footballer: it starts off on the cusp of his career breakthrough, follows him across the glory period where his personal troubles threaten to compromise his success and eventually, as the past catches up with him, finds him bound to face the consequences of his life choices.
Moonlight is the harrowing story of a young black gay man raised by a single mother with a drug addiction in a rough neighbourhood of Miami, told across three chapters symbolically titled: Little, Chiron and Black – the three names our protagonist is identified with as he grows from child into teenager and eventually into fully fledged adult.
BearCity 3 is a fantastic conclusion to Langway’s trilogy and quite possibly his finest example of writing, editing, and filmmaking to date. And not surprisingly, Doug Langway delivers a acknowledgement to his real life bear family – the many bears and bear lovers who have contributed to Langway’s vision over the years and continue to help him weave humorous and dramatic stories.
2016 marks the tenth anniversary of the Iris Prize, the largest international prize available to an LGBT short filmmaker. Each winner is given a £30,000 budget to make another short film, and to date a total of seven new films have been produced and shown at film festivals around the world. This year saw a record number of films submitted for the Iris Prize, so let’s take a look at some of the best, as well as a previous winner and a film made with the prize itself.
El Canto de Colibri is a study in love and acceptance that should be used at every PFLAG meeting, religious conference, parenting class and political campaign. And though the documentary is in Spanish with English subtitles and subjects of varying Latino descent, every ethnic group can draw something from this documentary whether as a parent, a child, a politician, a clergyman, a sociologist or otherwise.