The 31st Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) opens this Thursday, August 15th at the Vancouver Playhouse with the Canadian Premiere of Leon Le’s Song Lang (Vietnam/U.S.A.), Le’s first feature is set in the richly imagined and dilapidated streets of 1990’s Saigon. Song Lang is a tribute to the golden age of c?i l??ng (a form of modern Vietnamese folk opera), a queer romance and gangster film that stars Vietnamese popstar, Isaac.
VQFF’s Closing Gala Film is the Canadian Premiere of a positive, feel-good LGBTQ comedy from Italy, An Almost Ordinary Summer (Italy) by Simone Godano. The film pays homage to the entertaining romantic comedies of Nancy Meyers, about two aging patriarchs who bring their two very different families together on vacation to announce their engagement.
In between, VQFF welcomes more than 100 films from 27 countries, plus a series of Festival Spotlights including Coming Into Our Own: Youth Spotlight, Queer Kinship, A Higher Power, and projecting brilliance: a two-spirit showcase.
Curated by Artistic Director, Anoushka Ratnarajah, VQFF is Vancouver’s second largest film festival and the largest queer arts event in Western Canada. Presented by Out On Screen, the Festival runs August 15-25, 2019 at various venues throughout the city, for more information and tickets visit queerfilmfestival.ca
As we head into Pride Weekend in Vancouver, we reflect on the privileges and freedoms afforded to Canadian citizens. While not perfect, they’re far better than many places around the globe, especially for those identifying as LGBTQ+. Rights have been extended in more and more countries but unfortunately, there are still at least 14 countries where homosexuality is legally punishable by death.
Rainbow Refugee is a Vancouver based community organization supporting people seeking refugee protection in Canada because of persecution based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Since 2011, Rainbow Refugee Society has worked in partnership with the Federal government to direct a blended sponsorship program called the Rainbow Refugee Assistance Project (RRAP). This is a national project and Rainbow Refugee has the responsibility of working with its own Circles of Hope as well as other community organizations across Canada to sponsor LGBTQ+ asylum seekers.
The Rainbow Connection is one of the Circles of Hope hoping to supporting Rainbow Refugee. We are a group of friends, lead by Mr. Gay Canada 2019, working together to assist a LGBTQ+ person hoping to resettle in Canada. We are grateful to live in Canada and have the ability to live and love in a safe and supportive community. Supporting a person, presently living in an African refugee camp, whose life is in danger because of who they are is our way of sharing the benefits that we have through our citizenship and friendships.
We have set up a Canada Helps donation page to help raise funds online as well as raising offline funds to support our goal. Along with our knowledge and support, the money we raise will assist this Rainbow Refugee to set up a new life in Canada. It will go towards food, housing, transportation, personal health… anything and everything needed every day to live a full life. We hope you will support us in this endeavour, any little bit you can contribute is greatly appreciated and if you cannot provide monetary support we ask that you share the donation page with your network.
The Vancouver Queer Film Festival has released its lineup for the 30th Anniversary edition of the festival, taking place August 9-19. Over the 11-day festival, more than 70 films from 15 countries will be featured, along with 11 visiting filmmakers, 27 local directors and numerous local performing artists, in addition to parties and talkback sessions & seminars. Festival passes and tickets are now on sale online.
“Our 30th year is the perfect time to reflect on how queer cinema has evolved,” says Co-Artistic Director Amber Dawn. “We now see queer, trans, and two-spirit themed films routinely winning awards and gaining wide viewership. Even with this recognition, there are still so many stories to be told and so many innovative possibilities for media-based storytelling. You’ll only get a chance to see groundbreaking stories like these at festivals like Vancouver Queer Film Festival.”
Curated by Co-Artistic Directors Anoushka Ratnarajah and Amber Dawn, Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) 2018 opens at the Vancouver Playhouse with Malaysian-born writer and director Yen Tan’s 1985, featuring an acclaimed cast including Cory Michael Smith, Michael Chiklis, Virginia Madsen, and Jamie Chung.
This year’s VQFF Centrepiece Gala Film is from LA-based comedian, writer and actress Vivian Bang, who co-wrote and stars in, White Rabbit. In this comedy that premiered at Sundance Film Festival, Vivian Bang plays a Korean-American performance artist who tries to remain dedicated to her art and struggles to pay the bills by doing odd jobs on “TaskRabbit”. The 2018 Youth Gala Film is Shaz Bennett’s debut feature film, Alaska Is A Drag, a
fish out of water story about life in a small Alaska cannery town.
Festival favourites The Coast is Queer and Troublemakers return, and new this year is The Coast is Genderqueer – VQFF’s first short film program that showcases local transgender, genderfluid, and non-binary stories. As well, Festival Programmer Justin Ducharme curates Indigiqueer Shorts from Turtle Island and Aotearoa, a collection of two-spirit films that subvert colonial constructs of Indigiqueer bodies and sexual agency.
VQFF 2018 wraps up August 19th, with the Closing Gala Film The Miseducation of Cameron Post, the sophomore feature from Desiree Akhavan and 2018 Grand Jury Prize for U.S. Drama at Sundance Film Festival. Based on the novel of the same name and set in the early ‘90s, the film follows high school senior Cameron Post, who is caught in a small-town scandal when she’s discovered having a secret relationship with her best friend. Deemed a sinner, Cameron is sent by her conservative aunt and guardian to a Christian conversion therapy camp called ‘Promises’.
Festival program guides are now available at Festival venues as well as Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium and Black Dog Video. The complete Festival lineup can also be viewed online at www.queerfilmfestival.ca.
Vancouver’s Queer Arts Festival (QAF) celebrates its tenth anniversary with the multi-disciplinary summer festival, June 16 to 28, 2018 at Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre. The annual festival, this year titled DECADEnce, also commemorates Pride in Art’s 20th year as an artist-led collective. QAF 2018 features a boundary-pushing, dialogue-igniting array of creators that amplify artistic risk-taking and incite creative collaboration and experimentation.
The diverse festival line-up includes the world premiere of Lesley Ewen’s work Camera Obscura; a 30-year retrospective concert honouring Barry Truax’s trailblazing work titled Skin & Metal: Homoerotic Music Theatre Works by Barry Truax.Operatic tenor Jeremy Dutcher’s performance of traditional Wolastoqiyik songs from his debut release Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa (Maliseet Songs); performances from local art disruptors Su-Feh Lee, MACHiNENOiSY, and Erato Ensemble; and the always popular Queeraoke closing night blowout, plus much more.
“In a settler colonial society, we have a very solidified perception of what ‘counts’ as worthy of commemorating. And all too often, the voices and lives that are articulated at QAF not only fall outside of this – but are obscured or erased by this HIStory,” says SD Holman, Artistic Director. “For 20 years, we have championed the voices and visions of fearless artists to challenge normative misconceptions in both art spaces and the greater society. Still today, we are living with the burden of an uncertain future and a precarious present that denies freedom, the self-governance of our bodies, minds, and artistic visions. At ten years in, the importance of having a Queer Arts Festival has only grown more palpable.”
Art and conviviality converge at the grand opening, celebrating 10 years of the Queer Arts Festival, June 16th with Art Party! Gala Opening Reception, a pay what you can event at 7pm at Roundhouse Community Centre.
This summer, Out On Screen presents the 30th annual Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF), Thursday, August 9th to Sunday, August 19th. This year’s Festival, presented by RBC, will take place at various theatres around Vancouver. The 2018 Festival theme is “To the moon and back, 30 years of uplifting queer stories”
To kick off the 30th Anniversary celebrations Out on Screen is hosting a community birthday party, sponsored by Vancity, on Saturday, June 2nd at The Imperial on Main Street at 8:00pm. The party for the LGBT2Q+ community and allies will pay tribute to the last three decades of uplifting queer stories at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. The Festival gets nostalgic and will be turning back time to dance the night away to hits from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s, and enjoy performances inspired by each decade from talented local artists Maiden China, Shay Dior, and Indigenous burlesque troupe Virago Nation.
“The value of queer film as a transformational art medium is just as critical today as it was 30 years ago,” says Executive Director Stephanie Goodwin. “The Festival is a place for the LGBT2Q+ community to call home as well as an important platform for films that queer the narrative, that illuminate and celebrate LGBT2Q+ lives in all their dimensions and complexity.”
“2018 has proven to be an incredible year for queer cinema, breaking out of familiar stories and into mainstream box office success,” adds Co-Artistic Director Anoushka Ratnarajah. “We are seeing queer filmmakers taking aesthetic and narrative risks, creating art that pushes boundaries, and takes audiences into new queer territories. I feel very fortunate to be witnessing the artistry, intelligence, and courage of queer film today.”
Celebrating the best in independent queer cinema, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival is Vancouver’s second largest film festival and the largest queer arts event in Western Canada. For the full line-up of the VQFF films, classes, lectures, panels and more visit queerfilmfestival.ca
The 2015 Tony Award winning Best Musical, Fun Home makes its Canadian debut on The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Granville Island stage. Based on the graphic autobiography by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, and directed by Lois Anderson, Fun Home features the adult Alison (Sara-Jeanne Hosie) trying to overcome a bout of writer’s block. While looking back into the moments of her life she unlocks dormant memories and feelings of childhood, growing up and coming out and most importantly her relationship with her father.
The 10 year old, tomboy, Small Alison, played in a powerhouse performance by Jaime MacLean, imagines life to be like a Partridge Family episode but her obsessive compulsive father, Bruce (Eric Craig) has other ideas. The historic home restorer, English teacher, FUNeral HOME director runs a tight ship at home and work while fighting his own personal battles. In hindsight, adult Alison can see the cracks in her fathers veneer, living in a small town during the era of the ‘love that dare not speak its name’, he occassionally gives in to his gay urges, at times dangerously steps into predatory territory.
When she heads to college, the Medium Alison (played by Kelli Ogmundson) comes out to herself and her family as a lesbian. As her father grows more manic, her mother, Helen, played by Janet Gigliotti, reveals that she isn’t the perfect sitcom mom that Alison envisioned, instead she did her best to tolerate her husband’s affairs with men and the humiliation of him being caught with underage boys. Believing her coming out was a trigger for her father’s mental state she finally unlocks her memories and puts the puzzle pieces of his life, together with her own and overcomes her writer’s block as their stories have poured out of her pencil onto the pages.
In a time when the LGBT community has made great gains in visibility, Fun Home reminds us that not long ago things were very different for the generations before us. While Fun Home takes the audience on an emotional journey, Lisa Kron’s book and lyrics, with music by Jeanine Tesori, are able to bring in lighthearted moments to balance. All the performers, the youth and adult actors and musicians, in this production of Fun Home shine. Amir Ofek’s set makes us feel at home inside the historic Bechdel home, complimented by Amy McDougall’s costumes that those of us who grew up in a similar era will remember (somewhat) fondly.
Fun Home plays at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Granville Island Stage until March 10th. Visit artsclub.com for tickets and times.
Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF), the city’s second largest film fest gets under way in one week. Running August 10 to 20, 2017, VQFF brings 11 days of award winning films, talkbacks, performances and parties.
The Festival opens at the Vancouver Playhouse with the 2017 Sundance Award-winning film, I Dream in Another Language (Sueño en Otro Idioma). Following the screening the Festival’s Opening Gala Party, a celebration under the stars at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza.
The VQFF Artist in Residence for 2017 is the prolific and multi-talented Vivek Shraya. The filmmaker, visual artist, musician, and author will spend the Festival’s opening weekend with audiences at events featuring a breadth of work from her diverse portfolio.
“We’re thrilled to be bringing audiences and artists together for once in a lifetime connections at our Festival,” said Artistic Directors Anoushka Ratnarajah and Amber Dawn. “The caliber of talent and diverse perspectives of our visiting and local filmmakers are sure to challenge and delight our highly intelligent and invested audiences. We look forward to the time we will share together.”
Some of the artists in attendance at VQFF include;
– Doris Yeung, writer, director and executive producer of Taxi Stories, the most ambitious film of the Festival, filmed in three countries and featuring a mostly non-actor cast. – Philippines filmmaker Samantha Lee, whose film, Maybe Tomorrow (Baka Bukas), won the Audience Choice Award at the Cinema One Originals Festival in Manila. – New York City poet and author, t’ai freedom ford, whose work is featured in The Revival: Women and the Word. – Pakistani-Canadian film and television actress, writer and producer, Fawzia Mirza, for the screening of Signature Move. – Emerging filmmaker Francis Luta, will speak with audiences after his film Project Gelb. – Award-winning writer, playwright, performer and filmmaker, Steen Starr, whose short documentary Older than What? tells the story of twelve queer and trans elders responding to ten questions about aging, visibility, and social change.
One of the festival’s fan favourite events, The Coast is Queer, an evening dedicated to local talent, will screen on Friday, August 18 at the York Theatre. Featuring nine stellar short films from some of BC’s most standout emerging and established filmmakers, our annual local programming covers documentaries, romance, fantasy, and drama.
The Festival closes August 20th at the Vancouver Playhouse with the Closing Gala screening of 2016 Dublin Film Critics Circle Award winner Handsome Devil by Irish director John Butler.Following thescreening the annual Closing Party at The Junction wraps another VQFF.