Ottawa Welcomes Inside Out’s 11th LGBT Film Festival

For decades members of the LGBTQ community have struggled with representation in media, with strong heteronormativity displayed in everything from advertisements to blockbuster productions. Despite Hollywood’s increasing display of diversity in its movies, the underground, dedicated LGBTQ film scene remains just as present as before, and is here to stay.

Starting in Toronto more than two decades ago, Inside Out celebrated its first film and video festival fueled by a small group of people seeking film and video created by and about members of the LGBTQ community. Looking to challenge attitudes and change lives through promoting and showcasing community-made movies, Inside Out is a charity with a mission.

“Seeing such films with a queer audience versus a regular cinema or alone at home on Netflix is so crucial to ensuring we help create safe spaces for our communities to watch, learn, be entertained, and hopefully provide a platform to meet some of the filmmakers and initiate dialogue about the films’ themes and how they relate to a larger picture,” said Andrew Murphy, director of programming.

Scene from Gods Own Country 

The organization made its way to Ottawa in 2007 with a four-day festival, and has since grown to welcome over 4,000 attendees to 13 film programs, selecting the best titles from the May edition of the festival in Toronto. Last year the festival also made connections with younger members of the community, with an in-school screening series brought to various high schools in Ottawa.

“Ottawa has always been so supportive of our festival initiatives through their active participation in the festival as audience members, queer cinephiles gathering at the National Gallery for three days of films, our dedicated sponsors and community partners, and of course our amazing volunteers,” Murphy said.

While the festival only starts on November 10, the first four titles have already been announced. With Brokeback Mountain-esque elements, God’s Own Country is a contemporary tale of emotional awakening between two men, deep within the farming hills of Yorkshire. Celebrating the author of the Tales of the City series, The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin is an insightful and poignant documentary celebrating the life of the series’ author. A love story about female strength, family, and Lucha-style wrestling, Signature Move promises to be nothing short of hilarious. Finally, Chavela brings us face-to-face with Mexican singer Chavela Vargas’s life, from her love affair with Frida Kahlo to struggles with alcoholism and violence.

With an already promising and diverse range of movies, this year’s Ottawa LGBT Film Festival promises to be nothing short of moving. The festival will be held at the National Gallery of Canada from November 10-12. All-access passes are priced at $70, festival 4-packs at $36.