Inside Out unveils lineup for 31st edition of 2SLGBTQ+ film festival

Documentaries about one of Microsoft’s first computer programmers and a Filipina-American queer all-female rock band are two of the non-fiction highlights in this year’s Inside Out festival lineup. The full lineup ...
May 3, 2021

Documentaries about one of Microsoft’s first computer programmers and a Filipina-American queer all-female rock band are two of the non-fiction highlights in this year’s Inside Out festival lineup.

The full lineup for the 31st edition of the festival was released today (May 3rd), including 143 films and five episodic series. The Toronto-based festival, which champions 2SLGBTQ+ filmmakers from around the world, runs from May 27 to June 6.

The announcement was made by Inside Out’s new executive director, Lauren Howes, and its director of programming, Andrew Murphy. Individual tickets for digital screenings, ticket packages, and all-access passes are on sale as of today at 12 a.m. on the festival’s website.

“We worked with optimism that we would be able to safely hold limited in person events this year, and instead we embrace the bubble,” Howes said.

“It is our desire to be here for you, as your bubble enhancers. We hope with our programming you will find the breath of fresh air that inflates you, and the effervescence that buoys you.”

Inside Out’s digital cinema, accessible via the festival’s website and through its AppleTV and Roku apps, will be available for audience members in Ontario, and registered industry and press members. Films in the premiere category will launch daily during the festival, while an on-demand digital library of these films will be available to pass holders throughout the festival with capped attendance.

Inside Out’s Spotlight on Canada section will be available for free to audience members in Ontario through the festival’s platform.

The festival’s virtual launch week runs from May 3 to 7. Priyanka, Canada’s Drag Race winner, will host a daily programming spotlight on the festival’s website about different sections of their program.

The annual 2SLGBTQ+ Film Finance Forum, which was launched by Inside Out, now in its fifth year, will also take place online this year.

The Canadian premiere of Natalie Morales’ narrative feature film, Language Lessons, will open the festival. Alone Together, a documentary directed by Bradley Bell and Pablo Jones-Soler about English pop star Charli XCX writing and recording an album in 40 days while taking on mental health issues and connecting with LGBTQ+ fans, will close Inside Out. These films will stream live in the evening.

“Our 31st edition is bookended with two very special films, both shot during the pandemic that reflect our longing for connection during this topsy turvy time,” Murphy said.

“We strive to accurately represent a community in flux, a community in turmoil, and a community with resilience, featuring finger on the pulse documentaries and narratives, curated alongside fantastical love stories that remind us of the before, and hopefully, the after times.”

Inside Out will also bring back the Pitch, Please! competition, virtually June 5. The annual short film contest sees international competitors present a two-minute pitch to a virtual jury and audience, with a cash prize for the winner.

Award winners for the main categories will be revealed on opening weekend, while audience award winners and the pitch contest winner will be announced on June 6.

The festival’s closing night will also feature a party hosted over Zoom by Club Quarantine, an underground, virtual queer nightclub that popped up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are some non-fiction highlights from this year’s Inside Out festival:


Can You Bring It: Tom Hurwitz and Rosalynde LeBlanc direct this American documentary that resurrects the ‘D-Man in the Waters’ dance routine, an essential work of art to come out of the AIDS era.

Fanny: The Right to Rock (pictured): A Canadian documentary directed by Bobbi Jo Hart about a Filipina-American and LGBTQ rock band.

Mama Gloria: Directed by Luchina Fisher, this American documentary is about Gloria Allen, a role model, charm school founder and trans activist.

Yes I Am – The Ric Weiland Story: Aaron Bear directs this American documentary about one of the first computer programmers at Microsoft, and hisefforts to establish representation and resources for the LGBTQ community.


A Sexplanation: An American documentary directed by Alexander Liu featuring provocative conversations about the pursuit of sexual truth and knowledge.

Being Thunder: A French documentary about Sherente Harris, a two-spirit genderqueer teenager from the Narragansett tribe in Rhode Island.

Drag Invasion: A Peruvian documentary directed by Alberto Castro about how drag queens arrived in Peru and mobilized and empowered LGBTQ Peruvians.

Everything at Once: A documentary from Chile and Spain directed by Alberto Fuguet that observes the work of two Catalan photographers and their vision to emphasize the sex appeal of the working class.

Genderation: In 1999, Monika Truet made one of the first documentaries about trans people living in San Francisco. Two decades later, this German documentary directed by Treut reunites her with some of the film’s subjects.

Instructions For Survival: A German documentary directed by Yana Ugrekhelidze about a couple fighting for freedom in their homeland.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.