A Toronto International Film Festival program highlighting LGBTQ stories during Pride Month was made available through the event’s digital cinema today (June 4).
TIFF kicked off a new programming series titled Queer Becoming this week, and have made several films and virtual events available through the digital TIFF Bell Lightbox and the festival’s social media channels this month. Organizers said the goal of this year’s program is to challenge the commonly used “coming out” trope, and instead highlight a spectrum of stories that explore queer identity, queer community or queer family, and demonstrate self-actualization at every stage of life.
The film program features a pair of documentaries including the 2020 Canadian feature No Ordinary Man, directed by Chase Joynt and Aisling Chin-Yee. The film takes an in-depth look at the life of jazz musician and trans icon Billy Tipton, whose story is reimagined and performed by contemporary trans artists.
Also included in the program is the 1989 documentary Tongues Untied (pictured), directed by Marlon T. Riggs. This film uses poetry readings, music, dance and personal testimony to examine the homophobia and racism faced by Black gay men.
TIFF’s Pride Month film programming also includes narrative features like A Fantastic Woman, Rafiki and Cowboys.
Virtual events and discussions are also a part of the festival’s Queer Becoming program. On June 24, artist and activist Syrus Marcus Ware will host a workshop inspired by the themes of TIFF’s program, and specifically in Tongues Untied. The talk will discuss poetry as a vehicle for self-expression, community building and activism. TIFF is also offering priority registration to the event for people who self-identify as LGBTQ+ and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous or a person of color).
Earlier this week, TIFF held a Q&A with the team behind the 2020 documentary feature Ahead of the Curve. The film covers the work of Frances Stevens to launch the best-selling lesbian lifestyle magazine Curve. The Q&A, which was held on TIFF’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels, included Stevens, co-directors Jen Rainin and Rivkah Beth Medow, and people featured in the film such as Kim Katrin and Andrea Pino-Silva. The group discussed the lived experiences of queer women and non-binary people in America.