Tales of LGBTQ+ bars, professional wrestlers and the history of the “New Romantics” movement in London are among the documentary offerings at this year’s Inside Out Film Festival, which has released the lineup for its 32nd annual event.
The festival, which champions 2SLGBTQ+ filmmakers from around the world, will run from May 26 to June 5 in Toronto and feature 128 films from 28 countries (seven of which are world premieres), including 38 feature films and three episodic series.
The world premiere of Marcus Pontello’s Friday I’m In Love highlights the festival’s documentary offerings. The film looks at the beloved Numbers nightclub in Houston, Texas, and discusses the importance of LGBTQ bars and nightclubs in providing safe spaces for queer people.
Other documentary highlights from this year’s lineup include Gateways Grind from Jacquie Lawrence, about the history of a legendary lesbian bar called The Gateways Club; Out in the Ring, about the history of LGBTQ+ professional wrestlers; and Maris Curran’s Jeanette, an intimate profile of a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.
The feature-length documentary Tramps! from director Kevin Hegge, which chronicles the “New Romantics” movement in fashion and music in 1980s London, is Inside Out’s Centerpiece Gala selection for 2022, while Chase Joynt’s Framing Agnes — which uses re-enactment and genre-blurring storytelling to tell the story of a young trans woman participating in a sex-disorders study to receive gender-affirming care — will screen as a digital exclusive. Another digital exclusive is Sirens from director Rita Baghdadi, a portrait of the Middle East’s first all-female metal band.
The Canadian premiere of Gabriel Martin’s family drama Mars One will serve as the festival’s opening night film, while the first two episodes of Amazon Prime Video’s Canadian original scripted comedy The Lake will close the festival.
“Inside Out has always been a dedicated space for the best in queer cinema, but the last two years have shifted our thinking on what form a shared space can take,” said director of festival programming Jenna Dufton.
“As we embark on our first-ever hybrid festival, we have carefully selected films that affirm the idea that no matter where we are, we are all connected. Whether watching from home or joining us in our return to TIFF Bell Lightbox, we are proud to showcase films from nearly 30 countries, each presenting the opportunity to learn, to laugh, to feel, and most importantly, the opportunity for us to celebrate the power of queer cinema together.”
The festival will also bring back its Pitch, Please! competition this year, which will occur in person on June 4. The annual short-film pitch content will award a cash prize of $5,000 to one winner. The winner, along with juried award winners, will be announced on June 4 before the closing gala screening. Audience award winners will be announced after the festival closes.
This year’s Canadian jury includes filmmakers Michael Hanley, JP Larocque and Sav Rodgers. The international jury includes journalist/filmmaker Bears Rebecca Fonte, producer Michael Souther and writer/producer Nathalie Younglai.
The documentaries included in this year’s Inside Out lineup are:
GALAS AND SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
Directed by Kevin Hegge
A feature-length documentary on London’s fashion and musical movement, the New Romantics.
Fiona Clark: Unafraid (New Zealand)
Directed by Lula Cucchiara
A documentary on artist Fiona Clark, who champions unseen individuals, hidden communities and the land she inhabits.
Framing Agnes (Canada/U.S.)
Directed by Chase Joynt
A cast of transgender artists and performers use re-enactment and genre-blurring storytelling techniques to present untold stories of mid-century trailblazers redefining gender.
Friday I’m In Love (U.S.)
Directed by Marcus Pontello
A look at the Numbers nightclub in Houston, Texas, which was an essential gathering place for queer communities.
Directed by Maris Curran
An emotional tribute to the resilience of Jeannette Feliciano, a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.
Directed by Rita Baghdadi
A documentary covering the first all-female metal band in the Middle East.
Beyond Ed Buck (U.S.)
Directed by Jayce Baron, Hailie Sahar
The documentary follows the murders that took place at the hands of a well-known Democratic political donor.
Blooming on the Asphalt (Brazil)
Directed by Coraci Ruiz, Julio Matos
Offers a unique perspective on a young Brazilian trans man whose life is changed when the country faces a global pandemic and an intolerant government.
Gateways Grind (UK)
Directed by Jacquie Lawrence
A film about one of the UK’s most storied lesbian bars.
La Queenciañera (Mexico)
Directed by Pedro Peira
A film about Los Angeles-based Latina trans activist Bamby Salcedo.
Out in the Ring (Canada)
Directed by Ry Levey
This documentary explores the history of LGBTQ+ professional wrestlers and representation in the sport.
SPOTLIGHT ON CANADA
Pat Rocco Dared (Canada)
Directed by Morris Chapdelaine, Bob Christie
A film covering the life and career of Pat Rocco, a trailblazing gay independent filmmaker.
The Empress of Vancouver (Canada)
Directed by Dave Rodden Shortt
A film about Vancouver-based maverick drag diva and performance artist Oliv Howe.
With Wonder (Canada)
Directed by Sharon Lewis
An intimate look at members of the queer Christian community of colour.