August 12-22, 2021
Tickets and Passes Available at queerfilmfestival.ca
(Vancouver, B.C.) – Out On Screen launches the program for the 33rd annual Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF), taking place virtually across British Columbia this summer from Thursday, August 12 to Sunday, August 22. Tickets and Festival Passes are available online at www.queerfilmfestival.ca.
Media can download Festival creative and film stills here.
VQFF will be presented online in a video-on-demand (VOD) format, with a few small in-person events. Most films will be available throughout the 11-day celebration, with all content available to stream across British Columbia. The Festival will continue to follow the guidance of Public Health in order to offer audiences a COVID-safe viewing experience of the best independent queer cinema, along with workshops, artist Q&As, panels, and a few fun surprises.
VQFF 2021, with the support of presenting sponsor RBC, features six Spotlight Programs, eight Special Presentations, sixteen Feature Films, seven Short Film Programs, and several Workshops and Industry Panels. Curated by Artistic Director Anoushka Ratnarajah and Festival Programmer Nya Lewis, the theme of this year’s Festival is ‘Longing’, and many films shine a spotlight on queer artistic legacies and the value of queer artistic contributions to society.
“Queer artists have been creating in the face of adversity for decades,” says Ratnarajah. “I am honoured to host programming that speaks to these important legacies of artistic contributions and the people who create them.”
VQFF is thrilled to present a screening of the feature documentary, Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters, the story of one of the most legendary and seminal dance works to come out of the AIDS crisis. “D-Man” gave physical manifestation to the grief and hope of the times. After reconstructing the original choreography, a group of young dancers learn about the forgotten history and deepen their understanding of the power of art to bring about change. This politically and emotionally-charged work uniquely illustrates themes of sacrifice, loss, and love. A mixture of archival material and firsthand accounts, the lyrical documentary illustrates the spirit of community and survival. Through archival video interviews, Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters is available on-demand August 12-22.
Another iconic work of art being revisited in a film this year is Boulevard! A Hollywood Story. Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz, Boulevard! A Hollywood Story is the untold tale of the first attempt at a musical version of Sunset Boulevard. Long before Glenn Close won a Tony Award for her portrayal of “Norma Desmond” in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, the original “Norma”, Gloria Swanson, had her own aspirations to bring Sunset Boulevard to the stage. A tale of creative passion and longing for recognition, this hidden gem of Hollywood and Broadway history provides a glimpse into the ways in which commercial artistic success has been denied to women and queer people.
Queer artistic legacies are explored in many of the films at this year’s Festival. Based on a true life story, Adam is the journey of a young trans man who crosses geopolitical and gender boundaries in order to find his home. Originally an award-winning stage play, this project was shot in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland during Glasgow’s lockdown. The titular role is played by Adam Kashmiry, who began sharing his story in 2012 as he was seeking asylum. Nearly a decade later, this film chronicles Adam’s difficult and courageous fight to find safety as he leaves Egypt for the United Kingdom.
La Intención Del Colibrí (The Hummingbird’s Intention) audiences are introduced to Ulises Beisso, a daring and accomplished artist whose erotic and autobiographical work spanned over three decades while Uruguay transitioned from a period of dictatorship and repression through a time of increased freedom and cultural expression. When he passed away from pancreatic cancer, his estate was divided – with half remaining fragmented and concealed by his mother’s shame. But Juan refuses to let his lover’s work remain hidden from the world, and what follows is a moving effort to preserve and exhibit Ulises’ legacy. Through interviews with Juan, we are introduced to Ulises’ work and his unique commitment to his craft, and to a tender and resilient relationship that transformed them both.
The importance of representation is also highlighted through exciting panels throughout the first weekend of the Festival. Presented in partnership with CBC Vancouver, VQFF hosts a conversation with Sheldon Lynn – quarter-finalist on Season 4 of The Great Canadian Baking Show and member of Vancouver’s all-Asian drag dynasty, House of Rice. Join us on August 14 at 1:00pm live on zoom as we talk through being queer on reality television and bringing your full self into the spotlight.
Also available on VQFF’s watch platform is Queer as in F*ck You: Queers in Politics. Queer communities are at the forefront of intersectional advocacy, often in spaces created in direct conflict with our liberties and freedoms. This past year has highlighted the need for action beyond representation in Canadian politics. Acknowledging Queerness as a dimension wherein one invents and creates alternative worlds for survival, Out On Screen Executive Director, activist, educator and former running councilman, Brandon Yan, meets with Queer politicians taking on the unnerving task of being Queer in politics. The panel promises to be an informative and warm conversation surrounding the experiences of Queer folks active in legislation and policy advocacy.
Celebrating 33 years of illuminating and advancing queer lives through film, education and dialogue, VQFF is Vancouver’s second largest film festival and the largest queer arts event in Western Canada. The full 2021 VQFF program is available online at www.queerfilmfestival.ca.