Five must-see films at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival

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      By Charlie Hidalgo

      From August 10 to 20, audiences can attend the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and catch 92 films from 27 countries, with 24 features, 68 shorts, 10 world premieres, 10 North American/international premieres, and 31 Canadian premieres among the selections. In addition to in-person and province-wide digital screenings, the festival features performances by 2SLGBTQIA+ local artists, post-screening Q&As with filmmakers, industry workshops, and encore screenings of festival favourites.

      My artistic direction for the festival centres on cultural strategy and narrative change. We are working very intentionally to reshape and expand society’s perceptions of our community, so we made authentic and positive representation as our North Star.

      I couldn’t be prouder to say that this year and for the first time, VQFF’s lineup exclusively showcases stories by 2SLGBTQIA+ creators. We have a joyful and empowering lineup that is a testament to the extraordinary visions of 2SLGBTQIA+ storytellers. It’s hard to pick just five, but I gave it a try!

      1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted Culture (USA)

      Director: Sharon “Rocky” Roggio 

      This fascinating etymological excavation traces the origins of the Christian anti-gay movement back to 1946, when a damaging mistranslation resulted in the first appearance of the word “homosexual” in the Bible—thus providing a “sacred weapon” for the religious right to use against gay people. Significantly, while critical of religious dogma, this documentary does not oppose Christianity. 

      Wolf and Dog (Lobo e Cão) (Portugal/France)

      Director: Cláudia Varejão

      This stunning feature debut is probably the first queer narrative out of the Azores Islands. It fuses reality and fiction with dreamlike images, spinning a poetic tale. The film is steeped in place and resonates with a bittersweet truth underscored by the filmmaker’s choice to cast first-time performers from the island.

      Before I Change My Mind (Canada)

      Director: Trevor Anderson

      There is so much to love about Trevor Anderson’s sweetly idiosyncratic debut feature, from its super-stylized ‘80s aesthetic and oddball humour to the charming performances from its young cast. Notably, Robin’s gender identity does not propel the narrative, leaving their most dreaded question, “Are you a boy or a girl?” unanswered and obsolete.

      Big Boys (USA)

      Director: Corey Sherman 

      Favouring moments of quiet poignancy over familiar teen-movie melodramatics, Corey Sherman’s witty and warm-hearted directorial debut is an uncommonly relatable coming-of-age tale. It’s driven by a star-making performance from the brilliant Isaac Krasner as a young man trying to make sense of who he is, both inside and out.

      Runs in the Family (South Africa)

      Still from Runs in the Family.

      Director: Ian Gabriel

      While feel-good family stories are not always easy to come by in queer cinema (chosen families notwithstanding), this huge-hearted romp not only features a beautiful father-son relationship at its centre, but was also a real-life family collaboration directed by Ian Gabriel and written by and starring his son Gabe. Infinitely likeable and full of insight, this family affair has good feelings to spare.

      Charlie Hidalgo is the artistic director of Out On Screen, which presents the VQFF.