Film buffs in Vancouver are already gearing up for the big Vancouver International Film Festival in late September, which showcases hundreds of films from more than 80 countries. For those who need their cinema fix a little earlier, however, there is another option.
The Vancouver Queer Film Festival runs from Aug. 14-Aug. 24, screening the very best in independent queer cinema: 80 films from 11 countries over 11 days at the city’s top theatres. More than 14,000 people attend every year, making it the second largest film festival in the city.
For powerful filmmaking, original characters and independent points of view, movie lovers need look no further. Here are five picks from the festival:
Drunktown’s Finest: Produced by Robert Redford, this spellbinding film profiles the lives of three Navajo people living on an American reservation. One of the three people is transgender, adding additional challenges to an already hardscrabble life. The film’s director and former Navajo resident Sydney Freeland will be on hand for the screening. Sunday, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m. at Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas
Winter Journey: Join along for this rare window into queer life in Russia. The film, which has earned multiple prizes on the festival circuit, shows what it’s like to live in a country where “homosexual propaganda” is famously banned and gay lifestyles are actively condemned. Saturday, Aug. 23, at 9 p.m. at Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas
Love is Strange: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina and Marisa Tomei star in this multigenerational story of love and marriage. A devoted couple who have spent 39 years together opt to take advantage on New York’s new gay marriage laws. But after tying the knot, one partner is fired from his job, leaving the pair scrambling to stay in their small Chelsea apartment. Tuesday, Aug. 19, at 9:30 p.m. at Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas
Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger: This captivating documentary follows the life of a pioneering gender theorist and activist navigating a world where traditional gender roles are the norm. The film caputres Bornstein during both energetic public performances and painful private moments as she struggles to live according to her motto: “Do whatever it takes to make your life worth living. Just don’t be mean.” Wednesday, Aug. 20, at 8:30 p.m. at Vancity Theatre.
Bad Hair (Pelo Malo): From Venezuela comes this story of working-class life in the housing projects under the Chavez regime. Marta has lost her job as a security guard and must clean the homes of the wealthy to make ends meet. Meanwhile, her young sun Junior wants nothing more than to straighten his “bad hair” and become a glamorous performer. Sunday, Aug. 17, at 9 p.m. at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.
General admission tickets for individual shows are $12, while a six-pack of tickets is $66 and festival-long passes are $160. For more information on tickets and showtimes, consult the Vancouver Queer Film Festival website.
Any other can’t-miss films at the festival? Let us know below.
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