LGBTQ2IA+ Representation at the Vancouver International Film Festival

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Girl meets boy; boy meets girl; girl rejects boy; girl finds herself thriving without a man and then falls for one anyway; boy becomes successful in life and gains the trust of girl; star-crossed man and woman beat all odds to be together… We can all think of at least ten films immediately for each of these plotlines. They’re popular because they’re real, so many of us see ourselves in these moments. But many of us can also see ourselves in these moments when the genders aren’t strictly binary, and when the relationships are same-sex.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum of gender and attraction and sex and love, there are many experiences to see yourself within, or to learn more about. The Vancouver International Film Festival (Sept. 26 – Oct. 11) is diversifying the screen this year by showcasing ten films that star LGBTQ2IA relationships. Here are a few of them:

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Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk) plays Paul, a naïve, cisgender Pittsburgh transplant who arrives in New York, ends up in the world of Kiki ballrooms, and finds himself attracted to confident beauty Wye (Leyna Bloom), who, unbeknownst to him, is trans. As Paul has his assumptions upended – and new ideas of love and family make him redefine himself.

My Dads, My Moms and Me

In the 2007 documentary Fatherhood Dreams, Julia Ivanova chronicled the touching and challenging journeys of four gay men who each made the decision to become parents after Canada legalized same-sex marriage. Married couple Randy and Drew adopted baby Jack. Scott connected with a surrogate to have twins Ella and Mac. Stephen decided to co-parent his daughters Jazz and Zea with lesbian couple Coreen and Wendy. In My Dads, My Moms and Me, the filmmaker revisits the lives of these men and their children, now teenagers, with a decade’s worth of insight.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Set against the backdrop of 18th-century Brittany, a forbidden love stirs between an artist and her reluctant subject. Commissioned by a noblewoman to paint her daughter, Marianne (Noémie Merlant) must work discreetly as the beautiful Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) refuses to pose in protest of being showcased for an unwanted marriage. As they take daily walks together, and Marianne works in secret, attraction grows between them.


Outed as gay, Pablo (Juan Pablo Olyslager), a successful 40-year-old father of two, sees his world crumble as his wife, family, and employer – all in thrall to Christian doctrine – abandon him. Jayro Bustamante’s sophomore drama is an angry, moody, and gorgeously visual character study, which traces Pablo’s passage through a society still so steeped in religious bigotry that being gay is considered a crime against humanity.

To see what else is on, head to the VIFF website.


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