2020 Lineup for Vancouver Queer Film Festival Announced!

The films that I was viewing all explored in one way or another transformation, resilience, and survival. These themes continued to reverberate through all the content I was seeing; in films from Turtle Island, Switzerland, India, Vietnam, and Georgia; in documentaries, narratives, and experimental work. I could feel how deeply queer filmmakers were determined to depict our lives as worth living, worth fighting for, worth celebrating, worth mourning – that we are worthy of seeing and being seen because we are necessary, beautiful, and complex. And that is what you will see at this year’s VQFF.” – Artistic Director Anoushka Ratnarajah on the theme ‘Still here’

The Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) released its complete lineup for the 11-day digital film festival, taking place August 13-23. Award-winning international, national, and local filmmakers will be showcased alongside more than 60 films from 10 countries, in addition to virtual parties and post-screening Q&As. Festival passes and tickets are available online at www.queerfilmfestival.ca

VQFF 2020 opens with director Elegance Bratton’s Pier Kids, an uncut guerilla-style documentary that unearths Black queer resourcefulness and resilience at its core. The film follows the life of Black Trans woman, Crystal LaBeija and other Queer and Trans youth of colour at the Christopher Street Pier in New York City. The unifying effects of the Pier Kids resonate through the veil of safety, solace, and the promise of chosen family. Elegance Bratton will be joining the Festival at a virtual Q&A along with producer Chester Algernal Gordon.

Image: Pier Kids, Elegance Bratton

VQFF will also feature two special presentations of seminal queer women’s history. Ahead of the Curve is a documentary about the history of Curve Magazine, the longest-running lesbian publication in history. Ahead of the Curve celebrates, honours, and interrogates the legacy of a movement while considering the shifts and contractions necessary to create a more representative future for all queer women.

Image: Ahead of the Curve, Jen Rainin

VQFF will also screen 1993’s Long Time Comin’, a documentary that charts the work of two Black queer Canadian artists: folk/jazz singer-songwriter Faith Nolan and multimedia visual artist Grace Channer. Using a combination of interviews and vérité footage of the women at work, Brand showcases their projects as well as their thoughts on art, race, and sexuality. Long Time Comin’ explores the nuances of the Black Queer femme experience as they navigate occupying privileged spaces, highlighting the significance of Black womxn in queer advocacy.

Image: Long Time Comin’, Dionne Brand

The dynamic of colonial trauma and the struggle for queer people to find a safe and loving place in their culture is explored in director Trinh Dinh Le Minh’s sweet debut feature film Goodbye Mother. Nau Van is returning home from the United States in an emotional homecoming, as it marks the memorial of his father’s passing. He is bringing his Vietnamese-American boyfriend, Ian, under the guise of friendship, since he is not out to his family. Van struggles to resist his loving but single-minded mother’s expectations, torn between his duty to his family and the freedom of his life abroad with Ian. It’s an honest and sensitive portrayal of the compromises queer people of colour have to make to stay connected to the people we love most.

Image: Goodbye Mother, Trinh Dinh Le Minh

International programming reflects the urgency of queer rights with Georgian documentary March For Dignity. The documentary follows a small group of LGBTQ activists in Tbilisi, Georgia, as they plan for the first-ever Pride March in the country. Queer and trans rights are virtually non-existent for Georgians, and activists face harsh and overwhelming opposition from far-right nationalist groups, the Georgian Orthodox Church and politicians. With membership within the European Union and anti-Russian imperialism as a geopolitical backdrop, this film is a dense and complex depiction of a nation at a turning point, with its vulnerable queer citizens on the front lines of conversations around national identity.

Image: March for Dignity, John Eames

For the complete Festival lineup, screening dates and times, and ticket pricing and booking, please visit www.queerfilmfestival.ca.

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