For over three decades, the Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ film festival has showcased the best queer film from Canada and around the world to celebrate diversity, challenge attitudes and change lives. This year, the festival returns to Toronto for a jam-packed schedule of films.
Inside Out provides invaluable opportunities for emerging filmmakers to build their careers and reach new audiences. Since 2009, RBC has been a lead sponsor of the festival — now the largest event of its kind in Canada — as part of its longstanding priority of investment in the arts.
This year’s festival is both in-person and online from May 25th-June 4th. For those who haven’t yet bought tickets, or for those that are excited to plan their screening schedule, here are 5 must-see films:
20,000 Species of Bees
In this gentle, delicate and at times heartbreaking drama set in the idyllic Basque countryside, an eight-year-old child struggles with the fact that people keep addressing her in confusing ways; her birth name feels very wrong, and her nickname Cocó doesn’t feel quite right either. During a summer in the family’s beekeeping hives, she explores her name and identity alongside her mother and other generations of women as they reflect on their own lives and desires. Director Estibaliz Urresola Solagruen joins the ranks of a new wave of Spanish female directors with this fictional feature debut, thoughtfully examining a space predominantly run by women, exploring with great care the incredible complexity of gender identity.
Watch the trailer for 20,000 Species of Bees here.
In a world full of thin, white, and conventionally attractive male protagonists, writer-director Corey Sherman described wanting to make a film that better reflected his own experience as a queer, “chubby” teenager. In this hilarious, heartwarming, and utterly charming coming-of-age comedy, 14-year-old Jamie’s dream camping trip is ruined before it even begins when he finds out that his beloved cousin is bringing her new boyfriend. However, Jamie’s initial jealousy of the competent, confident and very straight Dan quickly turns into a friendship, as they bond over cooking, games, and both being “big boys.” But as the weekend progresses, despite Jamie’s brother’s attempts to set him up with a girl staying at the campsite, Jamie wants to hang out with Dan. His burgeoning crush gets him into awkward scrapes and arguments, and Jamie comes to terms with who he is.
Watch the Big Boys trailer.
In his director statement, Jason Karman describes “saving face” as a method of survival in many Asian cultures, where sexuality is often hidden to avoid shame and preserve reputation. Golden Delicious “shows that kids of immigrant families can manage this and, in the end, become stronger.”
The film is told from the perspective of Jake, a second-generation Chinese-Canadian high school senior in East Vancouver. He’s being pushed by his father to try out for the basketball team — a dream his father abandoned. At the same time, Jake’s girlfriend wants to take their relationship to the next level. But it’s not until Aleks, an openly gay teen with a love for basketball, moves in across the street that Jake struggles with his own desires. To get closer to Aleks, Jake devotes himself to making the basketball team, only to realize basketball isn’t what he wants. Meanwhile, Jake ends up questioning his entire family foundation when he finds his father is having an affair.
Watch Golden Delicious trailer here.
Supporting Our Selves
The Centrepiece Gala will host the World Premiere of the documentary Supporting Our Selves, by director Lulu Wei. This film looks at the evolution of Toronto’s queer communities through the Community One Foundation. Founded in 1980 as the Gay Community Appeal, Community One Foundation has raised funds for various community projects and organizations, evolving along the way with the community itself. What started as a predominantly white, middle-class collective redefined itself during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and ’90s and continues to adapt today to better meet the needs of our Toronto communities. Supporting Our Selves is a moving exploration of more than four decades of activism, told through the lens of one Toronto-based philanthropic organization.
Watch the Supporting Our Selves trailer.
Four Black millennials, an army of plants, and one pandemic — this 6-part dramatic web series follows Leo, who turns their love of plants into an online community for young Blacks to talk all things foliage, and discovers that community is the key to staying rooted. As Leo’s group of Black millennials become more entangled in each other’s lives, Leo, Amira, Cain, and Isla, find purpose in caretaking for their plants and their budding relationships. This comedic and heartfelt series explores the complexities of Black mental health and the bonds of chosen family, through the chaotic and precarious lens of young Black adults in Toronto. Learn more here.
To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit the Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ film festival website.
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