The film festival’s 28th edition runs until Dec. 6
Any aesthetics junkie will be thrilled to hear that the LGBT Image+Nation festival has returned.
With more than 100 films for its 28th edition, the longest-running LGBT film festival in Canada comes with a diverse and exciting program that sheds light on LGBT filmmakers with a special focus on local artists. The Lounge L’un et L’autre, Concordia’s J.A. de Sève Cinema, Laïka restaurant, UQÀM’s Pavillon Judith-Jasmin and the Never Apart organization are hosting most of the screenings this year.
What the programming director Katharine Setzer calls “a window into the queer world” kicked off last Friday with an opening screening of William Sullivan’s refreshing That’s Not Us at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Between 15 and 20 countries are being represented at this year’s edition of the festival, including the first South African lesbian-themed, lesbian-produced While You Were Not Looking and the promising Kenyan undertaking Stories of Our Lives. Setzer refers to the Summer of Sangaliè, Alanté Kavaïté’s Lithuanian movie, as a must-see.
An appetizer was already served on Thursday with Amuse-bouches, a series of short films painting a foretaste of the themes explored by Image+Nation.
From educational gay sex in the ironic Health Class to the raising of identity and perception in the beautiful pas de deux Intrinsic Moral Evil, Amuse-bouches sets the tone of the festival.
Gleisdreick, Cry of the Loup-Garou, Carina, The Little Deputy and Hopeful Romantic were also on the bill yesterday, prepping spectators for the upcoming charming and nutty programming.
“Lived Lives” and “Eye on the World” come as the two main categories of this festival, respectively representing documentaries and feature films. Short films are also on the leading edge of this 28th edition.
The films chosen to be in competition had to be made in the last year and never before screened in Montreal, said Setzer. Seven features, 14 shorts and four documentaries are in the spotlight of the category this year. Guy Édoin—a Canadian director and writer—Sandra Bagaria—the subject of the new documentary A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile—and Ziad Touma—a Lebanese-Canadian film director, producer and writer—have been introduced as Image+Nation’s jury at the opening ceremony on Friday.
Other categories such as “Avant-gardists,” “Focus 2015,” “Voices of the Future,” “Made in Canada” and “Queerment Quebec” are reinforcing the organizer’s will to display new voices and artists that are not only North American.
Local filmmakers will attend the Queerment Quebec film series on Dec. 3 for a discussion about the future and an exchange of ideas with the audience. “There will be music, DJs, performers and a party. The goal here is to bring people together,” said Setzer. The special event will put a highlight on Canadian artists and a focus on local production.
The festival’s first goal is the celebration of both short and full-length films, yet behind the event lies a political angle, Setzer explained. “It’s also about social inequities and the global realities of the LGBT community,” she said. “One thing we really value in this programming is that we want to engage viewers and expand on [an LGBT film entails].” Films such as The Amina Profile and Hands Untied: Looking for Gay Israeli Cinema illustrate perfectly the complexities lying behind society, politics and homosexuality.
The essence of the film festival first lied in the will to see images made by LGBT people for LGBT people, said Setzer. Yet the influence of the event increased over the years, broadening its audience and ambitions. This year’s program is proving the assumptions of some critics wrong: the idea that LGBT films always revolve around LGBT-related themes.
Described as the first “Giallo Queer,” Kiss Me Kill Me has been selected as the closing film of the festival. Casper Andreas, the director, introduced his film not only as a story about gay and lesbian people but also as a crime of passion. “My film is not about being gay. It’s just a very traditional thriller in a gay environment,” said Andreas. “It’s a mixture of a Hitchcock and John Waters movie.”
The plot of Kiss Me Kill Me adapts elements of a film noir to the contemporary LGBT setting, the director said. “The tone is really enjoyable. We’re lightening up the intensity of a thriller,” said Andreas.
The American filmmaker said he is grateful for the opportunity to show his work. “Festivals like this one are so wonderful that they bring gay and straight audiences together to watch our stories, and there’s so many of them to show how the gay community is,” said Andreas.
Setzer agrees with Kiss Me Kill Me’s director on the significance of such a festival. “I do believe in the power of representations,” said Setzer. “To see yourself reflected on the screen with your people in the audience is a great experience.”
Even though all of his six previous films had gay themes, Andreas likes the fact that it’s more about people acting out of passion than it is about sexuality being questioned in this movie.
Referring to himself as an openly gay man, Kiss Me Kill Me’s filmmaker is putting an emphasis on the movie’s ability to make jokes on the expense of gays, lesbians and transsexuals. Andreas’ message, as well as the festival’s, is to show that the difference between LGBT and straight stories is nowhere to be found.
The festival runs until Dec. 6. For more information on the festival visit www.image-nation.org/en. Tickets for students are $9.50.