Concordia’s new Queer Film Club hosts its first event

The club presented two films and hosted a Q&A with Cecelia Condit

Concordia’s new Queer Film Club, created in August 2020, recently hosted their first event with more to come. Photo Sophie Dufresne

Queer Film Club hosted their first event, which took place in the J.A. de Sève cinema in the downtown Webster Library building on Oct. 23.

The event screened “Possibly in Michigan” and Multiple Maniacs. A Q&A with the director of the first film, Cecelia Condit, also took place. The event was also livestreamed on Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram.

Lia MacKinnon, the club’s events coordinator, founded Queer Film Club in August 2020. MacKinnon explained she discovered queer cinema that summer.

“I had seen [LGBTQ]-themed films in the past but I hadn’t really gotten into that as a genre,” she said. “It actually helped me a lot with my self-esteem and helped me feel part of a community and it was very therapeutic for me.”

MacKinnon explained her club was created with a few objectives in mind. “The main goal is to help people find community through shared interests, through cinema, [and] through a love of art. [Another goal] is to bring queer people and allies together and help foster a better understanding of queer experiences.”

While the club aims to create a dialogue about queer experience, it is open to everyone.“We’re not checking your gay passports at the door,” she joked. 

Queer Film Club is the only queer club at Concordia that commonly offers film screenings for Concordians as well as for the general public. Although Queer Concordia, their fee-levy group, has been hosting self-help workshops occasionally, they have not offered many social events since the start of the pandemic, according to MacKinnon.

“We feel that we’re filling a gap in that sense, where there’s not really this queer cultural gathering going on at this point at Concordia,” she said.

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Queer Film Club hosted their first event Oct. 23 where they presented two films. Photo Sophie Dufresne

MacKinnon mentioned they have support from other Concordia clubs. For example, Cinema Politica, who is hosting their first event since the start of the pandemic on Nov. 1, has a similar mission statement to Queer Film Club, she said. Both clubs like showing films that have a leftist and an intersectional feminist perspective. They also promote each others’ events and get along well.

Despite the similarities, the two clubs differ in that Cinema Politica shows documentaries and newer releases, whereas Queer Film Club shows older films.

One of the attendees of Saturday’s event, Phineas Ambrose Savchenko, said he was excited to attend this first film club event and is hoping to see more in the foreseeable future.

“I’ve really wanted to see more queer-led initiatives at Concordia, having been here for about three years,” he said. “So seeing the queer community at Concordia building themselves up, especially within the film department, I think is really important.”

The first film that was presented, “Possibly in Michigan,” was directed by Cecelia Condit in 1983, but popularized by TikTok earlier this year. It was only 12 minutes long, and Condit generously agreed to what ended up being a 40-minute Zoom Q&A with the audience.   

“It’s about how love shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg,” Condit said about the scenes depicting cannibalism. “And it so often does.” 

Condit drew from her personal experience to explain the recurring themes of violence present in her short stories, and gave examples of violence inflicted upon her and her friends throughout their lives.

Condit voiced her opposition to the violence portrayed in the film industry targeting women. Throughout history, film directors have beaten up and murdered their women characters—who are always young and beautiful, she remarked. “It’s been done enough to last eternity.”

Nonetheless, in "Possibly in Michigan," the main character, played by Jill Sands—who was chosen for the role by Condit because of her beauty—gets beaten up in one scene by the antagonist, Arthur, who is played by Condit herself.

“Seeing the queer community at Concordia building themselves up, especially within the film department, I think is really important.” — Phineas Ambrose Savchenko

“I felt I was making a feminist statement, so [this scene] was okay,” Condit explained.

She concluded that she never makes art in a vacuum and she is constantly seeking feedback from (mostly) women because the stories she tells are not always hers—they are often stories of other women who have also been abused.

After the Q&A, there was a 10-minute intermission and the audience was encouraged to donate to Queer Film Club to help cover the costs of the event. 

Queer Film Club’s next event will consist of the screening of “A Trans With A Movie Camera” as well as The Queen, and will include a panel discussion on trans representation in cinema. It will be held Nov. 13 from 5:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and it will be in honour of Trans Awareness Week. Tickets are free, but like all their events, attendees are encouraged to donate what they can.

MacKinnon said she was very happy with the turnout and hopes that within the next year, Queer Film Club will be able to serve popcorn and soft drinks, as that would be an extra revenue source for them. 

Events hosted at Concordia are currently reserved to Concordia students, as per the university’s regulations for COVID-19, but MacKinnon hopes these regulations will be lifted within the next year. 

The club is always seeking volunteers to help with all the upcoming events. “I’m a bit overwhelmed,” said  MacKinnon, who is temporarily taking on the tasks of the vacant executive positions. Queer Film Club has exciting events in store for the near future, and anyone is welcome to join—queer or not!

“You don’t have to be queer to join, you just have to be open to different perspectives,” she said. Anyone interested in their program can book tickets on their website, follow them on Instagram or join their Discord server.