Festival Preview: Montreal’s image+nation Film Festival Celebrates 30 Years

Bringing in Some New and Old Films to Celebrate Three Decades of LGBTQ+ Representation

Director Charlie Boudreau and programming director Katharine Setzer welcomed Montreal’s queer community at the occasion of Image+nation 30th edition at the Imperial Cinema. Photo Elisa Barbier
Still from the opening film for the festival, Call Me By Your Name. Courtesy image+nation

Classic or new, documentary or musical, local or international, there is a film for every taste at the image+nation film festival.

Montreal’s oldest LGBTQ film festival is celebrating its 30th edition with a wide range of films that highlight diverse aspects of queer communities across the world and across generations. For 11 days, films will be screening at different venues across town from now until Dec. 3.

This year’s edition features works that focus on the Latinx community along with other productions from Israel, South Africa, Finland, and Indonesia.

“We like to get films from around the world that reflect different realities of being queer,” said Katharine Setzer, programming director of the event. The festival will also bring back screenings from the past three decades for the occasion of its anniversary.

Setzer emphasized how image+nation prioritizes quality over quantity.

“When catering films, we look for artistic vision, the quality of execution, the spin on topics already covered, and the subject matter,” she explained.

Local director and Concordia University alumni Arshad Khan presented his documentary ABU at Concordia’s J.A. DeSève theater on Saturday afternoon.

“To have them present my film is very special to me, especially because they are known to present very unique and diverse voices through a carefully curated program,” said Khan. He added that the festival not only creates a needed space for the queer community, but also gives visibility to queer people of color.

The festival opened with the projection of Call Me By Your Name, a film about a passionate and life-changing romance between a French high school student and an American grad student in Italy in 1983.

The festival will close after 11 days of screening, with the film God’s Own Country, a raw but gentle representation of young love in the English countryside, by Francis Lee.

Viewing suggestions from the festival director, Charlie Boudreau

By Hook Or By Crook

Still from the film By Hook or By Crook. Courtesy image+nation

Directed by Silas Howard and Harry Dodge, this film premiered in 2001 at the festival. It’s back onscreen to tell a tale that was already ahead of its time. Through the story of two trans-butches who join forces to find the paternal and maternal figures that they never had. The film represents gender variance in an odd vision and clever dialogue.
Centre Never Apart // Nov. 29 // 7:15 p.m. // $13.75

After Louie

Still from the film After Louie. Courtesy image+nation

Directed by Vincent Galiostro, this movie is a about international AIDS day. After Louie tells the story of Sam, an artist marked by the death of a close friend to AIDS that believes tenacity and convictions have been lost among gay men. However, after an unexpected encounter, Sam will be challenged by the new generation of gay men and their stance on what it means to be homosexual. The film highlights the difference between generations within the community with a touching intensity and beauty.
Imperial Cinema // Dec. 1 // 7:00 p.m. // $13.75

Tom of Finland

Still from the film Tom of Finland. Courtesy image+nation

The story introduces the life of the artist who brought gay representation with his unique style more than 25 years after his death. Touko Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland, is famous for his drawings of hyper-muscular men and influence on the leather scene within the gay community. The film, directed by Dome Karukowski, presents the struggle of a community and an artist’s right to expression with grace.
Imperial Cinema // Dec. 1 // 9:30 p.m. // $13.75


Still from the film Extra-Terrestrials. Courtesy image+nation

Teresa Díaz, an astrologist and outspoken vegetarian, returns to her family after seven years of absence. Her fiancée and co-worker, Daniela, gives her a week to invite her family to the celebrations, but Teresa finds herself at the center of betrayal and sabotage in order to save her family’s chicken empire. Directed by Carla Cavina, this is Puerto Rico’s first queer feature length movie. Extra-Terrestrials brings the viewer at the center of a family’s drama with comedy and visually stimulating visuals.
Concordia J.A. DeSève // Dec. 1 // 9:15 p.m. // $13.75

God’s Own Country

Still from the film God’s Own Country. Courtesy image+nation

Described as the new Brokeback Mountain, God’s Own Country brings about the story of Johnny Saxby, a young Yorkshire farmer ravaged by alcohol, isolating himself from anyone trying to get close. However, a newly hired farmhand may change his ways. Directed by Francis Lee, the film opposes rawness and gentleness through the representation of humans and animals.
Imperial Cinema // Dec. 3 // 8:00 p.m. // $13.75