Image+Nation Nudges the Horizon

  • Photo courtesy of Image+Nation

  • Photo courtesy of Image+Nation

The 27th edition of Canada’s first LGBT festival Image + Nation runs from Nov. 20 to Nov. 30. During these 10 days viewers will have a choice of 22 feature films, 12 documentaries and six short films from the four corners of the world.

One of the festival’s mandates is to screen local films from across Canada. This year’s festival will host three features and four documentaries by Canadian producers including a handful of Canadian short films.

“We do have a record number of Canadian films this year,” said Katharine Setzer, the festival’s programming director, who is pleased with this year’s selection.

The festival started in 1988 with a small group of queer artists and academics who wanted to see reflections of queer culture they could relate to. They got together as volunteers and began organizing and screening films. The ‘90s saw a deluge of what came to be called New Queer Cinema—films by and for the queer community. These new empowering images went against the negative stereotypes of Hollywood films: they portrayed LGBT people and their stories.

Among the Canadian films Setzer mentioned are Guidance by Pat Mills, True Love co-directed by Kate Johnston and Shauna MacDonald and Two 4 One directed by Maureen Bradley, a Concordia graduate. She also mentioned local documentaries XYZ—Portraits d’un transformation and _Guilda: Elle est bien dans ma peau. _

Queerment Québec will also be screened at the festival, a collection of local shorts that promote the work of Quebec and Canadian artists.

This year, the festival also puts a strong focus on films coming out of Latin America.

“In the last three years, there has been a watershed of images that come out of Latin and South American countries,” Setzer said.

The opening film The Way He Looks is a Brazilian award winning film. The festival also includes a “New Latin Voices” segment, a collection of Latin short films.

The Vanguard Series is a collection of documentaries celebrating queer mavericks. The documentary Limited Partnership talks about the first couple to challenge marriage laws in the United States and their fight of 40 years.

When asked which movie was a must-see, Setzer recommend three.

The first is Appropriate Behaviour by Iranian-American filmmaker Desiree Akhavan. She writes, produces and stars in the movie as a bisexual reminiscing about her relationships.

The second is Of Girls and Horses by German filmmaker Monika Treut. This film is about a depressed teenager who finds comfort in the use of drugs. She arrives at a farm where she cares for horses and builds new relationships.

Her last recommendation is Lilting by Cambodian-British filmmaker Hong Khaou. Setzer described the film as a difficult but touching, nuanced and beautiful film about a complex triangle between a Cambodian-Chinese mother, her departed son and his lover.

Setzer strongly encourages everyone to view the different programs of short films this year, including Homomundo and Lesbomundo.

Image+Nation has something for everyone; many of the films touch on deep human issues. The festival is not restricted to queer people only.

“It is a collection of the most amazing, independent cinema that has been made in the past year,” Setzer said.

Student ticket prices: $9.50
Cinephile pass: $110 for 10 tickets
Special events tickets: $13+

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