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The Latest from VQFF

  • VQFF 2019 Artistic Statement
    May 28, 2019

    For three decades, Out On Screen has proudly showcased films that illuminate the everyday and transformative moments in the lives of queer, trans, and two-spirit people. What began as a small group of queer friends and family gathered together to create space for queer film in 1988, has grown to the second largest film festival in Vancouver, screening the best in independent queer media and performance from around the world. I am proud and excited to be working with a diverse community of artists and advocates who believe in the transformative power of queer art. During my tenure as Artistic Director, I endeavour to work towards an arts scene and film world that prioritizes those of us who continue to be underrepresented in the stories we see on screen and on stage: two-spirit people, queer and trans people of colour, queer and trans sex workers, immigrants, women, queer and trans people living in poverty and all those who live on the fringes of our already marginalized community. My programming always puts an emphasis on our intersectional identities, struggles, and joys.

    Recent years have proven groundbreaking for queer cinema, moving away from the dominance of coming-out stories and into mainstream box office success. We are seeing queer filmmakers taking aesthetic and narrative risks, creating art that pushes boundaries, and takes audiences into new queer territories. I feel very fortunate to be witnessing the artistry, intelligence, and courage of queer film today.

    As greatly as I am heartened by the increase of representation for us in the mainstream, I hope also for the longevity of dangerous and subversive queer art. I want our weirdness, our freakiness, our subversiveness to continue to flourish. As our stories become more palatable to the mainstream, independent queer film festivals face a unique challenge to remain relevant and representative to our communities. I truly believe in the power of gathering together, of sharing an emotional experience together as queer people. And that’s something you can’t get from the LGBT section on Netflix, or at a screening in a chain theatre. When we gather, we get the opportunity to collaborate in an ecstatic collective experience, of laughter or outrage or tears, and a view into fully realized worlds.

    I hope for the queer art I program to keep troubling audiences, as much as it moves us. To make us uncomfortable, to question our safety and normalcy, and unite us across our differences so we can fight for each other to thrive in an increasingly tense and dangerous world. Because great art and storytelling, when it comes down to it, beautifully, brutally and honestly represents the humanity that we all share. Even and especially when it pushes us. Even and especially when we are uncomfortable. The work of art is not to protect us, but to push us into new intellectual and emotional discoveries, to deepen our understandings of ourselves and others.

    I believe art is our most powerful weapon in the fight for liberation and justice. Art is our most compassionate and intelligent tool for resistance, if we are to survive and thrive in a world that is unceasingly hostile towards us. Art making can do the important work of building empathetic connections between us, between people on screen, on stage and in theatre seats, to create a story we live together.

    Most importantly, my programming takes place on the unceded traditional and ancestral homelands of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We are privileged to be guests on this land, both welcome and unwelcome. As a predominantly settler organization and arts platform, we have responsibility to be in right relations with the Indigenous peoples on whose lands we live, work, and play. Our work to be better guests is never-ending, imperfect and in process. As a curator on these lands I know that I must remain humble and dedicated to this work, and never take it for granted that I am here because of legacies of on-going violence and occupation.

    I am grateful for this revolutionary moment in queer representation in film, and simultaneously hope and know there are many queer years ahead of us, to make the world all the more beautiful and dangerous with our stories. Queer art and artists are vital to keep the landscape of this city vibrant, to make sure Vancouver doesn’t just turn into a city of white, sterilized condos and coffee shops. We need to continue to be what makes this city interesting, confusing, exciting. Our work is not done, and I’m so excited to see what new queer worlds we can build together. Ultimately, programming is a collaboration, not only with my colleagues, but with you, our beloved audiences. Don’t just take my word for it– come see for yourself.

  • Looking for Troublemakers!
    April 30, 2019

    Out on Screen (Vancouver Queer Film Festival) is teaming up with Reel Youth and Love Intersections, to offer this unique video project for a fourth year!

    Aspiring young filmmakers + changemakers can participate in this FREE 8-session program to learn filmmaking skills and produce inspirational short documentaries about senior LGBT2Q+ troublemakers. And troublemakers (roughly ages 50+) get to share their stories with the world in a portrait-style short documentary. 

    We’ll premiere the films at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival in August!

    In this program, youth participants will:

    • learn how to plan, shoot, and edit a short film
    • work creatively with a small group of peers
    • help share the stories of LGBT2Q+ elders & mentors in their community
    • have a ridiculous amount of fun!

    This is an inclusive program and is open to all identities. We encourage indigenous, non-indigenous, immigrant, newcomer, refugee, people of colour, queer, two-spirit, trans, gender-creative, and deaf youth to apply. The program is open to youth 14-30 years old. This program has 8 sessions. The dates and times are:  

    Wed. May 29              4:00pm – 8:00pm 
    (youth only)
    Thurs. May 30             4:00pm – 8:00pm
     (youth only)
    Fri. May 31                  4:00pm – 8:00pm 
    Sat. June 1                10:00am – 4:00pm
    Sun. June 2               10:00am – 4:00pm

    Fri. June 7                   4:00pm – 8:00pm 
    (youth only)
    Sat. June 8                10:30am – 4:30pm 
    (youth only)
    Sun. June 9               10:30am – 4:30pm 
    (youth only until 3:30)

    Application deadline is May 17, click here for more info and to sign up!

  • VQFF Out in the Community
    January 31, 2019

    VQFF is pleased to announce two upcoming community partnerships:

    Join us for Black History Month with VIFF for a screening of the acclaimed Kenyan Film, Rafiki
    Monday February 4 at 6:30pm at Vancity Theatre 

    About: Bursting with the colorful street style & music of Nairobi’s vibrant youth culture, Rafiki is a tender love story between two young women in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality. Kena and Ziki have long been told that “good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives” – but they yearn for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls encourage each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, Kena and Ziki must choose between happiness and safety.

    Initially banned in Kenya for its positive portrayal of queer romance, Rafiki won a landmark supreme court case chipping away at Kenyan anti-LGBT legislation.

    Featuring remarkable performances by newcomers Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva, Rafiki is a hip tale of first love “reminiscent of the early work of Spike Lee” (Screen Daily) that’s “impossible not to celebrate” (Variety).

    Get tickets here

    Join us for Dance House’s production of Blood on the Dance Floor
    Wednesday February 6 to Saturday February 9 at 8pm at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

    About: A descendant of the Narangga and Kaurna nations of South Australia, choreographer/performer Jacob Boehme was diagnosed with HIV in 1998. In search of answers, he reached out to his ancestors. Through a powerful blend of theatre, image, text and choreography, Boehme pays homage to their ceremonies whilst dissecting the politics of gay, Blak and poz identities.

    Created with ILBIJERRI, one of Australia’s leading theatre companies creating innovative works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, Blood on the Dance Floor weaves together generational history with personal memoir. From a “gay elder” grieving young men lost to disease and despair, to the current culture of hookups and casual sex, deeper moments sketched between Jacob and his father underscore the legacy of racism, homophobia, and shame that permeates both personal and cultural histories.

    Grounded in Aboriginal dance and storytelling, Blood on the Dance Floor incorporates activism, autobiography, and performance into an incendiary work of raw and radical emotion.

    VQFF community members can get a 10% discount on tickets for a limited time until Feb 1st by using the code ONSCREEN.

    Get tickets here