Illuminating queer lives through film

For 28 years, Out On Screen has proudly showcased films that illuminate the transformative moments in the lives of queer people – telling stories of the journeys we have taken to find ourselves, each other and our place in the world. Every time we take a seat at the Festival, we are experiencing the difference we are making: creating social change through film, education and dialogue.

We are honoured to celebrate you and to celebrate with you the unique, strong and splendid Vancouver queer communities that make us who we are.


1988 – The first iteration of what we know today as the Vancouver Queer Film Festival was held as a small film festival among friends.

1989 – Out On Screen becomes an official non-profit society and the first Vancouver Gay & Lesbian Film Festival is launched!

1993 – Out On Screen receives its first form of government funding with a Casino License through BC Gaming.

1996 – Out On Screen is one of the first in the world to adopt the more inclusive “queer” title becoming the “Vancouver Queer Film & Video Festival” and in 2006, the “Vancouver Queer Film Festival.”

1998 – The Queer Video Production Scholarships are launched and 36 films are made over the next six years thanks to this video-training program!

2002 – The BC Film Classification Office (FCO) attempts to shut down the Festival’s Opening Gala film “Little Sister’s vs Big Brother” which chronicled the late Jim Deva’s battles with the government over censorship. Fortunately, Out On Screen’s dedicated membership rallied and thwarted this ironic censorship attempt and the show went on!

2004 – Out in Schools is launched as a pilot project with presentations in six high schools in Vancouver and Burnaby. Today, OiS reaches over 60,000 students in schools across BC and beyond!

2006 – REAL Women of Canada launches a smear campaign against the Festival, claiming that only “mad hatters” attend this “waste of taxpayers’ money.” Once again, the membership at Out On Screen rallies against hateful discrimination and the Festival lives on, louder and prouder than before!

2008 – Out On Screen celebrates 20 years in Vancouver and hosts a legendary and risque bathhouse party.

2011 – Celebrate Queer Vancouver engages 68 Canadian artists through film commissions and community art. Out On Screen celebrates by installing Celebrate Queer Vancouver plaques throughout the city to create a legacy of queer visibility.

2012 – Rise Against Homophobia (RAH) youth video contest goes national! Youth from across the country submit their anti-bullying films proving that “Hate is not a Canadian Value.”

2013 – Out On Screen celebrates 25 years of celebrating queer lives!

2014 – In a year of groundbreaking cinema, over 50% of the Festival’s feature programs are helmed by women. Not only that, these directors are Aboriginal, transgender, and women of colour – intersecting identities that are the least common in above-the-line credits.