Who We Are

OUR VISION

An equitable society where 2SLGBTQIA+ people are respected, valued, and protected across all our intersections of identity.


OUR MISSION

Illuminate, celebrate, and transform 2SLGBTQIA+ lives through film, education, and dialogue.


At Out On Screen, we believe that film has the power to transform social and political landscapes. We curate films that illuminate transformative moments in the lives of queer, trans, and Two Spirit people; convene meaningful dialogue around issues relevant to 2SLGBTQIA+ communities today; and catalyze change locally and globally.

We lead courageously, think strategically, and work together with committed partners to foster belonging, affirmation, and connections within our community. 

OUR VALUES

Fun & Celebration

We believe that 2SLGBTQIA+ communities are deserving of joy, celebration, pleasure, play, and fun.

We seek to center and cultivate joy to ease the suffering caused by homophobia and transphobia; affirm and celebrate our existence beyond systems of oppression and trauma; facilitate deeper connections between people; and honour a wide spectrum of queer experiences.

Equity

Equity is the guarantee of fair and dignified treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for those who have been historically (and continuously) marginalized, including 2SLGBTQIA+ people.

We strive to eliminate the barriers created by systems of oppression across all areas of our work. To do this, we will work to make our spaces and programs inclusive, build solidarity across multiply-marginalized 2SLGBTQIA+ communities and strengthen our capacity to better meet the needs of our community.

Despite our best efforts, we recognize that spaces that we create may not always feel safe, inclusive, or accessible for those who are multiply marginalized.

Anti-oppression

We understand anti-oppression to be about resisting systems of power and oppression that perpetuate harm, exploitation, exclusion, and discrimination at all levels of society. We recognize that Eurocentrism, ableism, settler supremacy, and white supremacy exist within and are frequently perpetuated by non-profit organizations, including Out On Screen. 

We commit to integrating an anti-oppressive lens in our work and developing strategies and tools to prioritize safety, inclusion, belonging, care, dignity, and respect. In this process, we center the communities we serve and share our power where we can.

Accountability

We believe that accountability is an ongoing practice of aligning our values and words with our actions. We value accountability because we recognize that we are answerable to the communities we serve, engage in, and are part of.

We embrace an ethic and approach of addressing harm that is rooted in transformative justice rather than punishment, the carceral system, or disposability. We center the experiences of those most harmed and affected without denying those who cause harm opportunities to make amends. We commit to a culture of transparency, openness, curiosity, humbleness, respect, integrity, and compassion with the communities we serve.

Sustainability

We believe in financial, human, and organizational sustainability. Together, these ensure we can continue to keep the lights on and our doors open, serve our communities and fulfill our mission, and care for our people.

We operate in a financially sustainable way to ensure Out On Screen has the resources to continue to fulfill its mandate, vision, and mission year-over-year. We strive to do right by our employees, volunteers, artists, and other collaborators by prioritizing wellness and care, and fair compensation. We cultivate organizational sustainability by creating internal systems and strategies, working within a reasonable scope, and adjusting our programs to remain relevant to social, cultural, and political changes.

We would like to recognize and share gratitude for the support of Roots & Rivers Consulting who stewarded the development of our 2023-2026 strategic plan.


Our organizational values were developed in late 2023 with support and facilitation from Nic Wayara of Hook or Crook Consulting.

A Brief History

1988

The first iteration of what we know today as the Vancouver Queer Film Festival was held as the First Vancouver Lesbian Film Festival among a small group of friends.

Read the program
1989

Out On Screen becomes an official non-profit Society and the first Vancouver Gay and 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 film festivals in the world to adopt the more inclusive “queer” title becoming the “Vancouver Queer Film and Video Festival” and in 2006, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival.

1997

The Festival creates a space for local and BC-based 2SLGBTQIA+ filmmakers through two new initiatives. We launched Made-in-Vancouver, one of Vancouver’s first nights of festival programming dedicated solely to BC-based artists and filmmakers. Three years later, this program would become the audience-favourite The Coast is Queer shorts program. We also named the inaugural winners of the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award including Best Canadian Submission, Joe Balass (Nana, George and Me); and the Best BC Submission, a tie: Laurel Swenson (Fistfull) and Wayne Yung (Surfer Dick). The Gerry Brunet Memorial Award continues to this day, honouring Gerry’s legacy by recognizing the work of outstanding short film artists living in BC.

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 Canadian 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.

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. We drop “Video” from our name and become simply the “Vancouver Queer Film Festival”.

2008

Out On Screen celebrates 20 years in Vancouver, hosts a legendary and risqué bathhouse party, and launches the Queer History Project which aims to showcase memories from Vancouver’s queer past.

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 youth video contest goes national! Youth from across the country submit their anti-bullying films proving that “Hate is not a Canadian Value.”

2016

Out On Screen launches the Troublemakers Film Project, a spiritual successor to the Queer History Project in which queer youth and seniors are paired together to create documentary short films about Vancouver’s queer history.

2018

Out On Screen celebrates 30 years in Vancouver with films which revisit and celebrate formative moments and stories from communal queer histories.

2019

Out In Schools exceeds 120,000 youth reached throughout BC and comes close to having reached all 60 school districts throughout the province.

2020

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, we delivered our first fully digital VQFF, reaching audiences throughout the province, while Out In Schools developed new online channels for engaging LGBT2Q+ youth isolated at home.

2022

We celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Coast Is Queer, our beloved local shorts program, and deliver our first-ever hybrid Festival with in-person and online programs. We launch the inaugural Programming Disruptor Fellowship for emerging BIPOC 2SLGBTQIA+ film curators. Out In Schools delivers our first in-person presentations since 2020 and go on a rural tour to Powell River.

2023

Our first full-scale in-person Festival since 2019 attracts the most attendees in a decade! We introduce the Narrative Change Award to honour a film that transforms, inspires, and expands perception of 2SLGBTQIA+ identities. Out In Schools launches new content and a refreshed curriculum to better serve youth today. A significant uptick in homophobic, transphobic, and anti-SOGI sentiment and protests results in several Out In Schools presentations being cancelled as parents withdraw their kids from lessons.

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