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July 27, 2020
The Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) is a vibrant space for queer arts, culture, and community. It showcases dynamic and thought-provoking films from British Columbian filmmakers as well as other Canadian and international directors and storytellers.
As Western Canada’s largest queer arts event, the Festival curates films which contextualize and celebrate queer lives and experiences and prioritize foregrounding diverse identities in our communities, including narratives from trans people, queer people of colour, and Indigenous people.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 32nd annual Vancouver Queer Film Festival has adapted to an online format in order to offer at-home audiences the best in independent queer cinema along with workshops, artist Q&As, panels, parties and – most importantly – the feeling of gathering with friends and kin. Out On Screen is working hard to ensure this year’s Festival is accessible and safe for community members who are immunocompromised or part of another vulnerable sector.
Curated by Artistic Director, Anoushka Ratnarajah, the theme of this year’s Festival is “Still Here”.
“VQFF is on this August, and will feature films and interdisciplinary programming from queer filmmakers and artists whose work shows the many ways we fight for the fullness of our lives, for what and who we love, and for our shared futures. Our theme this year is ‘Still Here’, because our survival is an inevitable miracle. Nothing can stop us from taking root; we will always reach for the light and sky.” – Anoushka Ratnarajah
Welcoming its presenting sponsor RBC once again, this year’s Festival will open on August 13th with Pier Kids followed by a virtual celebration of our local queer community. Pier Kids is a vital participatory documentary about the lives of homeless Black queer and trans youth who frequent the Chelsea Piers in New York City, and offers a type of intimacy that’s rare in documentary films. It’s goal is to shrink the distance between the concepts of racial/gender marginalization by making the experience personal and specific. It an act of resistance to traditional storytelling forms.
The Festival’s Centrepiece Gala film is Lingua Franca, an ambitious feature film that follows a trans Filipina migrant as she navigates being undocumented in a Trump-era America. The film is written, directed by and stars trans actress Isabel Sandoval, who will join audiences virtually to discuss the film in a digital Q&A.
VQFF will once again feature a variety of youth focused programming, including a Youth Gala screening of the inspirational documentary Changing The Game, which follows three boundary-breaking young trans athletes changing the face of sports in their communities and across the United States.
Finally, this year’s VQFF will close with the heartwarming queer Muslim romantic comedy, Breaking Fast, directed by Mike Mosallam.