Out On Screen proudly showcases films that illuminate transformative moments in the lives of queer, trans, and two-spirit people — telling the stories of the journeys we’ve taken to find ourselves, each other and our place in the world.
Every time we take a seat at the Festival or in an Out In Schools presentation, we experience the difference we’re making: creating social change through film, education and dialogue.
We lead courageously, think strategically and work together with committed partners to foster belonging, affirmation and connections within our community and with other social movements.
We are honoured to celebrate you and to celebrate with you the unique, strong and splendid queer communities in Vancouver and beyond that make us who we are.
Out On Screen
To illuminate, celebrate and advance queer lives through film, education and dialogue.
An equitable society where gender and sexual diversity thrives.
Art: we value art as critical to vibrant communities, as an interpretive medium to communicate complex ideas, and as an empathetic tool for change.
Fun and celebration: we value joyful and uplifting shared experiences.
Respect and equitable inclusion: we value the removal of barriers and the creation of platforms for a diversity of stories, voices and identities.
Community engagement: we value shared experiences and partnerships to create dialogue and foster community. We value a community that feels included and invested in our work and programs.
Intersectionality, anti-oppression, and social justice: we value the expression and practice of I, A-O and SJ in queer communities, arts and education.
The Vancouver Queer Film Festival
The Festival 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.
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. It is Western Canada’s largest queer arts event.
We produce an internationally recognized 11 day Queer Film Festival in August each year that is a leader in accessibility and films that showcase stories least heard in society.
This year the Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary with increased programming and a special birthday dance party.
Troublemakers 3.0 returns with new stories about the contributions of our local queer elders, told by young people.
The artist in residence program continues in 2018, highlighting queer filmmakers making an impact in our communities.
The Vancouver Queer Film Festival elevates the profile of queer artists by programming immersive films, thought-provoking panels, and captivating events.
Out In Schools
Media is a powerful tool to catalyse inclusion for all sexual orientations and gender identities. Out In Schools uses film and facilitated group discussion to inform young people, educators and others of the negative impacts of discrimination.
Out In Schools creates safe spaces where young people in British Columbia thrive by providing the language and tools for inclusion.
Out In Schools works closely with school districts, educators, counsellors and students to facilitate inspiring workshops tailored to the needs of each school.
We collaborate with school districts and the BC Teachers Federation to deliver presentations throughout British Columbia. Out In Schools educates corporate teams, government ministries, parents, and politicians to create greater social change.
Out In Schools has reached more than 100,000 young people. We have visited 51 of British Columbia’s 60 school districts.
Out In Schools actually reduces bullying in schools.
Our Commitment to Indigenous Peoples of this Land
Out On Screen acknowledges that we have existed on the unceded traditional and ancestral territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations since 1988. Out On Screen recognises the governance authority of these Nations for their shared territories and seeks to abide by their time-honoured protocols.
Being predominantly settlers and immigrants to this land from many diverse backgrounds, we recognise that we have much to learn, as well as an ongoing responsibility to share our collective histories and contribute to changing the oppression perpetuated by colonialism, even today. Reconciling past injustice, and strengthening shared understanding and awareness of history, is vital to both indigenous and non-indigenous communities. We believe in the value of truth telling and working toward good relationships so we can be a queer arts organisation that celebrates, illuminates and advances the lives of all queer people, including queer, trans and two-spirit indigenous people.
Two-spirit people encompass the myriad of gender and sexual identities prevalent in indigenous societies. They were once respected as fundamental and valued members of many indigenous cultures and societies. In the wake of colonisation in North America, two-spirit people and their traditional roles have often been erased, diminished, and displaced. We believe in contributing to a society where two-spirit people are honoured, respected and celebrated for their traditional and contemporary roles, which are supported by wider society.
As a queer non-profit organisation whose strategic shared vision includes the values of intersectionality, anti-oppression, social justice, respect, and equitable inclusivity, Out On Screen is committed to meaningfully participating in reconciliation, decolonisation, and being in right relations with two-spirit and indigenous people of this land. We believe in contributing to a process that forges and maintains respectful relationships and makes space for the centering of indigenous communities, knowledge, legal systems, and ways of being.
We realise this is a journey, not a destination; and it will be a journey defined and judged by our actions, not simply our words. We invite others to join us, support us and hold us accountable. We are as strong as our community.
Steps along the way
To be open and explicit with our community, some of the concrete steps we will take in 2018 include:
Continue education for staff and board. Topics to explore include an introduction to the Squamish Nation and Squamish language training.
Review and revise a new 2018 workplan for our organisation and our people as it relates to our relationship with local indigenous people and our role in decolonisation, indigenous rights, and reconciliation. Review and report annually.
Seek further indigenous and/or two-spirit representation from local communities on our staff and at board of directors level with the intention of creating a board and staff that better reflects the communities it wishes to serve. Continue to share all job postings and opportunities with local nations.
Comply with indigenous law by establishing relations with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations and seek to know and follow their protocols for being, working, and living on their territories.
Be involved with and supportive of local indigenous communities’ activities, activism, events, and issues. Seek ways of being of service to local nations.
Recognise territory holders and impacts of colonisation including disrupted relationships, land dispossession, and Out On Screen’s responsibilities in this regard at internal and public events including festival screenings, on our website, in our electronic communications, and printed materials, particularly wherever our address appears.
Ensure two-spirit and/or indigenous stories are centered at the Festival.
Build relationships and center indigenous culture and ways of knowing by seeking out community partnerships with indigenous organisations for our film festival.
Recognise local territory holders at all Out In Schools presentations.
Outreach in advance to all territory holders Out in Schools plans to visit.
Make Out in Schools known to indigenous communities and organisations.
Review and update our Out in Schools workshops to more accurately and comprehensively center indigenous queer, trans, and two-spirit people.
Create an Out in Schools presentation about indigenous perspectives on sexuality and gender.
A Brief History
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 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 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.”
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.
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 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 illuminating 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.
2017 – Out in Schools reaches over 60,000 students in schools across BC and beyond.
2018 – Out On Screen celebrates 30 years in Vancouver.
Meet the team
Stephanie Goodwin is a seasoned non-profit leader, bringing more than ten years of leadership from Greenpeace, most recently as the BC director and senior leadership team member. She has lived in the Brazilian Amazon for Greenpeace and is best known as one of the architects of the Great Bear rainforest agreements, the largest rainforest protection package in North American history. Also a certified secondary school teacher, Stephanie holds two degrees with a Master's on the way in education studies with a focus on indigenous-settler relations in Canada.
Most importantly, Stephanie loves to play ice hockey, take photos, travel, and hike all over the place trying to keep up with Maple, her SPCA partner in crime.
Amber Dawn is an educator, an award-winning writer of poetry, memoir, and fiction, and a facilitator of connections between artists, idea-makers and audiences. She teaches at the University of British Columbia and Douglas College and is a speaker at festivals, conferences, and universities across North America. Current projects include directing the Thursdays Writing Collective, a creative writing group at Carnegie Community Centre for members of the Downtown Eastside, and teaching Tough Language, Tender Wisdoms, an ongoing memoir-writing workshop for queer, low-income participants. Amber holds a BFA and MFA in creative writing.
Anoushka Ratnarajah is a leading writer, performer, and arts organiser whose works explore the intersection of identity, belonging and community. She is an associate artist and facilitator at ShapeShift Arts, and works as a producer, director, playwright and filmmaker. Recent artistic endeavours include the continued co-creation of Toasted Marshmallows, a documentary that explores what it means to be a mixed-race woman in North America today, and partnered projects with Kalik, an interdisciplinary arts company and spaceship, including “Dear Armen”, and an upcoming production of “(Untitled) Boxes” at the 2017 Vancouver Fringe Festival. Anoushka holds a BFA in creative writing and an MA in arts politics.
Brandon Yan is passionate about social justice and learning about the diversity of experiences in our queer communities across BC. As an energetic community advocate, he volunteers his time around the city and also serves on the Vancouver City Planning Commission to hold space for critical discussions about Vancouver’s future. If Brandon could marry Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica (the reboot, to be specific), he would. Some of his hobbies include curling in the Pacific Rim Curling League, playing soccer with Out for Kicks, petting puppies, and Netflix.
After completing his Master’s Degree in Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Sam Snobelen picked up an advanced arts and entertainment management certificate from Capilano University and promptly cut his fundraising teeth as the sponsorship and events officer of Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. Sam has always been passionate about disseminating art and engaging people in creative work. He is excited to be working with one of Vancouver’s premiere queer arts organisations in a capacity which allows him to see high caliber films and to support work with which he personally connects.
Jeff Van Leuven
Corporate relations officer
Jeff Van Leuven has a diverse background from corporate retail and cause-marketing sectors including event management, operations, client services, and business development. He volunteered on the board of directors for Academy of Friends for eight years while living in San Francisco and engaged in further philanthropic work in sponsorship development for Macy’s, both of which were devoted to HIV/AIDS fundraising. Jeff continues to volunteer his time for other causes and enjoys exploring our beautiful city. Honoured to be representing Out On Screen, and its programs, he has his sights set on the gratifications that come from aligning companies with social issues that matter to them.
Calling herself ‘a performer on pause,’ Naheed is passionate about the art of storytelling, and youth engagement, and is excited to share her knowledge and experience in intersectional community building and fundraising for non-profits. She is eager to continue striving for justice for queer communities, here on Coast Salish Territory and beyond!
Naheed is grateful to be working with an organisation that uses a diversity of tactics to push for positive systemic and community level change. In her free time, you can find Naheed eating potatoes by lakes, rivers and oceans, or singing songs from her favourite musicals.
Operations and HR coordinator
Mateo is an experienced project and operations manager, who is passionate about media activism and mentoring youth. They currently live in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish land. As a Nicaraguan-born filmmaker whose work has appeared on CBC Arts, Much Music, and festivals such as the Reelworld Film Festival, Mateo is committed to telling underrepresented stories from the margins. Their work is informed by their intersecting identities as an AFAB Non-Binary Trans Man, living with Multiple Sclerosis, and as a member of the Afro-Latinx, Indigenous, and Migrant/Refugee communities. In their spare time, they enjoy hiking in the forest, spontaneous road trips, and breaking bread with chosen family. Mateo also has a special place in their heart for children’s picture books.
Gavin K Somers
Out In Schools coordinator
Gavin joined the Out in Schools team first as a facilitator in 2014. In supporting organizational growth, Gavin stepped into the Program Assistant role and is now excited to continue working with Out in Schools as the program coordinator.
Passionate about the power of storytelling, Gavin is a writer, musician and artist.
Gavin captivates audiences with humour and kindness; compelling others to engage in the act of self-reflection for communal growth with the goal of moving towards social equity.
In their spare time, Gavin can be found hanging out in parks with their dog, Felony, escaping the city, and nourishing new/old relationships.
Jessica Somers is founder of Cordova Street Consulting, a CPA firm working to change the landscape of tax advising from a black box to an open conversation. Jessica approaches clients from a perspective of knowledge sharing, outreach, and taking the stress and mystery out of tax and accounting!
Jessica also serves as treasurer on the board of several non-profits in Vancouver including: Reel Causes, Yoga Outreach, and Room Magazine.
When not crunching numbers, Jessica enjoys swing dancing, watching thought-provoking films, and drinking beer in East Van.
James Ong is a proud producer of art and culture in Vancouver having worked alongside the City’s finest and most talented. He’s most proud of his work with Spygirl, Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Out in Schools, TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Winter Solstice Lantern Festival, Winterruption, 2010 Cultural Olympiad, and Vancouver Summer Live. With contributions ranging from production to performance and strategy to structure, having a good time while doing good work is key. James is currently a piano teacher, Production Manger at Coastal Jazz & Blues Society, and Board Chair at the Vancouver Out On Screen Film & Video Society.
Catherine J. Wong is a Vancouver based family law and criminal defence lawyer. A large part of her practice focuses on assisting clients from the LGBTQ2S+ communities in British Columbia. Prior to opening her own law practice, she was a Federal Crown prosecutor and completed her articles at the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association. Catherine obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario. She holds a LL.B. from the University of British Columbia and completed her Masters in Human Rights from the London School of Economics. Serving on the Board of Out on Screen continues to be one of the most rewarding and inspirational experiences she has ever had.
Rudolph is a Senior Accountant currently working at Rolfe Benson LLP with several years of experience in providing assurance and taxation services to not-for-profit organizations and private companies. He loves cats, interior design, video games, and snowboarding. He is honoured to be a member of the Board of Directors.
Melanie Matining is a queer pin@y activist and community organizer on the traditional and unceded Coast Salish territories. Her work focuses on the importance of social spaces in movement building and the necessary intersections of community-determined access, placemaking, and solidarity building. She convenes communities to create platforms for celebration, healing, and just dancing it all out. She organizes queer events such as Denim Vest and Open Relationship, which do exactly such. In the recent past, she also worked as the Community Development Manager at Heartwood, a social space that was centred on community and movement building. On the day to day, Melanie walks everyday in love and liberation alongside communities working towards queer rights, Indigenous solidarity, and migrant justice.
Coming from a background that includes a Bachelor of Vocal Performance from the University of Toronto, Chad is a hospitality industry professional who is most recognized for his role as Director of Operation for the Hawksworth Restaurant Group. Chad loves Vancouver and has many years of service on boards with the Vancouver Recital Society, Vancouver Opera, and the CANFAR Legacy Foundation. His goal is to continually enhance Vancouver culture and community by serving as an ambassador for the arts and valuable social organizations such as Out in Schools. He is husband to the man of his dreams, Matt Corker, and is passionate about family and community. In his spare time, you will find Chad running, biking or swimming his way across an Ironman or marathon finish line somewhere in the world.
Gerhard has a background in organizational development, programming, fundraising, education, strategic planning, and people management. He has worked in Senior Leadership positions at Learning Through the Arts, Arts Umbrella, and is currently the Executive Director of the KidSafe Project Society with the Vancouver Board of Education. Gerhard holds a Masters in Leadership from Royal Roads University and Bachelors in Fine Arts (Theatre Performance). Gerhard serves as the President of the Professional and Administrative Staff Association at the Vancouver Board of Education and is proud to be part of the team supporting the mission and vision of Out On Screen.
Director at large
Aimee is Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, French, and South American and is working towards learning more about her family history and traditions as a way of decolonizing. She grew up on the unceded territory of the Sto:lo people in Chilliwack, but currently lives and works on Coast Salish Territory in Vancouver. She holds a B.Ed and an MCP, and uses this education to blend Traditional healing practices and ways of knowing with westernized therapeutic methods. Aimee is a two-spirit woman and spends much of her professional and personal time working to create safer spaces for LGBTQ youth. She has worked and volunteered in the non-profit sector for over 5 years, involving herself in decolonization initiatives, youth sexual health projects, and anti-oppressive campaigns.
Director at large
Melinda works in communications, marketing and fundraising for not-for-profit organizations, and is currently the communications manager for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at UBC. She is an author, and doer of various creative activities, when she’s not roller skating or running. As such, queer art and artists are among her favourite things. She is honoured by the opportunity to serve our communities through the board of Out On Screen.
Director at large
Lori is an educator, dog lover and media enthusiast. Prior to returning to Vancouver to complete her graduate work in Educational Studies, Lori lived and worked in Chicago and Seattle as a IT procurement manager, IT project manager, and HIV outreach coordinator/ curriculum writer. She credits her current love of teaching to this circuitous career path. Having worked with and developed an abiding love for Out in Schools, Lori looks forward to life as an Out On Screen Board Member.
Director at large
Michelle Wilson is an ally, artist, and art director in the field of communications. Since her daughter – Tru Wilson – came out as transgender at the age of 9, Michelle and her family have become avid advocates for trans rights. They are active supporters of SOGI 123, and Michelle often speaks publicly to share her story as a parent and reinforce the importance of supporting your children. Michelle is currently the VP of Creative Strategy at NATIONAL Public Relations in Vancouver, and is also a member of the Board for GDay. Michelle is proud to be a new member of the Board of Directors of Out On Screen and contribute to the tremendous and creative work they are already doing.
Victoria is recent UBC sociology grad with previous experience in communications, event planning, and research. An Aries sun, Cancer moon, and Taurus rising, Victoria is a believer in storytelling as social justice and is excited to combine her passions of film and social change together to support the Vancouver Queer Film Festival this season. In her spare time, she can be found growing her earring collection, looking for the dankest memes, and enjoying the best meal of all time: brunch
Festival programming coordinator
Originally from a small Metis community in Manitoba, Justin Ducharme made his way to Vancouver when he was 18 to further pursue his love for cinema & creative writing. With an affection for all aspects of storytelling and filmmaking, he practices skills learned from working in fashion and film. While his heart lies in cinematic endeavours, he is also passionate about poetry and the traditional Metis dance he grew up doing. When he’s not making films, he enjoys exploring different ways to decolonize his approach to film production, writing poetry and short stories, and seeing as many films he can. Justin cites filmmakers Gregg Araki, Gus Van Sant, and Andrea Arnold, among others, as his main cinematic influences.
Public events coordinator
Yasmin Majdnia is a student at the University of British Columbia pursuing a degree in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice with a minor in English Literature. Born and raised in the United Arab Emirates, Yasmin immigrated in 2006 and currently lives, studies, works and learns on the unceded, ancestral and traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh people. Drawing from her own experiences, Yasmin’s work has primarily been focused on diasporic identities and how they navigate the spaces they occupy. Working alongside an organization that centers queer voices is something she is really excited about as she is deeply interested in exploring media representations of marginalized communities.
As a UBC Sociology student minoring in Critical Sexuality Studies, Ervin is excited to bring his knowledge of queer issues and experience in marketing and communications to Out On Screen. In his studies, Ervin explores the dynamics of sexuality and gender and their varying intersections between each other. A media enthusiast, Ervin is eager to work on the Vancouver Queer Film Festival to shine a light on underrepresented topics and voices through visual and written mediums. In his spare time, you can find Ervin either playing music, or spiraling down a rabbit hole of YouTube/Facebook videos (usually of dogs and/or food).
Rick, Designer at Out On Screen (2008, 2010-present). He is at his desk right now.
Serene is a passionate queer woman of colour, youth educator and student. She has committed her years as a youth to empower and uplift other LGBT2Q+ students; she believes critical while empathetic dialogue is the key to enhancing the lives of young people and their communities. As a year-round Out In Schools facilitator, she is thrilled to be continuing her work with Out On Screen in it's 30th year. Once a festival volunteer herself, she knows the show wouldn't go on without them and truly believes volunteers are at the heart of what Out On Screen does. You can find her working towards a Bachelor’s of Social Work, cuddling her twin cats, and having solo dance parties- all in her living room.
Work with us
Front of House
About the position
You love interacting with the public and have a friendly and helpful manner. Our Front of House Volunteers are the first people our patrons meet when they arrive at a venue. You make the Festival experience fun and friendly.
- Greeters welcome patrons and help guide them to the Box Office, Passholder, or Membership tables.
- Ushers check that everyone has their pass slip or ticket and membership for the film and direct patrons to the appropriate lines. Once the film has finished, you will also assist staff to ensure all patrons leave safely and have everything the need.
- Accessibility Volunteers will be on the lookout for people who need assistance accessing seats or other aids while waiting for a film to start. Working with Festival staff, you will also arrange for these patrons to enter the theatre first.
- Ticket Takers scan tickets and ensure everyone arriving is at the appropriate venue and screening time.
Box Office and Membership
About the position
You love interacting with the public and have a penchant for accurate cash handling. These roles assist our Box Office Cashiers and oversee Membership sales which are crucial to our Society. Accuracy is of utmost importance. You are able to guarantee that the guests have a great experience at your table and leave with enthusiasm for the upcoming film!
- Will Call volunteers help connect patrons with their pre-purchased tickets and passes, making sure that everyone has what they need to enjoy the Festival.
- Membership volunteers ensure patrons get the proper membership tier (Adult or Youth), and are responsible for counting and balancing the floats and daily cash sales.
- Passholder volunteers will hand passholders their screening slip(s) and ensure some of our most frequent visitors have a positive experience at the Festival.
Parties and Events
About the position
You love parties and event planning. Everyone still talks about how you moved that theme party to the park next door after a neighbour complained. You’re a problem solver and you’re not afraid to get dirty for an awesome final product.
This position requires physical labour.
- Event Volunteers help to make sure our parties and special events go off without a hook. You’re a people person who’s willing to pour drinks, pass nibbles, and make sure folks have a good time.
- Set Up or Strike Volunteers roll up their sleeves to do the heavy lifting. They do the work behind the scenes to roll out the red carpets and sweep up after a good night out.
- Volunteer Drivers get folks from Point A to Point B, keeping the Festival mobile and helping us reach all corners of our communities. If you’ve ever dreamed of being an Uber driver, this spot’s for you!
About the position
You’re naturally outgoing, excited about the Festival, and love meeting new people. You’re not afraid to be loud, sill, and maybe even a bit foolish. Extroverts to the front of the line!
This position requires physical labour.
- Street Team members create a visible presence for the Festival and Out On Screen throughout our communities.
- You’re eager to get out and share our story at places like Vancouver Pride, East Side Pride, the Dyke March, Car Free Days, and other special events.
- During the Festival, you will be support our promotional efforts by dropping off flyers at clubs, chalking sidewalks, and helping to keep our Festival Guide locations well stocked.
About the position
You believe in the power of representation and sharing stories through images. Capturing queer lives is something you’re passionate about. You have your own camera equipment and have some experience photographing events. Your role is to ensure the memories of our amazing festival live on.
- Photographers’ overall goal is to capture the event in full, from wide photos where we see the event in its entirety, to mediums of people attending, to close-ups of the small details.
- This is a great way to get experience photographing dynamic, interesting community events with lots of people.
- All photos taken can be used in your portfolio.