All screenings take place at Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Avenue. General admission is $11. Full Festival passes are $75.
Directed by Juan Felipe Zuleta
November 15 • 6:45 pm • 100 minutes
A misanthropic little person and a sex worker hit the road on a border-defying search for their place in the universe in this quirky drama. Peter is hiding from the world in his shabby New York City apartment. But an unexpected visit from his upbeat—and possibly unhinged—neighbor Winona forces him out of his shell and onto an impromptu road trip. Their destination? What she believes to be the site of an upcoming alien visitation in the wilderness of rural Canada. On their increasingly surreal odyssey, Peter and Winona will encounter bickering lesbian cosplayers, shroom-addled survivalists, and even extraterrestrial highway cops. But the further they go and the more their trauma comes to light, it becomes clear that the only thing more nerve-wracking than being abducted is being alone in the universe.
My Emptiness and I
Directed by Adrián Silvestre
November 16 • 6:45 pm • 98 minutes
In Spanish & French w/English subtitles
A elegant portrait of a young trans woman exploring gender, trying to overcome the binary. After moving from France to Spain, Raphi fantasizes about romances with princes and about starting a traditional family. However, her situation looks nothing like that in reality. She works in a call center in Barcelona, struggles with dates that often turn embarrassing, and is diagnosed by her therapist as having gender dysphoria. As she makes her transition during this essential, if confusing, period, she struggles with everyday life. She talks candidly with colleagues, queer friends, and the men she meets through apps. Despite all the advice she receives, it turns out that it is mostly time and experience that will help her embrace her place in this world.
You Can Live Forever
Directed by Sarah Watts, Mark Slutsky
November 17 • 6:45 pm • 96 minutes
In the early '90s, queer teen Jaime is sent to live with her devout Jehovah’s Witness relatives after the death of her father. Jaime makes an unexpected connection with Marike, daughter of a prominent Witness Elder. The two are instantly drawn to each other, and begin a secret, unspoken romance. But when their attraction becomes too obvious to hide, the community moves to separate the two, forcing them each to make a terrible choice between faith and love. Montreal filmmakers Sarah Watts and Mark Slutsky join forces on their debut feature to share this thoughtful and relatable story of forbidden romance and the intensity of first love.
Directed by Daresha Kyi
November 18 • 4:30 pm • 98 minutes
Mama Bears follows conservative Christian mothers fighting to protect their queer children from church teachers and unfair lawmakers. The three families in this doc provide a kaleidoscopic lens for understanding the tensions between faith, gender and sexuality. Spread across the country but connected through private Facebook groups, they call themselves "mama bears"--because of how ferociously they fight for the civil rights of their children and the entire LGBTQ community. Although they may have grown up as fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, mama bears are willing to risk losing friends, family, and faith communities to keep their offspring safe--even if it challenges their belief systems and rips their worlds apart.
Directed by Lukas Dhont
November 18 • 6:45 pm • 105 min.
In French w/English Subtitles
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Close is an emotionally transformative and unforgettable portrait of the intersection of friendship and love, identity and independence, and heartbreak and healing. Leo and Remi are two thirteen-year-old best friends, whose seemingly unbreakable bond is suddenly, tragically torn apart.
Directed by Craig Boreham
November 17 & 18 • 9:00 pm
95 minutes • Australia
In this sexual explicit drama of solitude and human connection, lingering trauma from his rural hometown follows a young gay Australian man to the big city of Sydney where he meets another lost and scarred young man. Casey, a cowboy running from a small-town scandal, finds himself down and out in the big city. When he meets Tib, a young man struggling with his own scars of isolation, both men find something they have been missing but neither of them knows quite how to negotiate it. This film contains nudity and graphic and extreme sexual situations.
Directed by Maris Curran
November 19 • 4:30 pm
An intimate vérité documentary about a survivor of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. A nuanced story of balancing the relentlessness of daily existence with the realities of living through trauma A lesbian Puerto Rican and single mother, Jeannette is a competitive bodybuilder who uses her unforgettable strength to transform her life as she struggles to heal in the aftermath of trauma. The film begins in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub massacre and follows Jeannette as she recovers, backslides and eventually finds support and healing through community.
Directed by Elegance Bratton
November 19 • 6:45 pm • 100 min.
In Elegance Bratton’s deeply moving film inspired by his own story, a young, gay Black man, rejected by his mother and with few options for his future, decides to join the Marines, doing whatever it takes to succeed in a system that would cast him aside. But even as he battles deep-seated prejudice and the grueling routines of basic training, he finds unexpected camaraderie, strength, and support in this new community, giving him a hard-earned sense of belonging that will shape his identity and forever change his life.
Long Live My Happy Head
Directed by Austen McCowan, Will Hewitt
November 19 • 9:00 pm • 88 min.
What would you do if you were told you had a dramatically life-shortening illness when you were 32 years old? Start making comic books about it of course! Well, that's what Gordon did anyway. Gordon is a Scottish comic book artist with a big bushy beard, very expressive eyebrows - oh, and an inoperable, incurable brain tumour. By making autobiographical comics about his experience, he is able to communicate his thoughts and reactions to cancer in a medium and a language that is disarming, accessible and inviting.
Strictly for the Birds
Directed by Jon Garcia
November 20 • 2:00 pm • 100 min.
Born transgender, raised as a boy, following a decorated military career and two marriages, Kate is in her mid-sixties and could finally live as her true self. When she meets a new friend, will her past block their developing relationship?
Directed by Leonardo Feliciano
November 20 • 4:30 pm • 115 min.
In Portuguese w/English subtitles
A working-class Black family tries to keep their spirits up after the election of a right-wing president in Brazil’s official selection for the Oscar’s International Feature Award. As they figure out ways to cope and continue dreaming in the months that follow, the shifting political tides threaten to engulf them. They feel the strain of their new reality as the political dust settles. Tércia, the mother, reinterprets her world after an unexpected encounter leaves her wondering if she's cursed. Her husband, Wellington, puts all of his hopes into the soccer career of their son, Deivinho, who reluctantly follows his father's ambitions despite secretly aspiring to study astrophysics and colonize Mars. Meanwhile, their older daughter, Eunice, falls in love with a free-spirited young woman and ponders whether it's time to leave home.