The 31st annual Inside Out Toronto 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival unveiled the its full film lineup of 143 films including 33 feature films and 5 episodic series debuting on the Inside Out streaming platform from May 27 – June 6, 2021.
During Inside Out’s virtual launch week, taking place this week from May 3-7, Canada’s Drag Race winner Priyanka will host a daily themed programming spotlight on sections of the film program; these videos can be found at insideout.ca..
The festival’s opening night film will be the Canadian premiere of Natalie Morales’ socially distant platonic love story LANGUAGE LESSONS, which won the coveted audience award at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, after premiering at the Berlin Film Festival.
Closing the festival will be the Charli XCX documentary ALONE TOGETHER, which follows the famous pop musician in 2020 as she writes, records and releases a full album in 40 days, while confronting mental health issues and connecting with vulnerable LGBTQ+ fans in need.
Narrative highlights from the festival lineup include scheduled premieres of the Sundance Audience Award winning film MA BELLE, MY BEAUTY, which explores the complexities of a queer polyamorous relationship, the International Premiere of Wes Hurley’s autobiographical dark comedy POTATO DREAMS OF AMERICA, which follows a gay boy growing up in the Soviet Union whose escapism of choice is pirated American movies, and Mari Walker’s critically acclaimed drama SEE YOU THEN, that takes place over an evening as two exes meet up ten years following their break up. The festival will also host the World Premiere of Shelley Thompson’s upcoming transgender family drama DAWN, HER DAD & THE TRACTOR, which is premiering in the Spotlight On Canada program.
Documentary highlights from the program include premieres of the Zachary Quinto-narrated film YES I AM – THE RIC WEILAND STORY, introducing audiences to queer icon Ric Weiland, one of Microsoft’s first computer programmers whose efforts to establish representation and resources for the LGBT community still have a profound impact today, FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK, that shines a well-deserved spotlight on a pioneering Filipina-American queer all-female rock band that changed music forever (and still kicks ass today), and the Peruvian activist film DRAG INVASION, which examines an LGBTQ community in Peru faced with extreme conservative religious culture, who find empowerment and mobalization in watching episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
For all films in Premieres, the films will be available at a specific indicated date and time, and available to ticket and passholders on demand afterwards. The entire ‘Spotlight On Canada’ section of the festival will also be available for free to audiences in Ontario through the festival’s platform, sponsored by CBC.
“United, we come together-apart for Inside Out’s Covid Edition 2.0 Having pulled off the 30th anniversary Covid Edition in October 2020, our team has worked tirelessly to bring us a stellar festival line-up and return to our sweet spot on the May calendar,” says Inside Out Executive Director Lauren Howes.
“We worked with optimism that we would be able to safely hold limited in person events this year, and instead we embrace the bubble! It is our desire to be here for you, as your bubble enhancers. We hope with our programming you will find the breath of fresh air that inflates you, and the effervescence that buoys you.”
“This past year hasn’t been easy. We miss you, and we miss our filmmaking family around the world. That’s why we set out to curate a festival to help us all feel something, and maybe feel a little less alone,” says Director of Programming Andrew Murphy.
“Our 31st edition is bookended with two very special films, both shot during the pandemic that reflect our longing for connection during this topsy turvy time. We strive to accurately represent a community in flux, a community in turmoil, and a community with resilience, featuring finger on the pulse documentaries and narratives, curated alongside fantastical love stories that remind us of the before, and hopefully, the after times.”
Inside Out, in addition to being a resource for 2SLGBTQ+ filmmakers and showcasing their work through the annual festival, is one the world’s leading 2SLGBTQ+ film organizations, founded the world’s only 2SLGBTQ+ Feature Finance Forum, and has launched two film funds within the past few years – RE:Focus, which supports queer and trans women and non-binary filmmakers, and the OUTtv Outspoken Documentary Fund.
Following the success from the 2020 festival, the highly popular “Pitch, Please!” pitch competition at Inside Out will take place again virtually on June 5th at 2:00PM during the festival. The annual short film pitch competition sees competitors from across the globe present a short two-minute pitch to a virtual jury and audience, with one winner taking home a cash prize. As well, award winners for the main film categories will be revealed on opening weekend, giving audiences the opportunity to view the winning films throughout the entire festival. The winners of the Pitch, Please! Competition, as well as audience award winners, will be announced on June 6th.