These are the Lesbian/Bi Films Showing at Toronto’s Inside Out Film Festival

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The 28th annual Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival takes place May 24 to June 3. 

This year, the annual Women’s Gala will feature Amy Adrion’s acclaimed documentary HALF THE PICTURE. Additional Special Presentations include the international premiere of 1985 from Yen Tan and the Canadian premiere of THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST from Desiree Akhavan.

The 2018 feature film program includes a total of 49 films. The lineup includes 5 world premieres, 7 international premieres and 27 Canadian premieres from 27 countries.

28 narrative and 21 documentary features will debut over the course of the 11-day festival. The feature program includes 6 Galas and Special Presentations, 10 Premieres, 6 Icons, 4 Spotlight on Canada and 23 International Showcase. The festival will also screen 84 Shorts from a wide variety of exciting emerging and established LGBTQ filmmakers.

Single tickets will be on sale Friday, May 4th at 10:30 AM ET via insideout.ca or by phone at 416-599-8433.

Note: This is a list of the films that we were told have lesbian-themed storylines, but we have not vetted most of these, so please keep in mind these are not officially AfterEllen reviewed films. We will review as screeners become available. Please also note that all film descriptions were provided by the Inside Out Film Festival. 

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST, directed by Desiree Akhavan. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. Cameron Post is your average teenage girl. But after a prom night mishap in which she is caught in the act with another young woman, Cameron is sent to a facility that seeks to eliminate same-sex attractions. Despite being subjected to discipline and “de-gaying” methods, she finds herself in a new and exciting community. For the first time, Cameron connects with others like her, and finally has a chance to see herself reflected in the world. With Chloe Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck.

PREMIERES

L’ANIMALE, directed by Katharina Mueckstein. (Austria) – Canadian Premiere. Mati works part time at her mother’s veterinary clinic, learning the ropes so that she can follow in her footsteps. Outside of work, however, Mati’s mother understands so little about her daughter, forcing graduation dresses on her and questioning Mati’s desire to spend all her free time on her motocross bike with the local boys. When Mati develops feelings for a young woman from town and her mother uncovers a secret that her father has been keeping, the family must decide which is more important: living honestly or doing what is expected of them. With Sophie Stockinger, Kathrin Resetarits, Dominik Warta.

FREELANCERS ANONYMOUS, directed by Sonia Sebastian. (USA) – International Premiere. In a moment of drug-induced clarity, Billie quits her job. While searching for a new one she stumbles across a misfit group of unemployed women in a church basement who call themselves “Freelancers Anonymous.” Like Billie, this band of socially awkward ladies want to work but are hopeless at finding jobs– until Billie persuades them to launch an app to reach potential clients. If she could only convince the wedding-obsessed Gayle to support her risky career move, Billie would be all set. With Lisa Cordileone, Alexandra Billings, and Natasha Negovanlis.

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Christopher Waggoner

NIGHT COMES ON, directed by Jordana Spiro. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Angel is released from juvenile detention after serving time for unlawful possession of a weapon. She’s thrown back onto the streets with nothing but a few dollars in her pocket, a broken relationship with her girlfriend, and a focused determination to seek revenge on her father for murdering her mother. With Dominique Fishback and Tatum Marilyn Hall.

WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE, directed by Colin Minihan. (Canada) – Canadian Premiere. On the eve of their one-year wedding anniversary, Jules and Jackie become embroiled in a merciless battle when they find themselves pitted against the most unexpected of adversaries: each other. As violence rains down upon their idyllic forest getaway, the women engage in vicious psychological warfare that will test the limits of their instinct to survive. With Brittany Allen and Hannah Emily Anderson.

ICONS

SILVANA, directed by Mika Gustafson, Olivia Kastebring, and Christina Tsiobanelis. (Sweden) – Canadian Premiere. Silvana opens at the beginning of self-proclaimed lesbian, feminist, anti-racist, punk rapper Silvana’s career and reveals an artist who has the whole world ahead of her. As the film charts her rise to fame, it also follows her romance with popstar Beatrice Eli from swoon-worthy beginnings to what would become music world domination, one feminist lesbian anthem at a time. As Silvana draws more and more attention, the pressure mounts, and she must work to keep her career and relationship afloat. With Silvana Imam.

TO A MORE PERFECT UNION: U.S. V WINDSOR, directed by Donna Zaccaro. (USA) –  Canadian Premiere. The great love story of Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer first captivated audiences in the documentary Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement, a recounting of the couple’s long journey toward their 2007 wedding right here in Toronto. Their story, however, was far from over. When Thea passed away in 2009, Edie was faced with a monstrous estate tax bill, the federal government firmly denying benefits to same-sex couples. And so began the fight.

CLOSING NIGHT

HEARTS BEAT LOUD, directed by Brett Haley. (USA) – International Premiere. Frank and Sam are the coolest of father/daughter duos. Frank owns a record store in Brooklyn, Sam is months away from heading off to UCLA pre-med, and every week the two get together for family jam sessions. The only problem? Frank’s store is failing and he finds himself in need of a new career path. When he and Sam write a particularly catchy song during their weekly session, Frank has an idea. They should start a band! As Sam struggles to balance her studies, her budding romance with Rose and her father’s sudden intense interest in creating music together, their relationship begins to crack. And when that catchy song goes viral, they are forced to make some major life decisions. With Kiersey Clemons, Sasha Lane, Nick Offerman, Ted Danson, Toni Collette.

INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE

ANCHOR AND HOPE, directed by Carlos Marques-Marcet. (Spain / UK) – Canadian Premiere. Eva and Kat live a humble, carefree life aboard their London canal houseboat, just as Kat had always envisioned. But after the death of their beloved pet cat, Eva realizes she wants more: she wants to start a family. Kat is apprehensive about such a huge change, but when her best friend, Roger, drops in from Barcelona to party with the ladies, the trio drunkenly toys around with the idea of making a baby together. Forced into a corner, Kat succumbs to the plan and, before she knows it, she’s on a path to full-blown adulthood. As Eva enjoys her pregnancy and Roger fantasizes about his new role, Kat begins to feel further and further away from both Eva and Roger and the life that she wanted. Can her relationship with Kat survive their feuding to become a realized dream? With Oona Chaplin and Natalia Tena

DADDY ISSUES, directed by Amara Cash. (USA) – Canadian Premiere. Maya spends her days escaping into her drawings and social media, where she cyberstalks the enigmatic Jasmine. Jasmine is an aspiring designer in an emotionally charged, co-dependent relationship with neurotic sugar daddy, Simon. When Maya and Jasmine’s paths finally cross, the two embark on a romantic relationship that provides Maya her dream of first love and Jasmine the inspiration she needs to jump start her career. A bizarre love triangle soon emerges, however, and we learn that Maya and Simon have more in common than merely their love for Jasmine.  With Madison Lawlor, Montana Manning, and Andrew Pifko.

FISH BONES, directed Joanne Mony Park. (USA) – Canadian Premiere.  Hana is stuck between two worlds. She tends to her ailing mother and helps her brother at the family restaurant, but she also wants to focus on her modelling career. Her priorities are challenged even further when she meets and falls for Nico. Straddling emotions, family, and career expectations, Hana must decide what is truly best for her future.

With Joony Kim and Cris Gris.

LEZ BOMB, directed by Jenna Laurenzo. (USA) – International Premiere. Lauren decides to take the plunge and come out to her family at Thanksgiving dinner. But when her roommate Austin shows up, the family assumes he is her boyfriend and what follows is a downward spiral into madness. As more and more family members arrive it seems less and less likely that Lauren will find her voice. Will she ever be able to come out to her parents? Will her brother stop hitting on her girlfriend? Will her uncle burn down the house with his secret pot smoking? When it comes to a family gathering, anything is possible. With Jenna Laurenzo, Brandon Michael Hall, Cloris Leachman, Bruce Dern, Steve Guttenberg, Kevin Pollack, and Elaine Hendrix

MONTANA, directed and screenplay written by Limor Shmila. (Israel) Following the death of her grandfather, Efi returns to her hometown for the first time in years. The visit results in a chance meeting with Karen, a married friend of the family, that soon blossoms into romance. With the good comes the bad, as being home also forces Efi to confront the childhood secrets she once ran from. When she discovers that these secrets also affect Karen’s family, Efi must be willing to put her own happiness aside and do what is right. With Noa Biron, Avi Malka, and Hai Maor.

TODAY MATCH AT 3 (HOY PARTIDO A LAS 3), directed by Clarisa Navas (Argentina/Paraguay) – Canadian Premiere. We celebrate any film that features one or two strong and nuanced queer female characters, and Today Match at 3 features a whole team’s worth. Today Match at 3 is especially appealing for anyone who has ever participated in organized sports. But what makes this film shine is its naturalistic, fully developed portrayal of a diverse collection of energetic queer women

AfterEllen also notes these two feminist films:

WHITE RABBIT, directed by Daryl Wein (USA) – Canadian Premiere. White Rabbit stands out as intersectional feminist gold in a time where we are encouraged to identify and point out social inequalities. Daryl Wein (Breaking Upwards, Lola Versus) invites us to experience what moved him so deeply upon first discovering Bang and her performance art: we are confronted with the harshness of institutional racism and our gut responses to such injustice.

YOURS IN SISTERHOOD, directed by Irene Lusztig (USA). Between 1972 and 1980, at the height of its popularity, Ms. Magazine was being read by women from all walks of life, thousands having written letters to the publication expressing both gratitude and annoyance at the magazine’s take on feminist issues. Director Lusztig calls Yours in Sisterhood as much a study in “unfinished business” in the work of feminism as it is a cinematic love letter to the powerful resolve of women whose voices are finally being heard.

The 2018 short film selections are as follows:

SPOTLIGHT ON CANADA

SHORTS: Local Heroes – From familiar faces to fresh meat, this is our annual collection of some of the best this great city has to offer.

THE MORNING AFTER, directed Tricia Hagoriles. (Canada). Two women, in the middle of their own life crises, try to find physical respite together, only to have an emotional one-night stand.

SHORTS: Stories We Tell – A celebration of #Canqueer excellence, this program captures the compelling diversity of our homegrown talent.

CHARLIE, directed by Lesley Johnson. (Canada). Two high school girls navigate the blurred lines between friendship and love.

IRIS, directed by Gabrielle Demers. (Canada). As the storm outside rages, a special lust for Laura grows inside Emanuelle.

SHORTS: 10 Things I Love About You

VIOLET AND JUNE, directed by Linnea Ritland (Canada). Violet attempts to confess her love for her best friend June, but it’s never the right time. June’s boyfriend is always around, June stands her up, Violet’s away for a month animating bug fights–but her feelings for June keep coming back. And back. And back again.

POP ROX, directed by Nate Trinrud. (USA). Jesse decides to profess her love to her best friend Roxanne with a grand gesture. What could possibly go wrong?

SHORTS: BOLD – BOLD celebrates voices outside the mainstream. This program offers a fresh perspective, exploring the complexities of the black experience in all its diversity, humour, pain and triumph.

FRAN THIS SUMMER, directed by Mary Evangelista (USA). Teenage lovebirds, sensitive Francis and skater Angie, spend the summer shacked up at home while Fran begins their transition.

SHORTS: Hope Floats – Families have a way of bringing out the drama but, if we’re lucky, they also bring love. From overbearing mothers to aging grandmothers to conservative fathers, this program is all relative

MASKS, directed by Mahaliyah O (USA). A closeted medical student risks being outed to her family when a masked gunman opens fire at a gay nightclub.

OUTLINES, directed by Ellie Rogers (UK). Sarah arrives at her father’s apartment earlier than expected, only to come face to face with a hired escort.

THE MORNING AFTER, directed by Lauren Minnerath (USA). A young woman introduces her African-American girlfriend to her conservative father on the morning after the 2016 election.

LIFE AFTER, directed by Ria Tobaccowala (USA). While packing up her daughter’s apartment, a single mother discovers how little she knew about her only child’s life.

SHORTS: Forces of Nature – The pull of an ex, a fall down the stairs, the apocalypse–we can’t compete with the forces of nature

POST-APOCALYPTIC POTLUCK, directed by Guinevere Turner (USA). Three friends gather for a potluck just as the world falls into apocalyptic ruin.

FRAN THIS SUMMER, directed by Mary Evangelista (USA). Teenage lovebirds, sensitive Francis and skater Angie, spend the summer shacked up at home while Fran begins their transition.

WILD GEESE, directed by Susan Jacobson (UK). When Amy catches her husband with another man, she falls down the stairs and wakes up believing that it’s 1999 and that she and her first girlfriend are still just a couple of 16-year-olds in love.

SHE’S MARRYING STEVE, directed by Erika Kramer (USA). A woman is invited to her ex-girlfriend’s wedding and, despite everyone’s disapproval, decides to go.

UNDONE, directed by Francesca Castelbuono (UK). Two straight-identified women wake up after spending the night together and come to terms with how they feel about each other, and about themselves.

SHORTS: Practical Magic – Whether deciding to start a family or learning to dance, it takes two to tango. The films in this program show that making love work is magic, practically.

FOXY TROT, directed by Lisa Donato (USA). A married lesbian couple are unexpectedly faced with relationship issues when they take ballroom dance lessons.

BEFORE TODAY (ONTEM), directed by Thiago Kistenmacker (Brazil). A woman flees a promising date when she is confronted with her past. She must face the child she was before becoming the woman she wants to be.

SOFTCORE, directed by Varun Sanga (Canada). Two bridesmaids form an unlikely connection over their bizarre sexual awakenings.

FEEDBACK (LARSEN), directed by Margot Gallimard (France). Maude and Clothilde have been together for several years, but they no longer see each other. When Maude suddenly loses her hearing, everything comes sharply into view.

BABY GRAVY, directed by Marley Morrison (UK). In a rural pub restaurant on a busy motorway, Brona and Alex await the arrival of a man called Karl. Can you guess why?

SHORTS: Thrive – This collection of trans short films celebrates the diverse voices of the trans community. From Austria to Tonga, from France to the Philippines, witness global trans activists as they take a stand.

ASTRI AND TAMBULAH, directed by Xeph Suarez (Philippines). Astri and Tambulah are deeply in love. Everything seems perfect except that Bajao traditions require Astri to marry a woman she hardly knows.

For the complete LGBTQ line-up of films, visit the Inside Out Film Film Festival.

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