Toronto’s Inside Out LGBT Film Festival has built up a strong loyal following of filmgoers over the 22 years since they began, and each year the line-up of feature presentations, parties, and celebrity attendees never disappoints.
Unlike mainstream films that add a bit of queerness once in a while, these are queer films that often have a bit of mainstream appeal to them as well. I've caught several over the past week and wasn't disappointed in any. As well, I've had the opportunity to see a couple in advance of the screenings this weekend, which I highly recommend. Here’s three not to be missed flicks to hit up before the festival ends on Sunday.
Tonight, the legendary Olympia Dukakis is in town for the screening of Cloudburst at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, 715pm. This is an amazing tale of relationships, aging, living, and loving, is the film adaptation of Canadian Thom Fitzgerald's (The Hanging Garden) hit stage production. Dukakis plays alongside Brenda Fricker as loving partners Stella and Dot, who end up running from the law as Dot’s granddaughter feels the best place for her grandmother is in an old age home, while Stella has a different opinion. Young stud actor Ryan Doucette adds a comical aspect as a young hitchhiker who the charming ladies befriend along their travels.
Also in town this weekend is country music sensation Chely Wright, who takes the spotlight in the Toronto premiere of Wish Me Away, also playing at the Lightbox on Saturday May 26th, 715pm. The film chronicles Wright’s rise on the country music scene, and her to decision to publicly out herself in 2010. The film is a candid, thoughtful look at how Wright came to her decision after decades of denial, and where that has led her to today.This heartwarming story of strength and determination will inspire and encourage anyone who has ever experienced fear and doubt in their quest to become their authentic self.
On the final day of the festival, Bye Bye Blondie screens at the same location at 730pm, followed by the closing night gala party. This film is a tale of two women struggling to revive their relationship after years of separation and change.Gloria (Batrice Dalle) is a 40-year-old drifter in the northeastern city of Nancy. Volatile and directionless, she passes her days in record shops and bars, still fully immersed in the punk lifestyle of her youth. Frances (Emmanuelle Bart) is the bourgeois host of a television talk show, hiding in a lavender marriage with writer Claude (Pascal Greggory). With her career beginning to falter and her husband preoccupied with writer's block, Frances summons Gloria to stay with her in Paris, and they attempt to pick up where they left off three decades before. This is a poignant look at the intensity of youth and the nostalgia of middle age. Watch for a cameo appearance by New York City performance artist Lydia Lunch.
Closing party happens at Hotel Ocho, 195 Spadina Ave, starting at 10pm with DJ Cosmic Cat. Admission is $10 at the door, or free with a Bye Bye Blondie ticket stub.
Ticket information can be found here.
More information on the festival can be found on the website or on Facebook and Twitter.
RECAP: The Inside Out LGBT Film Festival wrapped up another hugely successful event and announced this year’s award recipients at the Closing Night party last night. Award highlights include MARGARITA (Canada), voted by Festival audiences as the winner of the RBC Royal Bank Award for Best Feature Film or Video, VITO (USA), winner of the Elle Flanders Award for Best Documentary Film or Video, and SHE MONKEYS (Sweden), selected by the international jury as the winner of the Bill Sherwood Award for Best First Feature.
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