Inside Out, Canada’s foremost LGBTQ film festival, has unveiled the 16 recipients for its RE:Focus ‘Emergency Relief Fund’, which was created in response to the pandemic and its impact on the industry. The fund was open to qualifying projects by women, non-binary, and/or trans filmmakers, including narrative and documentary features, shorts and episodic series, which were impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
“Since its inception, this fund has been about responding to the immediate needs of our filmmakers, and working to eliminate barriers to career advancement for trans, non-binary and women filmmakers telling LGBTQ stories,” said Andria Wilson, Inside Out Executive Director. “We started the travel grants program because queer and trans filmmakers of colour were underrepresented in international festival attendance. We started the post-production fund because we were seeing amazing projects, every year, struggle to meet submission deadlines due to protracted post processes. Now, with this emergency relief fund, we aim to provide direct financial support to artists whose work has been put on hold, to do our part in helping their projects come to fruition.”
Inside Out recently held an online version of its annual LGBTQ Finance Forum in May 2020 and has postponed the festival’s full 30th anniversary festival to later this fall.
The RE:Focus Fund was launched in 2018 and was established to address industry inequities through providing direct financial support to women, non-binary, and/or trans filmmakers telling LGBTQ stories. Submissions for the RE:Focus Fund’s annual grant for the upcoming year will open again in September 2020.
The full list of projects selected for the RE:Focus ‘Emergency Relief Fund’ are listed in alphabetical order below.
AT LAST (USA)
Narrative Short | Director: Lorena Gordon
A timid high school girl reveals her truth during the most important night of the year.
Narrative Short | Director: HK Goldstein
A young trans man, Sascha, and his boyfriend, Derrick, drive to Sascha’s estranged uncle’s house, which he has just inherited in the wake of his uncle’s sudden death.
CHASING CHASING AMY (USA)
Documentary Feature | Director: Sav Rodgers
Chasing Chasing Amy is part autobiographical exploration and part cultural impact documentary. The film includes interviews with critics, the cast and crew of Chasing Amy, LGBTQ+ thought leaders, and revolutionary filmmakers. The film explores the power of media representation and the importance of cinema shaping our lives, through the lens of Sav’s experience with Chasing Amy.
DON’T TEXT YOUR EX (CANADA)
Narrative Short | Director: Jo Güstin
Two exes are working together on a documentary about longtime couples who used to be separated. As they are interviewing an elderly couple they’ve just met in a park, they realize that not everything seen is real. What if all your memories of your past relationships were false?
FRAMING AGNES (CANADA)
Documentary/Experimental Feature | Director: Chase Joynt
After gaining access to never-before-seen case files from transgender history, an all-star cast of trans actors turn a talk show stage inside out to confront the politics of truth-telling and the legacy of the “deceptive transsexual” propagated by medicine and media. Meanwhile, the two friends who originally discovered the files follow the archival trail in hopes of getting closer to the truth.
GENDER? I HARDLY KNOW THEM (CANADA)
Narrative Short | Director: Anna Cooley
Being queer in Alberta’s not for the faint of heart: your bar doubles as a senior’s dance hall, your sex toys’ batteries keep dying from the cold and you mistake every truck driver, scarecrow, and grain elevator for your girlfriend. Elena Eli Belyea and Sydney Campbell are comedy partners in the queer sketch duo Gender? I Hardly Know Them. Their sketches are fast-paced, quick-witted, raunchy, and ridiculous. Drawing from their experiences of growing up gay, hot, and short in Alberta.
KNOW HER NAME (CANADA)
Documentary Feature | Directors: Heidi Lasi and Zainab Muse
Four filmmakers – all women, two of them lesbians, two of them women of color – overcome incredible barriers and confront challenging preconceptions throughout Hollywood’s history to tell diverse stories that entertain and reflect their realities, and that of audiences. Know Her Name shares their stories so they are never lost.
LAST DANCE (CANADA)
Episodic Series | Writers: Sedina Fiati and Chattrisse Dolabaille
A love letter to Toronto, Last Dance is the coming of age story of Sienna, a dancer and true romantic. In order to gain top spot in her contemporary dance company, Sienna mines her romantic resume from elementary school to her late 20’s, reliving key moments that are awkward, hilarious and poignant.
LITTLE SKY (USA)
Narrative Short | Director: Jess X. Snow
The film follows the journey of Sky, a Chinese-American pop star who returns to the city they were raised in to find their estranged immigrant father. Haunted by their childhood memories, Sky risks their non-binary identity to end the cycle of violence in their family. In the confrontation, Sky discovers something that changes how they feel about the people they love. Packed with original songs, Little Sky is a film about letting in the chosen community that sees us when the blood family that made us cannot.
MOTHERING IN THE MOVEMENT (CANADA)
Documentary Feature | Director: Laurie Townshend
Mothering in the Movement is a feature documentary that follows incendiary poet, performer and LGBT activist Staceyann Chin’s efforts to break the grip that a 40-year-old wound has had on her relationships with her estranged mother, 9 year old daughter, and career. Staceyann uses her provocative poetry, activism, and what very well might be inherited maternal sorcery to transform merely surviving as a Black woman in America into thriving for all Black children, including her still-aching inner child.
ONCE I LEFT TO BECOME MARIA (MEXICO)
Documentary Feature | Director: Sofia Castellanos
In the wake of her father’s death, filmmaker Sofia Castellanos begins to reconnect with her mother, María. Little by little, she begins to understand the woman that was left abandoned all these years – her identity stored and buried in dusty old boxes, her beautiful singing voice no longer nurtured. As the filmmaker questions why her mother abandoned her dreams, the film explores themes of gender and femininity.
ONE FOUR THREE (UK)
Narrative Feature | Director: Jade Winters
A woman enters a lesbian relationship, leaving her fiancé and family devastated. But a violent attack by an unknown assailant finds her hospitalized with amnesia. With nothing to lose, she begins the dangerous task of uncovering who she is and who attacked her.
Narrative Short | Director: Natalie Harris
On the eve of her cotillion ball, a young Black girl grapples with her queer identity and questions her purity.
THIS PLACE (CANADA)
Narrative Feature | Director: V.T. Nayani
This Place is the story of two young women, who first cross paths one last night at a laundromat. Following their journeys together and apart, this film looks at those living in the liminal space between worlds, displaced both abroad and at home, through the lives of one Mohawk woman, two former refugees, and their daughters – a fateful pair of young lovers.
TRANS IN TRUMPLAND (USA)
Documentary Feature | Director: Tony Zosherafatain
A trans Iranian-American journeys across the country, uncovering the complexities of being trans in the Trump administration era. He meets four trans Americans facing unique challenges, intertwining the personal and political during an unprecedented time in the United States.
Documentary Short | Director: Bretten Hannam
Across Wabanaki territory, Two-Spirit people reach out and band together to overcome distance, isolation, and forge new bonds as a community.
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