Friday, May 30, 2014

Mixed Shorts: Local Heroes



I liked how the programmers described this, my fourth screening at Inside Out (the Toronto LGBT Film Festival), as "locally-produced short films that showcase the diversity and talent of Hogtown homos."   

This must have been one of the most popular programs, because the line up filled the inside of the theatre and and continued outside around the block!  (the other screenings I had been to could easily accommodate the whole line up within the theatre).  Later I'd discover that all the directors were there, as well as most (or maybe all?) their actors and crew, and very possibly friends, family, fans... no wonder it was so packed!

Anyhow, indeed, what a pleasant whirlwind around diverse Toronto:  

FAG Feminist Art Gallery Video (Canada, 2014)

A musical manifesto from FAG (Feminist Art Gallery), touching on equality, critiquing (gay) Pride as a consumerist affair, pointing out privilege.  I've never been to this gallery, but you can tell this is one feisty activist group, as the style of their musical manifesto showed. 

Whatever happened to Jackie Shane? (Canada, 2014)

Who knew that in the 60's a black cross-dressing soul singer from Nashville became a hit in "Toronto the good" and that one of his songs became an anthem at underground gay clubs.  Only to announce his leaving the town at the end of the 60's and disappearing altogether? 

My Father: Francis (Canada, 2013)

The daughter of Filipino immigrants, the director pays homage to her father, to his creativity with scraps he collects at the factory he works, to his devotion and love.  Though this isn't mentioned in the film, the director also mentioned, during a very brief presentation in the theatre, her father's acceptance of her.  It's one of those films where you know one of the central themes is the embracing of a child by her parents despite her orientation, but that such acceptance is so natural and full that it doesn't need to be explicitly spelled out.  Sweet. 

Ivy (Canada, 2013)

A young person transitions genders.   A woman faces infidelity.  And the first intersects with the last in a way that shines light unto who people really are like.   Transgender people pose questions, challenge preconceptions and ideas and, personally, I think they are a real boon to society.  Glad to see a short hinting at this. 

Gaysian (Canada, 2013)

In Toronto's online gay dating world it's an easy thing to find ads that, somewhere, say " No Asians".  Though this short is a comedy, I enjoyed how it smoothly packed a number of conflicts Asian Canadians may face, like having heard/read at least once " No Asians", not being " Asian enough"  or being " too Asian", and facing strange expectations from others.  Not really deep, but it was certainly fun to see someone putting that on film! 

Waack Revolt (Canada, 2013)

Numerous queer love stories through dance.  The story is pretty basic - couples fall in love with each other, through time, and express that through dance.  It was a joy to watch, especially the main stars.  

All Over Town (Canada, 2014)

This was the only one I wasn't too happy with.  I loved it showed parts of town I've been to.  And it tells a story of a breakup where one of the parties is proven more interested in making an artistic performance about making up than in actually making up.  Interesting, yes.  Maybe I lack similar experiences in order to appreciate it better? 

Run Rabbit (Canada, 2013)

There's this valley in Toronto, the Don Valley.  I don't know if this is the case nowadays, but the film is set in the director's youth when the Don Valley seems to have been used for random gay hookups.  Anyhow, what happens when you spot a cute guy, he looks back at you, smiles, and suddenly sprints away?  A hookup version of catch me if you can.  Sexy, and yet very innocent.   

Sebastian (Canada, 2014)

Always hopping from place to place, this one had to resonate with me.  I mean, meeting someone who's visiting or in a country you're visiting, developing a great connection, and then facing goodbye shortly thereafter?  It's a simple short, it's shot nicely, I loved its constant switching between Spanish and English (one character is Argentinian and knows English, the other is Canadian and knows Spanish), it's an honest story, and it shows my wintery Toronto.  Awesome.


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