21st annual INSIDE OUT Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival. May 19 – 29, 2011

Now celebrating its 21st Anniversary, Inside Out has provided a world-class platform for filmmakers around the world to tell their stories for more than two decades. One of the largest LGBT festivals in the world, Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival will present more than 85 screenings, panels, and social events. For full film schedule www.insideout.ca

21st Annual

Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival

Presenting Sponsor –  RBC Royal Bank

Announcing Line-up and Schedule

May 19 – 29, 2011

Tickets on sale beginning May 5


(Toronto – May 2, 2011)  – With Glee, Lady Gaga, politicos, media stars and even the U.S. Army onside (the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) gay culture all but defines mainstream.  And, while still showcasing all scenes alternative, the Inside Out LGBT Film and Video Festival is also moving on up – to the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Now celebrating its 21st Anniversary, Inside Out has provided a world-class platform for filmmakers around the world to tell their stories for more than two decades. One of the largest LGBT festivals in the world, Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival will present more than 85 screenings, panels, and social events.

“In an age where it is easy to download a movie from the internet or order one from TV,” explains Inside Out Executive Director Scott Ferguson, “Inside Out remains unique, providing an opportunity for our diverse communities to come together, watch film, and engage in discussion, debate and celebration.  There are some significant changes for the 2011 Festival: we say goodbye, and thank you to the ROM and Isabel Baber Theatre as we move our primary Festival screenings to the TIFF Bell Lightbox.”

Opening Inside Out, Thursday May 19th, is the Toronto premiere of Loose Cannons.  Inside Out favourite Ferzan Ozpetek (Ignorant Fairies; Saturn in Opposition) returns to the Festival with a light-hearted tale of family obligation and repressed desire that is as playful and sunny as a weekend on the Italian Riviera. The comedy follows Tommaso as he balances running the family pasta business, consoling his outraged family and keeping his homosexuality a secret in case the news altogether kills his stricken father. A surprise visit of some of Tommaso’s friends, including boyfriend Marco, uncovers some well-hidden family secrets and helps to change some long-held beliefs among the family.

Centerpiece Gala on Tuesday May 24 is the Canadian Premiere of Weekend, a film by Andrew Haigh. Winner of the Emerging Visions audience award at the SXSW Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize from the Nashville Film Festival, Weekend is a refreshingly simple yet compelling love story of two ordinary guys and one weekend that you will hope won’t ever end. Mr. Haigh will be in attendance.

Inside Out closes the Festival Sunday May 29th with the latest adaptation of a Sarah Waters’ novel, The Night Watch. Set against the turbulent backdrop of 1940’s London, this film tells the story of four young people – Kay, Helen, Viv and Duncan – who are inextricably linked by their wartime experiences. As air raid sirens wail, the friends find an invisible arena in which to explore their sexuality, discovering new freedom as they engage in secret liaisons and passionate tryst.

“As the Festival moves into its 21st incarnation,” states Jason St-Laurent, Inside Out’s Director of Programming, “we will showcase the diverse stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by presenting works from 33 countries, making the Festival more global than ever. Whether fighting for our rights, celebrating our achievements or telling our personal stories, the festival is still the most important venue in the country for queer filmmakers. But it is the audience who make our festival great, and we can’t wait to welcome all 35,000 of you into our new home at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The International Focus for this year’s Festival will feature the United Kingdom and will include many Canadian and North American premieres. The UK is unparalleled in terms of quality and the Festival is thrilled to showcase six new feature films and television series. Among them includes the break-out BBC television show Lip Service, along with Christopher and His Kind, a stunning docu-drama on author Christopher Isherwood that takes us to the wild cabarets of Berlin and stars Matt Smith, the young actor best known of late for his role in the British TV series Doctor Who.

Returning for a fourth year, the Icon Documentary Series features films on large-than-life queer icons. From homegrown hero Bruce LaBruce to fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent to 1970s tennis star Renee Richards, Inside Out brings the best documentaries from festivals around the world such as Sundance and the Berlin International Film Festival. Shedding light on some of the most important cultural icons of our time, the series will include Q + A’s with directors, and many premieres. These engaging and sometime provocative portraits cast a unique perspective on their work, their play, and their private lives. At once educational and entertaining, the films in this series will cement your admiration of queer icons and introduce you to cult figures you never knew existed.

Inside Out sets its sights on another part of the world with 24 Hours in the Middle East, offering up features, shorts, and special guests, through multiple stories on what it’s like to be queer in the Middle East. Beirut, Tehran, Istanbul, Ramallah and many other places come into focus, depicting a region that, while often painted black and white, exists in shades of grey.  As part of this series, we will draw attention to Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s sentencing in Iran, screening his powerful film, Offside, a critique of gender inequality in his country. A special Master Class will be held by San Francisco author and academic Samar Habib. This being her first visit to Toronto, Ms. Habib will delve into conversation on Middle Eastern queer cinema.

The Outsiders is Inside Out’s permanent home for experimentation in film and video, bringing a wide range of practitioners together to redefine notions of the moving image.  From experimental erotica to innovative animation, the series is a feast for the mind, eyes and soul.  In the International program Animate This! artists throw traditions out the window by using non-traditional means or cutting-edge technologies to bring their vision to life. Art and Soul, is a program of shorts by and about women artists from around the world. Experimental film superstar Barbara Hammer rubs shoulders with our very own Deanna Bowen in this program that celebrates the revolutionary power of activism. In the film Mother Earth (Tierra Madre) documentary and fiction meld into a scathing critique of high capitalism at the U.S./Mexico border and its impact on the people living there.

Following the success of last year’s Legacy Video Project, a special multi-generational edition of the Queer Youth Digital Video Project has been established this year with the Queer Video Mentorship Project. Consisting of two seniors and five youths. Over the past five months, they have journeyed together uncovering the skills, joys and trials of video and filmmaking, in order to create short videos that both challenge and touch us. The program, proudly co-presented by Inside Out and Charles Street Video, is the heart of the Inside Out and illustrates the organization’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of LGBT filmmakers.

About Inside Out:

Inside Out presents the annual Toronto LGBT Film and Video Festival, with financial support from Presenting Sponsor RBC. It is the largest event of its kind in Canada. In 2010, Inside Out celebrated two decades of challenging attitudes and changing lives, with a diverse group of members numbering over 400 supporting the Festival and year-round initiatives. The Festival, entertains cinema buffs of all stripes, showcasing the best and most diverse films by, for and of interest to LGBT communities. For 11 days, the Festival draws crowds of 32,000 to screenings, artist talks, panel discussions, installations and parties that highlight more than 200 films and videos from Canada and around the world.

About RBC and the Arts:

RBC sponsors a wide-range of grassroots and local initiatives that contribute to the cultural fabric of our communities. Proud to support events and passions that resonate with our clients and all Canadians, RBC provides opportunities for up-and-coming artists through programs such as the RBC Canadian Painting Competition, one of the largest competitions of its kind in the world; and the RBC Emerging Filmmakers Competition, part of our commitment as the Official Bank and major sponsor of the world’s top public film festival – the Toronto International Film Festival®.