Aside from Avatar and Inception, there were plenty of well-done and thought-provoking independent films playing at the 22nd annual Vancouver Queer Film Festival from August 12th-22nd. The Queer Film Fest began in 1989 and continued this year showing a diverse selection of films and opportunities to meet filmmakers, artists, participate in workshops, panel discussions, and attend galas and after parties.
It all started when a group of volunteers held a gay and lesbian film festival just before the 1990 Vancouver Gay Games. Through its success, the festival is now the second largest in Vancouver and the biggest queer arts event in Western Canada.
After watching one of the films, I realized that the festival is not only another form of entertainment for the queer scene, but a way to tell true stories about the LGBTQ community, stories that may not be widely accepted showing what they face on a day-to-day basis. I watched Water Colors (2008) an award winning queer film about two high-school boys, one who played the role of a nerdy artist, and the other an athlete. Their study sessions eventually turned into romance, which is followed by a constant struggle at school with homophobia and bullying. The film illustrated something real that happens all the time with youth who may be confused or afraid of coming out. I rarely get to see this in mainstream films. I caught up with two young volunteers at the festival to see what they thought.
“These characters are much more genuine. They’re not trying to conform to a society to ease people in that are not used to seeing them. They’re really scripted and made for gay audiences and for straight audiences that want to know what the reality is like for a gay lifestyle.”- Hiiro, 18.
“I think that even in our younger generation, more queer films are needed. A lot of people, when they first come out, they don’t really know what to do. These kinds of films are more relatable to the newer youth generation of gays and lesbians.”- Ivan, 19.
If you missed out on the festival, check out the website for more information and movie trailers.