Inside Out 2021 to screen Language Lessons, Charli XCX doc

Toronto’s 2SLGBTQ+ film festival is going virtual for a second year with 33 features and five episodic series,


Inside Out 2021 is staying in. As expected, Toronto’s 2SLGBTQ+ film festival will be entirely online for the second year running, streaming 143 titles on its bespoke platform from May 27 to June 6.

“We worked with optimism that we would be able to safely hold limited in-person events this year, and instead we embrace the bubble,” executive director Lauren Howes said in a statement. “We miss you, and we miss our filmmaking family around the world. That’s why we set out to curate a festival to help us all feel something, and maybe feel a little less alone.”

Pandemic programming

The program for Inside Out 31 includes 33 features and five episodic series, opening with Natalie Morales’s “socially distanced platonic love story” Language Lessons, in which Morales plays a Costa Rican Spanish tutor to a recently married gay man played by Mark Duplass. Shot during the pandemic and framed as a series of Zoom conversations, the movie premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and won the audience award at SXSW in March.

Bradley Bell and Pablo Jones-Soler’s Alone Together, a documentary that follows Charli XCX as she records an album in isolation – and deals with mental-health issues – will close the festival.

Other dramas set to screen include Marion Hill’s Sundance NEXT audience award winner Ma Belle, My Beauty, starring Idella Johnson and Hannah Pepper as ex-lovers who run into one another in the south of France; Mari Walker’s See You Then touches on similar territory, with Pooya Mohseni and Lynn Chen as a former couple checking in with one another a decade after they separated.

Wes Hurley’s Potato Dreams Of America is an autobiographical drama about a gay boy growing up in the Soviet Union surrounded by pirated American movies, and Park Kun-Young’s A Distant Place stars Kang Gil-woo as a withdrawn sheep rancher in Hwacheon whose quiet life with his niece is disturbed when an old friend comes for a visit.

Free Spotlight On Canada programming

Shelley Thompson’s transgender drama Dawn, Her Dad & The Tractor, starring Maya Henry and Thompson’s Trailer Park Boys co-star Robb Wells, will have its world premiere in the Spotlight On Canada program alongside Amelia Moses’s horror-inflected drama Bloodthirsty and Casper Leonard and Emily Russell’s How To Fix Radios, about a queer teen coming of age in Southern Ontario.

All three Spotlight On Canada features are being made available free of charge, along with two programs of Canadian shorts.

Documentaries bring queer history to light

Bobbi Jo Hart’s Fanny: The Right To Rock – which is currently playing Hot Docs – will screen in the Icons documentary program along with Luchina Fisher’s Mama Gloria, a celebration of trans model and activist Gloria Allen, Aaron Bear’s Yes I Am – The Ric Weiland Story, a profile of one of Microsoft’s very first employees, and Tom Hurwitz and Rosalynde LeBlanc’s Can You Bring It, about choreographer Bill T. Jones’s 1989 ballet D-Man In The Waters, created as a response to the AIDS crisis.

Television and web programming premiering in the Episodic program includes two Canadian series: Enby, from Sam Morgan Macneil and Morgan Strug, stars Charlie Cook as a non-binary 20something in East Van, and Mary Galloway and Jessie Anthony’s Qerencia, about two Indigenous queer women from divergent backgrounds.

All festival films will be available to stream anywhere in Ontario. The majority of titles will be available for the entirety of the festival, though films in the Premiere program will be rolled out at a specific date and time, and remain available until the end of the festival.

The 2021 Inside Out film festival runs online from May 27 to June 6. You can find the complete program, and buy tickets and passes here.

@normwilner

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