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My Gay Toronto - 416 Scene

Inside Out struts the pink carpet for the 26th time

by Drew Rowsome

Inside Out runs Thurs, May 26 to Sun, June 5 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St W. insideout.ca

Cineastes, fashionistas, camp aficionados, soft-core porn lovers and film fanatics retreat from the arrival of spring for the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival. From the infamous Opening Party Galas (with DJs Nino Brown, Sammy Royale, infamy and John Caffrey plus a silent auction) through an astounding array of world premieres, quirky queer films, shorts, an awards brunch and special presentations, through to the Closing Gala Party (with DJs Joe Blow, Sigourney Beaver and Mary Mack), there is something to entertain, enlighten and edify everyone.

The schedule (at insideout.ca) is packed with enough enticing options to test the stamina of the most sturdy binge-watcher. Always best to get tickets as early as possible as any screening with a catalogue photo of a shirtless man will sell out in advance. And the festival runs from Thursday, May 26 all the way to Sunday, June 5 so pace yourself and block in some time to sleep. Though, as the line-ups, parties and even the screenings, are notoriously cruisey, sleep can probably wait until June 6.

One queer's art is another queer's poison, and the shorts programs are always a mixed bag, but, from experience, following one's instincts tends to work. LGBT cinema has come a long way from when Inside Out had to scramble to fill a schedule and the quality and technology of film-making has made great strides as well: there will be more gems than clunkers. Reading through the catalogue, lots of films caught my eye, of which these are just a small sample in no particular order:

Hurrican Bianca

Bianca Del Rio does a Mrs Doubtfire but as a schoolteacher in Texas and far more nasty than heartwarming. Also stars Alan Cummings and Margaret Cho.
Gala with Del Rio herself in attendance which just might make for a fabulous Q&A afterward

Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things

A documentary on the first Nunavut Pride.
World premiere

Esteros

"Two friends are reunited by chance as adults when Matias returns to his hometown to celebrate the graduation of his girlfriend's cousin and Jeronimo is recommended as a makeup artist to help with preparations for a costume party. As the two men tentatively reconnect, the unresolved tensions of their youth rise to the surface, which is shown through vivid flashbacks to a particularly formative summer. "
World Premiere

Ecstasy

"Sam would do anything to be touched by his ex-lover one last time."
and
Adios

"By the time Ben died, 21 people had declared their love for him."
Gay Shorts: Drama Queens

Clown Service

"A heartbroken woman, desperate to feel happy, enlists the services of a travelling party clown."
Lesbian Shorts: Buddy System

Boys on the Rooftop

"On the night of his birthday, Sergio and his boyfriend Octavio play a game of desire, seduction and domination."
and


Alfa

"A famous porn actor, must deal with his fears, insecurities and memories when he begins work on a new film without Yerry, his former partner in life and porn."
and


Last Vestiges

"Alfa, a famous porn actor, must deal with his fears, insecurities and memories when he begins work on a new film without Yerry, his former partner in life and porn."
Gay Shorts: One Track Mind

Bail

"Harlem, 1926. When Eli's boyfriend is taken by the cops, the young performer must find a way to make bail."
Mixed Shorts: Black Boxes

Dinner with Jeffrey

"Oliver has just come out of the closet and is struggling with the feeling that he doesn't fit in. When Uncle Jeffrey invites Oliver to dinner to share his experience and wisdom of the gay scene, Oliver gets an education he wasn't expecting."
Gay Shorts: Take a Chance On Me

Crazy House

"After the suicide of his best friend, a teenage boy is forced to deal with both his guilt and his sexuality."
Gay Shorts: It's Complicated

As always, as the festival progresses, choices will shift and change when one hears about a film that just must be seen (and occasionally one that should be avoided). I've already started adding to my list . . . And started looking forward to a diet of popcorn.

Inside Out runs Thurs, May 26 to Sun, June 5 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St W. insideout.ca

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