Vancouver Queer Film Festival Goes Virtual for 2020

The show goes on.

For its 32nd year, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival—as with most large events—is shifting to digital platforms. Screening online from August 13 to 23, the film festival will feature over 60 films from 10 countries, as well as virtual Q&As with filmmakers, panels, parties, and workshops. Films will be viewable within three hours of their show times. The year’s theme Still Here is a statement emblematic of the resilience, complexity, and necessity of LGBTQ+ communities. The festival’s offerings will showcase documentary, narrative, and experimental films curated by artistic director Anoushka Ratnarajah, who chose the theme “because our survival is an inevitable miracle.”

The lineup will open with Elegance Bratton’s 2019 uncut documentary Pier Kids, which follows Crystal LaBeija, a Black trans woman, alongside other queer and trans youth as they navigate the streets of New York. Bratton and the film’s producer will also be available for a Q&A after the screening. Queer women’s history will be considered in works like Ahead of the Curve, a 2020 documentary chronicling Curve magazine, the longest-running lesbian publication in history. Dionne Brand’s 1993 documentary Long Time Comin’ will be featured as a retrospective. A panel of Black queer femme activists and scholars will follow the screening for an open dialogue.


Stills from Long Time Comin’ (1993), dir. Dionne Brand.


This year’s foreign film offerings are rich in complex portrayals of nuanced global experiences while also expressing the urgency of queer rights. A Worm in the Heart, shot across six cities along the Trans-Siberian Railway, details the Russian LGBTQ+ community.

The festival’s Centerpiece Gala film Lingua Franca is a narrative feature about a Filipina trans migrant in post-Trump America. Directed by and starring Isabel Sandoval, Lingua Franca is a love story and an intersectional take on the American Dream. A Q&A with Sandoval will follow the film’s screening.


Still from Lingua Franca (2019), dir. Isabel Sandova.


Despite this year’s digital presentation, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival—the largest of its kind in Western Canada—continues on with the tradition of community, education, and inclusivity through art and conversation.


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