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A sneak peek at this year’s Image+Nation queer film fest

Festival set to end on a spooky note, as closing night coincides with Halloween

QUEER FILM EYE CANDY. Cast members of Eating Out 3, screening at this year's Image+Nation queer film fest.

Image+Nation turns 22 this year, and it’s celebrating by getting a lil’ bit mushy and a whole lotta morbid.

Bumping up dates from November to October, the festival will return screenings to the Goethe Institut, an intimate venue that is fondly remembered by longtime patrons of the queer film fest, says one of the event’s organizers.

“People always go ‘awwww’ when they reminiscence about the old days and hear that,” muses co-organizer Katharine Setzer. “We’re listening to what they have to say, and it always breaks our hearts to stand at the [main cinema] Impériale and see everyone lined up outside in the cold.”

As Setzer’s co-organizer Charlie Boudreau notes, queer cinema is more eclectic than ever, but with Image+Nation closing Halloween night, this year will end on a ghoulish note.

“We have planned five or six films like Zombies Of Mass Destruction,” says Boudreau, “and a few films based on Dennis Cooper’s short stories. If you aren’t familiar with Cooper, he’s a writer with a rather macabre sense of gay love, and it often involves dismemberment.”

John Greyson’s humorous, narrative-doc Fig Trees will screen as part of Image+Nation’s annual “Vanguard” series. The film is in good Canuck company alongside work by Canada’s “Dyke Goddess of Canadian Blues” Ferron.

Pride organizers will want to attend the premiere of Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride, a glimpse into the extreme polarities of Prides from Warsaw to Vancouver. International features this year include The Other War, exploring lesbian identity in a backdrop of the more recent Lebanon War, as well as features such as Patrick 1.5, Dare, Ander, and Hollywood Je T’aime. The Chinese arthouse film Soundless Windchimes is highly recommended by Setzer and Boudreau, as is the poetic Mexican entry Rabioso Sol, Rabioso Cielo by master of cinematography Julian Hernandez (Broken Sky).

Those who caught part one of the Quinton Crisp biopic An Englishman in New York last year will be delighted to see its continuing saga in 2009, as John Hurt reprises his performance as Crisp. Musical lovers also get their fix from a pair of films, including the Adam-and-Steve, Genesis-inspired The Big Gay Musical by directors Casper Andreas and Fred M Caruso. The eye candy in Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat pick up where their Sloppy Seconds sequel left off adding Mink Stole and Sordid Lives’ Leslie Jordan into the mix.

Fleshing out queer Québécois work, Boudreau and Setzer have changed the title of local short programming to “Queerement Québec,” and will hold a master class featuring guest filmmakers, all discussing what propels them in queer cinema.

“When you discuss and see a work from another culture, it becomes a unique voice, and that translates into a unique aesthetic — in particular narrative work,” says Boudreau.

On Halloween night, prepare for more than a few zombies to close out this year’s fest.

“Drool is a really good, kick-ass girl film for our closing evening,” says Boudreau. “It’s been described as Thelma and Louise meets the Opposite of Sex, with a twist of macabre. We’re also closing with Mr Right, and that’s a beautiful grown-up British film that is incredibly well written, well-acted and well-made.”

Image+Nation takes place Oct 22-31. For festival updates, advance tickets and schedules, check out Image-nation.org or on the festival’s Facebook group.