If you love celebrating your gayness but can stand huge crowds and 30-plus temperatures for only so long, fear not! An island of cooling serenity awaits you, courtesy of the Canadian Media Guild. The organization’s first ever Pride Week LGBT Short Film Showcase features a collection of works screening daily over Pride week. The films play on a continuous loop, so viewers can drop by whenever it suits them, to get their dose of celluloid in air-conditioned comfort.
“Playing films for only one night can really limit audiences, especially during Pride Week because there is so much going on,” says programmer Matt Guerin. “Getting exposure for the works was as important as providing entertainment, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to come by. It’s situated outside the Village, so it makes for a nice escape if people get a little Prided out.”
Guerin is a filmmaker who also works as a media librarian at CBC. He has brought together a diverse selection of films, including documentaries, animations, comedies and a few tearjerkers. Mostly Canadian, with a handful of international works, the event has something to suit every taste.
Rising star Jordan Tannahill’s Swim (which took home Inside Out’s Emerging Canadian Artist Award last year) will be featured. Based on the artist’s experience of losing a boyhood friend in a dare gone wrong, the piece attempts to relive the original tragedy, 20 years later.
“It’s only three minutes long, but it packs an emotional punch you rarely see in mainstream filmmaking,” Guerin says. “It’s an experimental work but still very accessible and quite beautiful to watch.”
Also on the bill is Mark Pariselli’s After, a dialogue-free exploration of three young gay guys’ fascination with a football-playing jock. Sexy without being explicit, dreamy without being pretentious, this unconventional exploration of teenaged lust has screened at more than 40 international festivals since its debut two years ago.
The program also features plenty of lighter works, including Betsy Kalin’s hilarious Chained! (a documentary chronicling the lesbian community’s fascination with wallet chains) and Christine Chew’s Slow Burn (a Western-infused comedy in which duelling tattoo artists battle for the chance to ink a mysterious girl for her first time).
Fresh off this year’s Inside Out program is local boy Seth Poulin’s heart-wrenching Bunny, about an older gay couple struggling with Alzheimer’s.
“I’ve never seen this kind of story told before anywhere,” Guerin says. “Most films aimed at gay audiences depend on young, good-looking guys as part of their selling point. For a filmmaker to tackle this kind of relationship is really daring.”
While short films rarely get exposure outside of festivals, Guerin insists they’re de rigueur viewing for anyone claiming cinephile status.
“Most filmmakers start out making shorts as they develop their abilities and get their name out there,” he says. “There’s an incredible array of talent on display here that you wouldn’t usually be able to see anywhere else. It’s a chance to see the future stars of cinema in the early stages of their career.”
2012 Pride Week LGBT Short Film Showcase
Mon, June 25 to Fri, June 29, from 9am to 7pm all week
Graham Spry Theatre
CBC Broadcasting Centre
250 Front St W