Film & Video
1 min

Subway cinema

The Toronto Urban Film Fest boasts some impressive queer content

TUFF screens one-minute films on subway platforms across the city. Credit: Wrik Mead

September is film fest season, and that means celebrity sightings, red-carpet galas and, um, movies. But don’t worry if you don’t have the cash or the right thing to wear to Jean Dujardin’s big opening, because the Toronto Urban Film Festival has your back. Dress code? Casual. Price of admission? One TTC token. TUFF is showing one-minute silent films (83 of them from 16 countries) on subway-platform screens all over the city. And will that include queer content? You betcha.

Filmmaker/choreographer Rebecca Reinhart’s Would You Babe is a sexy dance piece inspired by the difficult coming-out process of a friend. “To me, it was something so natural and beautiful,” Reinhart says, “but to some, it was something so odd and unknown. Being gay is something so new for many people in this world, yet it’s so simple and natural — and tied to our histories, whether some people want to admit it or not.”

This year’s programming also includes a special spotlight on Wrik Mead. Mead will be screening selections from his film 1975, named for the year in which he had his first sexual experience. “This was a difficult year for me in many ways,” he says. Creating the film was a painstaking, year-long process, involving thousands of hand-drawn animations. “Because the animation is built by combining different figures performing simple acts and gestures with one another, the combinations could conceivably be endless.”

While both artists have chosen excerpts from some of their less-risqué work, it’s fun to know an early-morning commute could be interrupted by queer visuals. “It’s such a privilege to be shown to masses of people in one moment,” Reinhart says.

Mead agrees: “They did not pay for a ticket or willingly choose to watch the films in TUFF,” he admits. “They are not even compelled to stay and watch any of them. But I suspect they will.”