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Top picks for queer flicks at Vancouver Queer Film Festival 2016

Insiders tell us what they’re most excited to see

VQFF’s opening gala film, Summertime, is a sensual and exhilarating romance set in vibrant 1970s Paris. Credit: Courtesy Catherine Corsini

Since 1988, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival has screened films illuminating queer lives and stories. Each year the festival covers topics both challenging and inspiring — the 28th rendition is no different. With 11 days of films, planning your schedule can become as daunting as it is exciting. Nobody knows this better than the staff who put the festival together, so we asked them for some recommendations, and what films they’re most excited to see this month.

Robyn McTague
programming committee member


Beautifully filmed with engaging performances, and great music. Set in 1970s France. The feminist movement is taking hold, but will a young woman from a rural community be brave enough to continue her romance with another woman? Their relationship and all the angst that comes with it feels real.

Shana Myara
artistic director

First Girl I Loved

For its ambition, risk-taking and depth, I’d suggest First Girl I Loved, by the Sundance favourite Kerem Sanga (who also directed The Young Kieslowski). It’s about a teenage girl who has to become an adult all too quickly, when all she wants to do is crush on star-athlete Sasha. It’s rare to find something refreshing and new in films about adolescence, but First Girl is unflinching and honest, and thrilling. It doesn’t sugarcoat its characters or the issues they’re dealing with, so its humour is extra sharp, and so is its handling of some difficult issues.

Emma Tarver
community engagement and marketing coordinator


I am excited to watch Akron, a film about two university students who share a meet-cute at a pick-up football game and whose relationship is tested due to some past family drama. Despite the family drama, their sexuality is not an issue and it never really comes into play. Akron seems to paint a more optimistic view of growing up queer in a world where that isn’t a big deal, and so I’m excited to see this film.

Kiran Sunar
festival programming coordinator


Arianna is a gorgeous remaking of the coming-of-age story. Set in Italy and starring vibrant, exquisite up-and-coming actor Ondina Quadri, the film focuses on what it means to come of age in a world highly gendered. This film is cinematically phenomenal and an important work in the realms of gender and sexuality.

Véronique Noelle
programming committee member


This is not one of the films I previewed, so I watched the trailer, and now I have to get to know this woman. I want to know her story and listen to her wisdom and be moved and be wickedly entertained. Can’t wait!

Andy Holmes
volunteer coordinator

Southwest of Salem

I liked Southwest of Salem because it makes us question how discrimination is embedded in our legal systems, and how we should question how prejudice towards specific marginalized groups can affect their experiences in adverse legal ways. The way the film is presented truly humanizes the experiences of these women living through incarceration while innocent, and shines light on how hope can be found to change social and legal norms.

Mono Brown
programming committee member

Women Who Kill

I’m stoked for Women Who Kill, Ingrid Jungermann’s feature-length debut. It’s about two Brooklyn-dwelling podcast co-hosts who can’t quite seem to move on from one another despite the demise of their romantic relationship. New relationships can be scary, right? However, for the film’s protagonist, Morgan, played by Jungermann herself, a fear of commitment causes life in idyllic Park Slope to spiral out of control. Women Who Kill creatively fuses elements of comedy, true crime, and mystery to dramatize the dark side of queer attachments. Prepare to be surprised.