2 min

Vancouver Queer Film Festival highlights Two-Spirit and queer Indigenous artists

‘I’ve been trying to find myself far too long in stories that were not mine or in characters that never looked like me’

Indigenous Spotlight. Credit: Beric Manywounds / Vancouver Queer Film Festival

The Vancouver Queer Film Festival is one of the city’s biggest celebrations of LGBTQ2 film and art.

For the second year in a row, the festival will be highlighting the work of Two-Spirit and queer Indigenous artists with projecting brilliance: A two-spirit showcase.

Xtra spoke to program director and projecting brilliance curator Justin Ducharme about what audiences can expect to see during this year’s showcase.

Xtra: What is projecting brilliance: A two-spirit showcase?

Ducharme: With projecting brilliance, I really wanted it to be this umbrella of different types of film and art that celebrates all the brilliance that Two-Spirit Indigenous queer artists hold within themselves.

We are incorporating multi-disciplinary elements from literary, music and performance because there are really excellent Two-Spirit queer people who are expanding beyond genre, beyond medium and are doing really great things.

Xtra: What can audiences expect to see this year? 

Ducharme: There’s not one thing that ties all of projecting brilliance together — they’re all incredibly different and that’s one of my favourite things about it.

Our shorts program, all our relations: explorations of indigiqueer kinship, showcases a mix of documentary and narrative film that allows audiences to explore the nuance of human and non-human relationships on screen.

An evening of queer indigenous performance is a meeting of cinema and performance and features two different selections: Anthony Hudson’s Looking For Tiger Lily and Beric Manywounds’ Descent – The Twins – Metamorphosis.

This year we will also have a pop-up gallery during the festival, running, running trees go by…, in collaboration with artist Zachery Longboy. This free gallery is a collection of projected video, films, paintings and drawings that Longboy has made.

Xtra: Why is it so important to showcase Two-Spirit and Indigenous queer art?

Ducharme: I think that representation goes a long way. Had I seen something like this when I was a young Indigenous person in this country, I probably would have felt differently about myself. I’ve been trying to find myself far too long in stories that were not mine or in characters that never looked like me.

I want these new generations of Two-Spirit Indigenous queer folk to see these different forms of existing and creating, and know that this is possible and that this exists. It’s essentially a gift to my younger self — never underestimate the effect of seeing yourself positively represented on screen.

Xtra: What do you hope audiences take away from this year’s programming?

Ducharme: I hope that queer Indigenous folk, their friends and their family see all of this and enjoy it. And I hope that folks who aren’t seeing themselves represented come and celebrate these works. This work is there to start a dialogue, so even if you think that it might not be for you, I welcome you to come and give it a try.