Credit: Courtesy Inside Out; Francesca Roh/Xtra
Pop Culture
4 min

What to see at Toronto’s Inside Out film festival

Tell us who you are and we’ll tell you what to watch

For nearly three decades, Toronto’s Inside Out LGBT Film Festival has presented feature-length movies and shorts, documentaries and serialized television shows that shine a spotlight on what it’s like to be queer.

But navigating the festival’s vibrant line up can feel like sitting down to a massive feast overflowing with delights. Where do you even begin? To help you out, we took the liberty of picking a movie for every personality. So check your horoscope and your mood ring, and find your must-sees below.

I’m too cute for romance, now what? 🤷

Wait, are you an Instagay 👀? I mean, no judgement, and there’s actually a film that explores romance through the lens of a group of self-absorbed friends. Premiering at Inside Out this year, Sell By tells the story of Adam, Marklin, Cammy and Haley and how vanity can get in the way of love.

Sis, I’m a Sagittarius — of course, I have commitment issues.

Listen, sis, we feel you. Sometimes, you just want to be there for a good time, not a long time. Guess what? This year’s festival is so inclusive it has films for commitment-phobes like you. There’s Lavender, a 10 minute short that explores polyamory through the eyes of a young gay man who finds himself entangled in an older couple’s marriage. There’s also Lee & Wanda, a 15-minute film that features two lesbian entertainers as they look back on 60 years of performing together — a portrait of friendship that’s altogether gorgeous, funny and heartbreaking. You can check out more of the festival’s short film offerings here.

Tbh, I have a lot of feelings.

Of course! What is queer life without drama? And The Ground Beneath My Feet has it all: It’s a tearjerker, a psychodrama and a super tense thriller. Ambitious workaholic Lola sees her life take a turn after her older sister, a paranoid schizophrenic, is hospitalized after attempting suicide. Overworked and underslept, Lola starts to feel her grip on reality slip.

I could not be thirstier. 💧

I see you, boo. You’re the kind who truly just wants to watch hot people do hot people things on the big screen. So here are some films to quench your thirst. Camp Chaos is a series that follows social media thirst trap Matthew Camp as he recreates some of his sexual memories. There’s also Anne+, a series that centres on a young Dutch woman and her various girlfriends — the first love, the older woman, the wild date — through the years.

The world is burning and I demand a way out!

Opening Twitter can make you want to book a one-way, non-refundable ticket to get the hell off Earth. Take a deep breath and escape with Brief Story from the Green Planet. It’s a movie about a trans woman named Tania, whose grandmother has passed away and left Tania her estate and her very peculiar, out-of-this-world friend. This is a story about the families we’re born into and the family we choose ourselves. Oh, and also aliens. 👽

I actually want to feel hopeful about the future.

Don’t despair, the new generation is here to save the world! The documentary We Are the Radical Monarchs follows a group of tween girls who start an alternative movement to the Girl Scouts. Instead of collecting badges, the members complete social justice units that include being an LGBTQ2 ally, environmental activism and disability justice.

I’m a history queen and I devour queer theory like peanuts.

We get it. You’re an intellectual and you crave mentally stimulating things. In that case, check out Circus of Books, a documentary about the Los Angeles bookstore of the same name and how it served as a cornerstone of the queer community for decades. Satisfy your queer history nerd and get schooled about one of the institutions that helped shape the LGBTQ2 community in North America.

I have too much drama in my life. Help.

Babe, we told you to stop 👏 dating 👏 that 👏 fuckboy 👏! You deserve a break and you should treat yourself to A Dog Barking at the Moon, a film about a young Chinese woman, Huang Xiaoyu, who’s been cheering for her parents’ divorce after gathering evidence that her dad might be gay. To add another layer of complication: Xiaoyu has to navigate family life as she introduces her white husband to her Chinese family. Now that’s drama.

I miss my BFF!

Aww, we bet your BFF misses you, too! Rekindle your faith in the power of long-distance friendship with Jack & Yaya, a film about two trans people who grew up with their backyards facing each other and stayed close even after they moved to separate states. It’s a beautiful story told through video calls, home videos and heartfelt conversations.

I’m ready to hit the open road.

Call shotgun on Fabiana, a documentary that follows a 56-year-old trans woman who’s spent her life driving trucks in the highways of Brazil. Fabiana is both engaging and mysterious, and the film explores her relationships as she completes her last run before she retires.

I’m bored with my life and I want to play pretend.

There’s a movie just for you! Cubby is a film about Mark, a man-child artist, who invents a job at an art gallery to reassure his mom. But in reality, he works as a babysitter to pay rent in New York and befriends an adult superhero named Leather-Man. Live vicariously through Mark as he explores the city, himself and this v complicated world.

I’m a parent and I want to shower my queer kid with love.

First, here’s a trophy because you’re awesome 🏆. Second, go see Drag Kids! This documentary follows four young drag queens and their supportive families as they bond over their love for drag, costumes and makeup. It’s a film that shows what can happen when parents embrace their children’s dreams to reach total fierceness.