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Zombies, heartbreak and gay porn at Rainbow Visions

Edmonton’s brand new LGBT film festival has it all

Categorized as “art-gorn,” Otto tells the story of an undead, vegetarian teenager and gay political zombie porn. Credit: Bruce LaBruce

While the standard night out at the local movie theatre is always a safe bet, film lovers in Edmonton will have a unique opportunity this October to view some of the rarest and gayest movies ever made. For a few nights only the Queer Media Database Canada-Québec Project will be in Edmonton to help with the inaugural edition of Rainbow Visions, Edmonton’s brand new LGBT Film Festival.

For over 30 years, the Global Visions Festival Society (GVF) has presented Edmonton with Northwestfest, one of Canada’s longest-running documentary film festivals. Now, GVF is drawing from that experience to introduce the Rainbow Visions Film Festival. The festival’s inaugural edition takes place from Oct 15-18, 2015, where film lovers have the chance to view an impressive collection of both rarely seen classic and newly released queer cinema.

It won’t be your typical film festival — Rainbow Visions promises to deliver a unique and exciting weekend to anyone in the Edmonton area. The four-day long event plays host to films covering a broad spectrum, from zombie sex and heartbroken lesbians, to documenting the grandfather of gay porn.

The creation of the festival fills an important gap in Edmonton’s cultural landscape. “It became quickly apparent that Edmonton was the only major city in the entire country without an LGBTQ film festival,” explains festival programmer Guy Lavallee. “Our board and staff felt strongly that there was a definite need in our city for this festival.”

As well as filling a cultural gap, Lavallee notes that a priority of the festival is to ensure everyone has fun. “While there will be some films covering serious issues, we want to also showcase some of the more fun, celebratory, and just plain wild LGBTQ films that are being made today,” he says.

In addition to screening some of the biggest titles in current gay cinema, Rainbow Visions has carved out time to honour the history of queer film. The festival has partnered with the Queer Media Database Canada-Québec Project in order to present attendees with an opportunity to view rare archival screenings from Stanley Jackson, Claude Jutra and Bruce LaBruce. Jordan Arseneault, Queer Media’s database coordinator, explains that the films being shown aren’t something you’d find in mainstream media. The partnership is to “give people the chance to see rare parts of Canada’s queer film history,” he says, and to “show people how rad and weird Canada has always been.” Admission to this event is by donation, and attendees will be joined by curator Thomas Waugh and legendary director Bruce LaBruce himself.

Of course, it wouldn’t be October without zombies. A festival highlight will be the special screening of LaBruce’s Otto; Or, Up with Dead People on Oct 17. Categorized as “art-gorn,” Otto tells the story of an undead, vegetarian teenager and gay political zombie porn. Attendees dressed in zombie or other ghoulish attire will only pay $5. When the movie ends, the evening transitions into a pre-Halloween zombie dance party