It would be an understatement to say that the past year has been a difficult one. From continued struggles to protect Indigenous land and sovereignty to a global pandemic, a housing crisis, and continued anti-Black violence: we are all carrying more grief, sorrow and anger than we might normally. As a festival, we felt that it was important to recognize and address the moment we are in, and the lack of queer, trans* and Two-Spirit voices present. It was with this in mind that we decided our theme this year would be Queer Emergencies.
Queer, Two-Spirit, and trans* identities are often framed as having one major complicating factor or crisis: whether or not to be “out” (and to whom). It is an old trope: a person feels conflicted and unhappy because of their gender or sexuality, this can only be remedied by confessing that they are different, and then all other conflicts in their life will magically resolve! But just because it is oft-repeated doesn’t make it true. As queer, Two-Spirit, and trans* people, we know our lives and communities are more nuanced and rich than this. We know the ways we have been impacted by this past year, by this past decade, by this past century, by our bodies, by our race, by our economic status, by acute personal emergencies, and by global tumult. This is what we mean by Queer Emergencies.
But we aim to do more than hold space for hardship. At the heart of our program, there are stories of resistance, joy, and love. Because we are still here, despite it all, and this is worth celebrating.
MARCH 25, 6PM
This program focuses on queer and trans people navigating emergencies from the past year, many in small, private ways. These glimpses into other people’s homes, minds and bodies remind us of what we have in common - allowing us to connect through isolation, illness, protests and lockdowns. Throughout 2020, TQFF commissioned filmmakers to make short works on the subject of Queer Emergencies. Five of these films are included in this program: Foreign Ages, breaking up is hard to do, Love-Grief, What Kind of Help and Time is Running Out.
MARCH 26, 7PM
Not every crisis happens on a global scale. Sometimes the sharpest wounds are inflicted by seemingly small setbacks or deceptively everyday indignities. The most keenly felt agony can come from the routine. This program focuses on the quotidian: stories of queer people in all too familiar circumstances.
MARCH 26, 9PM
While some emergencies are limited, personal, and every day, others split our lives open in ways that might not be easily fixed and leave no ‘before’ to return to. These films are stories of such emergencies or ‘ruptures’ and how they shape our ‘afters.’ But don’t be deceived, sometimes this world must come to an end for another one to be possible.
MARCH 27, 4PM
The six films in this program address what it is like to exist as trans and/or Two-Spirit (2S) outside of large cities. Shifting between experimental autobiographical narratives and documentary works, STILL (,) HERE intimately explores the fluctuating relationships we have as humans trying to navigate our lives with external forces constantly reminding us of our otherness.
MARCH 27, 7PM
When we find ourselves in a crisis, our ability to cope can be very directly linked to our environment and our ability to exercise control. When we are held, supported and have options, even a destructive rupture can be managed in time. But what happens when this is not the case? This program focuses on stories of queer and trans people dealing with danger and emergencies from within hostile territories.
MARCH 27, 9PM
Porn is So Boring
What role do pleasure, sensuality, and desire play in times of crisis? How does our relationship to our sexuality change when our contact with others is limited by a global pandemic? This program seeks to explore these questions while also (hopefully) allowing you to let off some steam.
MARCH 28, 7PM
This is where we find ourselves
What exists between a crisis and everything after? This program aims to be a soft landing space, a sort of non-specific present where we can take a breath and assess before moving forward. These films tell stories about queer, trans, and Two-Spirit people existing post change or emergency. There may still be work ahead of them to heal and move on, but for now, this is where we find ourselves.
MARCH 28, 9PM
What We Do After
Even the most protracted crises come to an end eventually. Our concern then shifts to how to rebuild and regroup. While healing can be its own arduous journey, we cannot lose sight of the fact it is possible to heal. The films in this program remind us that tragedy need not rob us of the capacity for joy, and that we will be whole again.
MARCH 25, 7PM
Long Time Comin’
TQFF is honoured to present this classic Canadian documentary directed by Dionne Brand and produced by the National Film Board. We felt it was important to revisit Long Time Comin’ as part of our Queer Emergency programming for the ways that the film treats race and social justice. The continued prevalence of anti-Black violence and racism seen this past year is a grim reminder of how much work still must be done to dismantle systems of oppression.
* For Indigiqueer/Trans/2S
** Premieres March 27 on Pink Label TV. After Premiere it screens on tqff.ca/watch for 30 days.
*** Premieres March 27 on CFMDC. After Premiere it screens on tqff.ca/watch for 30 days.