March 23 – April 23, 2023
At TQFF 2023, a selection of truly outstanding films that tell inspiring stories and push the boundaries of queer art awaits you.
This year, we are witnessing large scale catastrophes unfolding at an alarming rate, from war, global economic crises, climate collapse, colonization, pandemics, crumbling public health and healthcare, and policing to the mundane destruction of life and livability caused by the effects of capitalism. But until the day we exist no more, we are here to showcase stories that, while not ignoring these existential threats, show us new ways of living, changing, and pushing towards a queer/trans oasis. We will never stop exploring queer dreams, worlds, and futures where we can thrive.
In our 2023 Queer Wonderland, we present four feature films. Lior Shamriz’s Estuaries follows Eli, who turns to the friends of his recently deceased partner for help with his immigration status with mixed results. Mike Hoolboom’s Cut is a dreamy collage essay film made of scraps and fragments of internet media to examine how both cinema and the assembly line cut the body. In Harjot Bal’s Sailor Moon Scandalous: Pspsps I Love You, a post-2020 fandub of the iconic 90s anime Sailor Moon, Luna struggles to find meaning outside of her thankless job of managing the Sailor Scouts. And Benedito Ferreria’s The Last Image offers a reflection on the concept of the image and its place in the life of a blind man.
Come frolic and dance with us across and through these Queer Wonderlands!
Estuaries is set in 2017, months after a car crashes through the front window of a Los Angeles art space, killing Bdalak, a rising nonbinary performance artist. Bdalak’s partner Eli, a queer Mizrahi musician with a past as an activist in Palestine/Israel, had planned to marry Bdalak for a green card, but now spends his time adrift, communing with others over his grief and struggling with his visa. He soon meets Myrna, an artist making work about immigration, who he hopes can help solve his precarious immigration status.
Based on visual theorist Hito Steyerl's bracing 2009 essay of the same name, Cut looks at how both cinema and the assembly line cut the body in new ways, organizing newly urban work forces and structuring our field of vision. Cut is a dreamy collage essay made of scraps and fragments that includes asides from cultural critics Susan Sontag on Disney fascism and Paul B. Preciado on the cost of living in a body.
Sailor Moon Scandalous
In this follow up to his post-2020 parody fandub of the iconic 90s anime Sailor Moon presented last year at TQFF, Harjot Bal rewrites Sailor Moon as a dark comedy that satirizes issues related to queer folx, women, and people of colour. In this parody feature, created for marginalized people by marginalized people, Luna struggles to find meaning outside of her thankless job of managing the Sailor Scouts. Desperate to reclaim her “womanhood,” she falls head over paws in lust with a toxic man who is sabotaging his relationship with a renowned LatinX woman astronaut. Meanwhile, an icy villainess descends on Earth, unleashing harsh snowstorms fitting for a company Christmas party that will hopefully earn her a well-deserved promotion.
The Last Image
Benedito Sena is blind. Perhaps for that very reason, his life and poems are so strongly imagetic. Maybe also for that reason, he decided to move to Paris, City of Lights, where he met and married Jean, who is somewhat his eyes. In Paris, he meets another Benedito, a gay film director and visual artist from Brazil, and the two become friends, forging a common bond fed by their mutual interest in images. After a few years, the two get back together to make a movie. As they set out to shoot, however, they realize things are no longer the same and differences arise. How can one film with the eyes of a blind man? The Last Image is a reflection on image and its place in the life of Benedito Sena. Mixing staging, direct cinema, and mobile videos shot by Sena and Jean with the intimate capture of the messages exchanged by Sena and the director, The Last Image is at once a window into the life of a couple, a celebration of performance, and a reflection on filmmaking itself.
Relation in Waves
Disconnect from your reality on this smooth rollercoaster of unexpected intimacy, chance encounters, and time bending journeys. Through fleeting brushes with love, loss, grief, vulnerability, and curiosity, Relation in Waves enchants theories of what it means to connect.
Changes and Exchanges
Unexpected and vulnerable, this program dives into the worlds of emerging queer, trans, non-binary, and Two-spirit voices exploring a wide range of animation techniques and engaging visuals. Through these diverse lenses we encounter stories that are familiar and otherworldly, from the contemplative and celebratory to the unsettling and surreal. Far from your Saturday morning cartoons, these auteur animations uncover the complexities of relationships and bodies often in a state of flux. Narratives unfold and open up into places of hope and horror, lust and love, and ultimately of connection.
Glimpses of Life
It can be easy to overfocus on ourselves and get caught up in our own lives without acknowledging everyone else living around us. Glimpses of Life is a peek into worlds we may not know, breaking down assumptions and expanding our focus to community and each other.
Porn is so Boring
Deepest desires divulged, revealed and reveled in. Inner landscapes dress the screen. Erotic elements expressed, explored, erupt…in laughter, in intimacy, in orgasm…in leather, in wine, in slime. You might need to go into the anus to get there, let your pussy ravish cake as she pleases, or get sensationally fucked by a beautiful monstrous sculpture. In either case, go all in. This program reminds us to not fear the dark and the horrific, but rather recognise it as a space where we are at our most vulnerable and brave, and where the possibilities are endless.
Systems of Kindred
Who are our kindred and how do we choose them? Sometimes family comes in unexpected moments, a simple act or shared peace of mind. When our identities are as complex as our relationships, the task of seeking out acceptance becomes mired in relational mystery. How many of us cannot describe where home is or how to find it? We only know when we know, a moment in time, a feeling of comfort and acceptance that resonates outward. The films in this series explore the intricacies of belonging and the intersecting familial identities that often define our lives, whether we are born with them or we discover them along the way.
The Universe is Made of US
You and I, we’re creating new universes every day, every second - magical, challenging, and beautiful galaxies, unique worlds where we can discover ourselves. Struggling to find acceptance in the mainstream, often holding our breaths as we venture into uncertain and potentially dangerous worlds, together we are able to breathe freely, to gain courage and to share tenderness. From a journey in a desolate bathhouse to a moment of calmness with nature, this program highlights the wonderful and complex relationships we have with all beings.