Welcome to the TQFF 2023 Symposium!
March 23 – April 23, 2023Toronto Queer Film Festival is proud to present this year’s Symposium, Queer Wonderlands. Since 2019, TQFF has hosted a Symposium that invites artists, scholars, writers, and community workers to host workshops, panels, presentations, performances, and other free programming for the public. The theme for the 2023 festival and symposium, Queer Wonderlands, invokes realms full of transitions, joy, and love, inspired by imagination with the anticipation of what is to come. Calling on the Queer imagining that occurs through the uncanny, monstrous, whimsical, and fantastical, we invite participants presenting and attending the symposium to step into a world of collective visioning where all 2Spirit/Queer/Trans people and communities thrive in an environment of wellness, protection, connection, and sustainability of this existence.
A Practical Introduction to Audio Description and Described Video and It’s Audiences
This workshop will cover the practical elements of making films accessible to Blind and partially sighted audiences according to common specifications, best practices and guidelines as well as antiracist and anti discriminatory techniques. In addition we will hear from an audio description user about their experience in different settings and for different works. We will discuss one of the described (short) films in the festival as a jumping off point to a more nuanced discussion and invite you to screen the described film prior to attending the workshop.
Piyêsiwak Wâkôtowin / Thunderbird Kinship
Grounded in a 2S Michif/ nêhiyaw tâpisinowin (Métis/Cree worldview), piyêsiwak wâhkôhtowin draws inspiration from 2S Cree Elder Mary Wilson’s telling of thunderbirds' ascent into skyworld, and the gift they left behind. As a 2S creator, music acts as a resurgent practice for reclaiming ancestral languages and refusing continual acts of erasure that so many Métis relatives fought to survive. This nêhiyawêwin (Plains Cree language) song serves as a device for opening up doorways or “dream portals” to connect to trans*temporal and trans*dimensional kinships (Pyle, 2018). Specifically, the deep listening activated in the layered soundscapes, manipulated recordings of water bodies, and têwêhikan (drum) highlights vital kinships with piyêsiwak (thunderbirds). This hybrid experience links storytelling, dreams + listening while taking participants on a journey through altered realms and recentring 2S creative continuance as sites of vibrant futurity.
Dreaming the Self: Collective Reflections of Renewal and Re:birth
Focusing on themes of transition, collective visioning, and the ‘self’, this session asks participants to delve into the fantastic: considering creative expression and collective explorations of our mirror selves as a route to new languages of being.
Describing Queer Identities: Exploratory Discussions About Ethics, Access and Language in Described Video Practice
Described Video (DV) is the science and art of describing visual content, audibly, to people who are Blind, partially sighted, don’t/ can’t look at a screen, or otherwise find it useful. Our basic directives include “Say what you see” and attempt to offer as close as possible experience as those who are watching the event.
Skite'kmujuawti (Ghost Road) - Exploring Digital Futurism and Virtual Spaces to Empower Two Spirit Indigenous Queer Identities
Digital and virtual spaces have become sites for queer and Indigenous world-building. Systematically displaced identities have been empowering themselves through intentional community building via online and virtual placemaking, using technologies like augmented reality art and zoom workshops to learn cultural and material practices. This roundtable discussion will examine crafting and knowledge-building from a Two Spirit and Indigenous context and the re-emergence of queer and Two Spirit storytelling within online and virtual spaces. How has technology contributed to cultural revitalization and knowledge transfer, as well as influenced our traditional cosmologies and stories?
Financial Resistance as Precarious-status or Undocumented Migrants
In this workshop, members of VJCJ, alongside participants in the research project that lead to the development of VJCJ’s guide to Financial Resistance, will provide information and resources on how to start a business in Ontario that is inclusive of everyone and very much applicable to artists.
Queer and Hopeful: Gamemaking as Resistance
Playing a game is a participatory act, one in which we might take control of a protagonist and see the world through them. This relationship of embodiment between player and protagonist is a powerful tool for empathy and empowerment; as artists we ask others into ourselves to experience as we do and as players we see the world in a new way. This is an incredibly powerful tool for healing, dreaming, and imaging a world where we see ourselves safe and loved.
Reparative Worldbuilding: Black and Indigenous Collaboration in New Media & Speculative Non/fiction
Closely associated with sci-fi and fantasy stories, ‘worldbuilding’ often refers to the fictional construction of whole ecological and planetary systems. In any saga—beyond the plot, characters, or a given setting—worldbuilding involves the non-linear creation and composition of new logics and beings. New and magical entities appear, birthed by imagination. But the process likewise pulls inspiration from and responds to our current world; fictive worlds are built as a criticism, reaction, or extension of lived experience and perceived possibilities.
Keynote: Queer Wonderlands: Yolanda Bonnell and Lior Shamriz
With witty irony and superfluous melodrama, Lior Shamriz treats cinema not merely as the documentation of a dramatic performance but as a trace of the interaction between actors, crew, memory, and place, using the screen to project and examine topics like immigration, post-colonialism and orientalism, othering and belonging. "A separation of reality from mimesis is a dualist illusion," Shamriz says. "A film is often not a record of an interaction, but rather, it is the interaction with the spaces we visit and the people we encounter". For their keynote talk, Shamriz will discuss their work in research-based essay videos, poetry videos, performance, and independent cinema, and will turn to Keguro Macharia's concept of Frottage to consider cinema as a medium of gathering traces of interactions that activate our engagement with the world.