Saturday, 22 May 2010

Inside Out 2010: So What's a Straight Girl Like You...

So, what’s a straight girl like me doing at a gay and lesbian film festival? Seeing some great films and some not so great films, the way I do at all other film festivals. With Inside Out though, I get to see films with a particular audience culture that you can’t get at any other festivals. Since I tend to go. to a lot of male-oriented films at Inside Out, I’m usually with a lot of gay men. With gay men, you always get cruising. Necks swivel at a pace that would put Wimbledon to shame! So, I check out who’s cruising whom, and I also check to see who’s on a first date—the young ones are so cute together, holding hands (because they can! —they’re in a safe environment) and trying to act like they have been together forever instead of just two days. Then there are the older men, who are there with long time partners. They’re the ones that barely talk to each other in line (why should they, they see each other everyday), except when they run into other couples, then they spark up like nobody’s business, talking about vacations and mutual friends. Finally, there are women like me: straight gals with their gay boyfriends. Standing in line, I always spot the women like me, especially the black ones with their white boyfriends—we’re so common!

Like other film festivals, you can chat with anybody in line. Just ask: “So what have you seen so far” or “Is this your first film?” and the conversation is off and running. Besides running into friends, I always meet nice strangers. My first night at Inside Out I had a great conversation with another film festival lover. When you meet a film lover the question then becomes: “So, do you go to other festival?” Turns out this gentleman goes to the biggies, Hot Docs and TIFF. Next year, he is going to try and get his grandkids involved in Sprockets: The Toronto International Film Festival for Children. When he said that, I had to tell him about the World Wide Short Film Festival's popular children’s program, Shorts for Shorties. In my opinion, it’s always the best section of WWSFF because films for children are story-oriented and are usually visually appealing with colours and images that filmmakers think grown-folks don’t need. They are also usually very funny!

When I go to Caribbean plays/films, the audience is not shy in sharing their reactions to what’s unfolding in front of them. Well, let me tell you, it’s the same at Inside Out. There is no holding back of emotions when things heat up, or get outrageously funny on screen. I love it! No Canadian reserve in play here. As an audience member, you are free to be yourself!

As for the films, the last time I checked there weren’t many cinemas in Toronto playing LGBTTQ films, so this is my chance to expand my horizons, and not have to cringe when a same-sex kiss happens on screen and the majority straight audience makes comments. Yeah, I am so tired of that, aren’t you?

20 Years of Queers
Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film & Video Festival
May 20-30th

1 comment:

Kirk Cooper said...

I couldn't agree more.
Festivals are a great place to meet people who just love unconventional films. Toronto is blessed to be able to have so many choices of themes and genres - at least one festival a month excluding July, Aug, Dec. I encourage people to support the smaller festivals as well as the big ones - most of these films will never get a theatrical release in our city. DVD is never the same as a shared entertainment experience on a big it was meant to be seen.

Thanks Donna G for keeping it real!

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