After two years of pandemic disruptions, Queer North Film Festival returns to Sudbury Indie Cinema, June 16-19.
Billed as “four days of the world’s best queer cinema,” the festival is back to its traditional time slot in June, which is Pride Month.
Festival programmer Beth Mairs said COVID-19 cancelled the event outright in 2020, but the festival was able to be held in August last summer, once pandemic restrictions had lifted somewhat.
She said she’s thrilled that Queer North is back in full force for its sixth edition. Mairs said ticket sales for Queer North have been pretty robust for the pandemic era.
The festival attracts members of 2SLGBTQ+ communities, friends and allies from across the region, as well as farther afield, including visitors from southern Ontario and United States border towns, said a press release.
Queer North seeks to fill a gap in representation within cinema. The festival brings in the best queer-focused independent film from around the world and in Canada. With three shorts programs, it is also able to present a wealth of diverse queer stories.
Mairs said the festival aims to represent “underserved markets and our members of our community whose voices are not necessarily directing the narrative behind the camera or on the big screen.
“It was a natural for us to create an LGBTQ focused festival because of that.”
Features at Queer North 2022 include “Framing Agnes,” “The Lake,” “Neptune Frost,” “Tahara,” “Cicada,” “Nelly Et Nadine” and “Death and Bowling.”
(Full film descriptions are available on the festival’s website).
Shorts programs include The Male Gaze (an intimate view into the worlds of men), In Your Pocket (celebrating queer sexuality), Alphabet Soup (which includes queer and trans themes).
Mairs said she’s especially excited for “Neptune Frost,” about an intersex African hacker, a coltan miner (coltan is a metallic ore from which the elements niobium and tantalum are extracted) and a virtual marvel born as a result of their union.
“It premiered at Cannes, it was nominated for two high awards, the Queer Palm, as well as the Golden Camera,” Mairs said.
“It's an Afro-futuristic sci-fi musical. So it's blending a bunch of genres, and it has a very political message. I sampled it enough that I wanted to bring it. I'm interested to see how the Sudbury audience reacts to it.”
Pierre Bonhomme programmed The Male Gaze shorts program, receiving submissions from all over the world. He said the calibre of what he received was really high, so it was hard to choose.
“It's just showing different viewpoints, different worldviews from really different countries and different lifestyles, and big cities, small town, you know, in the closet, out of the closet,” he said.
Bonhomme said he always enjoys taking part in Queer North.
“It's always fun, but always pulls me in,” he said. “It's exciting to get to see a lot of stuff you wouldn't, and it's fun to see things in the cinema. Yeah, there's nothing more exciting like when when the lights go down and you get to see the big screen. It’s not like watching it at home.”
Tickets to Queer North are available online here. The event takes place at Sudbury Indie Cinema, which is located at 162 Mackenzie St. Masking is recommended at the venue, but not required. There is a buffer space between parties when seated.
Heidi Ulrichsen is the associate content editor at Sudbury.com. She also covers education and the arts scene.