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Queer film festival puts spotlight on LGBT community's diversity

Event presented by Sudbury Indie Cinema features world-class films

If you'd like to find out more about the diversity of the queer community, the inaugural Queer North Film Festival is the place to do it.

The festival, being held June 23-26 at Sudbury Secondary School's Sheridan Auditorium, features films about various segments of the queer community, including lesbians, gay men, transgender people and the two-spirited. 

It's just the latest niche film festival presented by Sudbury Indie Cinema.

Beth Mairs, the film festival's curator, said Queer North is presenting the best in recent queer cinema from around the world (see below for full lineup).

“We have films with copious awards and nominations,” said Mairs, speaking at June 6 launch of the festival. “So in terms of the festival circuit, it's very, very strong.”

Those attending the festival also have a chance to watch the latest LGBT shorts from the around the world. Mairs put out a call for submissions, and said the only continent she hasn't received a short from is Antarctica.

Queer North is stepping in to fill the void left by the Queer Voices of the North Film Festival, which operated in Sault Ste. Marie early this century, but has been defunct for about six years now.

Mairs said she got the blessing of the former operators of the defunct film festival before going ahead with Queer North.

Sudbury transgender activist Rita OLink encourages Sudburians to come out and learn more about the LGBT community.

“Come and see some of our deeper issues, and how complex we really are, just like everyone else,” said OLink, a member of the TG Innerselves support and advocacy group for transgender persons in Northern Ontario.

She said she the film lineup is “astounding.”

That's also an opinion shared by Jennifer Johnson, chair of Thorneloe University's Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. A mom of three young boys, she said she plans to attend as many films as her family life will allow.

“It's really important for the queer community to see diverse representations of itself,” she said.

Tickets and passes to the festival cost between $10 and $50. Visit

Here's the lineup:

June 23
6:30 p.m. - Pride - Based on a true story, the film depicts a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by the British miners' strike in 1984. 

June 24
7 p.m. - Carol – Starring Cate Blanchett, Carol tells the story of a forbidden love affair between a young aspiring photographer and an older woman going through a difficult divorce in 1950s New York.
9 p.m. Those People - On Manhattan’s gilded Upper East Side, a young painter, Charlie, finds the man of his dreams in an older pianist from across the globe. If only Charlie weren’t secretly in love with his own manipulative best friend.

June 25
1:15 p.m. - Best of Queer Shorts Programme
3:15 p.m. - Pearl of Africa – The story of Cleopatra Kambugu, a 28 year old Ugandan transgender girl.  
7 p.m. - Suicide Kale – A dark comedy that finds Jasmine and Penn, a new couple with an uncertain future, struggling through a lunch party after they stumble upon an anonymous suicide note in the home of the hosts.
7 p.m. - Fire Song - Shane, a gay Anishnabe teenager in Northern Ontario, is struggling to support his family in the aftermath of his sister's suicide. 

June 26 
1:15 p.m. - Two Soft Things, Two Hard Things - Against the backdrop of the preparations for a seminal LGBTQ Pride celebration in Nunavut, this thoughtful documentary looks at the challenges faced by LGBTQ Inuit and how a new generation is forging a more inclusive society.
3 p.m. - Two 4 One - A one-night stand leaves both a woman (Naomi Snieckus) and a transgender man (Gavin Crawford) pregnant.


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Heidi Ulrichsen

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