CATEGORIES Made in Canada


They're here, they're queer, we're used to it! In fact, we love it. The Inside Out LGBT Film and Video Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, an amazing tenure for an "alternative" festival. Devoted to filmmakers and films that profile lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, subjects and people, the festival is once again preparing for the screenings, programs and parties for 2010. Events get underway on May 20 in downtown Toronto.

Now a world hub of film activity, Toronto boasts dozens of well-attended and diverse annual film festivals. Inside Out found its legs in 1991 and has been steadily growing ever since, attracting tens of thousands of moviegoers each year. Whether exposing the atrocities that gay men face in ultra-conservative countries or a wild romping musical, Inside Out covers the colours of the sexual rainbow with pride and respect, but also with the intention to entertain, which is really what going to the movies is all about.

They're here, they're queer, we're used to it! In fact, we love it. The Inside Out LGBT Film and Video Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, an amazing tenure for an "alternative" festival. Devoted to filmmakers and films that profile lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, subjects and people, the festival is once again preparing for the screenings, programs and parties for 2010. Events get underway on May 20 in downtown Toronto.

Now a world hub of film activity, Toronto boasts dozens of well-attended and diverse annual film festivals. Inside Out found its legs in 1991 and has been steadily growing ever since, attracting tens of thousands of moviegoers each year. Whether exposing the atrocities that gay men face in ultra-conservative countries or a wild romping musical, Inside Out covers the colours of the sexual rainbow with pride and respect, but also with the intention to entertain, which is really what going to the movies is all about.

The opening night gala looks to cover all the criteria of the Inside Out mission statement. James Franco, never shy about playing a gay man (see 'Milk'), portrays beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 'Howl' (screening at the Isabel Bader Theatre at 8PM on May 20). A look at the celebrated writer and activist, characters include his famous friends Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, while the story examines the effects of Ginsberg's 1957 stream-of-consciousness poem. Hollywood heavies Jon Hamm, David Strathairn and Mary-Louise Parker all make appearances in this much-anticipated biopic. The Bata Shoe Museum will host the opening night party the same evening, and the public is welcome.

Similar to the recently-wrapped Hot Docs documentary festival, Inside Out is profiling South America this year. As countries like Brazil, Columbia, Peru and Argentina find better footholds on the path to the world stage, it's no shock that the continent's LGBT filmmakers and stories are edging closer to mainstream culture. Included in the varied list of films is the Centrepiece Gala film, 'Undertow' (screening Tuesday May 25 at 9:30PM at the Isabel Bader Theatre). Winner of the Sundance Audience Award, the narrative focuses on two men who must hide their love from the inhabitants of their village in Peru. Noted is the beautiful cinematography of the region's natural beauty.

Documentaries have always been vital to the Inside Out roster and 2010 is no different. 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work', 'Mark' and 'Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls' have all been screened in Toronto before, but are back with Inside Out for good reason -- they are all amazing films. In particular, the must-see 'Topp Twins' profiles identical twin lesbian sisters who are the toast of the New Zealand folk movement and cultural icons in their country.

Another doc of note is the Women's Spotlight screening. 'Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement' (screening on May 28 at 7:45PM at the Isabel Bader Theatre) profiles the 40-year journey of two women who find each other in New York City in the 1960s and fall in love. The film follows them until they eventually end up in Toronto in more recent years. The film specifically marks the incredible cultural changes that have occurred for LGBT people through the passage of time.

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre will once again host a pay-what-you-can series for the third year running, and it's licensed – good times. The trusted venue is the home for the Flashback series, screening noted films from the last 20 years.

The closing gala film is another worthy event to attend. 'The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister' is the true story of a woman who apparently wrote everything down in a 4-million-word diary. A wealthy figure in 18th century British culture, Anne was forced to keep her love of women a secret, her desires often threatening to destroy her life. The BBC-produced film (screening at the Bloor Cinema at 7:30PM on May 30) will be followed by the closing gala party at the Gardiner Museum.

For those who have been with Inside Out for the last 20 years, you know what's in store. If you have yet to check out the fest, make this your year.

Box Office info: 416-967-1528, or check out www.insideout.ca