With the LGBT film festival Image+Nation starting today, we spoke to executive director Charlie Boudreau about what to expect at this year’s fest.
Kayla Marie Hillier: What’s in store this year?
Charlie Boudreau: The festival takes a new gander at LGBT gay life around the world. We’ve sort of been reminded recently that not only are things not well, but they’re getting worse for some people — in particular, the Russian example. But let’s not forget that in almost half the countries in the world, it’s illegal to be gay. And in a very large percentage of that percentage, you can be executed if you are. It was a bit of a reminder year of that. So we’re going to re-look at the world through film.
We’re focusing a little bit on Eastern Europe, which brings us closer to that part of the world that we very rarely hear about because there are very few films produced there. We happen to have two Polish features this year (Floating Skyscrapers and In the Name Of). They’re both very, very excellent, perhaps the two best films at our festival.
There’s also a focus on two films that are screening together, called I Am Gay and Hide and Seek; one is set in Pakistan and one is set in Morocco. Very different perspectives, but they’re both ultimately about being gay and Muslim in different parts of the Muslim world. We wanted to make sure that since we’re going around the world that we’re not just telling negative stories. Because sadly that’s a lot of what it is. So we balanced everything out nicely. The films, I find, show a lot of maturity this year in terms of being gay in the world.
KMH: Can we expect some short films this year? Are there any changes from previous years?
CB: We show shorts in front of features as much as possible. There’ll be a slew of shorts and three shorts programs this year — again, the best of the best. One of them is a local shorts programme of a collection of films that were mostly made in Montreal.
We’re trying a new style for that this year. We’re going to do it at Cinematheque in the café bar, so it’ll be more of a loose thing. People will show their films, immediately we’ll have a discussion with the filmmakers, it’ll be more casual, rather than a “sit in a movie theatre, watch it and leave” thing.
Laïka on St-Laurent has been a supporter of Image + Nation for many years, so this year, on Monday night, we’re having a free screening of shorts. Again, a sort of casual night to come and watch movies, have a beer, chat — we’re doing a more “to the people” thing. Getting out of stiff movie theatres, bringing it to the street, to folks, a little more. Making the films more accessible. ■
Image + Nation starts today, Thursday, November 28 and runs until Sunday, Dec. 8. For more information, head to their website.