VQFF 2008

Over the last eleven days Vancouver hosted its 20th annual Queer Film Festival, celebrating culture and breaking down barriers through the arts.

Being Vancouver's second largest film festival, the VQFF featured 114 films this year and continues to positively promote cultural expression and unity both on and off the screen.

One of the films I was able to attend, that introduced many to the concept of Drag Kings, was made possible with the assistance of Women in Film, an affiliation in Vancouver that assists in promoting, advancing and celebrating women in screen media. Confessions of a Sort of Str8 Drag Queen was directed by Alexis Fosse Mackintosh who, in her post-premiere Q&A, stressed the importance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender talent being the ones behind the camera and production of queer films. Mackintosh said there were no better people to tell the stories than those living through, and dealing with, these issues in society both every day and throughout history.

The organization behind the film festival, Out on Screen, shares this sentiment and has created educational programs like Out in Schools. They also founded the Queer History Project, an initiative that strives to obtain a place for queer culture in Canadian history—documenting the past, present, and providing education for the future.

To date the VQFF has raised 90% of its two-year $350,000 goal for a campaign called Projection 20 that raises awareness by,  “providing a space for queer film exhibition, supporting artists, making schools safer and sharing queer history.”

The festival wrapped up on August 24th with the screening of the film XXY, which was at 2007 Critics Week Grand Prize winner at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. 

The celebrated VQFF not only brings issues and topics that are both either serious or playfully hilarious to the big screen, but also introduces diverse filmmakers who are leaving their mark on society in their own right, locally and across the globe.

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