Tiva Quinn Reviews The Coast Is Queer

31 Aug
BackgroundThe Vancouver Queer Film Festival happened this month and I had the opportunity to taken in one of the shows. I’ve been to The Coast is Queer a couple of times over the years, and thought this was the strongest grouping of local queer short films ever – a thought I heard echoed by some of the other people leaving the theatre.

As usual, there was a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and a mix of films focused on lesbian, gay, or trans main characters. It seemed to me this year had more of a unified tone, though, in that nearly every story was upbeat, even the short documentary about gay suicide rates and the fictional piece with a harrowing locker room harassment scene ended on positive notes.

My personal favorites were the opening and closing pieces.

Caw, the first film, is actually the only dark piece in the series, but it features excellent acting and production values that make the darkness work. Two high school girls are drawn to one another – they’re both misfits used to being mocked by the popular crowd, but one of them is different from the other girls in more than just her cynical attitude.

The closing film, Violet and June, is the queer version of a classic boy-meets-girl story. In this case it’s “girl falls for her best friend, best friend is dating an especially obnoxious boy, best friend comes to her senses and they live happily ever after.” Predictable and maybe even a bit cliche? Sure. But the tale is handled in a light-hearted way and a fun visual style that got lots of laughs from the crowd.

Two other pieces were especially memorable for me. Carla and Hayfa, a short doc that picks up 10 years after a difficult coming-out for a young lesbian with immigrant parents. At this point, Carla and her mother are happy to talk about how much they’ve grown to understand, respect and love one another over the years. Limina is a fictional tale centred around a ridiculously cute trans girl whose mission in life is finding secret ways to cheer up some of the depressed adults in her neighborhood. Almost everyone in Alexandra’s world accepts or admires her as she is – even the Priest who feels a need to grumble seems more than slightly charmed by her.

It might be difficult to catch these particular short films in another showing – but it’s definitely worth going over to Vancouver Queer Film Festival for the names of some very talented local directors to keep an eye one.

By Contributing Writer Tiva Quinn

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