The 2018 Vancouver Queer Film Festival: days 583 — 596

Moving pictures in pictures

The week after Pride is always kind of weird. My first draft for this post was titled “The in-between time”, because it really is: a few days between big public pageantry and parades, and the more low-key (but no less sincere) pageantry of queer cinema.

BC Day, I finally got my ass off the couch and down to Sunset Beach, where for some reason I decided to walk / crawl down to the end of that little spit of rocks facing Burrard Bridge. I probably looked like a huge twit edging my way cautiously along those rocks, and I probably won’t do it again soon because it really wasn’t that fun, but the view was nice.

You know one thing I love about the West End? All the random little gnome doors and things. This one is on the 1500 block of Nelson Street.

Oh, and the other way this time of year is “in-between”: grass volleyball at David Lam Park is over, and all I have left is the memories of the junk food I had at the nearby DQ.

Thursday, the opening gala! I’ve already blogged about all the feels the show made me feel, so I won’t repeat myself. Summary: all the feels.

Friday, Octavio is Dead!‘s overly shaky cam made me leave halfway through. Too bad, though, because it looked really interesting. I meandered towards the seawall and walked home, snapping a pretty sunset on the way.

Saturday I had to check out the brand-new Burnaby Pride! Not so big now, but I’m sure it’ll grow. And that night I saw Alaska is a Drag, which is actually not a biopic of Alaska Thunderfuck. No, it’s a very enjoyable story of boxing, drag and crazy dreams in a small Alaska fishing town. I felt the resolution came right out of nowhere but it was a fun ride.

Sunday, the Sets on the Beach tournament, which meant summer vball season with VGVA was really and truly over. Which is a bit sad, but it means I get my Sundays back for a little while! I had planned on seeing a couple movies that night, but soon figured that was absolutely not going to happen. Too bad, I really wanted to see The Fruit Machine; Freelancers Anonymous looked good too.

Monday: a double showing of Troublemakers 3.0 (a super-inspirational series of interviews between local LGBTQ+ elders and youth) and 50 Years of Fabulous, the story of San Francisco’s Imperial Council. I went for the history, because though we have our own court system (the Dogwood Monarchist Society) I always saw it as a rather silly and outdated social thing, but I was impressed by the good they’ve done, and still do. Plus I learned a lot about pre-Stonewall queer history! And had to laugh at how the first Empress named herself after Joshua Norton, who also reinvented himself as royalty. Only in San Francisco!

Hey, remember that nice pink sunset from Friday? Say goodbye to all that. The smoke reached us, and a week later and the sky still hasn’t cleared. In fact it’s only gotten worse. I took a break from movies Tuesday—had to pace myself, and nothing really jumped out at me, so that was all right.

After White Rabbit, the Wednesday centrepiece gala, I wandered home and took a shot of Emery Barnes Park. Not my first, but I wasn’t feeling super-inspired, photo-wise, and my head was full of the movie. It was a weird and kooky piece, and apparently very open to interpretation. One saw it as about moving on from trauma, and being present and grateful. Me, I didn’t get the “trauma” part; I saw it more as a tale of alienation and performance, each of us locked in our little worlds reaching out for true connection. When you find it, that’s a real gift. When you connect with yourself, your inspiration and your bliss, that’s a gift too.

Or at least, that’s what I got from it.

Thursday: out at SFU Woodward’s I saw the amazing Saturday Church, a musical featuring queer / trans youth of colour in New York. It’s beautiful and heartwarming with gorgeous song and dance numbers.

Friday at the York Theatre: the first show was a short (1/2 hour-ish) film on the Vancouver Men’s Chorus, followed by a Q&A, but preceded by a great song-and-dance number of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. Goddamn, that song is catchy. And it was followed by The Coast is Queer, the annual (and always excellent) showcase of local LGBTQ+ filmmakers.

Saturday: a documentary on the Leitis of Tonga. I found it a fascinating look at traditional Pacific Islander third genders, royalty and old social orders, imported Christian homophobia and transphobia, and modern human rights discourse—but still centering the real flesh-and-blood people at the heart of it all. Great stuff, but that’s what I expected from the makers of Kumu Hina. The other show I saw, Malila: The Farewell Flower, was less engaging. I was intrigued by the description of a tragic love story steeped in Buddhist spirituality, but I feel it lost a lot in translation. Oh well, that’ll happen.

Between shows I went out for a walk in Gastown.

And the closing gala: The Miseducation of Cameron Post, a movie about fundie Xian gay therapy that still managed to be pretty funny. Didn’t think they’d manage it, but here we are. I think they must have toned down the real psychological torture somewhat, though what we saw was still very nasty. Quibble: I would have liked to see the main characters do more than run away—that place needed to burn! Still, I’ll take what I can get.

Summary of my VQFF experience

(hey, haven’t done one of these in a while!)

Number of shows seen: 11.5. Not a bad number, though!

Favourite feature film: 1985. With very close runners-up Saturday Church (which won the OutTV Go People’s Choice Award) and 50 Years of Fabulous.

Favourite short film: Pass the Salt and Colors (winner of the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award for best short). Oh, and The Pigeon.

Shows I would have liked to see but didn’t: Oh boy, there’s a lot!

  • Octavio is Dead! on the first Friday— I saw half of it, so I guess that counts? Would like to see the rest.
  • The Fruit Machine on Sunday — I already knew some of the story, but it never hurts to brush up. Unfortunately I realised I’d have no energy after Sets on the Beach
  • Freelancers Anonymous also on Sunday, looked like a fun time
  • A Moment in the Reeds looked sexy and I heard good things about it later, but I gave myself a night off Tuesday
  • The Coast is Genderqueer — I really wanted to support this new show, but there was no way I could see both this and the Friday night shows I had planned
  • Indigiqueer Shorts From Turtle Island — I really was tempted, but I wanted to see Leitis in Waiting (which I enjoyed) and Malila: The Farewell Flower (which I didn’t enjoy so much).

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