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image+nation 23: Montreal’s International LGBT Film Festival Looks xtremely Promising This Year

Every year our Sound On Sight crew works hard to cover all the major film festivals across the globe. From Cannes to TIFF and Fantasia to Fantastic Fest, we currently promote and attend over twenty film fests each year. The last on the list is Montreal’s Gay-Lesbian-Bi-sexual-Transsexual film festival titled, image+nation. The festival takes place from October 28 to November 7th, and this year’s line up looks extremely promising. Here is the press release sent to me this morning.

image+nation 23: Montreal International LGBT Film Festival

LGBT Stories from Around the World!

October 28 to November 7

Montreal, Tuesday, October 19, 2010image+nation, Canada’s premiere LGBT film Festival highlights the year’s best queer works as its 23rd edition unspools from October 28 to November 7. This year’s tagline says it all as the celebration of same-sex celluloid travels from Hong Kong to Bosnia, from Finland to The Bahamas and from France to Cameroon, with familiar stops in the U.K. and the U.S. before touching down here at home.

With loyal audiences that never miss a year and impressive programming, image+nation aims to quench the thirst of gay film buffs and wider audiences alike. The richness and diversity of the works produced by LGBT artists from all over the world helps broaden our cinematographic horizons. The Festival will take you around the world in 11 days, and the stories you’ll see on the big screen are each as unique and complex as the communities that inspired them.


On Thursday, October 28, image+nation welcomes Peruvian director Javier Fuentes- León, who will officially kick off the 23rd edition at Cinéma Impérial with Undertow (Contracorriente) a Sundance award-winner and Peru’s 2011 Oscar submission. Ghost meets Brokeback Mountain. As its ominous title suggests, Undertow dives far below the seemingly placid surface of self-identity and family ties, churning up waves of passion – and a fateful accident – that overwhelm this luxuriously sweeping and transcendent film’s love triangle.

On Sunday, November 7, Medhi Ben Attia’s Le fil (The String) will cap off 11 days of exceptional cinema. A France-Belgium co-production, Le fil is the story of Malik (Antonin Stahly-Vishwanadan) who returns to Tunisia after his father’s death to bring comfort to his inconsolable mother (a captivating Claudia Cardinale). Although determined to come out, Malik finds himself knotted up in Sara’s apron strings, as childhood anxieties resurface along with his own grief. This superb debut feature by Mehdi Ben Attia explores the clash of cultures and politics as French-raised Arabs attempt to breach the Grande école/Le clan divide. A light-hearted melodramedy in which gay men and lesbians confront life’s challenges together, Le fil handles issues of class struggle and culture clash with nuance, sensivity and affirmation, all against the moody heat of North African summer.


In response to the cinematic watershed of LGBT-themed films from South America and Spain in the past year, image+nation presents “Mundo Hispanico”, a festival focus featuring a record-breaking 11 features and shorts from Spain, Brazil, Uruguay, Peru and Argentina. Including the stunningly beautiful Opening film, Undertow, each of these films uniquely reflects the changing political and cultural climate of their country of origin and the rising tide of filmmakers addressing a diversity of sexuality in their works.

Ibero-American films are among the most exciting and innovative works presented at image+nation this year, including: the original Elvis & Madona by award-winning Brazilian documentary filmmaker Marcelo Laffitte; The Fish Child (El niño pez) by Argentinean filmmaker Lucía Puenzo, with Lala (Inés Efron) and Ailin (Mariela Vitale), a sexy, high-octane sequel to her brilliant debut XXY (image+nation 2008); Brazilian director Aluízio Abranches’s From Beginning to End (Do Começo ao Fim), the lush story about a taboo romance between two half-brothers; Leo’s Room (El cuarto de Leo), Enrique Buchichio’s elegantly crafted debut that delivers a mellow drama focusing on the subtle internal struggles of his protagonists; Roberto Moreira’s Paulista (Quanto Dura o Amor?, the story of three young people in search of love under the influence of São Paulo’s frantic pace and Plan B from Argentinean writer-director Marco Berger, a witty and insightful exploration of romantic relationships and friendships between men.

In parallel, Spain proves to be a hotbed of queer-themed filmmaking again this year. Ever leading the way, this year’s two films, The Consul of Sodom (El cónsul de Sodoma) by Sigrid Monléon, a Goya Award winner, and Little Ashes by Paul Morrison featuring Robert Pattison (theTwilight Saga) in the role of Salvador Dali, take us back in time to the oppressive Franco era and the counter-revolutionary creative epicentre of the 20s respectively, for two biopics on some of Spain’s most notorious and influential artists. Also from Spain, You Choose (Tú eliges) is a superb character-driven film by award-winning transsexual actress/director Antonia San Juan (Todo sobre mi madre) about unscheduled blind dates with intersecting fates, offering something to viewers of all gender expressions and sexual orientations. Finally, our second Basque entry in as many years, 80 Days (80 egunean) by Jon Garaño demonstrates that love can come at any age.


As is now tradition, the Festival’s 23rd edition delivers a slew of award-winning films hailing from the four corners of the globe. Among the feature film highlights are a number of powerful international works: Amphetamine by the prolific Hong Kong director, Scud (Permanent Resident, City Without Baseball); the highly acclaimed Children of God by J. Karrem Mortimer (Canada/The Bahamas) that made waves throughout the Caribbean; Loose Cannons (Mine Vaganti) by Ferzan Ozpetek, a lively filmic romp in the tradition of commedia all’italiana and Eyes Wide Open (Einayim Petukhoth), a rare glimpse into the hidden world of the Haredim by Haim Tabakman that features some of the most emotionally authentic and incandescent love-making ever to grace image+nation’s screen.

From France, Jean-Jacques Zilbermann’s La folle histoire d’amour de Simon Eskenazy re-presents Simon Eskenazy (Antoine de Caunes) a frustrated and irascible character in a hilarious sequel to L’homme est une femme comme les autres and Le refuge from the legendary auteur, François Ozon, featuring the very talented Isabelle Carré and Louis Ronan Choisy. Last but not least, festival-goers will have the chance to see a remastered version of the classic Taxi Zum Klo by Frank Ripploh, a riotous celebration of pre-AIDS promiscuity that presents a hilarious, unrepentant and unsentimental perspective on the Explicit Eighties.

Heading back to our continent, the U.S. offers up some stunning feature films this year. Oscar-winning documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (The Celluloid Closet, The Life and Times of Harvey Milk) make a bold leap into narrative storytelling with Howl, an unconventional and thoroughly engrossing examination of a renegade poet, his artistic masterpiece and the spark of a literary revolution. Centering on the young Allen Ginsberg (James Franco, in an ardent and sublime performance) and his timeless poem “Howl,” the film also features brilliant supporting performances by John Hamm (Mad Men), David Strathairn, Treat Williams, Mary-Louise Parker and Jeff Daniels.

Another American export of note, Bette Gordon’s Handsome Harry showcases the talents of Jamey Sheridan, Aidan Quinn, John Savage, Karen Young, Titus Welliver, Steve Bushemi and Campbell Scott. Drawing its influences from John Cassavetes’ classics Husbands and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Handsome Harry is a tale of a man’s attempt to reconnect with the one true love he betrayed and lost. Is it Just Me? (J.C. Calcino), Open (Jake Yuzna), Role/Play (Rob Williams) and The Seminarian (Joshua Lim) are also part of the Festival’s incredible selection from U.S. this year. The Festival also delights in all things bear-ish with two American films, the widly entertaining romantic comedy BearCity (Doug Langway) and the timely documentary Bear Nation (Malcolm Ingram) that open up the den doors and finally offer representations to the bear community.

From Canada, Adriana Maggs’ bracing Grown Up Movie Star, starring the exceptionally talented Tatiana Maslany (who won the World Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Breakout Performance at Sundance) is a sly and wry sibling of Breakfast with Scot that makes another magnificent contribution to the Canadian coming-of-age genre, cleverly avoiding kitsch while celebrating hockey and homosexuality. Representing the other side of the cinematic coin, the infamous Bruce LaBruce’s latest opus, L.A. Zombie is bathed in the glow of a radioactive Los Angeles at dusk. Starring international porn star and model François Sagat, the film is a testament to the director’s love for the genre, with as much shredded flesh, blood-spattered green skin and half-eaten corpses that a gore-o-phile could wish for.

For the ladies, image+nation’s offerings are again impressive this year. The remarkable Purple Sea (Viola Di Mare), by Italian director Donatella Majorca resuscitates the best-friends-turned-lovers and bodice-ripping genres in a story of the old-world European tradition of women passing as men; The Mädchen in Uniform dynamic takes a tumble in Brazilian-born Fernanda Cardosa’s Bloomington, an adroit re-treading of the last taboo: student-teacher relationships; the breathtaking, Elena Undone tackles issues of religion, love and commitment while still managing to pull off fantastic sexual tension in a story based on director Nicole Conn’s (Claire of the Moon) own life; the hilarious romantic dramedy,The Four-Faced Liar in which a group of friends awkwardly negotiate the challenges of friendship, romance and honesty over the course of a school year in New York City; Cheryl Dunye’s (The Watermelon Woman) The Owls, that brings together a cast of lesbian Allstars (Guinevere Turner, VS Brodie, Lisa Gornick, Skyler Cooper and Deak Evgenikos) for an experimental thriller set in the burning California desert; The Sleeping Beauty of East Finchley by Séamus Rea that showcases refined performances and matchless choral numbers in a  good-humoured, all-dyke version of Glee and finally, in Too Much Pussy! Feminist Sluts in the QueerXShow by Emilie Jouvet we are taken along for the ride on a post-porn, pro-sex feminist road trip.


October is LGBT History Month and image+nation 23’s roster of historical documentaries illuminates the remarkable lives of some queer heroes. The gorgeous feature film The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (James Kent) and the companion documentary The Real Anne Lister (Matthew Hill), uncover a hidden chapter of lesbian history while the short documentary Decoding Alan Turing (Christopher Racster) introduces us to the Father of Artificial Intelligence. Jumping ahead in time to the late 60s, Making the Boys (Crayton Robey) brilliantly and beautifully chronicles the birth of modern LGBT culture.

image+nation 23 also champions the documentarian with over 20 documentaries programmed this year touching upon such issues as: global LGBT human rights (Cameroun: Sortir du Nkuta, Other Nature), the cult of the “perfect” gay body (The Adonis Factor), lesbian feminist history (The Heretics, Amorous, Antiquated, Audacious), a French look at queer culture (Fierté gay, Guibert cinéma) and the “B” in LGBT (Bisexualité: tout un art). In addition to the superb Gay Days (Yair Kedar), All Boys (Markku Heikkinen), The Sisters (Die Schwestern) by Manfred Hoschek and Le Tigre on Tour by Kerthy Fix, the Festival is pleased to present the very touching Postcard to Daddy (Michael Stock, co-writer and director of the classic queer cult film Prinze in Hölleland), a rare documentary that sensitizes us to both incest and sexual abuse issues, which won the prestigious Berlinale 2010 Siegessäule prize, and Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement by Susan Muska and Gréta Ólafsdóffir (The Brandon Teena Story) which chronicles the lives of two women through their 42-year relationship in a charming and moving story of true love.


For the first time in its history, image + nation is pleased to include a focus on Scandinavian film and filmmakers. “Scandinavian By Design” includes short films from Denmark, Norway and Sweden and completing the collection, the witty and wonderful Danish doc, Hello my name is Lesbian by Iben Haahr Andersen and Minna Grooss. Introduced by Bard Ydén, the director of Skeive Filmer, the Oslo Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Film. Again this year, The Festival presents some wonderful collections of short films from around the globe including the programs: Lesbomundo, Homomundo, A Girl’s Life, A Boy’s Life and The Choice of Love.


For the eight consecutive year image+nation is proud to present “Generation Q”. The cultural universe of growing up LGBT is in constant flux and ever expanding – pushing the boundaries of both “youth” and “queer”. The outstanding collection of shorts presented in “Generation Q” offers striking reflections of this. Sometimes light and humorous, sometimes dark and disturbing, this year’s selection offers a wide range of different points of views and experiences on what it means to be young and queer in the 21st century. Including the short films: Awakening, The Batty Boy’s Revenge, Follower, Friday’s Child, Frozen Roads, Jump in the River, Oh My God!, Loop Planes, Love Sick, My name is Love, Organism, Rockin’ the Rainbow, Small-Time Revolutionary, Snapshot and the feature films: Amphetamine, Bloomington, The Fish Child, Is it Just me?, Leo’s Room and Le Tigre on Tour.



Starbucks Cafe (1301, Ste-Catherine E.)

October 22 & 25 _5 – 8 p.m.

October 23 & 24 _3 – 8 p.m.

During the Festival, the main box offices for all tickets are:

Theatre Hall Concordia and Bibliothèque Nationale (BAnQ) when screenings are scheduled at those venues. Box offices open 30 minutes before the first screening of the day. Tickets can also be purchased online at:


Single ticket: $11.50; movie buff pass 10@$95; student and senior (65+): $8

The 23rd edition of image+nation will take place at the following venues: Cinéma Impérial (1432 Bleury), Theatre Hall Concordia (1455 Maisonneuve W.), JA de Sève Theatre (1400 Maisonneuve W.), Bibliothèque Nationale (BAnQ) (475 Maisonneuve E.) and the Goethe-Institut (418 Sherbrooke E.).

For more information about the Festival, complete scheduling and

to purchase tickets, please visit: