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Regina Public Library to Host the 20th Annual Queer City Cinema Festival

alexa lawlor | staff writer

Queer City Film Festival

Photo credit: Queer City Film Festival

Who said there’s nothing to do in Regina?

From September 20-24, the Regina Public Library will be hosting the 20th Annual Queer City Cinema Festival, with a slight change. This year, for the first time, Performatorium: Festival of Queer Performance will be combined with the Queer City Cinema Film Festival, for a total of five screenings and seven performances throughout the five days.

The performances will be held in the Dunlop Art Gallery, and the screenings will be held in the film theatre, both within the Regina Public Library downtown branch. There will also be events happening in other venues in the city as part of the festival, like artist talks at the University of Regina, and an outdoor performance and procession beginning at Speakers Corner (Wascana Centre) and ending in Victoria Park.

The festival is unlike any other in Canada, with other events like artist talks, a radio show, and a round table discussion among the film screenings and performances. Many of the exciting events happening over the five days are free to attend, including the film screenings on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. The screenings on these nights are “mainly documentaries that are more issue oriented as well as more straightforward in their messages,” whereas the screenings the rest of the week are “more experimental in nature, and require a bit more interpretation,” as described by Artistic Director of Queer City Cinema, Gary Varro.

The events of the festival will discuss what it’s like to be queer, trans, and two-spirited, as well touching on many other topics, from race and politics, to HIV, AIDS, and homophobia. Varro hopes that the festival will make people realize “we’re all part of the fabric of society,” that everyone is a person, no matter our differences.

The Queer City Cinema Film Festival and Performatorium is a great form of representation for the LGBTQ community, especially in such a public way. One of the best parts for Varro is when the artists arrive, because it becomes a “temporary queer family” for the duration of the festival. However, the festival is not just for people who are part of the LGBTQ community. It’s important to bring awareness to the rest of city, which begins with having an open mind and attending events like this festival.

Each event is a learning experience on a bunch of different levels,” says Varro. “It will be different for everyone; each person will take away different things.”

Each of the five film screenings will run between fifty and seventy minutes and will showcase five to eight short films, depending on the night. Over the course of the festival, 41 short films, all addressing different issues, will be shown.

Tuesday and Wednesday evenings will showcase more documentary oriented short films, such as: TRANS, which explores the themes of identity and transformation; Regalia: Pride in Two Spirits, a film discussing what it’s like to be a First Nations queer person; and Recently in the Woods, a tale about acceptance and tolerance told through horses and unicorns.

The films that will be shown on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings are more experimental in nature, like Famous Diamonds, a film that looks at love, lies and desire; Voguing Train with Kemar Jewel, which combines pieces of the ballroom scene with performance art; and Casualties of Modernity, a tour of a hospital that specializes in the treatment of conditions afflicting contemporary and modern art.

Each performance in the Queer City Cinema Film Festival and Performatorium is unique. No two are alike, and each addresses different issues in different ways. There will be three sessions of 49 Flowers with Regina-based artist, Zachari Logan. Logan will be restaging his durational drawing performance from June 2016, where participants would select a cut flower, and Logan would draw the flower as a portrait of the bearer. The goal of the project is to commemorate the lives of the people lost in the PULSE, Orlando tragedy. The portraits will be available for purchase through the Slate Fine Art Gallery, with the proceeds going to an Orlando charity.

Cuddle is another durational performance that questions our understanding of cultural values, bodies, and boundaries surrounding cleanliness and purity through switching the contents between a dead rabbit and a teddy bear. Inferno Varieté presents the relationship between violence and masculinity through the perspective of radical artivism and body art, as well as addressing the fear of being feminine in a homophobic environment.

There are also four other ground breaking performances scheduled, titled Alien Tears, Chant (cleanse), DREDGE, and Distance is Not Separation: She’s Hard, She Q.

Want to learn more about the Queer City Cinema Film Festival and Performatorium? You can check out the full schedule of events and more at www.queercitycinema.ca/2016/. Tickets for each evening and passes for the whole festival are available on the website, or at the door. Student prices are $35 for a pass or $15 dollars for an evening, with student ID. Tickets for single screenings and performances are also available.

About Alexa Lawlor

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