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Welcome to QCC10

If there is a theme or focus or common thread to this year’s festival, it comes in the form of documentary film of which there is abundance at this year’s festival. Twenty-three out of the thirty-two films and videos at QCC10 are queer-forward docs or are works that reference reality and/or truth in some way, shape or form. This year’s documentary-rich festival provides queer insights into lives lived, places loved and old and new ways of looking at the world we call homo.

Photo of Gary Varro

The festival’s catch phrase, ‘whatchulookinat!?’ comments on both the physical act of ‘seeing’, while questioning how and what we absorb of the social world around us - and subsequently who we end up judging and who judges us. On the other hand, and in a more spirited and pointed way - ‘whatchulookinat!? is uttered with a queer in your face exclamation in an attempt to confront the homophobic, transphobic and xenophobic gaze. Snap! With it’s huge cargo of documentaries, this year’s festival asks you to pro-actively look at, see and to think about how queer images and realities impact a collective queer consciousness informed from the past, the present and an imagined future.

Another prevalent thread at QCC10 is history as many of the docs take a look back, into the past, at individuals, groups, and places or are simple portraits or personal histories. This seems to underscore the theme of looking and informing, of creating a queer presence, providing a means to appreciate what has been and how ‘what is now’ has come to be.

All of which brings us to Queer City Cinema where we can celebrate the talents of queer voices and artists from around the world and even here in our ever changing and precariously evolving province of Saskatchewan. The Homo-Made in Saskatchewan program is an idea/gesture of exclusivity that has been part of the programming at Queer City Cinema for many years. However, it has never been fully realized due to the lack of queer media art that gets made here. This year’s Homo-Made in Saskatchewan program is the first year that I have been able to put together a fully-fledged program of work made by Saskatchewan artists - and that is something worth applauding!

Other festival highlights include the fascinating feature length documentary I Am Divine, about, that’s right, Divine herself, the star of John Water’s many early films including Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Hairspray. The 1981 film Cruising, starring Al Pacino, is the framework of the much-anticipated docu-drama Interior. Leather Bar. co-directed by non other than James Franco. S&M, gay sex, leather and yes, James Franco himself, make their appearances - providing a close and intimate look at queer sex on screen. Bruce LaBruce, Vaginal Davis and many others provide insight and personal reflection in She Said Boom: The Story of Fifth Column, a feature doc about the 1980’s experimental kick-ass feminist post-punk band Fifth Column who greatly influenced the Riot Grrl and Queercore movements that followed. Appearances by G.B. Jones and other members of the band make this a must see doc for fans of music with an attitude.

And just to acknowledge or clarify what may seem like a significant year in the history of Queer City Cinema Inc. – yes, this is indeed the 10th edition of the media arts festival, but we’ve actually been operating since 1996, which also makes us 17. So happy 10th and happy 17th to us!

Gary Varro
Artistic Director
May 2013