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Celebrating Canada’s LGBTQ2+ Community

10 Must-See LGBTQ Films at TIFF 2017

The ten films we’re most excited to see at TIFF 2017

By Christopher Turner

Last year the Toronto International Film Festival helped launch Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight to Oscar gold. This year? The annual celluloid fest is set to screen a wide range of some of the most anticipated LGBTQ films of the year. From exposé documentaries to star-studded awards contenders to a flashback screening of one of Canada’s groundbreaking LGBTQ films, TIFF (which runs from September 7 to 17) is set to have one its gayest years!

Here is a quick list of 10 LGBTQ films screening at the 42nd annual Toronto International Film Festival that won’t disappoint.

10 Must-See LGBTQ Films at TIFF 2017 - My Days Of Mercy

My Days Of Mercy
(Premiering September 15)

My Days of Mercy, a romance drama from Israeli filmmaker Tali Shalom-Ezer, features Kate Mara and beloved Out actress Ellen Page. Page plays Lucy, the daughter of a man on death row who falls in love with a woman (Mara) on the other side of her family’s campaign to save him.

10 Must-See LGBTQ Films at TIFF 2017 - Fantastic Woman

A Fantastic Woman
(Premiering September 12)

A Fantastic Woman is Sebastián Lelio’s film that’s been receiving rave reviews on the 2017 festival circuit. Daniela Vega, the transgender first-time actress at the center of Lelio’s dramatic thriller has already received praise for her performance with many critics predicting an Oscar nod. Vega plays a trans bar singer who receives infuriating discrimination from doctors and police and contempt from her lover’s ex-wife when her boyfriend dies.

10 Must-See LGBTQ Films at TIFF 2017 - Disobedience

(Premiering September 10)

Sebastián Lelio’s second queer-themed film debuting at TIFF this year, alongside A Fantastic Woman, is Disobedience, an adaptation of a Naomi Alderman novel. Rachel Weisz plays the daughter of a rabbi who returns to her Orthodox community in London, UK, where she falls in love with her cousin’s wife (Rachel McAdams).

10 Must-See LGBTQ Films at TIFF 2017 - Occidental

(Premiering September 9)

A downmarket Parisian hotel is the claustrophobic setting for this darkly comic thriller from visual artist-turned-filmmaker Neïl Beloufa. Occidental zooms in on what happens when a handsome gay couple, Giorgio (Paul Hamy) and his edgy companion Antonio (Idir Chender), check into a Parisian hotel. *Spoiler… cue homophobia, xenophobia and paranoia.

10 Must-See LGBTQ Films at TIFF 2017 - BPM

BPM (Beats Per Minute)
(Premiering September 10)

Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute), originally billed as 120 Battements Par Minute, is a touching story that takes viewers back to the struggles of frontline protest organization Act Up, an AIDS awareness group in early 1990s Paris. In French with subtitles, the film’s central couple Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) and Nathan (Arnaud Valois) explore the activism of the day.

10 Must-See LGBTQ Films at TIFF 2017 - Battle Of The Sexes

Battle Of The Sexes
(Premiereing September 10)

Battle Of The Sexes, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, looks back to 1973 when Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) challenged Billy Jean King (Emma Stone) to a televised tennis match. King was then lobbying intensely for more lucrative winnings for women, and Riggs was arguing that women weren’t worth it. Technically, this isn’t a queer movie, but King was a closeted lesbian at the time. Soooo…

10 Must-See LGBTQ Films at TIFF 2017 - A Worthy Companion

A Worthy Companion
(Premiering September 10)

A Worthy Companion is the first feature film written and directed by Montrealers Carlos and Jason Sanchez. Plagued by the abuse of her past Laura (Evan Rachel Woods) gets involved with 16-year-old Eva (Julia Sarah Stone). Of course, it’s an intimate yet ultimately manipulative relationship.

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood
(Premiering September 9)

Out filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer premieres his portrait of Hollywood legend Scotty Bowers, whose bestselling memoir “Full Service” chronicled his decades spent catering to the sexual appetites of celebrities — straight and gay. Bowers ran a gas station in the shadow of the studio lots where he’d fix up his clientele with quickies, threesomes, and orgies. Scandalous!

10 Must-See LGBTQ Films at TIFF 2017 - Grace Jones Bloodlight and Bami

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
(Premiering September 7)

Iconic and androgynous, envelope-pushing and mysterious, Jamaican model-turned-singer and actress Grace Jones finally gets a documentary as stylish and unique as she is. Filmed over ten years, Jones gave filmmaker Sophie Fiennes intimate access to her offstage persona, as well as dynamite performances filmed during a 2016 concert.

10 Must-See LGBTQ Films at TIFF 2017 - Ive Heard The Mermaids Singing

I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing
(Screening September 9)

Patricia Rozema’s internationally acclaimed debut feature was a watershed moment in Canadian film winning the coveted Cannes’ Best First Feature Prize back in 1987. To commemorate Canada 150, the film has been digitally restored by TIFF, Library and Archives Canada, The Cinémathèque québécoise, and The Cinematheque in Vancouver and will receive a special (and free!) TIFF screening on Saturday, September 9th.

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