Money talks at Inside Out.… After all, it’s more than just the movies
By Ingrid Randoja
When the Inside Out Film Festival debuted in 1991, Toronto’s queer community embraced it like a newly found lover.
For the past 32 years, 2SLGBTQ+ audiences have flocked to the festival to see themselves onscreen, and while queer representation has increased in both mainstream films and television over the years, showcasing diverse, queer-made films in front of queer audiences instills a sense of community pride and belonging that can’t be replicated in any other setting.
This year’s festival takes place May 25–June 4 in a hybrid format with both in-person and online screenings (available to Ontario residents only). The lineup includes anticipated and discovery feature films, documentaries, short film programs, gala screenings and, of course, an array of parties taking place throughout the 11-day event.
Inside Out offers more than just film screenings: it also works to help get films made via its Film Finance Forum. The forum – the first and only 2SLGBTQ+ finance forum of its kind in the world – gives 2SLGBTQ+-identified producers, writers and directors a platform to pitch their market-ready features, documentaries and Canadian series projects directly to top international industry executives and decision-makers.
“Our seventh edition of the Queer Finance Forum expands to three days this festival to include a day of free professional development opportunities for emerging queer filmmakers,” says Inside Out co-head and artistic director Andrew Murphy.
“This, paired with our perennial two-day B2B forum featuring eight to 10 market-ready feature projects at the development stage curated and matched with executive pitch meetings, puts Inside Out front and centre in advocating for the increased presence and value of our queer stories on screen in the world marketplace.”
To date, nearly 40 per cent of the projects that have participated in the forum since 2017 have been financed, produced and released, or will be going into production this year.
Filmmaking team James Watson and Mikko Makela participated in last year’s forum, bringing their UK/Finnish film project Sebastian to the table.
“The Inside Out Finance Forum is a wonderful experience where not only do you connect with financiers and sales agents, but also other queer filmmakers from all over the world, and you get to experience a sense of community – filmmaking can be lonely work before you’re on set,” they say.
“Being able to troubleshoot with other queer directors/producers allows you to see you’re often dealing with the same issues. We’re happy to say that we are going into production in 2023!”
One of the Forum’s local success stories is the feature Something You Said Last Night. Directed by Toronto-based filmmaker Luis De Filippis, the dramedy follows a trans woman who goes on a beach holiday with her supportive family while dealing with a personal crisis.
Something You Said Last Night made a splash at various film festivals around the world, winning prizes at the San Sebastián and Rotterdam festivals as well as winning the TIFF Change Maker Award; it will be shown at this year’s edition of Inside Out.
INGRID RANDOJA is a freelance arts writer. She is the former film editor of NOW Magazine and the former deputy editor of Cineplex Magazine.