The Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival, known for celebrating queer cinema and diversity, the 33rd edition’s lineup has 107 films from 30 countries, kicked off Thursday with a red carpet at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto.
The event allows organizers to create a safe space for filmmakers to show their works and the queer community to view films.
Radhika Mehta, an international student from India and taking Humber’s Film and Multiplatform Storytelling program, said the college helped her find a role as an intern with the Inside Out organization, which was a “perfect fit for me.”
“My motivation for leaving my home country was to explore my sexuality,” Mehta said. “Coming here and finding queer people of colour was really important to me.”
She said this opportunity has helped her feel more connected to the queer community in Toronto.
“There is no bigger joy than this,” Mehta said.
Simran Taurani, who is an international student at Humber College and also an intern, said she was amazed at the idea of working for an LGBTQ+ film festival because she felt she fit best here.
“It was a big deal,” she said.
Taurani said it was difficult for her to imagine herself as a queer aspiring filmmaker in India. She said she has felt the most comfortable in her journey in Canada while working with Inside Out.
“Every day when I’m working, even if it is a small task, I know it’s going towards a good cause because I’m giving back to the community and supporting queer filmmakers,” she said.
Andrew Murphy, the co-head and artistic director at Inside Out, said in his 10 years with the organization, the festival has grown not only in Canada but across the world.
He said that the landscape from “pushing for that heteronormative acceptance of what a queer relationship was,” is changing and the community is finally getting ahead of the need for acceptance.
“We’re making our own stories that are in a way our own experience,” Murphy said.
Elie Chivi, co-head and executive director at Inside Out, said making and maintaining a space is critical for the queer community to show that they’re here and aren’t going anywhere.
“As much as we think we’ve made progress, we’re still being oppressed in some way,” he said.
Chivi said festivals like Inside Out creates a safe space within the community, no matter people’s age or where they are on their journey.
The festival runs until June 4. Films will be screened both in the theatre and on the festival’s website.