This year, the Scottish Queer International Film Festival will be held online following a full line-up that promises the amplification of the LGBTQ+ voices from across the globe. The festival will run from 5 to 18 October, with most of the films being available via Vimeo on Demand within the UK.
If you want to be part of the festival and support the incredible work that they deliver year after year, access SQIFF to reserve your tickets online. They are hosting live events including watch parties, Q&As, workshops and more… But for now, let’s look at the programme and what to expect from it. Click here to access the full Scottish Queer International Film Festival 2020 brochure. Keep reading to get a glimpse of SQIFF’s different programs!
EVERY UTOPIA IS A DYSTOPIA: SCIENCE FICTION WORLDS
According to SQIFF, “Every Utopia is a Dystopia explores queerness and sci-fi from multiple perspectives.” From futuristic stories involving aliens to parallel universes, the queer sci-fi is surprisingly varied in content. With science fiction, there is no good amount of projects. Perhaps it is a myth, and this festival shows how much it offers.
- Flaming Ears (Austria, 1992) – Directed by Ursula Puerrer, A. Hans Scheirl, Dietmar Schipek. Flaming Ears is a pop sci-fi lesbian fantasy feature set in the year 2700 in the fictive burned-out city of Asche. It follows the tangled lives of three women. Spy, a comic book artist; Volly, a performance artist and sexed-up pyromaniac; and Nun, an amoral alien with a predilection for reptiles.
- Prototypes I & II (UK, 2018) – Directed by Doireann O’Malley. Doireann O’Malley’s most recent body of work is a trilogy titled Prototypes I, II, and III which explore gender and its manifestations in a post-speculative mind/body assemblage of scenes, set within the modernist Interbau housing development in the Hansaviertel area of Berlin. The films explore new perspectives on trans identity through the lens of a post psychoanalytic, schizo-analytic methodology, entangling rhizomatic forms of thought, system theory, consciousness, machine learning, and quantum transformation.
- Queering the Script (Canada/USA, 2019) – Directed by Gabrielle Zilkha. Queerness on television has moved from subtext in series such as Xena: Warrior Princess, to all-out multi season relationships between women, as seen on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost Girl, and Carmilla. But things still aren’t perfect. In 2016, a record number of queer women died on fictional shows, which broke the hearts of queer fans and launched a successful fight for better, more diverse LGBTQ2S+ representation. Stars such as Ilene Chaiken, Stephanie Beatriz, Lucy Lawless, and Angelica Ross join with the voices of numerous kickass fangirls in this fast-paced history of queer women’s representation in contemporary television.
CRUISING THE FUTURE: SHU LEA CHEANG RETROSPECTIVE
Shu Lea Cheang is a multi-media artist working in experimental video and net art since the early 1980s. Her work deals with queer erotics, race, and institutional power.
- Fluidø (Germany, 2017) In a post-AIDS future of 2060, the Government has declared the era AIDS FREE but mutated AIDS viruses have given birth to the ZERO GEN: genetically evolved, genderfluid humans whose white fluid is a hypernarcotic. A new war on drugs sees the ZERO GEN declared illegal. The Government dispatches drug-resistant replicants for round-up arrest missions. When one of these government android’s immunity breaks down and its pleasure centres are activated, the story becomes a tangled multi-thread plot and the ZERO GENs are caught among underground drug lords, glitched super agents, a scheming corporation, and a corrupt government.
- K.U. (Japan, 2000) Envisioned as a sequel to Blade Runner, I.K.U. scandalised audiences when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Following the adventures of seven sexy replicants as they attempt to gather data for the I.K.U. system (which enables touchless orgasms), I.K.U. is a cyberpunk fuck film for the internet generation.
Challenging times open up so many hidden issues. The world is facing powerful hurricanes, extreme heat waves, deforestation, fires, and more… But, where does this leave the LGBTQ + community? Is the community finding the support it needs? Are we being left behind? Is humanity showing compassion and kindness after years of hatred? Are we finally listening to science?
- Fire & Flood (USA, 2020) – Directed by Vanessa Raditz. Fire & Flood: Queer Resilience in the era of climate change tells the story of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the fires in Santa Rosa, California, two near simultaneous climate-related disasters in the fall of 2017, through the voices of LGBTQ people who lived through them and were part of the community response. The film explores the vulnerability of LGBTQ communities to climate disasters and also lifts up queer and trans strategies for resilience, transition, and survival.
- SQIFF Shorts: Indigenous Ecofeminisms-Various directors. A series of shorts that follow the stories of queer and trans indigenous people as they navigate life on earth during climate crisis. A non-binary Anishinaabe activist attempts to revive ceremonial harvesting rituals with a 10,000-year-old Sasquatch in suburban Ontario. A queer indigenous writer and performance artist documents the ways in which Canada’s extraction industry destroys indigenous lands and parallels the child apprehension industry. And a group of young people in Brazil enjoy the outdoors over New Years; drawing, playing instruments, laying in the sun, cutting each other’s hair, and chatting shit about men.
- Water Makes Us Wet: An Ecosexual Adventure (USA, 2018) – Directed by Beth Stephens & Annie Sprinkle.
With a poetic blend of curiosity, humour, sensuality, and concern, this film chronicles the pleasures and politics of H2O from an ecosexual perspective. Travel with Annie, a former sex worker, Beth, a professor, and their dog Butch, in their E.A.R.T.H. Lab mobile unit, as they explore the role of water. Ecosexuality shifts the metaphor “Earth as Mother” to “Earth as Lover” to create a more reciprocal and empathetic relationship with the natural world. Along the way, Annie and Beth interact with a diverse range of folks including performance artists, biologists, water treatment plant workers, scholars, and others, climaxing in a shocking event that reaffirms the power of water, life, and the earth.
This is just a glimpse of what SQIFF is putting together for the growing audience. There are tons of feature films, short films, and live events taking place in a matter of two weeks! We encourage our UK followers to support the festival because the people who work behind these projects are brilliant and talented minds, eager to bring you more and more content with each passing year. In the same way, we encourage you to support independent film by subscribing to Lesflicks VOD and spreading the word. Every month, we find ourselves adding more content for your enjoyment and are very pleased to have viewers like you supporting the cause. But we want to bring you even more, because even if you don’t believe it, there’s a lot of queer content that many of the intended audience have not found yet. We intend to change that, but we cannot do it without you. Share our content using the hashtag #AmplifyLesbianFilm, and while you’re at it, dare to let us know which film or series you would like us to add to our service in the near future. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Reviewer & Writer
Barbara is a researcher and independent analyst passionate about film, editing, and writing. Upon graduating from high school, she went to film school where she was certified as an actress in audiovisual media. In search of opportunities to put her creativity into practice, she volunteered to be a member of the Lesflicks family.