“When we include and support the expression of marginalized voices, we give ourselves the gift of knowing the vastness and wholeness of our societies and even our own humanity." — Keith Behrman
Representation in cinema has the power to change the social fabric of societies, fostering safer, more tolerant and inclusive communities and can be a powerful tool in helping us achieve‘Justice and Protection for All’, which is the theme of this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The arts, and cinema in particular, give us a unique platform on which to share stories of diversity, struggle and triumph, acting as a bridge between LGBTQ2 communities and others.
To mark this occasion and the important work that lies ahead in achieving full representation in cinema and creating more socially inclusive societies, Canada House is highlighting some of the most thought-provoking and inspiring Canadian LGBTQ productions showcased at various film festivals across the UK this year, underscoring the importance of queer representation in cinema.
London’s LGBTQ2 film festival, BFI Flare showcased nine incredible Canadian LGBTQ2 productions including ‘Splinters’, ‘The Fruit Machine’, and ‘JT Leroy’, whose European premiere was held at the closing gala of the festival. Michael Blythe, BFI Flare’s Senior Programmer, says “At the heart of BFI Flare is a commitment to telling as wide a range of stories as possible– stories which speak to all members of the LGBTQ2 community”.
Following BFI Flare was Canada Now, a film festival showcasing the best of new Canadian cinema, and which brought tales of restless youth, indigenous stories of tragedy and healing as well as a riveting documentary about the search for social justice and freedom of speech. Beyond this, Canada Now featured Keith Behrman’s latest production ‘Giant Little Ones’ - a heartfelt and intimate coming-of-age story about friendship, self-discovery and the power of love without labels. On the importance of LGBTQ2 cinema, the director says, “When we include and support the expression of marginalized voices — be they LGBTQ2, racial, socio-economic, or others — we give ourselves the gift of knowing the vastness and wholeness of our societies and even our own humanity."
The High Commission of Canada is proud to see Canadian productions being showcased in films festivals across London. Beyond entertainment, diversity in cinema contributes to shifting perceptions and developing an inclusive and unbiased society. As Christa Dickenson, Director General of Telefilm Canada puts it, “our country, our world, is filled with creative storytellers with unique perspectives that move us to a greater understanding of ourselves; and it is our responsibility to support these voices and the rich talent from LGBTQ2 communities. Our mission at Telefilm Canada is to see bigger - [be] inclusive, and represents all Canadians.”