The city of Toronto always has a lot to offer in terms of diverse film festivals. These festivals offer a valuable spotlight to wonderful film that may otherwise go unnoticed and unenjoyed, and deserves to be recognized and celebrated. One upcoming festival that we are especially looking forward to is Inside Out: The Toronto LGBT Film Festival. Now in its impressive twenty-fourth year and running from May 22-June 1, Inside Out 2014 offers something for everybody.

Inside Out is a unique film festival that features film and video created by and about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) individuals. Over the years since 1991, this festival has widened its scope and grown in attendance, and is now the largest LGBT film festival in Canada and one of the top five in the entire world. The festival also boasts artist talks, panel discussions, installations, and parties that emphasize films from across Canada and around the world. Inside Out now enjoys a solid reputation as an international frontrunner in the exposition of queer film. Here are a few upcoming films about which we are especially excited for:

The Way He Looks

Inside Out will kick off its programming with the highly anticipated Brazilian film The Way He Looks from director Daniel Ribeiro. Based on his popular short film I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone, The Way He Looks expands upon the relatable characters and sensitive ideas Ribeiro has already established. Three teenagers navigate the trials of growing up amidst love and longing in this sweet coming-of-age tale. This work will appeal to fans of Ribeiro’s work, young people, and anybody who remembers what it was like to be in that stage of life when the lines between friendship and romance stayed continually blurred.  

Tru Love

Of course, one of the most highly anticipated aspects of any film festival at the Arts Guild is the homegrown Canadian programming. This year, we cannot wait for co-directors Kate Johnston and Shauna MacDonald’s Tru Love, a film that examines the dynamics and nuances of attraction. Tru (Shauna MacDonald) and Suzanne (Christine Horne) have long been friends, but this friendship is put to the test when Tru finds herself unexpectedly falling for Suzanne’s mother Alice (Kate Trotter). This film promises emotional performances from its talented and local leading ladies, and is certainly not to be missed.

52 Tuesdays

The film chosen to conclude a festival is often as important as the one with which it begins, and the programmers at Inside Out have certainly made a fine choice with the Australian offering 52 Tuesdays, from director Sophie Hyde. 52 Tuesdays tells the story of Billie, a sixteen-year-old girl who is sent to live with her father while her mother undergoes a sex alteration. Billie visits her mother once a week for a year, and the film follows the progression of her mother’s transformation as well as their relationship. This film is worth special notice due to its unique filming technique, which saw the work shot over consecutive Tuesdays over the course of a year. It also features non-professional actors who only received their scripts – and subsequently learned of their stories – one week at a time. This groundbreaking strategy has the potential to a result in a new kind of film unlike any we have seen before.

Youth At Inside Out

Finally, a unique aspect of the Inside Out festival is its youth program, which allows for lower ratings and ticket prices for those under eighteen for specific screenings. Mixed Shorts: Teenage Dream is a collection of short films specifically focused on the troubles of the teenage years, while Shorts for Shorties is a free event featuring cartoons and kid friendly shorts designed to encourage young ones to always stay true to themselves. I am always happy to see that festivals such as Inside Out are displaying content especially for young people, who should be allotted the chance to enjoy film as well, although these films can doubtlessly be appreciated by people of all ages.