Out On Screen opens tonight!

And yours truly is on the jury this year! This means I get to see films for free, my favorite kind!

Okay, enough with the exclaimation marks. This is my little blog about Queer film festivals and my history with them. It all began rather innocently in 1994 when I went to Vancouver from Saskatoon to see a big city all on my own. Remember I would have been a little teenager at this time. Out on Screen was happening that summer, and I wound up at Video In watching these short films about being a homo. Wow. At that time “positive” queer images had yet to explode into the pop culture, and remember, I was from Saskatchewan. We didn’t have a Pride parade because the head of the Gay and Lesbian centre was so self hating he believed it would be “rude.”

So wow, queer films. I even got the shirt I was so impressed. It had a fish on it. A gay fish? Whatever, that didn’t matter. I was inspired.

And I went back to Saskatchewan and I started to think about making videos. My videos. Videos about being a queer teenager. Videos about my life that I wasn’t seeing depicted anywhere. I didn’t even know it was possible to be a queer teenager. In fact, when I came out (at fourteen) some older queers still believed that I was too young to know. I dunno, sexuality is so in your face. How can a wet pussy or a boner be denied? And why should I waste my time with boys in dry panties?

So my friend Christopher Lefler was at the time going through a personal hell being splashed across the media outlets nationwide. He had outed the lieutenant govenor of Saskatchewan in an art piece and was kicked out of grad school for it. At the same time, he and some friends were putting together Saskatoon’s first queer film festival, including a workshop led by the lovely Maureen Bradley. I was one of the workshop participants.

And to make a long story short, with some pipe cleaner dollies with googly eyes I hit the queer festival circut with a bang. I started getting calls from lesbians in Berlin asking for my tape, and it was all very exciting.

Wow. That was nearly ten years ago, and since then queer festivals have grown and changed as well as me. Some of my happiest memories are of queer film festivals. In fact, I got together with my first girlfriend, Ivana, at Inside Out in Toronto.

Sometimes the programs are duds, but then I always remember, someone in the audience is thinking the same way I did. I could do this. I should do this. I wanna make a video. So do it. Now Out on Screen has the queer scholarship program (much like the workshop I was in, albeit much more intensive), and some really great work has come out of it.

Anyway, there’s the end of my Yay for Festivals blog. I think in the next blog I may talk about my rat. His name is Clive. He’s a creamy coloured Fancy Rat from Montreal, so he is a bit of a bilingual squeaker.

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