image+nation 2023: Two Films Not to Miss

The image+nation festival is celebrating its 36th anniversary from November 16th to 26th, 2023. Canada’s original LGBT2SQ+ film festival that celebrates new queer storytelling is hosting both a theatrical edition in Montreal and a hybrid edition across Canada. There will also be in-person events and panel discussions along the curated 11 days of programming. Emphasizing diversity through its 175 films, image+nation has showings from over 27 countries, representing all corners of the globe. Other spotlights include Queerment Quebec, Made Au Canada, INDIGIQUEER, and a focus on France in Focus France. 

Opening the festival is the documentary film Marinette, Thursday, November 16th, 19H00 at Cinéma Imperial, which tells the story of Marinette Pinchon, the first French soccer player to sign a professional contract in the U.S, and of the first major French sportswoman to come out as queer. Filmmakers Virginie Verrier and Marinette Pichon will be in attendance. 

The closing event will be the world premiere of Venus Envy: The House of Venus Story, Saturday, November 25th 19H00 at Cinéma Imperial. The film is based on Canada’s multidisciplinary artists whose mission has always been to spread joy while simultaneously opening up discussions about gender expression. Also featured that evening is a one-of-a-kind immersive show and party by legendary art and performance platform, Wiggle.

The section “A Question Of Gender” is back, including the film Close to You starring and produced by Elliot Page. Canada’s lesbian community will also be celebrated and highlighted in the section with a screening of Marusya Bociurkiew’s Analogue Revolution: How Feminist Media Changed the World, which will be preceded by a discussion with the filmmaker and participants. 

Highlighted in the “A Question Of Gender” section was one of the films that I was able to screen, the documentary Summer Qamp from Canadian director Jennifer Markowitz. The film follows the young generation of LGBT2SQ+ youth who live in the conservative communities of southern Alberta, where they might not always be accepted or find friends who are part of their community. However, Camp fYrefly is a bastion of safety during the summer where camp attendees and counselors are all part of a queer community that creates a safe and loving space. Following these campers is a great way to see the evolution of each and everyone’s identity through a safe space, as they gain friends for life that can relate to living as an LGBT2SQ+ youth in a conservative community. Finally, we can see what it means to be yourself and enjoy your youthful years while having friends who accept and help you grow. 

*November 2th 13:00 Salle J A De Sève*

Another documentary that I enjoyed was Studio One Forever from director Marc Saltarelli. From 1974 to 1994, Studio One in West Hollywood was seen as the center of queer nightlife in the city, as well as the staging ground for the rise of LGBTQ rights and fight against the AIDS crisis. On the threat of its demolition, old patrons and workers visit the spot to share fond and not-so-fond memories. One of the issues presented in the film is how the club let in white men only, turning away most African American clients, as well as women. This would only progressively get better as the years moved on and acceptance grew.

One of the hardest and most profound chapters in the film was the “decade from hell” where interviewees reflect on the AIDS epidemic. One former staff member showed a photograph of the 150 staff members, reflecting that there were only two still alive. However, we also see how Studio One hosted benefits for the AIDS crisis, featuring the likes of comedian Joan Rivers. The final moments showcase how Studio One was not just a club, but an institutional landmark whose history and legacy is well worth preserving as the forefront for the LGBT2SQ+ rights movement all these years later. 

*November 18th 19:00 Stock and Soda*


For more information on image+nation programming and tickets, visit: