Finding ‘the gay’ at TIFF

We’re easy

Finding “the gay” at the Toronto International Film Festival is one of the biggest games we play here in the video department. Sometimes it is easy. David Thorpe’s new documentary, Do I Sound Gay?, is an example of an easy get. It has the word “gay” in the title and, as far as subject matter goes, it is bang on. A slam dunk. Gay content and lots of celebrity content. Dan Savage, Margaret Cho and George Takei were all interviewed for the documentary. Our requests for interviews with the filmmaker and celebrities are in.

But often, gay content is hidden behind the camera. An outwardly straight-looking film can be fair game if it is directed by a gay guy or a lesbian. An example is François Ozon’s The New Girlfriend. Seems really straight. But Ozon is a queer filmmaker who we have been following for years. We have put in a request for an interview.

Sometimes publicists aren’t sure they want the word out that a film is “gay.” The queer angle is obscured, or willfully ignored.

One of my biggest failures as a producer was missing out on the gay content in Philomena. Oh yes I did. I read the synopsis when it premiered at TIFF 2013 and really couldn’t see any queer angle. Until, that is, after everyone else had seen it and the talent we would have loved to interview had all been booked up. We had talked to many others in the industry about possible LGBT content, but Philomena — and a reason to interview Judi Dench on the red carpet — slipped through our hands.

That won’t happen this year. At least, I hope. We have a crack team of film geeks and buffs working with us. Graeme Coleman, our former intern, will be on the red carpet looking for all our celebrity content. Peter Knegt, who has been to all the major festivals and knows film from the inside out, will be doing interviews for us. And Gordon Bowness, who worked for years as Xtra’s arts editor, will also be doing interviews. We are lucky. They will be out asking questions, doing interviews, following gossip and just being in-the-know.

We are also talking to insiders like Andrew Murphy, programmer at the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival. In the below interview, he gives his tips on finding “the gay” at TIFF.

But, most importantly, we have you. Tell us what you want to see covered. What have we missed? This blog is a bit of an experiment to see how we can increase our conversation with you, our valued and irreplaceable audience.


Talk to us.

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