By Gurman Sahota, May 19 2017 —
The Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival is returning for a 19th year of screening films and hosting events to promote LGBTQ visibility. The festival — which runs from today until May 27 — boasts a variety of genres and narratives. Offerings range from the “Queer People of Colour Short Films Package” to the heartfelt reading event “Queer Folks Read Things They Wrote Once Upon a Time.”
Executive director and programmer James Demers says the festival is opening doors to allyship through films with universal storytelling.
“Even if you are not [in the] LGBTQ community, the festival is 100 per cent for you as well.” Demers says. “Watching each other’s stories is the only way that we can learn about each other.”
The nine-day festival has evolved considerably since its origin as a featured movie night within the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers. Fairy Tales became its own nonprofit organization amid growing demand and they now host three events throughout the year in addition to the film festival — diversity education, a spoken word program within the Coming Out Monologues and the Youth Queer Media Program.
“[When it comes to the arts] Calgary gets a bit of a bad rap. The arts community here actually does some really wonderful stuff and has a dense history,” Demers says.
Though the festival will screen some international films, Canadian content is highlighted throughout. One is the innovative documentary Two Hard Things, Two Soft Things, which explores the first pride festival in Nunavut.
Demers says the festival is peppered with events, boasts accessibility and attempts to feature narratives that go beyond the traditional representation of LGBTQ folks.
“The vast majority of the festival is super accessible so you’re welcome to attend regardless of where you are on the spectrum,” Demers says. “The benefit of a film festival is that if you’re showing 37 films, you can get a lot of diversity. We’re really critical about the narratives. We’re really aware about how queer representation has been in modern media we try to have a much wider range.”
The Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival runs from May 19 – May 27. Three-day passes, full festival passes and a complete film schedule are available online at fairytalesfilmfest.com. Check back at thegauntlet.ca for more coverage of the festival throughout the upcoming week.