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Montréal’s image+nation LGBT film festival

image+nation, Montréal’s international LGBT film festival, celebrates two decades of cultural [r_evolution] with a mind-blowing 20th edition from November 15 to 25, 2007 Montréal, Thursday, November 1st 2007image+nation, Canada’s oldest and largest LGBT film festival, will cap off two remarkable decades of vibrant queer cinema when its 20th edition unspools in Montréal from November 15 to 25. What a core group of relentlessly devoted LGBT community organizers, artists and academics established a generation ago has grown from a modest if valiant annual happening into an internationally renowned film festival with a strong loyal following and an always impressive lineup featuring the year’s best queer offerings. image+nation, which caters to the cinematic tastes of queers as well as queer-friendly patrons, will serve up a cornucopia of groundbreaking works of fiction, enlightening docs, provocative shorts and everything in between during 11 days of wall-to-wall inventive cinema. What’s more, an international workshop bringing together a plethora of eminent scholars, artists and programmers from five continents will mark image+nation’s twentieth anniversary, asking ‘’where are we now, where have we been, and where are we going?’’  

OPENING AND CLOSING FILMS

On Thursday, November 15, The Bubble, the acclaimed new feature by Israel’s gifted Eytan Fox (an image+nation festival favourite with Yossi & Jagger, Walk on Water), will kick off the festivities at Cinéma Impérial. Fox’s The Bubble shatters ready-made assumptions about young Israeli life by zeroing in on the plight of music store clerk and part-time reservist Noam, whose epicurean lifestyle of partying, amorous toying and pop culture binging is put to the test during an awkward checkpoint body search where he falls under the spell of the alluring Palestinian Ashraf. Romantic comedy meets political tragedy in this authentic portrait of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tel Aviv, referred to as ‘’The Bubble’’ by its inhabitants, serves as backdrop to this sobering tale of star-crossed lovers oft described as a ‘’very modern and queer Romeo and Juliet.’’  On Sunday, November 25th, Switzerland’s Comme des Voleurs (à l’est) will wrap up the festivities with its zany take on coming out Polish! Filmmaker Lionel Baier (Garçon Stupide) directs and stars in this alternately hilarious and somber exploration of immigration and sexual orientation busting at the seams with colourful characters and unexpected plot twists! The premise has young Radio Suisse Normande journalist Lionel, with a supportive family and in a seemingly idyllic relationship with dreamboat Serge, falling head over heels for Polish culture when his father reveals to him that the family bloodline crosses paths with a Polish ancestor somewhere along the road. Both features will bookend the festival by offering new perspectives on identity that transcend sexuality and question what it means to be a citizen of the world in our current globalized context.   

VANGUARD DOC SERIES

In homage to two decades of inspired queer filmmakers and an uninterrupted flow of compelling LGBT-themed films, image+nation will present a special retrospective documentary series on vanguard artists and activists who have made profound contributions to contemporary queer culture. Among the profiled visual mavericks are Kenneth Anger (Anger Me, Elio Gelmini, Canada), Robert Mapplethorpe (Black, White and Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe, James Crump, USA), Derek Jarman (Derek Jarman: Life as Art, Andy Kimpton-Nye, UK), Barbara Hammer (Lover Other: The Story of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Barbara Hammer, USA) and Andy Warhol (A Walk into the Sea: Danny Williams & the Warhol Factory, Esther B. Robinson, USA) Basic human rights and social justice are also on image+nation’s advocacy agenda, as the vital documentaries A Jihad for Love (Parvez Sharma, US/UK/France/Germany/Australia), Belgrade Pride (Douglas Conrad, USA) and Two Homelands: Cuba and the Night (Christian Liffers, Germany) corroborate the necessity to shed light on the drastically dissimilar global LGBT realities to affect change in certain parts of the world. A Jihad for Love’s director, as well as producer Sandi Dubowski (Trembling Before G-d) and one of the film’s characters, will be in Montréal for the Quebec premiere of their film, the first full-length documentary about devout gay and lesbian Muslims.    

STELLAR LINEUP CULLED FROM WORLD FESTIVAL CIRCUIT

Staying true to form, image+nation’s 20th edition promises to deliver a slew of award-winning works hailing from the four corners of the globe. For starters, image+nation20’s centerpiece feature, André Téchiné’s Les témoins – nominated for a Golden Bear award at this year’s Berlinale Film Festival – is a masterful ensemble drama set in 1984 Paris during the AIDS outbreak. Among the feature films in competition are Avant que j’oublie (Jacques Nolot, France), a spare, unconventional treatment of hustler-dom by actor-director Nolot (Sous le sable, Les Roseaux sauvages). Butterfly: A Grimm Love Story (Martin Weisz, Germany) is an imaginative interpretation of the real-life Armin Miewes and Bernd Jürgen Brandes case of consensual cannibalism that was until recently banned in Germany. Nina’s Heavenly Delights (Pratibha Parmar, UK) is a spicy Bollywood-laden flick about the importance of taking one’s time in Indian cuisine and love, from the director of Jodie: An Icon. The first South Korean feature by an out queer director, No Regret (Leesong Hee-il, South Korea) follows openly gay orphan Su-Min on his journey to study art design in Seoul in this formidable directorial debut. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Duncan Roy, USA) is an audacious, openly gay interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s classic novella of loss and redemption, and a magnificent companion piece for our deeply shallow times! Spider Lillies (Zero Chou, Taiwan), is a powerful lesbian tragedy replete with tattoos, soft-porn webcam fun and magic realism that garnered the Berlinale’s Teddy Award earlier this year.  Also be on the lookout for Jamie Babbit’s (But I’m a Cheerleader, TV’s Popular) latest gem Itty Bitty Titty Committee (USA), a riot-grrrl rom-com with a queer spin and a killer soundtrack. Breakfast with Scot (Laurie Lynd, Canada) is a Canadian Ma vie en rose – with skating and snow – about a high-profile NHL commentator and professional closet queen who will go to great lengths to avoid laying his cards out for all to see! As part of a special 20+ Classics initiative, two newly restored queer classics will also be screened: Bill Sherwood’s Parting Glances (USA, 1986) and Philippe Vallois’ Johan: mon été 1975 (France, 1976). Also look for titles from Belgium, Brazil, Hungary, Thailand, Argentina, Germany, Norway and Mexico on image+nation’s enviable roster.  

LGBTV, GENERATION Q AND JURY

LGBtv will once again be in the spotlight at this year’s fest, with two groundbreaking series that propel queer characters into the mainstream media sphere. The clever, titillating British export Sugar Rush explores what it means a young, horny lesbian in 21st-century Brighton, while the R&B-infused The DL Chronicles is here! TV’s fictional look into the the ‘’downlow’’ phenomenon, and the various ways men of colour who lead double sex lives surreptitiously engage in homosexual activity. Finally, Katherine Sender’s engrossing Further off the Straight and Narrow examines the current media trend of saturating cable and tv programming with LGBT characters. She seeks out the refreshing perspectives of many queer pundits, who question the extent to which this mostly innocuous gay visibility actually deviates from the straight and narrow.  As always, the young’ins will get their queer fix via Generation q, a wide-ranging collection of features, documentaries and shorts that run the gamut in their representations of young queer life in the 21st century. Screening on Saturday, November 24 (JA de Sève Theatre) at 1:00pm will be free for cinephiles aged 23 and younger!  The image+nation20 jury will share the daunting task of naming the Best Feature, Best Short and Best Documentary, and is composed of Lawrence Ferber (Programmer, Philadelphia Int’l Gay & Lesbian Film Fest), Nikki Forrest (Quebec video and installation artist), Claudie Lévesque (Quebec filmmaker), Andrew Murphy (Programming Manager, Atlantic Film Festival Association) and Philippe Tasca (President, Rendez-Vous Pictures).     INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP: THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF LGBT CULTURE + FILMFrom Friday, November 16 to Sunday, November 18, an esteemed crop of artists, scholars, researchers and curators from five continents will gather in Montréal for an international workshop that will celebrate the worldwide queer festival movement’s three decades of existence. Taking Montreal’s image+nation as a case study, influential leaders such as Barbara Hammer, John Greyson, Tom Waugh, Patti White and Wieland Speck will share ideas and experience on the festival phenomenon, assess past achievements and look into the challenges that lie ahead. Keynote addresses will also be made by lauded local theorist Chantal Nadeau, prize-winning Toronto video artist Richard Fung and revered critic B. Ruby Rich, author of Chick Flicks and the inventor of the term ‘’New Queer Cinema’’ some fifteen years ago. A special director’s roundtable on Sunday, moderated by local author Matthew Hays, will culminate in the Montreal premiere of the rare French avant-garde classic Salomé (Téo Hernandez, France, 1976, Super 8), introduced by guest curator Greg Youmans (University of California – Santa Cruz).    

BOX OFFICE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

TICKET PRESALES:        Bar Fût-Zion (1441 Amherst) November 10-11 – 3pm-8pmNovember 12-13 – 5pm-8pm During the festival, the main box office for image+nation tickets is the Cinéma Impérial (1432 De Bleury), starting at 4:30pm on weekdays and 30 minutes before the first screening on weekends. On the day of the screening, tickets can be purchased at the theatre starting 60 minutes before the screening.  Tickets can also be purchased online: www.image-nation.org  Prices: Single ticket $10; special events: $15+, movie buff pass 10@$85, student and senior (65+) ticket $7.    The 20th edition of image+nation will take place at the following venues: Cinéma Impérial (1432 De Bleury), the NFB Theatre (1564 Saint-Denis) and the JA de Sève Theatre (Concordia University, 1400 De Maisonneuve West). For further information about the festival, complete schedule and to purchase tickets, please visit www.image-nation.org

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