Inside Out 2023: Our Review of the Local Heroes Shorts

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies by - June 01, 2023
Inside Out 2023: Our Review of the Local Heroes Shorts

There isn’t just one way to living as a 2SLGBT+ person in Canada. Inside Out, as a festival, has alwways shown that diversity whether on the outside or the inside. They’re doing that this year specially with this year’s selection of Local Heroes shorts. Let’s begin.

Therapy isn’t for everyone but it is for most people. In Nicole Bazuin’s Thriving, A Dissociated Reverie, Kitoko (Kitoko Mai) goes to a therapist, asking her how to deal with her alternate personality, Cheyenne (also Mai). The short introduces two more alternates. I wish Mai played all four, but it’s still a cute film about destigmatizing neuroatypical asexuals, among many others. I also have my version of Cheyenne whom I miss.

Beth Warrian’s Adore shows the heavy responsibility of being a queer elder. Luci, an Afro-Hispanic person, buys their nephew, Carlos a tutu and both play in his room. Their games get serious when Carlos wants to leave the room to show themselves wearing a tutu in front of their family. I read up on this short and believe the hype for it because all I’ll write is that it excellently displays the dynamics of being both POC and queer.

Parties normally have good vibes until the cops come along, a reminder that ACAB. The titular subject in Lala Gothicfish is not your typical teen party organizer though. Yes, as someone who organizes raves, her actions are bordering on illegallity, but this short documentary is one of many effective reminders that illegal doesn’t have to mean unethical. She’s also a champion of harm reduction, and the short shows that safe spaces can be actually fun.

If you’re someone in the know, you probably know at least of of the ideas coming from the two interviewees of Isak Vaillancourt’s Collective Resistance. But the things that these two Afro-Indigenous folks say smart things about about visibility and intersectionality. These words need to reach beyond the same audiences who already get to hear and be part of such conversations. The short documentary also captures both folks hang out in a part of Toronto, reminding viewers of a city as beautiful as its diversity.

September 10th shows the reach of family before and after a historical event. It shows two queer Muslim women who seem related, one living in Brooklyn and one in Toronto. Both have their girlfriends, and the older Toronto couple have a small fight before bed. This program swung from having the best cityscapes in the world to having the worst B-roll of New York. Despite this and its budget, it passes for showing that pre 9-11 had its problems for our community, however little those problems can be.

A queer POC tries to find peace in A Letter from the Ashes, which puts images on top of images next to images, and accompanying those images are the narration of that queer POC reading out what seems like a sacrastic letter to her homophobic Christian mother. I do like the fact that the documentary experimental shrot makes Toronto look ugly and Beirut beautiful. It goes without saying that I agree with the message but not the majority of the execution.

Collective Resistance was the longest short. And a few short documentaries later, the programme gives its viewers Shedding, Local Heroes’ shortest. Coincidentally, it’s about and Afroqueer person in the arts. She wants to make their hair shorter to the point of shaving most of it off. Most of us are asking ourselves what the big deal is but the interviewee calls it gender affirming care. And there’s something subversive about that that I intellectually enjoy.

As Toronto gets hotter, let’s remind ourselves of the cold old days. Simon Paluck is an emerging director dealing with 2SLGBT+ subject matter. He entered Sissy at CFF this year, a more family friendly short, but for Inside Out, he chose to enter Insta Gay, he deals with adulyt subject matter as he plays Michael, an ex of the titular influencer. Maybe it’s the shift of demographic target that works but it’s both fomally challenging and genuinely funny.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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