There are plenty of fantastic short films to check out at the 2021 Inside Out Film Festival which runs from May. 27th- June 6th.
Listed below are ten short films that stood out:
The Beauty President – Directed by Whitney Skauge – 5 Stars -U.S.A
The Beauty President tells the fantastic true story of drag queen Joan Jett Blakk’s historic run for President of the United States in 1992 as an openly Queer-write in candidate. It is emotionally resonant, relevant and inspiring. Masterfully directed and edited by Whitney Skauge, this wonderful true story is told through archival footage from the 90’s and a recent interview with Terence Alan Smith who is Joan Jett Blakk. The Beauty President is essential viewing. To quote Joan Jett Blakk, “Now if a bad actor can be elected President, why not a good Drag Queen?” Amen!
Red String of Fate – Directed by Lance Fernandes and Lovina Yavari- 5 Stars – Canada
Directed by Lance Fernandes and Lovina Yavari and written by Onna Chan, this sci-fi short film set in 2090 is excellent. Chan and Yavari also star in the film and each deliver great performances in their respective roles. A visually stunning, captivating, futuristic love story, Red String of Fate is definitely a must-watch.
Disruptor Conductor – Directed by Sharon Lewis – 5 Stars – Canada
Disruptor Conductor is a beautiful documentary about trailblazing Orchestra Conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser. Bartholomew-Poyser makes it his mission to create live orchestral shows for those outside of the traditional audiences. This culminates in the documentary with him teaming with classically trained and extremely entertaining violinist. That violinist is drag queen Thorgy Thor of Rupaul’s Drag Race fame to put on the very first Orchestral Drag Show in all of Canada. Wonderfully directed by Sharon Lewis, Bartholomew-Poyser’s true life story is incredibly moving and inspiring. Disruptor Conductor is definitely guaranteed to make you feel as Thorgy Thor would say, “incredible!”
Her & Her – Directed by Jade Anouka – 4.5 Stars – United Kingdom
Her & Her is an amazing experimental short film that follows the journey of Her & Her’s relationship through vibrant poetry and beatboxing. Her & Her is wonderfully written and directed by Jade Anouka who also stars as one half of Her. Grace Savage also stars as one half of Her and composed and performed the fantastic music in the film. It is a creatively bold and fresh take on how our differences can unite us and enrich our lives and relationships. Like this great quote from the film suggests, “We should all live in colour, not stuck in monochrome”.
Of Hearts and Castles – Directed by Ruben Navarro – 4.5 Stars- Spain/U.S.A
There is such beautiful storytelling by writer and director Ruben Navarro in the poignant short film Of Hearts and Castles. It centres around two men, Marcus and Angel wonderfully played by Jonathan B. Chambers and Luis Carazo, who are dealing with heartbreak and loneliness that find one another by chance on a night out. It is romantic and heartwarming and shows the power of connection in our healing when we let our walls down.
MOTHER – Directed by Jas Pitt & Kate Stonehill- 4 Stars – United Kingdom/Brazil
MOTHER contrasts the lively world of ballroom culture in Rio De Janeiro with some of the harsh realities the LGBTQ+ community faces living in present day Brazil. The main narrative is told through the eyes of the Mother of the House of Imperio, Makayla. She’s a strong trans woman, and Brainer, a house dancer who has recently experienced a violent sexual assault. It is an emotional and intimate story about the importance of chosen family, ballroom culture and the power of self-expression.
Meta – Directed by Sydne Horton – 4 Stars- U.S.A
Artie Talbot (Jordan Gonzalez), a self-conscious trans boy attends the High School prom with best friend Lucy (Tess Speranza). And an emotional and physical metamorphosis occurs before the announcement of Prom King. Gonzalez and Speranza are both great in their roles, and their characters are charming and relatable. Meta has plenty of fun elements of horrors with a twist, most specifically referencing the horror classic, “Carrie” in a fresh way.
The Night Train – Directed by Jerry Carlsson- 4 Stars- Sweden
Written and directed by Jerry Carlsson Nattaget, The Night Train is subtly powerful storytelling about intoxicating desire. Oskar (Erik Nilsson) and Ahmad (Khalil Ben Gharbia) are complete strangers who happen to lock eyes on the night train. They are heading to unknown destinations in Sweden, leading them to a brief but potentially life-changing encounter. With little to no dialogue, Carlsson manages to seamlessly build erotic tensions through visuals and sound. Oskar won’t forget his Night Train experience and neither will audiences. Also, oranges have never looked so juicy and delicious.
Kind Of – Directed by Noah Schamus- 4 Stars- U.S.A
Kind Of focuses in on two trans masculine folks who have recently begun an open relationship. The short film really captures how our personal insecurities can come up in relationships when perhaps least expected, like before brunch with friends. Garcia and Avi Roque, the two leads, have great on-screen chemistry and they both really drive the story through their performances. Arno Mokros and Noah Schamus wrote Kind Of with Schamus also directing the short film. It is an enjoyable short film that realistically portrays how we work through our relationship issues.
Escaping the Fragile Planet – Directed by Thanasis Tsimpinis- 4 Stars- Greece
In Escaping the Fragile Planet, writer and director Thanasis Tsimpinis shows that no matter how bleak the world may be, love and connection can still be found. It is an effective, end of the world- boy-meets-boy story with great visuals. There’s also great dialogue and engaging acting by leads Mikhail Tabakakis and Nikos Lekakis.
- Rated: NR
- Genre: Biography, documentary, Romance, Sci-Fi, Short
- Release Date: 5/27/2021
- Directed by: Jade Anouka, Lance Fernandes, Lovina Yavari, Sharon Lewis, Whitney Skauge
- Starring: Grace Savage, Jade Anouka, Lovina Yavari, Onna Chan
- Produced by: Byron Wong
- Written by: Jade Anouka, Onna Chan
- Studio: Breakwater Studios, Iron Bay Films, Oll Collective