What to see at the 2023 Inside Out Film Festival

June 3, 2024

Nishina Loft

Our top pics of films, shorts and programs not to miss at this year's queer film fest

Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ film fest is back! Starting Thursday May 25 you can catch films both in various theatres around the city and online. With Co-Head and Artistic Director Andrew Murphy and Co-Head and Executive Director Elie Chivi as the helm this year, the festival feels fresh and boasts a bunch of super fun, serious, beautiful, important, international and local fillms worth checking out.

We are so lucky to have a festival like this in the city!

These are just a handful of films that explore various stories from our local community to around the world. We get to see the similarities and the contrasts of queer experiences globally. Let these films bring you on journeys of love, exploration, protest, laughter, expression and so much more. Get your tickets, check out the full festival lineup, and get ready to be amazed by these queer films!


The Venus Effect (Venuseffekten) (Dir. Anna Emma Haudal, 2022, Denmark)
May 26th - 6:30pm

Responsible and level-headed Liv believes she has her whole life figured out. She works with her parents at their garden centre and goes home each night to her comfortable relationship with her loving boyfriend. Her stable and simple life, however, is much more fragile than she thought, and the cracks begin to show with the arrival of eccentric artist Andrea. As the two women grow closer Liv’s life is thrown off course and she must contend with a breakup, a divorce, and an identity crisis that jeopardizes her shot at a happy life with the woman she loves.

Bloom Room (Dir. Tristen Sutherland, 2023, Canada)
May 27th - 4:00pm

When Leo turns their love of plants into an online community for Black folks to talk about all things foliage, they discover that community is the key to staying rooted. As Leo’s group of Black millennials become more entangled in each other’s lives, Leo, Amira, Cain, and Isla, find purpose in caretaking for their plants and their budding relationships. This comedic and heartfelt series explores the complexities of Black mental health and the bonds of chosen family, through the chaotic and precarious lens of young Black adults in Toronto.

Kokomo City (Dir. D.Smith, 2023, USA)
May 27th - 7:00pm

Through conversation and laughter, D. Smith presents the stories of four Black transgender sex workers in New York and Georgia. These women offer unapologetic and unfiltered reflections on belonging and identity within the Black community and beyond. Dreams and memories, past lives and new beginnings, battles fought and won are openly shared. D. Smith, a Grammy-nominated artist, creates a unique and exhilarating soundtrack that matches the protagonists’ energetic personalities and the film’s striking black and white visuals. Kokomo City is a vibrant portrait of a community tired of stigmatization and ready to take ownership of their stories.

Hummingbirds (Dir. Silvia Del Carmen Castaños, Estefanía "Beba" Contreras, 2023, USA)
May 28th - 4:15pm

Filmmakers and activists Silvia Del Carmen Castaños and Estefanía "Beba" Contreras are coming of age in Laredo, Texas, a stone’s throw away from the Mexico border. Stuck in an immigration process with the ever-present threat of deportation for their families, they boldly refuse to be scared into submission, spending their days planning protest actions for legal abortion and against border control abuses. Amidst the intensity of their lives, they express themselves with music, poetry, and art, creating magic in everyday moments.

This Place (Dir. V.T. Nayani, 2022, Canada)
May 28th - 6:30pm

Kawenniióhstha leaves her community of Kahnawà:ke near Montreal to attend university in Toronto and to find her Iranian father, who she has never met. Malai is a Tamil woman dealing with her father’s terminal illness and trying to decide what her future should look like. The women meet by chance but form an intense attraction and bond as they navigate complex issues of identity and family. In each other they have found understanding and comfort but is this new connection enough or will the pressures of their legacies overwhelm them?

The Colours of the World Between Black and White (Dir. Babatunde Apalowo, 2023, Nigeria)
May 28th - 9:15pm

Bambino is a delivery driver in Lagos, living a quiet life and holding his neighbours at arm’s length. When he meets Bawa, a friendly and easygoing photographer, something clicks. But in a country where homosexuality is illegal and taboo, Bambino doesn’t know what to do with their connection; judging by the life choices of his friend Ifeyinwa, the options seem limited. The subtlety and restraint in Babatunde Apalowo’s much-lauded debut feature is part of its power to move audiences. He creates characters that feel like real people, and we fear for them and cheer for them as they find their way.

Wolf and Dog (Lobo e Cão) (Dir. Cláudia Varejão, 2022, Portugal/France)
May 31st - 9:15pm

Friends Ana and Luis were born in São Miguel, an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean ruled by religion and traditions. Growing up, both have been expected to fit into the lives that have been laid out for them. Watching Luis push back against his father’s expectations, Ana begins to question the world around her. When her friend Cloé arrives from Canada, Ana embarks on a journey filled with new desires that will reveal the right sea for her to sail. Wolf and Dog is an enchanting ode to the big impact of one small island’s queer community.

Shorts Programs

Krush The Wrestler (US)

Let It Be Me (8 Films)
May 26th - 9:00pm

Sex clubs, teddy bears, cruising, and erotic wrestling, this collection of shorts is all about owning your truth and not being afraid to express yourself.

Unless We Dance (Columbia)

BOLD (6 Films)
May 27th - 1:30pm

Magical, vulnerable, raw, complex, and most of all supportive best describes this year's multifaceted program. Focused on amplifying Black creators and their stories, these films show how vast the Black experience is and how beautiful it can be when Black folks are at the helm.

Lala Gothicfish (Canada)

Local Heroes (8 Films)
June 1st - 6:45pm

From raves to resistance, this collection of shorts highlights the work of local queer storytellers making films that explore the multitudes this city has to offer. INSTAGAY is one of the many shorts making this program not one to miss, and the best way to support local queer cinema!

Say Uncle (Canada)

Joking (7 Films)
June 1st - 9:30pm

These short films about loud neighbours, vampires, and inner saboteurs prove that anything can be comedic if it’s in the right hands.

Cupid Into Transmutation (Netherlands)

Thrive (8 Films)
June 2nd - 9:30pm

Inside Out’s specially-curated program showcasing the work of trans and non binary filmmakers. Curated by and for the trans* community

The 2023 Inside Out Festival runs from Thursday May 25th to Sunday June 4th in a hybrid format with in-person cinema screenings as well as online streaming. In-person and digital tickets are $15 or discounted to $12.75 for students, seniors, underwaged patrons and patrons with disabilities. There is a 6-ticket package for $75 or an all access digital pass for $225. Go to the Inside Out website to get more information about tickets and screenings.