Scottish Queer International Film Festival announces 2018 programme

The essential SQIFF returns with a programme featuring queer East Asian and Arab cinema, an asexual reading of the Wizard of Oz and a chance to experience queer virtual reality

Article by Jamie Dunn | 25 Oct 2018
  • White Rabbit

The Scottish Queer International Film Festival continues to go from strength to strength. Now in its fourth year, the festival returns in a new winter slot and kicks off 5 December with a night of boundary-pushing contemporary LGBTQ+ shorts from around the world, all making their Scottish premiere. Part of this opening programme will be Campbell X and Kayza Rose’s VISIBLE, filmmakers who "explore QTIPOC (queer trans intersex people of colour) histories, challenging mainstream perceptions and sanitisation of legacies, and celebrating complexity, multiplicity, myths, gossip, and legends."

The curtain comes down on the festival four nights later with the Scottish premiere of Daryl Wein’s White Rabbit, a curious-looking comedy about a Korean-American performance artist who works as part of TaskRabbit, a real app where people enlist other human beings to do jobs around the house.

In between, you’ll find a festival where the focus is very much on those marginalised within film culture. “We are considering queer D/deaf and disabled representation and access with several events, including a discussion on combining access and aesthetics with EJ Raymond, Caglar Kimyoncu, and Collective Text, and a Deaf Perspectives shorts programme,” says SQIFF in a statement. “We also have a strand on Queer Arab Lives, in partnership with Dardishi magazine, and an East Asian Focus with LGBTQ+ films from China, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea.”

A SQIFF highlight looks to be Wild Nights with Emily, a comic take on the life of poet Emily Dickinson. Instead of the hermit spinster that she’s often imagined as, Madeleine Olnek's film uses Dickinson’s own vivid writing to paint her as an altogether gayer character, in both senses of the word. There’s also a chance to revisit The Wizard of Oz, with Dorothy and co viewed through a lens that transforms them into an allegory for asexuality, and a screening of doc Dykes, Camera, Action! with a special introduction from poet, critic, and activist So Mayer.

As ever, the festival is peppered with a range of inclusive, participatory workshops, from Is My Vagina Normal?, run by Florence Schechter from London’s new Vagina Museum, to a look at Telling Trans Stories, led by award-winning filmmaker Jason Barker (whose deeply personal documentary A Deal with the Universe, following his journey to pregnancy as a trans man, will also have its Scottish premiere at the Festival). New this year is SQIFF VR, which will explore the possibilities of LGBTQ+ storytelling with this new-fangled immersive medium.

Since its inception, accessibility has been SQIFF’s mantra, and this year the festival will be within reach to a wider range of people than ever. “Our efforts to make the Festival accessible to more people are increasing this year, with a quiet space available at our main venue, the CCA, and a travel fund open to any audience member who couldn't otherwise afford to come along. After its success last year, we will again be offering a sliding scale ticket price with people choosing what to pay between free and £8.”

SQIFF, various venues, Glasgow, 5-9 Dec. For tickets, which are on a pay-what-you-can scale of £0–£8, and more programme info, head to sqiff.org