SQIFF (Scottish Queer International Film Festival) was formed with the aim of adding to the exciting and growing amount of queer film stuff happening around Scotland. Since 2015, we have held an annual festival in Glasgow alongside providing year round events across various locations. Our goal is to get people watching, talking about, and making more queer films. We want to screen movies that people might not otherwise get a chance to see. We create inspiring and informative events alongside challenging inequality and barriers to accessing the arts.
SQIFF is not-for-profit. We receive project by project funding, which means we typically have around 4 months of funding to pay staff during the Festival period with the rest of the Festival work done largely on a voluntary basis.
// Every Utopia is a Dystopia: Science fiction worlds
All The Feels!: Ultimate Queer Fanvid Playlist
YouTube playlist, Various directors, N/C 12+, English language
Fanvids are short films using music, edited by fans in an expression of all the feels around their favourite fandoms. Even with today’s films and television bursting with more queer characters than ever, we still fight for true recognition, representation, and stories that go beyond the sometimes disappointing and limiting storylines we are given. Every fanvid is a DIY work of art, combining music and clever edits to celebrate favourite shows, rework plots, commiserate in collective sadness, and whatever feels there are to be had!
Vimeo on Demand, 45 minutes, Dir: Jamie Crewe, N/C 12+, UK, 2020, English language
“Dragging a wheelie case behind them, Ashley arrives at an isolated, beachside cottage. They hope that this weekend in the countryside might be the change they need: a change from depression, from heartbreak, from the pain of a shifting identity. As the weekend unfolds, however, their hope wavers: things go wrong in their body, or perhaps in their mind — or perhaps there really is something, outside, developing an appetite for them...” Ashley by Jamie Crewe was created for the 2019/20 Margaret Tait Award, Scotland’s most prestigious moving image prize for artists and a LUX Scotland commission delivered in partnership with Glasgow Film with support from Screen Scotland.
Vimeo on Demand, 84 minutes, Dirs: Ursula Pürrer, Dietmar Schipek, Ashley Hans Scheirl, N/C 18+, Austria, 1991, German and English languages
Flaming Ears is a pop sci-fi lesbian, fantasy feature set in the year 2700 in the fictive, burnt-out city of Asche. It follows the tangled lives of three women: Spy, a comic book artist; Volly, a performance artist and sexed-up pyromaniac; and Nun, an amoral alien with a predilection for reptiles. It’s a story of love and revenge, and an anti-romantic plea for love in its many forms. It’s also a story laced with sex, violence, and a pulsating soundtrack, a cyberdyke movie stimulating both the body and the brain. A rarely shown, queer sci-fi classic!
Keyboard Fantasies: the Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story
Vimeo on Demand, 63 minutes, Dir: Posy Dixon, N/C 12+, UK, 2019, English language
As a sci-fi-obsessed queer living in near isolation, Glenn Copeland wrote and self-released Keyboard Fantasies in Huntsville, Ontario in 1986. Recorded in an Atari-powered home studio, the cassette featured seven tracks of a curious folk-electronica hybrid, a sound realised far before its time. Three decades on the musician began to receive emails from people across the world, thanking him for the music they’d recently discovered. Courtesy of a rare-record collector in Japan and a reissue of Keyboard Fantasies, the music had finally found its audience two generations down the line. Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story sees the protagonist commit his life and music to screen for the first time - an intimate coming of age story spinning pain and suffering of prejudice into rhythm, hope, and joy.
Many Black Moons Ago, To Go...
Various films and texts hosted online
Time as it is Queer.
Blackness as it is Queer.
What comes next after the end of the world?
A digital exhibition programme of Afrofuturist films and writings in response to the re/imagining of Black alternative future(s).
PEOPLE HAVE COME
Vimeo on Demand, 60 minutes, Dir: Jamie Crewe, N/C 12+, UK, 2020, English language
As part of the Margaret Tait Award, Jamie Crewe produced a recorded artist’s talk in which they discuss a technique that recurs throughout their practice. They named the technique PEOPLE HAVE COME, and it describes courting and avoiding publicness. For certain kinds of people the desire to be seen, recognised, and understood is as powerful as the urge to hide, be illegible, and repel investigation. In reference to Ashley, their Margaret Tait Award 2019/20 commission, as well as to other works and experiences, this talk traces eruptions of this ambivalent seam in Jamie’s life and practice.
Prototypes I & II
Vimeo on Demand, 104 minutes, Dir: Doireann O’Malley, N/C 12+, UK, 2018, English and German languages
Doireann O’Malley’s most recent body of work is a trilogy titled Prototypes I, II and III which explore gender and its manifestations in a post-speculative mind/body assemblage of scenes, set within the modernist Interbau housing development in the Hansaviertel area of Berlin. The films explore new perspectives on trans identity through the lens of a post psychoanalytic, schizo-analytic methodology, entangling rhizomatic forms of thought, systems theory, consciousness, machine learning, and quantum transformation.
SQIFF Shorts: Every Utopia is a Dystopia
Vimeo on Demand, 70 minutes, Various directors, N/C 15+, English and Spanish languages
K and L are cultural conservationists working in a not-so-distant future to preserve the artefacts and histories that are being systematically destroyed by a totalitarian government. When they are in a deadly car accident, time splinters into parallel realities, separating them. Tonia Stanwell arrives at the government agency where she will apply to turn 36, a feat few Black trans women like her have reached. A queer utopia named Stonewall Nation has been founded by a generation of activists and artists in a world where AIDS never happened. Tales using classic sci-fi set ups to transmit queer ideas feature in this shorts compilation.
Queering the Script
Vimeo on Demand, 93 minutes, Dir: Gabrielle Zilkha, N/C 12+, Canada/USA, 2019, English language
Queerness on television has moved from subtext in series such as Xena: Warrior Princess, to all-out multi season relationships between women, as seen on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lost Girl, and Carmilla. But things still aren’t perfect. In 2016, a record number of queer women died on fictional shows, which broke the hearts of queer fans and launched a successful fight for better, more diverse LGTBQ2S+ representation. Stars such as Ilene Chaiken, Stephanie Beatriz, Lucy Lawless, and Angelica Ross join with the voices of numerous kickass fangirls in this fast-paced history of queer women’s representation in contemporary television.
// Cruising the Future: Shu Lea Cheang Retrospective
Vimeo on Demand, 84 minutes, Dir: Shu Lea Cheang, N/C 18+, Germany, 2017, English, French, and German languages
In a post-AIDS future of 2060, the Government has declared the era AIDS FREE but mutated AIDS viruses have given birth to the ZERO GEN: genetically evolved, genderfluid humans whose white fluid is a hypernarcotic. A new war on drugs sees the ZERO GEN declared illegal. The Government dispatches drug-resistant replicants for round-up arrest missions. When one of these government android’s immunity breaks down and its pleasure centres are activated, the story becomes a tangled multi-thread plot and the ZERO GENs are caught among underground drug lords, glitched super agents, a scheming corporation, and a corrupt government.
Vimeo on Demand, 88 minutes, Dir: Shu Lea Cheang, N/C 18+, Japan, 2000, English and Japanese languages
Envisioned as a sequel to Blade Runner, I.K.U. scandalised audiences when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Following the adventures of seven sexy replicants as they attempt to gather data for the I.K.U. system (which enables touchless orgasms), I.K.U. is a cyberpunk fuck film for the internet generation. “I.K.U. is a phenomenon that wants to refuse definition and... crosses all categories – geographic, physical, conceptual – with a demented flourish. As much trans-genre as it is trans-gender, I.K.U. also wants to merge video and film into a fresh digital universe large-scale enough to overwhelm the viewer.” B. Ruby Rich, Rhizome.
// Queer Ecologies
Fire and Flood
Vimeo on Demand, 120 minutes, Dir: Vanessa Raditz, N/C 15+, USA, 2020, English and Spanish languages
Fire & Flood: Queer Resilience in the era of climate change tells the story of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the fires in Santa Rosa, California, two near simultaneous climate-related disasters in the fall of 2017, through the voices of LGBTQ people who lived through them and were part of the community response. The film explores the vulnerability of LGBTQ communities to climate disasters and also lifts up queer and trans strategies for resilience, transition, and survival.
There will be a version of the film available with English language captions and a version with Spanish language captions for Deaf and hard of hearing audiences.
SQIFF Shorts: Belonging in Nature / Belonging in Europe
Vimeo on Demand, 67 minutes, Various directors, N/C 15+, English, Swedish, Portuguese, and German languages
A selection of short films made in Europe that investigate intersections and articulations of queerness and the natural world.
A pack of Swedish animals sanitise an abandoned space. Two young soldiers are deployed on an island that is plagued by an uncontrollable growth of hydrangeas. Three young women, living in three separate parallel universes, depend on one another to survive. The inhabitants of a gender-fluid utopian society explore what queer politics can learn from environmental matters.
SQIFF Shorts: Indigenous Ecofeminisms
Vimeo on Demand, 61 minutes, Various directors, N/C 12+, English, Anishinaabe, and Portuguese languages
A series of shorts that follow the stories of queer and trans indigenous people as they navigate life on earth during climate crisis.
A non-binary Anishinaabe activist attempts to revive ceremonial harvesting rituals with a 10,000-year-old Sasquatch in suburban Ontario. A queer indigenous writer and performance artist documents the ways in which Canada’s extraction industry destroys indigenous lands and parallels the child apprehension industry. And a group of young people in Brazil enjoy the outdoors over New Years; drawing, playing instruments, laying in the sun, cutting each other’s hair, and chatting shit about men.
Vimeo on Demand, 92 minutes, Dir: Derek Jarman, 12A, UK, 1990, English language
‘Paradise haunts gardens’, writes Derek Jarman, ‘and it haunts mine.’ Jarman was a film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener, and author, whose work, dwelling on themes of sexuality and violence, reflected his reality as an HIV-positive man living in Thatcher’s Britain. His own garden-paradise was situated in the flat, bleak, often desolate expanse of shingle that faces the Dungeness nuclear power station. This intimate insight into Jarman’s inner world was shot on Super8 with the help of friends and collaborators, movingly utilising a cast of iconic, religious figures that include Jesus, Judas, and the Madonna, and a cast of queer icons.
Screening with Alexis Bistikas’ 1993 short film featuring Derek Jarman The Clearing (7 minutes).
Water Makes Us Wet: An Ecosexual Adventure
Vimeo on Demand, 79 minutes, Dirs: Beth Stephens, Annie Sprinkle, N/C 18+, USA, 2018, English language
With a poetic blend of curiosity, humour, sensuality, and concern, this film chronicles the pleasures and politics of H2O from an ecosexual perspective. Travel with Annie, a former sex worker, Beth, a professor, and their dog Butch, in their E.A.R.T.H. Lab mobile unit, as they explore the role of water. Ecosexuality shifts the metaphor “Earth as Mother” to “Earth as Lover” to create a more reciprocal and empathetic relationship with the natural world. Along the way, Annie and Beth interact with a diverse range of folks including performance artists, biologists, water treatment plant workers, scholars, and others, climaxing in a shocking event that reaffirms the power of water, life, and the earth.
// Islands and Oceans
Leitis in Waiting
Vimeo on Demand, 72 minutes, N/C 12+, Dirs: Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, 2018, English and Tongan languages
Tonga, an island group in the South Pacific, has long considered trans women, known as leitis, an integral part of its culture, often carrying significant social status. But recent Western religious influences have seen their identities being increasingly challenged. This documentary traces their proud cultural history and highlights developments in their struggles against discrimination.
Vimeo on Demand, 94 minutes, N/C 15+, Dirs: Pablo García Pérez de Lara, Marc Serena, Cape Verde, 2015, Cape Verdean Creole language
Tchindas explores queer identity and acceptance in the Cape Verde archipelago, and follows Tchinda, a transgender woman who is a national heroine, as she prepares for Carnival month. The camera closely follows Tchinda and her cohorts – an engaging, closely knit group of trans women and gay men – as they take the lead in preparing their neighbourhood for the festivities.
// Daydreams and Testimonials: Queer South America
Cracks in the Patriarchy
Vimeo on Demand, 78 minutes, N/C 12+, Dir: Cagdas Celtikli, Kai Münch, Argentina, 2020, Spanish language
Through comprehensive interviews focused on seven individuals from different backgrounds, this documentary examines the LGBTQI+ community in Buenos Aires, Argentina. History and biography meld with the fiercely political as we learn of several overlapping struggles in the vast city. From the fight for gender recognition by the trans community to ongoing struggles to fight racism both within the LGBTQI+ scene and beyond; from the experiences of travestis in art and theatre to the massive movement to decriminalise abortion; the history, culture, and politics of the LGBTQI+ community are drawn into sharp focus. Yet in this great variety of perspectives and histories lies a shared goal: a safer, freer society for all.
Vimeo on Demand, 89 minutes, N/C 12+, Dir: Brunna Laboissière, Brazil, 2018, Portuguese language
For over three decades, Fabiana has lived a nomadic life as a trans woman trucker in Brazil. She has crossed the vast country hundreds of times over, never staying anywhere for too long. Confident and adventurous, she’s at home amongst the mostly-male truckers she encounters, and often hooks up with other women in her travels. But is she ready to finally settle down, when the open road has been her life? This documentary joins her on her last few journeys on the eve of retirement, sharing the connections and intimacies of her life.
// Feature Films
Vimeo on Demand, 60 minutes, N/C 15+, Dir: Lisa Olivieri, USA, 2015, English language
A documentary narrative about Patricia Livingstone, a deafblind, lesbian artist facing a series of losses and gains. The film weaves intimate, real time scenes shot over the course of eight years with home videos and photographs, relaying the story of a woman whose spark did not fade even in the face of hardship and loss. Screening with local short film, Blind Spot (20 minutes), exploring and attempting to simulate the experience of visual impairment.
Vimeo on Demand, 92 minutes, N/C 15+, Dir: Mike Mosallam, USA, 2020, English and Arabic languages
Mo, a practicing Muslim living in West Hollywood, is learning to navigate life post-heartbreak. Enter Kal, an All-American guy who surprises Mo by offering to break fast with him during the holy month of Ramadan. As they learn more about each other, they fall in love over what they have in common and what they don’t. The genesis of the feature film came about from overwhelming positive responses to the short film by the director, which SQIFF screened at our 2019 Festival. The film aims to be the first of its kind to feature a practicing Muslim character who is gay and not dealing with those two things in conflict but rather in harmony.
Game on: queer disruptions in sport
Vimeo on Demand, 67 minutes, N/C 15+, Dir: Maria Takacs, Hungary, 2020, English, Hungarian, and German languages
Game on: Queer Disruptions in Sport is a documentary which shines a light on the experiences of those with diverse identities within grassroots sport. The film features the stories of gay runners Csaba and Benjamin from Hungary; Natalie, a Scottish lesbian boxer; Pol, an intersex rower from Bulgaria; and a German trans woman footballer called Jessi. Their stories are unique but bring up themes that are typical for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ+) people in sport.
Vimeo on Demand, 95 minutes, N/C 15+, Dir: Isabel Sandoval, USA, Philippines, 2019, English, Tagalog, and Russian languages
In this beguiling drama, an undocumented Filipina immigrant paranoid about deportation works as a caregiver to a Russian-Jewish grandmother in Brooklyn. When the American man she’s secretly paying for a green card marriage backs out, she becomes involved with a cis male slaughterhouse worker who is unaware she’s transgender.
“Glancingly addressing major issues - privacy, personal liberty, sexual satisfaction - Sandoval, working from an idea formed during her own gender transition, quietly contemplates lives under stress.” The New York Times.
Pride & Protest
Vimeo on Demand, 90 minutes, N/C 15+, Dir: Blaise Singh, UK, 2020, English language
Pride & Protest is a documentary about QTIPOC communities and activists in Britain today and struggles surrounding the politics of desire, self-care, and found family. In the wake of the Birmingham protests against LGBTIQ+ relationship education in primary schools, director Blaise Singh follows various queer people of colour as they challenge homophobia and racism in their communities. They speak out against internalised shame and lack of representation, and we follow them trying to figure out their place in the world in the build up to UK Black Pride.
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street
Vimeo on Demand, 100 minutes, N/C 15+, Dirs: Roman Chimienti, USA, 2019, English language
At the time of release, The Advocate dubbed 1985’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge the gayest horror film ever made. For the film’s closeted young star, Mark Patton, such a tag was a stark reminder about the homophobia rampant in Hollywood at the time—and the painful experience he had making the high-profile film and living through the polarising critical aftermath. This new documentary highlights Patton’s time in the horror spotlight, and Patton—who co- produced the film with Roman Chimienti, a NYC-based sound engineer—sets the record straight about this controversial sequel, which ended his acting career just as it was about to begin.
The Cancer Journals Revisited
Vimeo on Demand, 98 minutes, N/C 15+, Dir: Lana Lin, USA, 2018, English, Spanish, and German languages
The Cancer Journals Revisited is prompted by the question of what it means to re-visit and re-vision Black lesbian feminist poet Audre Lorde’s classic 1980 memoir of her breast cancer experience today. At the invitation of filmmaker Lana Lin, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, twenty-seven writers, artists, activists, health care advocates, and current and former patients recite Lorde’s manifesto aloud on camera, collectively dramatising it and producing an oration for the screen. The film is both a critical commentary and a poetic reflection upon the precarious conditions of survival within the intimate and politicised public sphere of illness.
The Wound + South African Shorts
Vimeo on Demand, 88 minutes, 15, Dir: John Trengrove, South Africa, 2017, Xhosa language
Despite a rich queer history and long fight to guarantee the rights of queer people under the first democratic government of Nelson Mandela, queer and trans South Africans face many challenges, which intersect with class and cultural identities. This screening attests to those challenges but demonstrates that love and support comes from surprising and subversive places. The Wound explores the relationship between traditional Xhosa initiation rituals and queer identity, also alluded to in My Transgender Life (12m) by Yonela Simetu. The Men Who Speak Gayle (11m) celebrates a secret language used during the apartheid era to hide queer identities from the authorities.
// Short Films
A Funny Thing Happened
Vimeo on Demand, 37 minutes, Various directors, N/C 15+, English language
The mother of a queer daughter moves into a nursing home leading to a shocking - and buzzing - revelation. A date leads to a stand off as two lesbian women try their damnest to out-queer each other. In a campy western town, a lady blacksmith and her naughty paramour get up to no good in a who-rides-who tale with a twist. A drag wardrobe malfunction leads to unexpected consequences. And a satire of lesbian vampire and lesbian nun films comically exposes poor representation in cinema. A wee short shorts screening at 37 minutes for those who need a shot of humour in their lives!
Bridges to the Past
Vimeo on Demand, 63 minutes, Various directors, N/C 15+, English and French languages
Providing access to queer history, which is often obscured and hidden from us, is one of the main rationales for putting on a queer film festival. In this selection of shorts there’s a chance to learn about histories including those of LGBTQ+ individuals living in West Yorkshire from the 60s to the present day, and of trans people in the 1950s US, whose case files have only recently been unearthed. A quite different documentary tale about a group of queers and migrants squatting a house in Toulouse haunted by a misogynist murder cements the programme’s overall reflection on historical inheritance as a concept.
Vimeo on Demand, Running time tbc, Various directors, N/C 15+, English, Portuguese, and Tagalog languages
Navigating the risk of rejection and trying to forge understanding form a large part of queer people’s relationships with their biological families. A British-Nigerian man confronts such a possibility of rejection when his mother finds out about his sexuality. Two sisters face their family’s wrath when they miss their cousin’s wedding to party with their friends whilst one of them explores her sexuality. And Brandon, a queer Filipino-American grandson, meditates through his anxiety of having to call and wish his grandmother Happy Birthday.
Gods and/or Monsters: Queer East Film Festival
Vimeo on Demand, 76 minutes, Various directors, N/C 18+, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, and English languages
After having to postpone its first full edition (originally scheduled for April/May 2020), the London-based Queer East Film Festival has been undertaking an ambitious series of online screenings over the past few months. Now, QEFF takes its first virtual visit to Scotland, presenting a wild and wonderful programme of short films that give a breathtaking glimpse into just some of what East Asian queer cinema has to offer. Showcasing new and rediscovered works - and some things in between - it features daring touches of the supernatural, the horrific, the surreal, and the downright weird. Curated by Queer East’s director and programmer Yi Wang, this selection is equal parts shocking, touching, and bittersweet - and not for the faint of heart!
Vimeo on Demand, 49 minutes, Various directors, N/C 15+, English and Malagasy languages
Chado hones in on the moments when a child navigates the uncomfortable space between themself and their care-givers. In Razana, Solo returns to Madagascar after the death of their lover. Confronting their late partner’s family in line with their final wishes, Solo must reconcile with grief, homophobia, and compassion. Yellow Peril: Queer Destiny explores themes of racism, gender, self-actualisation, and the ways in which Asian diaspora navigate multicultural living. The impact of community arts and organising and themes of access and fulfilment are explored in Trans Happiness is Real. These films all deal with healing and searching for inner contentment.
Curated by Naomi Gessesse, movie watcher and Aries sun from Glasgow, and Programming & Marketing Assistant at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival.
Love or Something Like It
Vimeo on Demand, 71 minutes, Various directors, N/C 15+, Korean, English, Portuguese, and Hindi languages
The vagaries of romantic love crossed with sexual desire are probed in this collection. A mother assists her Disabled son to masturbate and discovers his sexual preference. Experimental images of toys and animations played on monitors are used to explore the subconscious influences of childhood memories on intimate relationships. A poetry film made entirely with a cell phone conveys the regret and longing of a Brazilian immigrant in London. A middle-aged man makes his weekly visit to the neighbourhood barber shop so he can be touched by his crush. And three queers on a countryside holiday carry out a utopian experiment in the form of a three-way romantic relationship.
Vimeo on Demand, Running time tbc, Various directors, N/C 15+, Arabic, English, and British Sign languages
We are always proud to present some of the astonishing queer filmmaking made by local talent. This year features meditation on the queer body and its owner’s cultural history, the potential for zine culture to assist in the recovery from mental health difficulties, being censored when writing LGBTQ characters, living as a gay man in the era of 1950s McCarthyism, feminist sci-fi baby- making adventures, love on the mind of an admirer, and Deaf identities.
Vimeo on Demand, 59 minutes, Various directors, N/C 15+, English language
Poetry, dancing, music, the rhythms of queer clubbing... A series of trans poetry performed by its authors delves deep into gritty issues. A documentary chronicles the life of a man who came out in his late 60s and loves to dance more than anything else. A queer singer-songwriter considers what it means to rethink your gender labels through gender affirming top surgery. On the first tube home, Tam relives his night out clubbing via his phone. A dance teacher and choreographer by day discusses how his drag performances by night have influenced him. And a belly dancer from a small Kurdish community in Turkey talks about the meaning of dance in his life.
Vimeo on Demand, 37 minutes, Various directors, N/C 15+, English language
This collection of shorts uplifts trans* voices and showcases a wide range of trans* identifying talent based within Glasgow. Jamie Crewe’s “The Ideal Bar” — “Le Narcisse” — “Alec’s” touches on experiences of transphobia and LGBTQIA+ solidarity and conflict. Sorcha Clelland presents Where the Red Fern Grows, interrogating performance, queer club space aesthetics, and the consistent demolition of community spaces which seek to aid queer voices. Powder Snowdrop Catatonic is a performance featuring various camp characters by Sgàire Wood. The films cover a multitude of themes, depending on the viewer’s perception of the work.