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.
SQIFF aims to build community through queer films. 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 and create inspiring and informative events across Scotland. Moreover, we want to support marginalised groups within the LGBTQ+ community by providing a networking system for queer filmmakers, as well as filmmaking workshops for audiences wanting to start on the medium. We want to challenge inequalities 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 freelancers during the Festival period with the rest of the Festival work done on a voluntary basis.
SQIFF is a non-competitive festival.
Scottish Queer International Film Festival 2023 reveals full programme.
The eighth annual celebration of LGBTQIA+ filmmaking talent will run at CCA, Glasgow from 26 - 30 September with all tickets priced on a pay-what-you-can basis.
Programme highlights include energetic day-in-the-life films Mutt and Nowhere; Gender-bending Speculative Fiction in feature film (Tending) (to) (Ta) and shorts programme Alien Body, Human Dreams; and uncompromising documentaries Kokomo City and Sex Change: Shock! Horror! Probe! spotlighting the realities of trans lives, from the 80s to the present day.
SQIFF 2023 also features an analogue film workshop, two immersive art installations, a craft fair with local makers, a dedicated massage area for relaxation, and a sure-to-be-legendary party at local Queer club Bonjour.
The Scottish Queer International Film Festival returns 26 - 30 September with an ambitious new team and collaborative partners. Highlights across the packed five day celebration of queer-made cinema include:
- Mutt is a 24-hour spin around the life of a young trans man named Feña in New York. It has a ‘coming of age’ energy around the moment of transition where all social contact shifts around: a new dynamic in relationships to strangers on the street, to family and to old lovers. This new release is funny, heartfelt, and heart-wrenching, and is the triumphant final film of our 2023 festival.(9pm, Wed 30th September)
- Kokomo City is a striking black and white documentary that shares the stories of four Black transgender sex workers in New York and Georgia. Director D Smith brings an exciting and uncompromising social commentary to the table as the subjects of her film share the reality of their lives with warmth and frankness.(3.30pm, Thur 28th September)
- Peafowl follows transgender woman Shin-myung on a journey of two dances: firstly the final dance battle in a waacking competition - a form of voguing - which would secure her a pot of prize money to pay for her gender affirming surgery. The second is a traditional drum dance which she is summoned to perform after her estranged father’s death. Director Byun Sung-bin’s debut feature guides us through these visions of forgiveness and transformation with grace and poise.(9pm, Fri 29th September)
- (Tending) (to) (Ta)is a speculative fiction film which follows an exchange of internal letters between two protagonists imagining one another across parallel dimensions. Presented with a writing session before and after the film, this screening will ask “what would you ask somebody living in a parallel universe to ours, one freed from the confines of language, gender, and hyper-separation between human and nature?”(9pm, Wed 27th September)
- Sex Change: Shock! Horror! Probe! brings us to Thatcherite Britain where transexuals are fighting back. Spotlighting the stories of four transexual people negotiating the complications of family, work and social life that gender transition heralds, with fierce determination. Pioneering director, Kristiene Clark will join this screening for a Q&A after the film.(9pm, Thur 28 September)
- Nowhere is an extraordinary 90s dark comedy drama from director Gregg Araki. Now a Queer cult classic, this film intertwines camp teenage silliness with the darker elements of coming of age as it follows the strange lives of a group of LA college students for a day.(6.30pm, Wed 27th September)
This year’s Shorts programmes include:
- Tantalising curations from the SQIFF team including Fleeting Love (6pm, Thur 28 September), capturing brief (but tender) romantic encounters with longing and lust; and Are you into emotional edging? (30pm, Wed 27 September), a collection of distinct experimental shorts made by trans and non-binary people, using a range of film techniques to explore the varied ways our community tell stories of forming and navigating relationships.
Heart Fruit (2022 , dir. Kim Allamand): Late summer heats up the city where people search for their own form of love.
Dreaming of You (2023 , dir. Andrzej Kosma Perliński): A Polish-Danish story of a cross-cultural encounter during a winter night in 1986. It’s a dreamy reminiscence focusing on the choreography of glances, breaths, and communication beyond language when meeting a magnetic stranger. The fantasy starts to prevail with the night getting darker, but will it still be there at sunrise?
Swimming in the Dark (2022, dir. Pin Ru Chen): When the swimming competition is coming, Wen is under lots of pressure. Ann who is inseparable from her found out something different. To confront Wen’s closure and trauma, Ann decides to be closer to Wen. But, when she gets closer to Wen, it pushes them further…
i get so sad sometimes (2021 , dir. Trishtan Tala Perez): In the small town of Pagadian, a gay teenager eagerly waits for a mature man to reveal his face after developing an anonymous sexual relationship with him online.
Scaffold (2023 , dir. Billy Klotsa): Fragments of bereavement and collapsing love appear in an isolated house between the land and the sea. Death arrives. The landscape shivers. What holds us close in moments of rupture?
Strangers (2022 , dir. Ahan Kadam): Moments like seeing an ex-partner at a gas station are always filled with a deep sense of nostalgia and sadness, the tragedy of seeing someone you once knew so intimately now be a complete stranger to you.
U for Usha (2019, Dir. Rohan Kanawade):Usha, a single mother and a farm labourer in rural India, feels drawn to a female teacher at a local primary school. This attraction plays an integral part in firing her passion for learning how to read and write.
Devi (Goddess) (2017, Dir. Karishma Dube): A young closeted lesbian risks both family and tradition, as she embraces her attraction for her childhood maid, Devi. A young closeted lesbian risks both family and tradition, as she embraces her attraction for her childhood maid, Devi.
The Booth (2019, Dir. Rohin Raveendran): A female frisking booth inside a crowded shopping mall stands as a silent ally to a forbidden romance.
My Mother’s Girlfriend (2021, Dir. Arun Fulara): is the story of two relationships colliding. Renuka and Sadiya, two mature working-class women, in love with each other, are out celebrating Renuka’s birthday. Unknown to them, Renuka’s son, Mangesh, is around.
A Luxury (2021, Dir. Jamie Crewe): A film commssioned by Edinburgh International Book Festival, 2021, in response to Shola Von Reinhold’s novel LOTE (2020). Made in homage to Curtis Harrington’s film The Wormwood Star (1956), a portrait of the artist Cameron, the film finds Shola in the attic of Preston Hall, Midlothian, undergoing a transportation. A section of LOTE is read over churning abstract liquids, and finally an escape.
A Trans with a Movie Camera (2018, Dir. Frances Damian Arpaia): A non-narrative cine-essay that collaboratively explores the potentials for trans-feminine representation in film.
The Backside of God (2020, Dir. Hogan Seidel): The Backside of God is an experimental documentary utilizing archival footage, digital glitch, chemical abstraction, and direct animation to explore the intricacies of the artist’s relationship with their familial, religious, and queer identity.
Bigger on the Inside (2022, Dir. Angelo Madsen Minax): From an isolated wooded cabin a trans man star gazes, scruff chats with guys, watches youtube tutorials, takes drugs, and lies about taking drugs – feeling his way through a cosmology of embodiment. Relative to the immensity of longing, the bodily insides become both portal and lens through which to probe the porousness between interior and exterior, the micro and macro. Nudes and landscapes are equally erotic, as Eros is an issue of boundaries: When i desire you, a part of me is gone.
- Alien Body, Human Dreams,(6.30pm, Thur 28 September), presented by Queer East, a feast of speculative realities which centre the body as a potent site of hybridity, rejecting false binaries of identity to construct their own embodied, multifaceted ways of being.
to boyhood, i never knew him (2022, dir. Trâm Anh Nguyễn): Words from a transgender man float to the surface as fleeting memories go on.
Longing for the Sun to Set Upwards (2022, dir. Jao San Pedro): An ode to the multiplicity, mutability, and expansion of what constitutes a body and a self, through imaging and technological mediations.
beast (2022, dir. Aileen Ye): A martial arts inspired dance-fight between a lion dancer and queer performer reflects the tension between traditional and modern identities.
Disease of Manifestation (2011, dir. Tzu-An Wu) The work builds itself towards the anarchistic conditions of the inner scenes, can also be seem as a wrong-manifesto.
Yummy Body Truck (2021, dir. Noam Youngrak Son) A fictional food truck selling human body parts mixed with other organisms in a biotechno-queer fantasy of interspecies mixing.
BXBY (2022, dir. Soojin Chang) In this self-recorded performance blending documentary and ritual practice, a hybrid creature attempts reproduction.
Garden Amidst the Flame (2022, dir. Natasha Tontey) A playful and imaginative fantasy that challenges the hypermasculine presentation of Minahasan ritual culture and everyday life.
- The ever-popular Scottish Shorts,(7pm, Tues 26 September), our opening programme of short films exclusively by artists based in Scotland, which highlights the diverse talent on our home turf.
The Singer (2023, Dir. Cora Bissett): In the loud streets of Glasgow, deaf song-writer Joe meets busker Andy. The two learn to communicate over their love of music and realise together they can create something unique.
Groom (2022, Dir. Leyla Coll-O’Reilly): is about a young, school leaver called Hannah who is on a trial shift at a beauty salon. It’s a story about coercive relationships, consent, puberty and sexual desire.
Selkie (2022, Dir. Sophie Suliman): This is an experimental performative and social documentary exploring humankind’s relationship to nature and other lifeforms through the ancient Nordic and Celtic myth of the selkie and the impact of wild swimming on our psyche and wellbeing. Based in different locations and through collaboration with various communities around Scotland.
DIG (2022, Dir. G J Hewitt): A mother searches a secluded beach, determined to find a certain item, that will bring her some closure.
Kitchen Sink Fantasy (2023, Dir. Heath Virgoe): A fantasy rom-com that follows a gender-swapping Gen-Z narcissist on a quest to pay rent on time.
Pixie (2022, Dir. Beth Johnston): This documentary provides a portrait of Pixie, a young transgender woman from Glasgow.
Once upon a time in Easter house (2019, Dir. Paul Cochrane): In the East End of Glasgow, a teen boy confronts his secret after falling in love for the first time.
As well as a packed programme of film, SQIFF 2023 offers drop-in art exhibitions, with creative work ranging from Inverness-based Queer Youth Arts Collective, celebrating the talents of young queer artists, to Phreaking Gender, a multi-sensory exploration of radical trans-sensuality, eroticism and autonomy, centred around a new documentary about D.I.Y. hormones.
Also on offer are workshops including a Cameraless Filmmaking session where participants will work directly on celluloid and explore a range of techniques to create their own short 8mm film loops, to be screened to the public later that day and then made available online for communal use.
Access measures are at the forefront of SQIFF’s festival as always, with audio description, live captioning, BSL interpretation, closed captioning and more. For a moment of down time in the busy programme, as usual SQIFF will offer a quiet room to chill out with hot drinks, sensory toys, and comfy seating. If that’s not enough relaxation, for the first time this year, SQIFF will host Cool Amber Massage, offering short massage sessions on a donation basis. Visitors will also be able to visit a craft fair with local artists to meet local creative talent and pick up a souvenir from SQIFF 2023.
Of course, SQIFF 2023 will go out with a bang with a party at Bonjour, a local club, events, and community space that prioritises underrepresented groups in the LBGTQ+ community. The party will feature a full BIPOC line-up of artists, with DJs and performers to be announced closer to the time.
Tickets to all screenings are priced on a pay-what-you-can scale from Free- £10. They go on sale on 8 September at 12pm at www.sqiff.org.
Our coverage of the festival can be found here