Running online for the first time, the sixth annual SQIFF hosts its biggest programme yet with features, shorts, workshops and parties
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS
The Scottish International Queer Film Festival (SQIFF) is going digital for 2020 and we must say, the full programme for their sixth year is looking pretty epic.
There’s loads of great LGBTQI content which will be accessible to audiences all across the UK, including a rare screening of the outrageous 1990s Austrian cyberpunk sci-fi gem Flaming Ears and Blaise Singh’s new documentary about queer people of colour in the UK, Pride & Protest.
All films in the festival programme will go live at 00:01 on 5 October and be available until midnight on 18 October, to viewers anywhere in the UK. Alongside the film programme will be a host of online watch parties, workshops, Q&As and a big closing night quiz that will keep the unique community spirit of SQIFF alive. Films are available to access online via Vimeo at a pay-what-you-can sliding scale of free – £8.
SQIFF 2020 boasts the biggest and boldest programme in the festival’s history, with major strands including:
Every Utopia is a Dystopia
A look at queer science fiction worlds. Experience the early ‘90s Austrian cyberdyke sci-fi gem Flaming Ears, bursting with amoral aliens, sexed-up pyromaniacs and a pulsating soundtrack; embark on a fast-paced history of queer women’s representation in contemporary television in Queering the Script, introduced by Tara Brown, queer crip Black fat femme film curator and visit Many Black Moons Ago, To Go…, a digital exhibition programme of Afrofuturist films and writings curated by Scottish-Zimbabwean artist, researcher, and curator Natasha Thembiso Ruwona.
Cruising the Future
A retrospective of the work of Shu Lea Cheang, a Japanese multi-media artist who has worked in experimental video and net art for nearly 40 years. Alongside her features Fluidø, set in a post-AIDS future of 2060, and I.K.U, a demented tale of seven sexy replicants which was envisioned as a sequel to Blade Runner and scandalised Sundance audiences during its 2000 premiere, SQIFF will host a live viewing of her rarely-seen early 1990s lesbian short films on 14 October with a live Q&A with Cheang herself.
A dissection of the shifting relationship between the world’s LGBTQI communities and their natural environment. Fire and Flood tells the story of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the fires in Santa Rosa, California, two near simultaneous climate-related disasters, through the voices of LGBTQI people who lived through them and were part of the community response; legendary artist and former sex worker Annie Sprinkle, her partner Beth and their dog Butch explore the pleasures and politics of H2O in Water Makes Us Wet: An Ecosexual Adventure and Derek Jarman’s The Garden is an intimate Super 8-filmed chronicle of his garden-paradise, situated in the flat, bleak, often desolate expanse of shingle that faces the Dungeness nuclear power station. On 9 October join SQIFF curator Samar Ziadat for a live watch party of Water Makes Us Wet.
Islands and Oceans
A focus on queer narratives from island nations – which often have complex queer histories and realities owing at once to their isolation, vulnerability, and colonial contestations – curated by Harvey Dimond, supported by Film Hub Scotland’s New Promoters Scheme. Tchindas explores queer identity and acceptance in the Cape Verde archipelago, following Tchinda, a transgender woman who is a national heroine, as she prepares for Carnival month whilst Leitis In Waiting is set on Tonga, an island group in the South Pacific, which has long considered trans women, known as leitis, an integral part of its culture, often carrying significant social status. On 6 October, Harvey will host a Tchindas watch party, examining the themes raised by the film.
Daydreams and Testimonials: Queer South America
Guest curated by lesbian Argentinian translator, writer, and comedian A.B. Silvera. Fabiana follows the last few journeys of a nomadic trans woman trucker in Brazil as she prepares for retirement after three decades on the road and Cracks In The Patriarchy examines the LGBTQI community in Buenos Aires, Argentina. On 7 October, join the filmmakers of Cracks In The Patriarchy for a live online Q&A and on 10 October join the filmmakers of Fabiana for a live online Q&A.
SQIFF Producer and Programme Coordinator Helen Wright said: “We are happy and excited to move SQIFF online for 2020. This allows us to still offer LGBTQIA+ audiences in Scotland a chance to experience amazing queer films from around the world and means audiences from across the UK will also be able to join in. As well as the chance to watch heaps of brilliant LGBTQIA+ feature films from across the world, we are offering a number of online watch parties, workshops, and other events to keep our communities connected. We are also working hard to make the online Festival as accessible as possible with various access measures and free tickets and assistance with internet access for people based within Scotland.”
Tickets to all screenings and events are on sale now at www.sqiff.org.