Queer North Film Festival announces lineup for second year

​Northern Ontario's only LGBT-themed film festival is returning for a second year, with a special emphasis on young filmmakers from Sudbury, Ont. The festival celebrates diversity in the lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and two-spirited communities.

Northern Ontario's only LGBT-themed film festival will highlight local filmmakers

Rita OLink is a community relations representative with TG Innerselves, an organization that supports transgender people. Queer North Film Festival with be fundraising for TG Innerselves at its opening feature. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

​Northern Ontario's only LGBT-themed film festival is returning for a second year, with a special emphasis on young filmmakers from Sudbury, Ont.

Queer North Film Festival, which is hosted by the Sudbury Downtown Indie Cinema Co-op, celebrates diversity in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and two-spirited communities.

"This film festival really is a place that provides some solid ground, and a sense of community and openness and acceptance," Queer North director Beth Mairs said.

This year's event will feature a past and present look at the LGBT community in Sudbury with two films, We Are Here (2017) and Maman et Eve (1996). Mairs said the festival will also include stories from local high school students.

"I think that young people are very interested in film in Sudbury, and have a facility with digital media," she said. "They're very immersed in the environment."

Celebrating differences

The four day festival starts on Thursday, June 15, with a screening of the documentary, "The Life and Death or Marsha P. Johnson". Fundraising at the opening feature will go to TG Innerselves, an organization that supports transgender people in northern Ontario.

The documentary tells the story of Johnson, a black transgender icon and activist from New York who died under mysterious circumstances.

Rita OLink, a community relations representative with TG Innerselves, said the film reflects the experience of two-spirited and transgender people in northern Ontario.

"The film really deals with what goes wrong when diversity is suppressed," she said.

O'Link said festivals like Queer North help to build communities where diversity is celebrated.

"It's time we got to know each other personally and celebrated the differences," OLink said. "It's good we're different. We don't have to be the same."

Queer North Film Festival is the only LGBT-themed film festival in northern Ontario. This year's event runs from June 15 to June 18. (Sudbury Indie Cinema Co-Op)