Film reviews

FilmPride – LGBTQ+ Film Festival – Review

It is something of a windfall to be offered access to more than 50 LGBTQ+ short films, features and documentaries, and all for free – even when this bounty has only been made possible by the necessary cancellation of a live festival, due to the ongoing crisis that is 2020.

FilmPride is now in its second year, and offers an impeccably curated selection of short films of all flavours and genres, divided up into the categories of Family, Self, and Love. There’s also a Features section, Q&As with various film makers, and for the little ones a set of brightly coloured, educational animations about LGBTQ+ kids and families.

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There is an incredible amount of humour, affection and joy in this selection of films; something that is surprising until you realise you are unwittingly watching through the lens of decades of mainstream cinema and television with its ‘bury your gays’ trope. There’s no room for that here. This is a celebration.

It’s a delight to see the much-loved and respected face of Pauline McLynn – perhaps best known as Father Ted’s tea-pusher Mrs Doyle (no, let’s not talk about it right now) – in Ben Hull’s straight-played comedy short Out!: a highly relatable look at dinner table politics and coming out to a parent of a certain background. A real treat.

The Task, directed by Sander Houwen and Sjoerd Weening, is a humorous but painful depiction of a conversation that will be all too familiar to many men who’ve been in a same-sex relationship. A simple premise, elegantly executed.

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Possibly the shortest film in the festival at just 72 seconds long, Selwin Vervoort’s colourful animation Fruity is an amusing look at one man’s fear of losing his masculinity, before coming to a fruitful realisation… Wordless but powerful, you’ll want this on a T-shirt.

Transgender Experiences in School is a talking heads piece, hearing from real young people about their experiences of being trans or non-binary at school, and how it affected them. We need to listen to what young people tell us, and it’s great to see director Ben Saunders giving them a voice in this very necessary short.

Unboxed: Stephanie is part of a series looking at gender diverse artists in Australia. This is a moving six minutes about trans writer Stephanie’s ‘hero’s journey’, and it would be interesting to see the rest of the collection of real life stories.

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I Know Her is a two minutes and fifty-five seconds long joke that builds up to a perfect punchline. I hope that director Fawzia Mirza is both ashamed of herself and also cackling away at how good this is! A must watch.

Turn it Around from Neils Bourgonje is a story of teen attraction, and a film that causes great nervousness because it’s wholly unclear which direction it will take. But at just over nine minutes long you can afford to stick around and find out.

This is just a small selection of what’s on offer at FilmPride, and with shorts starting at less than two minutes long it’s easy to cram a dozen or more films into a single sitting. FilmPride festival sets out to represent a diverse range of identities, and to ensure that there’s something here for everyone, both within and outside of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s here, it’s queer, and it’s free – so make the most of it.

FilmPride is Brighton & Hove Pride’s official LGBTQ+ film festival, and all films are available to watch online until 31st August. Register for free here.

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