Scottish Queer International Film Festival set to open this weekend

Scottish Queer International Film Festival set to open this weekend

Dyke Hard

We spoke to SQIFF programmer Helen Wright about the festival's accessibility and inclusivity

This September, Scotland’s first inclusive celebration of queer cinema launches in Glasgow, with a programme featuring more than 30 events over four days, including UK premieres, parties and workshops. The Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF), takes place Thu 24–Sun 27 Sep, with events at CCA, the Glasgow Women's Library, Drygate Brewery, the University of Glasgow and other venues across the city.

The festival aims to get people 'watching, talking about and making more queer films', and organisers have been working closely with the artistic and LGBTI communities in Scotland in order to create an event that is accessible and inclusive for everyone. Speaking on the aims of the festival, programmer Helen Wright said: 'our focus on accessibility comes from being an LGBTI and queer organisation, and therefore being focused on challenging inequalities that exist for people in accessing the arts.’

The programme offers 'a diverse look at LGBTI people's lives', with a selection of films offering a range of different experiences and perspectives from within the community. 'We're showing a really lovely, funny, and insightful film about older lesbian women in Spain and France telling their life stories and relating what it's like to be an older LGBTI person,’ says Wright. ‘After the film, we'll have a discussion led by a group of around 50 LGBTI people in Glasgow. We've also got a strong programme featuring films by and about trans people, which will hopefully allow trans audiences to feel included and welcome.'

Programme highlights include the UK premiere of Dyke Hard, described as a 'lo-fi, high-camp battle of the bands romp', international features such as Frangipani, which tells the story of a love triangle in Sri Lanka, and Dakan, an exploration of forbidden love in Guinea, as well as big-screen showings of classic films from the likes of Monika Treut, Pier Paolo Pasolini, John Waters and Pedro Almodóvar.

There are also free workshops, including one on TransActing performance, scriptwriting for ages 25 and under, and radical filmmaking. Festival-goers can also attend open discussions on everything from feminist porn to queer film in the 21st century, as well as a number of parties from Dive, Polyester and LUYD.

Though the films and events are largely LGBTI-based, the programme's films are not all 'explicitly queer' according to Wright, citing movies such as Johnny Guitar, Ghost in the Shell and Maleficent. 'These are films which are not necessarily explicitly queer but people have done queer readings of them, so we thought it would be exciting for audiences to watch them in a queer context,' she explains. ‘We aim to create a really fun and friendly environment, which will make people feel part of SQIFF and create the opportunity to meet people and make connections whilst watching loads of amazing films and taking part in workshops and discussions.'

SQIFF, Thu 24–Sun 27 Sep, Various Venues, Glasgow

Scottish Queer International Film Festival

Scotland’s annual celebration of queer cinema heads online in 2020. The film programme is available on Vimeo on Demand throughout the festival, plus virtual events include online watch parties, workshops, Q&A sessions, discussions, parties and a closing night quiz.