Raindance Film Festival: Queer Love Stories – Blogtober

Slightly different post here but I sat in on an industry talk at Raindance Film Festival called Queer Love Stories on Screen and it was really interesting and adaptations came up a few times so this isn’t just a purely film based post for those who aren’t interested in my passionate love for films!

The panellists were a mix of filmmakers, distributors and a sex educator – someone I thought was a wonderful addition to the panel as I’ve never seen this done before. A lot of the talk was about representation and how we have come quite far recently but also we have quite a way to go. Love, Simon was mentioned as a great mainstream film that’s given good representation however it is formulaic and like every other teen film out there. Though it is super cliche, I love it and actually think that just because it is formulaic it doesn’t mean it can’t still break boundaries which I believe it has done for young people in particular. 

They also spoke about how of course we should celebrate queer success but we need to do more than that. Particularly in terms of the representation of queer people of colour and trans people. And not just onscreen representation but behind the camera too. Another suggestion made which I completely love is that we should have more community screenings of queer films with Q+As or conversations afterwards. Social media can be great however conversations are harder to have on there, especially nuanced ones.

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I asked a question (always get nervous when doing this) but I’m glad I did. I was interested to know what they thought about queer films aimed at young people and families and if they felt there was more of a focus on making them recently and if they would be respected more. I brought up YA literature too and how most progress is made in YA as opposed to adult lit and I wonder whether this could happen in films. When I was questioning my sexuality at around 19, I searched for films or documentaries about different sexualities. This was a task anyway as most mainstream (and independent to be honest) stories show gay male representation. As a woman, I was looking more for representation of queer women and this was difficult. The majority of things I found were quite explicit and sex focused which at the time I didn’t find that helpful personally. 

Sex is important to represent, especially as sex between people of the same gender is always seen as more explicit then sex between a couple of different genders. However, it is not the be all and end all, nor is it something everyone feels interested in. Speaking to others who tried to find relatable stories when questioning their sexuality, I found that when people were younger, they pretty much all wanted a film or something they could share or watch with their parents to see how they reacted to the queer storylines. Me included to be honest! Explicit sex is something most people don’t want to watch with their parents – straight or gay. 

Something like Love, Simon however or Proud is much easier on the whole to watch with parents. Queer films that are family friendly, in my opinion, need to be made more. They’re so important yet not respected enough. The panel also spoke about the fact that lots of films that have done well in the past few years have been gay male focused – Love Simon, Call Me By Your NameMoonlight (an AMAZING film, I definitely recommend it). There’s been a large amount of lesbian period dramas recently (a truly wild trend) which is fab but also where are the contemporary women gays?! A girl Love Simon is greatly needed!

What are your opinions on this? And what are some queer films you enjoy?

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