Canadian film artists explore LGBT lives on 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality

Five Canadian artists showcase their films at the Five@50 short-film festival at locations across Canada throughout November.

Arts Arts and Culture Triston Brewer

This article was published on November 11th, 2019

Five@50 is a world premiere event that provides an in-depth look into Bill C-250, amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada legislation that partially decriminalized the act of homosexuality within the country, amongst other hate propaganda. Fifty years after its passage, five noted Canadian filmmakers and artists are sharing their own viewpoints and perspectives on how the bill has shaped the lives of those that live within the LGBTQ+ community today. 

A brief summary of the five films on the upcoming Five@50 program:

The Hook Up (6 minutes)

Directed by Michael V. Smith, The Hook Up is an experimental documentary that features four men coming from two different generations – a duo approaching their 70s, and another pair in their 20s. As the men compare and contrast how hook-up culture has progressed (or regressed) across the generations, viewers are subjected to powerful visuals and close-ups that produce a striking, intimate setting.

Reviving the Roost (6 minutes)

Noted author and filmmaker Vivel Shraya’s film pays homage to the Roost, a famous gay bar in Edmonton that closed in 2007. Imbued with a heavy dose of eclectic energy and neon-light animation that pulsates, Reviving the Roost covers the complexity within communities and longing for what you can no longer have, serving as an elegy to an era done but not forgotten.

Woman Dress (6 minutes)

Directed by Thirza Jean Cuthand, Woman Dress centers on the protagonist named Woman Dress, a Two Spirit person that travels across the Plains, gathering stories and sharing them with the world Featuring archival footage and re-enacted dramatizations, the film imparts a Cuthand family anecdote that is taken from their oral history – respecting and honoring Woman dress without subjecting them to colonial binaries.

The Bassinet (6 minutes)

Directed by Tiffany Hsiung, The Bassinet centers around a vintage bassinet that suddenly appears at the door of the filmmaker and her fiancée Victoria Mata’s home. The act kicks off a chain reaction full of emotions that are captured on celluloid. 

Handmade Mountain (7 minutes)

Michele Pearson Clarke directs this emotional journey of the fallout of being early to gay marriage and subsequently gay divorce. Fifteen years after the passage of same-sex marriage, Clarke and her friends reflect on what the personal and political ramifications of marriage are in this unique experimental film.

Produced by Justin Pimlott and executive producer by Anita Lee, and in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada, the filmmakers will be on hand after the screening for a panel discussion, to be moderated by Rachel Giese.

The National Film Board of Canada short-film collection Five@50, premieres in Toronto on November 12 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, on NFB.ca on November 13 and at UBC Okanagan on November 18.

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