The bold and the beautiful: Fairy Tales Film Fest primer
By Kelsey Hipkin
Where else in Calgary can you see films that cover everything from AIDS to forbidden love to a duo of yodeling, lesbian sisters other than Calgary’s twelfth annual Fairy Tales Film Festival running May 27 to June 4.
Since its inception twelve years ago Fairy Tales has grown from a three-day event included in the Calgary International Film Festival to a ten-day festival showcasing queer cinema making it the largest festival of its kind in Alberta.
“As an organization we’ve really come into our own,” said Jessica Dollard, festival and programming director.
47 featured films were selected back in September by Dollard (in her inaugural year as director) and a committee.
The heart of the festival this year says Dollard is AIDS of Catalyst taking place May 30-31. Catalyst is inspired by John Greyson’s new film Fig Trees; an operatic documentary Dollard says is about the complacency and smugness of HIV.
AIDS of Catalyst will feature other screenings, art installations and panel discussions, which, says a Fairy Tales press release, “will promote the understanding of media arts, cinema, visual arts opera and the placement of AIDS as a catalyst within generations of artists, filmmakers and the queer community.”
Dollard says that one of the main messages of Fairy Tales is that the festival is for everyone. She says that the acronym GLBTQA (which stands for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Allies) can be daunting but that everyone should feel welcome to come.
That includes for the first time “Bring a Straight Night” on June 2. Festival-goers can bring a friend and get a two for one deal for a screening.
Dollard says if you can only see one film than the one to see would be Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride. Directed by Bob Christie, Beyond Gay sees Vancouver Pride Society’s Parade Director Ken Coolen and colleagues as they travel, as stated in the films website, “to places where Pride is still steeped in protest to personally experience the rampant homophobia that still exists.” Coolen and company also go to Brazil for the world’s largest Pride parade and New York, “the birthplace of the modern gay liberation movement.”
Dollard said that with Beyond Gay it is important to see a Canadian perspective on human rights. She said that the film reminds us about the real reason behind Pride adding it was a really amazing film and an important piece.
Other films mentioned include Undertow, which Dollard says is a, “really beautiful piece composition-wise [and] narratively, it’s just gorgeous, it’s about true love, I dig that,” as well as Eyes Wide Open, Strella and Violet Tendencies.
Violet Tendencies, is a film about a woman who surrounds herself with gay men, a “fag hag” who looks for a man of her own. Dollard says the film is a really fun feature for the closing night gala to put everyone in the mood for the dance party afterward at the Uptown Theater.
Films are being shown at The Plaza in Kensington from May 27-June 3 and The Uptown Theater on June 4. For tickets and a full run down of show times and events check out fairytalesfilmfest.com.