We take a moment to speak with Helen Wright, Coordinator of the Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF) and learn about this exciting new project.
KaleidoScot: Tell us a bit about SQIFF and yourself.
So, a team of us have been working on SQIFF since May of this year. I am Festival Coordinator – there are probably too many other people on the team to name them all (about 12) but they include a range of people already working in film exhibition, academia, events organisation, and artists and filmmakers.
KaleidoScot: Where did the idea of SQIFF originate from, and why?
The idea for SQIFF came about because we think there is a great potential for expanding queer film exhibition in Scotland. There are a great many contemporary queer films which people don’t get a chance to see in Scotland and there is also potential for deepening the context of queer cinema, i.e. having post-screening discussions with experts, screening films which aren’t explicitly queer but which are subject to ‘queer readings’ (e.g. classic Hollywood films), putting on multi-media visual arts events which link to queer film, and much more!
SQIFF has two main aims as a festival. The first is to be a community festival, which makes an effort to represent and cater for the variety of people who identify as LGBTIQ in Scotland, e.g. we want to be inclusive of trans* identities and not screen queer films by – and featuring – only white and/or able-bodied people. The second goal is to promote queer film as an art form. That means we will encourage exploration of what is meant by ‘queer film’ in terms of different genres, styles, and aesthetics. We hope therefore to offer something for a wide range of people, those looking for more LGBTIQ cultural activities in Scotland and those interested in cinema as an art form, and, of course, all the cross-over between those two groups of individuals!
A big part of the plan is also to encourage local queer filmmakers. We will definitely screen short films made by local people (alongside those by international filmmakers) and we will aim to put on workshops as well to help strengthen the burgeoning queer filmmaking scene in Scotland.
KaleidoScot: Great, can’t wait – now when can we watch all these exciting films?
The first edition of SQIFF will be in September of 2015 – dates TBC – in Glasgow. We plan to have some touring elements as well, so that we can bring some of the programme to different areas of the country, including rural areas which may not currently have as large an amount of queer cultural events going on. Leading up to the Festival, we’re going to be putting on lots of one-off events to introduce SQIFF to people. The first of these will be a screening of excellent French drama Tomboy on Friday 12th September at the CCA Glasgow at 19:00. Tomboy is a film about a ten-year old girl who moves to a new town and presents herself to as a boy to the neighbourhood children. We will show a few short films before the feature and will have an intro to Tomboy from SQIFF team member Kat Lindner, who is a lecturer in Media Studies at Stirling University.