Despite last Saturday’s miserable weather, the Scottish Queer International Film Festival (S.Q.I.F.F.) was warmly welcomed by the audience that filled the Anatomy Lecture Theatre at Summerhall, in Edinburgh’s Southside.
Festival hosts, filmmakers Fox Foster, Lucy Elliott-Holmes and Annabel Cooper, did a superb job of organising and running two vibrant and highly enlightening events.
The first event was a basic and fun, yet informative introduction to digital filmmaking techniques, particularly in regard to vlogging (video-blogging for those not in the know) and it succinctly and entertainingly covered the technicalities of the most important and essential elements of making your own short film.
As someone who was taught much of this a good while back, it was both a vital refresher for me and also a much needed catch-up on the practicalities of digital and High Definition film photography, lighting and sound recording.
I was very surprised by the end of that particular workshop, which lasted little over an hour as so much was covered, the group participants were even taught a few of the sneaky wee low-budget filmmaking tricks, too.
The workshop ended-up re-igniting my diminished passion for making films and left me longing to start making them again.
The main evening event (also in the Anatomy room) was the screening of a series of short films, preceded by a blessing by Jesus Christ herself (aka: playwright and performer Jo Clifford).
The first shorts were by Garry Mac, one of which was animated, and the other a documentary about Pride House in Glasgow, during last year’s Commonwealth Games.
The other shorts were about trans people in the military, and the ‘My Genderation Project’ short documentaries, which were all deeply personal and intense.
The standouts were about Nathan Gale, Maki Yamazaki, and a teenager called CJ, and especially the short about a five-year-old trans girl and her mother called ‘Claire & Bertie’.
The screenings closed with the premier of the Annabel Cooper’s powerful fictional short film ‘High Heels Aren’t Compulsory’, scripted by Elaine Gallagher and starring Jo Clifford as a transwoman encountering discrimination on her first day at work in her true gender identity.
The screening was packed-out, and the evening, despite a few technical hiccups, was enjoyed by all.
Overall, it was a superb night out, that celebrated being transgender and where all the short films were of a consistently high standard