Made By Women

Dir: Kelsey Sutcliffe, New Zealand, 2013, 12 mins

What’s Emily to do when her maid of honour confesses that she loves her? 

Mai Dai Kor Hai Ma Rak Dir: Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, Thailand, 103 mins, Thai with English subtitles

Three intertwined stories take a candid, empathetic look at Thai ladyboys’ quests for personal, family and community acceptance – and their achievement: it really does get better. Cosmopolitan and glamorous, middle-aged transwoman Saitarn finds herself out of place in a rural village; a young boy is forced into a monastery after his father finds him dancing in his mother’s clothes; and expat Tonmai discovers that his late, estranged father has left him a ladyboy cabaret in Pattaya. Gorgeous scenery, spectacular performances, and entertaining club routines complete a portrait of transgender lives rediscovered and redeemed. 

Dir: Jenn Page, USA, 2014, 107 mins

An exuberant musical comedy that proves there’s no business like show business, and delivers some damn fine tunes along the way. Perky, naïve young Anthony is a musical theatre performer in Big Timber, Montana who dreams of being on Broadway. Cocky, handsome Tony works in a male stripper revue in NYC. Anthony envisions his big break when he enters a contest to be in an off-Broadway production, and Tony sees dollar signs when he finds a competition entitled ‘America’s Strip Search’. The thing is, these two contests are being run by the same company, and wouldn’t you know it but their submissions get mixed up.... 

Dir: Lya Guerra, USA, 2012, 82 mins

Grace Schrafft and Grace Moceri became lovers in the 1970s. Leaving their respective husbands, with their infant children in tow they embarked on a life journey together. A beautifully crafted documentary which explores the ebb and flow of a loveship which spans almost forty years, The Love Part Of This is a heartbreaking, funny and extremely moving portrait of life and love in our times, and the stories and struggles of the two Graces will resonate with many.

Best Documentary Feature – Torino GLBT Film Festival 2013 

W Imię Dir: Malgoska Szumowska, Poland, 2012, 97 mins, Polish with English subtitles

Adam is a Catholic priest in rural Poland, working with troubled teenagers. Handsome and unconventional, the locals accept him as one of their own. But after meeting eccentric, silent Lukasz, son of a simple farming family, Father Adam faces a spiritual crisis. He wrestles with sexual feelings long suppressed as his attraction to soft-spoken Lukasz grows. Superbly acted, beautifully filmed in the lush Polish countryside, In the Name Of... asks important questions about faith, repression and the longing for love.

Winner – Teddy Award, Best Film, Berlin Film Festival 2013 

Dir: Heather Winters, USA, 2013, 71 mins

An award-winning documentary that asks: what is a family? Together 22 years, Nashville songwriter Desmond Child and partner Curtis Shaw approach their best friend Angela to be a surrogate mum. Twin boys are born, with Jon Bon Jovi as their not-so-ordinary godfather. There are many forces to overcome, including fighting for government recognition, and their surrogate mum’s parents not quite understanding their relationship to the boys. However, in the end they make being dads and being gay normal. 

Zwei Mütter Dir: Anne Zohra Berrache, Germany, 2013, 75 mins, German with English subtitles

Mixing fiction and documentary, Two Mothers follows Katja and Isabella, happily married, who decide to have a child. However, like many lesbian couples, they soon discover how difficult this is as many of the sperm banks and fertility clinics in Germany don’t offer treatment to homosexual couples, citing ‘legal problems’. The toll on their finances and relationship is telling. Refusing to give up, they take matters into their own hands and start casting for potential sperm donors online... 

Dir: Chelsea McMullan, Canada, 2013, 76 mins

Canadian transgender performer Rae Spoon is a kind of indie troubadour, travelling long distances across the wild open spaces of Canada to perform. Spoon revisits the stretches of rural Alberta that once constituted ‘home’ and confronts memories of growing up queer in an abusive, evangelical household. This genre- defying blend of documentary, musical and road movie segues into fantastical performance sequences in which Spoon sings of childhood, the prairie, death, dinosaurs, the Rapture, gender exploration, and high school romance. An utterly unforgettable experience – and discovering Rae Spoon is this film’s biggest reward. 

Dirs: Kate Johnston & Shauna MacDonald, Canada, 2013, 87 mins

Laurels - Best Feature - Out Takes 2014Tru is a single lesbian who cannot commit to a relationship or a job for long... that is, until she meets Alice, a beautiful widow who has come to town to visit her daughter, Tru’s friend Suzanne. Suzanne leads a busy corporate life-style and asks Tru to look after Alice while she works. A strong bond forms between the two women and tensions escalate after Suzanne witnesses an intimate moment between them. She tries to sabotage the budding romance, but it backfires, as Tru Love is hard to contain. 

Dir: Kate Logan, USA, 2013, 92 mins

A challenging documentary that tells the shocking stories of American teenagers sent to Escuela Caribe, a Christian behaviour modification programme in the Dominican Republic. 17-yr-old David Wernsman was literally dragged from his bedroom to the airport by strangers without warning – because his parents found out he was gay. Once in this so-called ‘school’, myriad punishments and cruelties are inflicted on the kids in an effort to produce obedient Christian conformists. Made by a young evangelical filmmaker granted unprecedented access to film in this controversial place, she discovers shocking secrets that changed her life.