Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, an exclusive celebration of the best queer films from Canada and around the world, brought a unique selection of (mostly) foreign indie films rich with specificity. I had already seen a few of their selections, including the excellent Boy Meets Boy, Moffie, and Potato Dreams of America, so I was excited to see what other eclectic movies would be on offer.



Beyto is a searing romantic drama with sweeping, beautiful visuals (and even more beautiful men!). Led by terrific performances from Burak Ates (Beyto) and Dimitri Stapfer (Mike), Beyto is part coming-out tale, told through the lens of a Turkish migrant family. When his family tries to marry off swimmer Beyto, entrapping him with a random girl from their village, it reveals depressing cultural prejudices. The first gay love scene between Beyto and Mike is beautiful, and there’s a surprisingly positive and uplifting conclusion. 


Full review at the link.


Full review at the link.


Full review at the link.


Knocking is basically Gaslighting: The Movie. Its simplistic horror aims for the cerebral instead of the macabre, hoping to play up its claustrophobic setting for maximum impact. Actress Cecila Milocco embodies Molly with vigor and determination. With occasional flashbacks to sunlit beach travels, bizarre knocking that Molly assumes could be morse code, and oddball visuals, Knocking likely would work much better as a short film than a feature length one. The runtime feels bloated and stretched to its limits. The premise is only able to sustain the suspense and intrigue for so long before it just feels like wheel-spinning.


The only word that comes to mind is “adorable.” What a sweet and pure movie! I was expecting to hate it due to the Zoom format. It is very well-done and the ending made me smile. Natalie Morales does a terrific job directing a film that, on the surface, could’ve been super boring. This is the most I’ve liked Mark Duplass since Creep.


Full review at the link.


A mostly cute, harmless depiction of young love at its most innocent stage. Pinky promises reign supreme in this fragile examination of human connection and early-age trauma’s effects. A line that stuck out to me is during the big kiss, one of the girls says the other’s lips “taste like strawberry milk.” It’s the most adorable moment of My First Summer.


Poppy Field starts out so strong with the connection of the two lead characters. The anti-gay Romanian protestors cause obvious drama that spins in circles for most of the runtime. I wish the second half had done a bit more for me, and that it had shown the aftermath. It lingers too long in concepts of homophobia and self-hate, both facets we have seen time and time again from gay cinema. Conrad Mericoffer is excellent as the lead.


Full review at the link.


Full review at the link.


Sweetheart follows a long line of LGBT coming-of-age films and manages to overcome the more predictable elements of the premise. It does two things that I really admired: the first is the decision to not make some generic coming-out fiasco; the second is the choice to avoid telling a straightforward love story. In making these two major deviations from the norm, it becomes a surprisingly engaging character study. Nell Barlow as AJ is strange and fantastic, and her fling with Isla equal parts natural and organic. Heavier elements about depression and sexual confusion rear their head sporadically. It is a tender exploration of a budding young lesbian during a formative time in her life, an excellent feature debut from writer/director Marley Morrison.


“I’m sick of my pussy being turned into a whorehouse,” opines one of the lesbians at the center of Astar Elkayam’s drama Two. I enjoyed the relationship between Omer (Mor Polaneur) and Bar (Agam Schuster), and the strength of their chemistry is able to overcome some of the narrative shortcomings. The wheel-spinning plot about the conception of a baby, obtaining a sperm donor, and the toll it takes on the relationship between Omer and Bar starts strong, yet ultimately lacks a bit more bite.

Thanks for reading my coverage of the 2021 Inside Out LGBT Film Festival! My favorites of the fest were Beyto, a film with a happy ending that elevated everything that came before, Sweetheart, a coming-of-age exploration of sexual identity, and I Carry You With Me, a haunting love story with its pulse on immigration and the American dream. For more information about the festival, visit

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