Montréal’s Image+Nation LGBTQ film festival turns 36

Richard Burnett

Richard “Bugs” Burnett is a Canadian freelance writer, editor, journalist, blogger and columnist for alt-weeklies, mainstream and LGBTQ+ publications. Bugs also knows Montréal like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter.

This article was updated on November 10, 2023.

Canada’s pioneering Image+Nation LGBTQ film festival will screen and stream 175 films from around the world at its 36th edition from November 16 to 26.


With 175 narrative and documentary features and short films from 27 countries – including South Africa, Bulgaria, Nigeria, Mexico, Denmark, Argentina, Italy, Iran, Ukraine, Brazil and the USA – Image+Nation36 unspools on four Montréal film screens: Cinéma Impérial, De Sève Cinéma, PHI Centre and Stock & Soda. The festival also offers programming across Québec and Canada via the virtual Festival platform.


The importance of Queer Cinema

Founded in 1987, Image+Nation is Canada’s trailblazing first LGBTQ film festival and continues to play a trendsetting role within the larger festival circuit and an essential role in the lives of LGBTQ people by fostering community and identity.

Over 11 days, this year’s edition will screen and stream award-winning features, powerful documentaries and acclaimed short films from around the world, offering something for all cinematic tastes, from light-hearted comedies and love stories to deeper dramatic tales and social-issue works.


Opening night film

Adapted from Marinette Pichon’s autobiography (Ne jamais lâcher rien, 2008), the biopic Marinette looks back at the career of a queer pioneer and the first French footballer – male or female – to sign a professional contract in the USA (Imperial Cinema on November 16 at 7 pm). French with English subtitles.


Closing night film

In Venus Envy: The House of Venus Story, director Michael Venus documents the 25-year history of Canada’s DIY collective House of Venus which was influenced by Andy Warhol and the decadence of the New York Club Kids. World premiere screening (Imperial Cinema on November 25 at 7 pm).


Lights! Camera! Action!

The festival’s A Question of Gender programming explores trans, non-binary and intersex figures challenging gender norms. Check out such films as Close to You starring and produced by Elliot Page, and the documentaries The Aggressives – filmed in NYC between 1997 and 2003 and delving into that city’s underground lesbian ball scene – and Beyond the Aggressives: 25 Years Later.



The Indigiqueer programme includes a series of short films as well as festival alum Erica Tremblay’s Indigenous family drama Fancy Dance about a Native American hustler who – following her sister’s disappearance – kidnaps her niece from the child’s white grandparents and sets out for the state powwow in hopes of keeping what is left of their family intact.



The Focus France programme highlights international francophone cultures and identities through the lens of LGBTQ cinema, presenting a series of short films by French queer creators, as well as three feature films: the opening night film Marinette; Arrête avec tes Mensonges (Lie with Me) based on the book by author Philippe Besson and co-starring Victor Belmondo, grandson of classic film star Jean-Paul Belmondo; and Le paradis (The Lost Boys) by Zeno Graton.



The Made au Canada programme celebrates Canadian filmmakers who portray our national queer identities: there are two series of short films, (Series 1 and Series 2), the closing documentary Venus Envy: The House of Venus Story, and such narrative features as Polarized about two women drawn into a passionate affair.

Back for its 23rd year, the Queerment Québec programme (being screened at the PHI Centre) highlights short films by local filmmakers exploring queer Québecois perspectives, in the series Queerment 1 and Queerment 2.

Also, I+N36 presents the second edition of its I+N@PHI x FMC/CMF SERIES co-presented by the Canada Media Fund, a groundbreaking series of conversations with Canadian film, episodic, and game creators such as Jennifer Markowitz (Summer Qamp) and Sandi Somers (Hailey Rose).



Other films of note include Studio One Forever, the award-winning documentary by filmmaker Marc Saltarelli about the legendary star-studded West Hollywood disco.



There is also a lot of buzz for The Floating Man, Canadian filmmaker, author and artist Michael V. Smith’s intimate documentary about his journey as a radical drag performer and genderqueer.

Click here for the full I+N36 schedule.

Image+Nation runs from November 16 to 26, 2023. For tickets and info, visit

Richard Burnett

Richard “Bugs” Burnett is a Canadian freelance writer, editor, journalist, blogger and columnist for alt-weeklies, mainstream and LGBTQ+ publications. Bugs also knows Montréal like a drag queen knows a cosmetics counter.

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