Montréal’s image+nation, Film Festival LGBTQueer turns 34

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.

Canada’s trailblazing image+nation, Film Festival LGBTQueer is going hybrid for its 34th  edition from November 18 to 28. The pioneering film fest will screen more than 50 films, both in-cinema and online.

The importance of Queer Cinema

Now in its fourth decade, Image+Nation was Canada’s first LGBTQ+ film fest 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 more than 50 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.

The festival’s in-person screenings at the Cinéma Impérial will be presented at another cinema since the Imperial has been temporarily shut down after one of the building’s walls was damaged during construction work happening next door. Visit the Image+Nation website for regular updates.

Opening night film

Director Bretten Hannam’s much-anticipated feature film Wildhood (Canada 2021, 103 minutes) tells the tale of a Two-Spirit Mi’kmaw teen and his younger half-brother who escape an abusive home onto the open road and into the Eastern Canadian woods with the help of the charismatic Pasmay, a generous and resourceful companion.

Closing night film

Director Heidi Ewing’s Spanish-language, subtitled I Carry You with Me (Mexico / USA 2020, 111 minutes) is a Sundance award-winning drama about a decades-spanning romance in Mexico between an aspiring chef and a teacher.


Lights! Camera! Action!

The Voix émergentes / First Voices program spotlights bold films from countries and perspectives that see little representation in the queer cinema canon, such as The Hill Where Lionesses Roar (2021) by Luàna Bajrami.

The Italy program features a collection of feel-good features, compelling docs and extraordinary shorts that offer a glimpse into Italian queer cinema (and life), such as Mascarpone (2021) by Alessandro Guida and Matteo Pilati.

The France program highlights international francophone cultures and identities through the lens of LGBTQ cinema, presenting films like Down in Paris (2021) by Antony Hickling.

The R/evolution: the Vanguard program showcases the moments, movements and people that have had a hand in shaping our contemporary queer world, such as the critically-hailed in-your-face British documentary Rebel Dykes (2021) by Harri Shanahan and Siân A. Williams.

Many of this year’s films star trans, non-binary and intersex figures who thrive in their truths, challenging gender norms along the way. The programming in A Question of Gender deals with gender identity and sexual orientation head on, through emancipatory and revolutionary films beyond the coming out and transitioning narratives, with films like the hotly-anticipated P.S. Burn This Letter Please (2020) by Jennifer Tiexiera and Michael Seligman, which uncovers New York City’s underground drag community of the 1950s.

The International Showcase presents the best of global queer cinema; the Made au Canada program celebrates Canadian filmmakers who portray our national queer identities, including the opening-night film, Wildhood; and back for its 21st year, the Queerment Québec program (being screened at the PHI Centre) highlights short films by local emerging and established filmmakers exploring queer Québecois perspectives.

Click here for the full schedule.

Cocktails and a movie

After the unexpected closure of the Cinéma Impérial, Image+Nation has launched their Image+Nation PHI Sessions at the PHI Centre in Old Montréal where audiences can share a drink and queer cinema, beginning November 22 with screenings all week, including Queerment Québec (November 22), Mascarpone (November 23), Firebird (November 24), Ma Belle My Beauty (November 27 at 6 pm) and Beyto (November 27 at 9 pm).

Image+Nation runs from November 18 to 28, 2021. For tickets, locations and programming updates, 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.

Enjoy the best of Montréal

The Tourisme Montréal newsletter gives you the inside scoop on everything happening in the city.

Moments nearby