Montréal’s Image+Nation LGBTQ+ film festival turns 35

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 11, 2022.

Canada’s pioneering Image+Nation LGBTQ film festival will screen and stream more than 50 films at its 35th edition from November 17 to 27. With more than 40 narrative and documentary features and 13 compelling short film programmes from 28 countries, Image+Nation35 unspools on four Montréal film screens – Cinéma ImpérialCinéma ModerneDe Sève Cinéma and PHI Centre – while again this year offering programming across Québec 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

Métis writer/director/actor Gail Maurice’s heart-warming debut feature Rosie takes us to the fringes of 1980s Montréal as seen through the eyes of a sweet, suddenly orphaned Indigenous girl and her newly chosen family (18 November 7pm at Cinéma Imperial).


Closing night film

Icelandic director Hannes Þór Halldórsson’s Cop Secret is a big-budget buddy cop spoof. When Reykjavik experiences an enigmatic crime spree, a closeted “supercop” and pansexual crime fighter unite to solve the case and ignite romance (27 November 7pm at Cinéma Imperial).



Lights! Camera! Action!

The Voix émergentes / First Voices programme spotlights emerging creators from countries under repressive regimes, illustrating queer existence with power and agency, rather than victimhood. Includes films from Kazakhstan (Balaban), Pakistan (the country’s 2022 Oscar entry, Joyland), and Poland (Elephant).



I+N35 presents their Ukraine Queer Cinema Retrospective to support friends and colleagues in Ukraine during this time of war, curated and presented by Bohdan Zhuk of Molodist, Kyiv International Film Festival. A unique opportunity for audiences to discover this little-known culture and learn about a country whose stories rarely find their way to Montréal screens. The retrospective opens with Stop-Zemlia and includes the 1964 classic Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors.



In support of the current protests in Iran, I+N35 presents Short Films from Iran to highlight the struggle of Iranian women (and men) for a secular and democratic Iran, including director Mehrdad Hassani’s award-winning 15-minute film Adjustment about a nine-year-old effeminate boy who, humiliated and pushed away by family and friends, makes up his mind to adjust himself to his new identity and come out to the people of his village. 



The Focus France programme highlights international francophone cultures and identities through the lens of LGBTQ cinema, presenting films like Les meilleures (Besties) by Marion Desseigne-Ravel, director Florent Gouëlou’s Trois nuits par semaine (Three Nights a Week) about a “heterosexual” man who falls for a Parisian drag queen, as well as the shorts programme I+N@PHI x France en courts.



The R/evolution: the Vanguard programme showcases moments, movements and people that have helped shape our contemporary queer world, such as the clandestine WWII lesbian lovers in the documentary Nelly & Nadine, and All Man: The International Male Story about the 1980s men’s fashion catalogue.



The Voix autochtones / Indigiqueer programme includes the opening film Rosie, as well as an Indigiqueer shorts programme documenting 2Spirit and Indigiqueer perspectives and experiences, including the short film Standsinwater.

The Made au Canada programme celebrates Canadian filmmakers who portray our national queer identities; and back for its 22nd year, the Queerment Québec programme (being screened at the PHI Centre) highlights short films by local filmmakers exploring queer Québecois perspectives.


Other films of note include the edgy Brazilian urban road movie Three Tidy Tigers Tied a Tie Tighter (Três tigres tristes), and Pat Rocco Dared about the early 1960s gay pioneer who made erotic (but not pornographic) films.



There is also a lot of buzz for the British feel-good sexy rom-com In From The Side about two rugby teammates who fall for each other (20 November 7pm at Cinéma Imperial).

And Once Upon a Time in the Gay Village (Il était une fois dans le Village gai) is a poignant montage of photos and music telling the story of the founding of Le Parc de l’Espoir, the AIDS memorial park in the heart of Montréal’s Gay Village.

Also, I+N35 launches its inaugural I+N@PHI x FMC/CMF SERIES co-presented by  the Canada Media Fund, and the I+N StoryLab mentorship program returns for its second year.

Click here for the full I+N35 schedule.

Image+Nation runs from November 17 to 27, 2022. 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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