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Inside Out LGBTQ Fest Unveils 2019 Finance Forum Selection (EXCLUSIVE)

Inside Out, Canada’s largest LGBTQ film festival, distributor, and booster of LGBTQ content, has unveiled to Variety the 10 feature projects and eight international executives participating in its third annual Finance Forum.

“There’s a great variety to the projects this year,” Inside Out executive director Andria Wilson said before the official Finance Forum announcement. “We’ve got docs in the lineup for the first time, and two really exciting U.K. projects. The directors and producers represent a diverse cross-section of perspectives, both from their lived experiences and their bodies of work.” The festival’s 2019 film slate will be announced May 3.

The Finance Forum takes place May 30-31, during the 29th edition of the Toronto LGBT Film Festival. The first and only LGBTQ finance event of its kind in the world, Inside Out’s forum holds an open submission call, and also reaches out to international film funds, institutions, and festivals to track projects.

“We are looking for the next great international and Canadian LGBTQ feature projects that need that extra push towards production,” Wilson said. The romantic-comedy “Breaking Fast,” from L.A. producer-director Mike Mosallam (TLC’s “All-American Muslim”), starring Haaz Sleiman (“Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”) and Michael Cassidy (“Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice”), was a 2017 forum selection and is now in post; first-time feature helmer Philip Connell’s 2017 selection “Jump, Darling” starts lensing this May.

This year, GLAAD director of transgender media and representation Nick Adams is among the confirmed forum execs. “GLAAD plays a critical consulting role in so many LGBTQ feature projects, and we want to highlight the importance of that work for our participants,” Wilson said.

Other executives attending this year’s festival include, from the U.S., the Film Collaborative’s creative director and director of digital distribution initiatives David Averbach, Killer Films production and development executive Ben Kuller, and the Forest Road Company CEO Zachary Tarica; from the U.K., Bankside Films director and head of sales and marketing Stephen Kelliher, and Little Punk president of features Howard Gertler; and from Canada, Elevation Pictures SVP of marketing and acquisitions Adrian Love, and Bell Media production executive of original programming, drama series and feature film, Gosia Kamela.

“I really want to see the forum stay agile, so that the programming can adapt to a rapidly changing landscape, but maintain a level of year-over-year stability so that LGBTQ filmmakers know they can depend on its existence,” Wilson said. “I want it to become a part of their plans when they’re thinking about their next projects. I want to see past participants become mentors, and most of all, I want to see all of these films get made.”

The forum is produced by Jan Nathanson, who produced TIFF-timed International Financing Forum for the past 12 years.

CREDIT: Lucy Lu

This year’s selected projects for the 2019 Inside Out Finance Forum are:

BLUE JEAN (U.K.)

Director: Georgia Oakley

Producer: Hélène Sifre

In 1988, a closeted teacher is pushed to the brink when a student threatens to expose her sexuality.

LAVENDER (U.K.)

Director: Jake Graf

Producer: Andee Ryder

Character-driven drama about a trans man’s struggle to accept the impending birth of his child, his revised role in society and himself.

UNTITLED DOCUMENTARY PROJECT (U.S.)

Director: Rita Baghdadi

Producers: Rita Baghdadi, Camilla Hall

DISCLOSURE (U.S.)

Director: Sam Feder

Producers: Laverne Cox (exec.), Amy Scholder, Sam Feder

Documentary exploring the depiction of transgender people and experiences throughout the history of film and television.

BOYFRIEND (Canada, India)

Director: Ashim Ahluwalia

Producers: Kelly Balon, Anand Ramayya

A middle-aged gay production manager has his privileged world jolted when he picks up a 19-year-old lower class hustler in a popular cruising area in South Mumbai.

ERIN’S GUIDE TO KISSING GIRLS (Canada)

Director: Julianna Notten

Producer: Claire Allore

Coming-of-age story set in the emotional world of middle school.

GOLDEN DELICIOUS (Canada)

Director: Jason Karman

Producer: Kristyn Stilling

A teenager is caught between living out the dreams of his father and his girlfriend, and his newly awakened feelings for the boy next door.

TRIBE (Canada)

Director: Joseph Amenta

Producers: Alexandra Roberts, Daniel Sedore

Three adolescent boys become enraptured with life in the queer world as they experience it for the first time.

BEFORE I CHANGE MY MIND (Canada)

Director: Trevor Anderson

Producers: Alyson Richards, Katrina Beatty

An androgynous 12-year-old enters a clandestine relationship with the school bully, making increasingly dangerous choices to get popular.

WHAT I CALL HER (Canada)

Director: D.W. Waterson

Producer: Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs

A woman drafts a scathing obituary for her estranged mother that reflects her view that her mother, now on her deathbed, was abusive.

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