TIFF Gay Guide 2019

TIFF Gay Guide 2019

Over the past few years, the film industry has seen a much needed rise in quality LGBTQ films. With the Toronto Film Festival being the official start to the fall movie season, we’re hoping for more complex illustrations of our collective and individual queer experiences. (More Moonlight, less Stonewall please.) This small list is some of the movies we’re most excited to check out this year: 

TIFF invades the city at a few theatres around the city from September 5th -15th.


Pain and Glory 

Scotiabank Theatre

Antonio Banderas plays an aging gay filmmaker in creative crisis and a career on the wane in Pedro Almodóvar’s very personal new film that also includes widely heralded performances by Banderas and Almodóvar regular, Queen Penelope Cruz. 

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

THU.05 + FRI.06
Winter Garden Theatre

Marianne, a young artist hired to paint a reclusive soon-to-be bride finds herself passionately falling for her in Portrait of a Lady on Fire, the first film directed by a woman to win the Queer Palm at Cannes (a fact they reeeeally shouldn’t be proud of). 


MON.09 + WED.11 + THU.12
TIFF Bell Lightbox

An American Muslim teenager finds herself having to balance her relationship with her protective Pakistani immigrant parents and a progressive world that better suits her own fiercely independent desires in Minhal Baig’s honest coming-of-age drama.


SUN.08 + TUES.10
TIFF Bell Lightbox

The voyeuristic, radical Liberté follows an ensemble of horny 18th-century French aristocrats who head out to explore their wildest sexual fantasies on an extended night of cruising and carnal revelry. So, essentially a movie about Saturday night at Steamworks, but 200 years ago and told through the mind of the always subversive Catalan filmmaker Albert Serra.


The Obituary of Tunde Johnson

SUN.08 + TUES.10 + SAT.14
TIFF Bell Lightbox

Groundhog Day, Moonlight, and 21st century racial injustice converge in Ali LeRoi’s urgent, incisive feature debut about a closeted gay African American teenager forced to relive, over and over again, the day he is shot and killed at the hands of the police.


Darling (Short)

TUES.10 + SUN.15
TIFF Bell Lightbox

Naive Shani helps his transgender friend and crush audition for the lead in an erotic dance show. In this whimsical drama, Saim Sadiq depicts the guileless ambition and inevitable compromises of two young adults daring to imagine bolder roles for themselves than society has envisioned. (Playing as part of Short Cuts Programme 08)



SAT.07 + MON.09 + FRI.13
TIFF Bell Lightbox

This film from Georgia revolves around the feelings of two middle-aged women who are reunited for one hot summer. They drifted as teens and fell into their own separate lives, but when they meet at the summerhouse where they experience some of the best times of their lives, sparks fly.


… but highly Actressexual films we’re looking forward to


WED.11 + SAT.14
Winter Garden Theatre

Renowned activist and abolitionist Harriet Tubman, played by the INCREDIBLE Tony-Award Winning Cynthia Erivo (seriously, YouTube clips of her in The Color Purple right now), finally gets her story told on the big screen as this story chronicles her escaping slavery and risking her life to lead others to freedom through the network of safehouses known as the Underground Railroad. 

Lucy In The Sky 

THU.12 + FRI.13 + SAT.15
Various locations

Post-Black Swan Natalie Portman seems to go from one brilliantly bonkers performance (Jackie) to the next (Vox Lux. K fine this one was more WTF than brilliant), and this will likely be no different as she plays an obsessive astronaut who begins to question her place in the universe after returning to earth. 


Elgin Theatre

Roxie Hart, Bridget Jones and now the original gay icon, the Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy herself, Judy Garland. Renee Zellweger returns in this highly-anticipated film (at least in this house) about the tragic final year of Garland’s life. Expect high drama, expect tears, expect an aggressive Oscar nomination campaign for Renee. Full disclosure: this one is probably very much sold out forever, but worth pulling any strings you may have.  


Ryerson Theatre

Inspired by this viral New York magazine article, Hustlers follows a badass group of former strippers who decide to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients with a cast that includes J.Lo, Constance Wu, Cardi B (!) and Lizzo (!!). Think Ocean’s 8 meets Wolf of Wall Street meets Showgirls. Full disclosure: this one is also probably very much sold out forever, but worth pulling any strings you may have.  

The Goldfinch

MON.09 + WED.11
Various Theatres

The Brooklyn director returns with what is sure to be another weeper about a 13 year old mourning the death of his mother in a museum bombing. But more importantly, we get Goddess Nicole Kidman in yet another ill-fitting wig! 


Bruce LaBruce VS TIFF 2019

Bovine Sex Club

The infamous Director’s annual TIFF party is always an ultra-queer celebration and this year features a special performance by Nate Romantixx and DJ sets from Jaime Sin and Kaade! Oh, and burlesque goddess Laura Desiree will be in the house. It all goes down at the Bovine Sex Club!



The Beaver

The annual queer celebration of film turns 10-years-old this year!!! This year they head back to where it all began, at the Beaver, for an ultra-gay night of dancing with DJs Phillippe and Miss Margot, as well as shows from LatinX reina Selena Vyle. You should be prepared to go into work late on Wednesday.


This guide is made up of the films and parties we want to see and do. For all other info on the queer films at TIFF of just TIFF in general, visit the official website of TIFF for all information related to the screenings and all other fun stuff.

What to see at Venus Fest 2019

What to see at Venus Fest 2019

All about the Yohomo Hotline

All about the Yohomo Hotline