Queer Spaces and belonging

Credit: Tiu Makkonen

Credit: Tiu Makkonen

Charlene Shillan
Writer

Whether you are an ally or a member of the LGBTQ+ community, the Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF) represents a plethora of identities through stimulating and authentic storytelling. The SQIFF Shorts: Elephants and Riots epitomised the diversity of the festival’s content, with each film representing a facet of the queer community from faux drag, to trans empowerment, to gay motherhood.

Winner of the best feminist short, Lucid Noon, Sunset Blush (Ali Logout, USA, 2015) is a work which captures the importance of queer spaces. A young gay teen, Micha, finds herself in the world of “The Basement”, characterised by its diverse and empowered female populace. Micha’s awakening and liberation within this alliance corresponds with the audience’s introduction into the space and we are invited to experience the same sensation of belonging.

SQIFF being the first queer film festival I’ve attended, this movie marked a poignant moment for me as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve never truly appreciated the need for representation in art until I sat amongst members and allies of people who share a queer identity. Micha’s initiation into this sphere of acceptance and becoming reminds us of the value in community. SQIFF brings queer space to existence and celebrates its voice, giving opportunity for people to be a part of validating their identity. It’s an invaluable source of connectivity for both viewers and filmmakers. Making niche film undoubtedly comes with struggles and having like-minded people to share the woes and triumphs with will offer support and facilitate creative dialogue.

The festival is in its infancy, this year marking its second anniversary. However, the quality of the content is a testament to the significance such organisations have in exposing queer film. There is an ample amount of valuable work being produced for LGBTQ+ spectators and SQIFF provides the space for its consumption. They are doing some truly wonderful work and I can’t wait to see where the organisation goes from here.