Daredevils, Senior Gender Rebels, James Franco At Toronto’s Inside Out Film Festival

Film festival season continues today with the start of the 22nd Inside Out LGBT Film Festival in Toronto. The largest event of its kind in Canada, the marathon fest offers more than 170 films and shorts, plus a wide array of parties, panels, outdoor screenings and other events that draw more than 33,000 movie lovers each year.

Among the many films having their Canadian premiere is Stephen Elliot’s Cherry (above) about an 18-year old runaway (Ashley Hinshaw) who dives into the seedy world of porn, falls for a smoldering lawyer (James Franco) and finds a mother figure in a lesbian porn director (Heather Graham). Also starring indie darlings Lily Taylor (I Shot Andy Warhol) and Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire), Cherry screens May 18.

On May 20, Michael Akers’ Morgan follows a daredevil athlete (Leo Minaya) whose addiction to adrenaline leaves him paralyzed. But while a budding romance with new friend Dean (Jack Kesy) offers hope for a fulfiling future, things hit the skids when Morgan decides to re-enter the race that almost killed him.

Documentaries at Inside Out include Macky Alston’s acclaimed Love Free or Die, which examines the journey of Reverend Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church (He was famously consecrated while wearing a bullet-proof vest.) The film, which won a Special Jury prize at Sundance, is being shown on May 21.

On May 27, it’s the the North American premiere of I Am A Woman Now (left) Michiel van Erp’s chronicle of five trans women, now all in their 70s, who had their surgeries performed a half-century ago in Casablanca by French doctor Georges Burou.

French film Bye Bye Blondie is the closing night  spotlight feature on May 27: Directed by Virginie Despentes (Pretty Things), it’s a tale of two misunderstood women (Gallic sexpots Beatrice Dalle and Emmanualle Beart) who try to rekindle the love they shared during their troubled youth.

Other festival favorites showing at Inside Out include Keep the Lights On, The Perfect Family, Call Me Kuchu, Wish Me Away, August and the Oscar-nominated Bullhead, which is making its Toronto premiere on May 20.

Inside Out LGBT Film Festival runs May 17-May 27. Photos: wikimedia, melty.fr