Film festivals are a movie fan’s dream. Audiences often get to see new releases months before the multiplex gets them, and festival screenings often come with perks like Q&As with actors and filmmakers, autograph sessions, and gala events. Filmmakers have a chance to market their movies and meet other creative types, and everyone enjoys the carnival atmosphere of 24/7 entertainment.
If you’re feeling frisky, there are plenty of festivals designed to explore human sexuality. These fests leave no sexual stone unturned: get kinky, get romantic, and get queer. Most of all, get your butt into a movie theater, and enjoy these local and international film festivals.
May 17-27 (with co-presentations and series starting May 2)
Inside Out has been out and proud since 1991, when a grassroots initiative rented the Euclid Theatre to screen films and videos for and about gay, lesbian, trans and bisexual filmmakers and stories. Today, the month-long event is Canada’s largest LGBTQ film festival, attracting major corporate sponsors, and bringing over 35,000 movie fans to more than 180 films. Throughout the year, the festival partners with the TIFF Bell Lightbox on a bi-monthly screening, designed to showcase the best of Canadian and international queer cinema.
South Portland, ME
May 20/October TBA
Bluestocking’s mandate is to present short films made for and by women. That female-centric viewpoint isn’t hollow posturing – films have to pass the Bechdel Test in order to be eligible for inclusion. This relative newcomer on the festival circuit is held in Maine, with screening series programmed for May and October. Bluestocking puts the female filmmakers (and their sexy, creative brains) in the spotlight.
Ah, San Francisco. The Good Vibrations festival is one more example of why this city has a well-deserved reputation for embracing sexual open-mindedness. Brought to you by the Good Vibrations masterminds, these screenings showcase erotic movies, lusty adventures, and romantic expressions of love. Programming features short films (they call them “quickies”), panel discussions staffed with sex experts, and feature-length films offering all the eroticism audiences can handle.
SIFF’s short films explores love, romance and sexuality in thought-provoking and sometimes shocking ways, but the emphasis is on quality filmmaking, not titillation. The festival presents awards for direction, acting, and best short and feature film, and has recently launched a spin-off francophone festival in Paris.
New York City, NY
The word “kinky” can mean many things, so it’s a good thing CineKink’s organizers are an open-minded bunch. Films range from high-camp to serious drama, from experimental shorts to laugh-a-minute comedy, but this festival celebrates all positive examples of sexuality and kink in film and video. The selections range from mildly expressive to let-it-all-hang-out explicit – hell, even the asexuals got their due this year, with Angela Tucker’s (a)sexual – and this six-day fest has openminded audiences talking about what, exactly, “kinky” means to them.
Combining shorts, documentaries and feature films, Oregon’s Queer Film Festival offers three days of thought-provoking programming designed to give a voice to the LGBTQ community. This year’s screenings included The Green, an unsettling tale of false accusation and homophobia, and Ballroom Rules, a look behind the scenes of same-sex ballroom dance teams. Held at the Bijou Eugene’s art-house cinema, QFF offers audiences a chance to see emerging and established queer filmmakers at their very best.
Have we missed your favourite sexy film festival? Have you seen something steamy at a non-themed festival? Leave us a note in the comments!