Open City Documentary Festival

LBGTQ+ History Month Non-Fiction Recommendations

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LBGTQ+ history month returns every February as an opportunity to reflect and learn about the histories surrounding the LGBTQ+ community.

Whether you’re a member of the community, or an ally seeking resources and recommendations, we hope you find this collection of non-fiction useful.

Films

Welcome to Chechnya
This critically acclaimed and widely celebrated 2020 documentary centres on the anti-LGBTQ+ purges in Chechnya in the 2010s and portrays a moving insight into the network of activists in the region and the safehouses they operate.

Welcome to Chechnya is available to view free via BBC iPlayer until May, 2021. We also recommend viewing a discussion with director David France alongside activists featured in the film David Isteey and Olga Baranova, available via IDA.

The Blue Flower of Novalis
Directed by Gustavo Vinagre (I Remember the Crows, OCDF 2018), The Blue Flower of Novalis follows Marcelo, a dandy of about 40 years, in their São Paulo apartment. Between making coffee and occasional hookups, Marcelo casually and sincerely discussed their longings and beliefs.

Available to watch with subscriptions to DAFilms or Mubi (where you can access their catalogue with a free 3 month trial thanks to their CinemaGoesOn campaign).

Hazte Sentir
Directed by Open City Docs School Senior Teaching Fellow Dieter Deswarte, Hazte Sentir was recently made available on CiNEOLA, a new online platform for Latin American Stories, presented in partnership with Frameline. The film has inspired a grant to be awarded to visual artist Sen Mendez, and has also been selected to screen at Queer Screen’s 19th Mardi Gras Film Festival.

You can watch Hazte Sentir free via Cineola.

Shelter: Farewell to Eden
Shelter follows transgender woman Pepsi as they recount their turbulent childhood and gender discrimination while growing up in the Philippines.

Available to watch with a subscription to TrueStory (who are currently offering 7 day free trials)

Take me to Prom
A CBC short doc featuring intimate, charming interviews with queer Canadians ranging in age 17 to 88. Take Me To Prom invites audiences to revisit this iconic adolescent milestone.

Available to watch free via CBC’s YouTube channel.

Audio

The Log Books
Produced by Shivani Dave, one of Open City Documentary Festival’s industry speakers from 2020, The Log Books is an award-winning history of LGBTQ+ life in Britain as noted by volunteers at the helpline Switchboard. Each episode of this stirring podcast centres around log book entries made by the volunteers who staffed the phones from the charity’s very first day.

Listen via Apple Podcasts.

AfroQueer
AfroQueer is a podcast telling the stories of Queer Africans from across the continent and diaspora. The podcast explores everything from migration, law, media, race, class, censorship, family and sex, alongside deep dives and spotlights into individuals helping to shift the landscape of African queerness.

Listen via Apple Podcasts or Soundcloud.

Misc.

BFI Flare 2021
The BFI’s annual festival dedicated to showcasing the best new queer cinema and celebrating the diversity of LGBTIQ+ culture from around the globe returns 17-28 March, 2021 on BFI Player across the UK. Keep an eye on their Twitter for regular updates on programme and ticket releases.

Cinema of the Margins
A short course delivered by Open City Docs School, Cinema of the Margins covers all forms of subverting marginalisation through the visual form. In week 2, course tutors Ludovica Fales and Adele Tulli will cover queer cinema that blurs the boundaries of documentary, fiction and video art, and observe subjectivity as a frontline strategy, hybrid mix of poetry and politics, memory and history, bodies and emotions and various artists such as Derek Jarman and Jack Smith.

The course takes place Feb 10th – Mar 17th. Find out more and book here.

We’re always seeking to expand and develop, so if you have any additional documentary-based resources you’d like us to include then please get in touch.

Image: Hazte Sentir