2003 InsideOut Queer Youth Breaking Out

Leah Breuer

Amidst the 300 + screenings at this year's Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, eight Toronto-based youth prepared to make their directorial debuts as part of this year's Queer Youth Project.

It was an exciting time for the youth with a lot of buzz and anticipation, last year's screenings having catered to sold-out audiences. Filmgoers attended with the knowledge that these are amateur directors at work, many attempting to enjoy fresh styles and interested in the expression of younger generations. The hope behind the project is for the students participating to continue to use video as a creative outlet. The goal is to foster young directors. Charles Street video has been a supporter of the project since 1999, its role instrumental in providing free memberships as further encouragement. The participants are led this year by Mary Angela Piccione from Youth View Communications and a recent video arts graduate of York University's Visual Arts program:

"A lot of the learning takes place at Charles Street Video. The youths learn a lot in the post process with regards to directing their own pieces and how to communicate with a visual medium."

The eight participants (the most QYP has had at a time to date) were chosen from 22 submissions by a jury of their peers, based on both their ideas and the diversity of the participants:

Shoshana Magnet, 24, explored both her and her mother's queer orientation as well as the issues that come with her mother having a partner in Genetic.

Michael Dunn, 17, the youngest of those selected this year, discussed the hardships of being gay in high school and the experience of being outed by his peers, in Follow.

Luwam Sedhtu, 21, looked inward for On My Way, in his piece of self-exploration and self-identity.

Matt Thomas, 18, brought us The Invisible Threat tackling homophobic expression, using it to satirically look at propaganda, film and the portrayal of gays in today's society.

John Caffery, 24, examined the differences between hetero and homosexual men through the eyes of someone who comes to Toronto from a small town with big ideals, in All the Right Moves.

Carolyn Armstrong, 23, created Body Part One, a work that defines her experiences with trauma, treatment, and its effects on her sexuality.

Annika Mikkelsen, 24, brought us a personal take on bisexuality in Decided.

Samuel Chow, 22, delivered a self-exploratory piece of being young, queer, having immigrated from Hong Kong, and how these factors intersect. His piece is entitled Banana Boy.

The learning curve that takes place with the project is steep; as the youth have little to no video experience, a lot of information is crammed together in a series of workshops run by Piccone. Beginning in January, script writing, camera, editing and sensitivity workshops were held every weekend. In March, camera practice days took place and then the participants were sent out to shoot the projects over the course of one day. Logging, digitizing and the inevitable editing process is all done at Charles Street Video with the help of In-House Editor, Aleesa Cohene.

It is always gratifying for Mary Angela to see the quality of the work after post. Previous works have been screened internationally, one receiving an award at the Reel Asian Festival last year. These projects have ultimately served as a creative outlet for the youth, an opportunity to examine their lives and their identities. "At first everyone is shy, but by the end of the program they exude a level of maturity and confidence in bringing their projects to life and completion."

The Inside Out Festival ran this year on May 15-25, 2003. For more details about the festival and next year's Queer Youth Project, check out their web site at

Free compilation tapes of the Queer Youth Project are also available to various community organizations that work with queer youth and do anti-homophobia education. If your organization is interested, please contact them at (416) 977- 6847

CSV 23 September 2003


Youth 2009

Inside Out Queer Youth 2009

Since 1998, with the support of Charles Street Video, Inside Out initiates the Queer Youth Digital Video Project to provide opportunities for youth to learn video production and post-production in a supportive atmosphere.  more

Office Hours: Weekdays 10:00 - 17:00
416.603.6564      Fax: 416.603.6566
76 Geary Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M6H 2B5 Canada
Connect with CSV

YouTube's CSV profile