Let's Talk About Love288 mins USALanguage: EnglishAuthor/Creator
Claire Kann hails from the glorious Bay Area where the weather is regrettably not nearly as temperate as it used to be. She has a BA in English/creative writing from Sonoma State University, and works for a nonprofit that you may have heard of where she daydreams like she's paid to do it. Let's Talk About Love is her debut novel.
Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting--working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she's asexual). Alice is done with dating--no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.
But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).
When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.Director: Claire Kann
Jonny Appleseed224 mins Turtle IslandAuthor/Creator
Joshua Whitehead, is an Oji-Cree, Two-Spirit storyteller and academic from Peguis First Nation on Treaty 1 territory in Manitoba. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Indigenous literatures and cultures at the University of Calgary on Treaty 7 territory. In 2016, his poem “mihkokwaniy” won Canada’s History Award for Aboriginal Arts and Stories (for writers aged 19–29), which included a residency at the Banff Centre. He has been published widely in Canadian literary magazines such as Prairie Fire, EVENT, Arc Poetry Magazine, CV2, Red Rising Magazine, and Geez Magazine’s Decolonization issue.
Finalist, Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction
Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
A tour-de-force debut novel about a Two-Spirit Indigiqueer young man and proud NDN glitter princess who must reckon with his past when he returns home to his reserve.
"You're gonna need a rock and a whole lotta medicine" is a mantra that Jonny Appleseed, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, repeats to himself in this vivid and utterly compelling debut novel by poet Joshua Whitehead.
Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living. Self-ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the "rez"--and his former life--to attend the funeral of his stepfather. The seven days that follow are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny's life is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages--and as he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life.
Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of First Nations life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams.Director: Joshua Whitehead
Shut Up You're Pretty176 mins Turtle IslandAuthor/Creator
Téa Mutonji is a writer and poet. She has been awarded and published by The Scarborough Fair Magazine in fiction and nonfiction and by the Ontario Book Publishers Organization as a Scarborough Emerging Writer in the 2017 "What's Your Story?" contest. She is currently finishing her minor in Creative Writing. Shut Up You're Pretty is her first book.
In Téa Mutonji's disarming debut story collection, a woman contemplates her Congolese traditions during a family wedding, a teenage girl looks for happiness inside a pack of cigarettes, a mother reconnects with her daughter through their shared interest in fish, and a young woman decides to shave her head in the waiting room of an abortion clinic.These punchy, sharply observed stories blur the lines between longing and choosing, exploring the narrator's experience as an involuntary one. Tinged with pathos and humour, they interrogate the moments in which femininity, womanness, and identity are not only questioned but also imposed.
Shut Up You're Pretty is the first book to be published under the imprint VS. Books, a series of books curated and edited by writer-musician Vivek Shraya featuring work by new and emerging Indigenous or Black writers, or writers of colour.Director: Téa Mutonji
Fire Song232 mins Turtle IslandLanguage: EnglishAuthor/Creator
Adam Garnet Jones
Adam Garnet Jones (Ka-nîpawit Iskotêk) is a Cree filmmaker and writer who grew up in Edmonton and the B.C. interior. Adam’s mother died when he was just four months old, leaving him and his sister often in the care of an abusive guardian. Adam was a scared, lonely kid who learned to protect himself by shutting himself off from the world and making himself as small and as quiet as possible. Books and films were his only escape from a childhood marked by secret sadness and abuse.
Since Adam began writing and making films as a teenager, most of his work can be seen as a gradual unveiling of the private self that he spent his childhood trying to hide. Much of Adam’s work deals with stories focused around sexuality, abuse, suicide, depression, and Indigenous cultural identity. Soon after Adam began making films, he started to help other youth share their own stories. It was through this sharing that he learned just how frequent the experiences of isolation, hopelessness, and despair are for LGBT and Two-Spirited people.
The story for Fire Song (Spring 2018) was inspired by Adam’s own experiences as a teenager, by the experiences of the brave, resilient LGBT and Two-Spirited young people he has come to know, and by those who have been lost. Adam lives in Toronto.
Shane is still reeling from the suicide of his kid sister, Destiny. How could he have missed the fact that she was so sad? He tries to share his grief with his girlfriend, Tara, but she’s too concerned with her own needs to offer him much comfort. What he really wants is to be able to turn to the one person on the rez whom he loves—his friend, David.
Things go from bad to worse as Shane’s dream of going to university is shattered and his grieving mother withdraws from the world. Worst of all, he and David have to hide their relationship from everyone. Shane feels that his only chance of a better life is moving to Toronto, but David refuses to join him. When yet another tragedy strikes, the two boys have to make difficult choices about their future together.
With deep insight into the life of Indigenous people on the reserve, this book masterfully portrays how a community looks to the past for guidance and comfort while fearing a future of poverty and shame. Shane’s rocky road to finding himself takes many twists and turns, but ultimately ends with him on a path that doesn’t always offer easy answers, but one that leaves the reader optimistic about his fate.Director: Adam Garnet Jones
Kiki is an American-Swedish co-produced documentary film, released in 2016. It takes place in New York City, New York, and focuses on the "voguing scene [and] surveys the lives of LGBT youth of color at a time when Black Lives Matter and trans rights are making front-page headlines".
Twenty-five years after Jenny Livingston’s seminal documentary Paris Is Burning, which shone a light on ’80s Harlem’s ballroom scene, this explosive and uplifting documentary reveals one of the subculture’s contemporary descendants: the Kiki scene. Part activist movement, part artistic milieu, the Kiki community is a site of radical self-expression for young queer people of colour in New York City, whose ballroom competitions and surrogate queer families provide both creative platforms and a source of succour for individuals facing multiple forms of marginalisation.
Shot over four years, the film follows seven members of the community through the difficulties of illness, homelessness and everyday discrimination, as well as the joys of spectacle, camaraderie and personal affirmation.Director: Sara JordenöCast: Loretta Coombs, Takima Coombs, Afrika Juicy Couture & more
Under the Udala Trees336 mins USALanguage: EnglishAuthor/Creator
Chinelo Okparanta was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and relocated to the United States at the age of ten. She received her BS from The Pennsylvania State University, her MA from Rutgers University, and her MFA from the University of Iowa. She was one of Granta's six New Voices for 2012 and her stories have appeared in Granta, The New Yorker, Tin House, Subtropics, and elsewhere.
Inspired by Nigeria's folktales and its war, Under the Udala Trees is a deeply searching, powerful debut about the dangers of living and loving openly.
Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does. Born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. But when their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself-and there is a cost to living inside a lie.
Okparanta's Under the Udala Trees uses one woman's lifetime to examine the ways in which Nigerians continue to struggle toward selfhood. Even as their nation contends with and recovers from the effects of war and division, Nigerian lives are also wrecked and lost from taboo and prejudice. This story offers a glimmer of hope — a future where a woman might just be able to shape her life around truth and love.Director: Chinelo Okparanta