Oxford International Short Film Festival 2021 takes place 27 August-4 September.

Last year Fyne Times proudly announced Grace Reinhold- Gittins’ Fortem winner of Best LGBTQIA+ Film at Oxford International Short Film Festival’s virtual awards ceremony. This year we’re delighted to be partnering with the festival once again. Here we supply a preview of the LGBTQIA+ films submitted, and continue to celebrate the diversity and creativity of the short film art form.

A Letter to my Mother

Dir: Amina Maher

Amina Maher (b. Tehran, 1992) is an Iranian queer filmmaker whose works deal with themes of social taboos and gender-identity in relation to violence and power structure. Her multi- awarded Letter to my Mother was part of the competition at numerous international film festivals such as 38th Frauen Film Festival, Feminale, 36th Kasseler Dokfest, 35th Lovers Film Festival, 34th Mix Milano Film Festival and 26th Cheries Cheris, LGBTQIA+ Film Festival, Paris.

“For myself,” says Amina, “filmmaking has always been a process of self-exploration with wider societal implications. Of particular note is Letter to my Mother, in which I revealed to my mother for the first time how a family member raped me over a four-year period.

Breaking this silence required personal observation, analysis and courage that came to being through my use of filmmaking tools and techniques – predominately through those in the documentary style, such as the use of archival material, interview, narration as well as recreations. This film has evoked wider social debate, highlighting the need and benefit of survivors and communities being able to speak openly about these experiences. Within the multifarious strands of filmmaking practice, my filmmaking uses trauma therapy as a theme and it is characterised by a few

key factors: its autoethnographic approach, a desire for an honest self-examination, and a play with notions of cinema, reality and life. As the direct victim of abuse, I felt able to give an insight into an experience that is impossible to imagine.”

Lessons

Dir. Sam Seccombe

The morning after a one-night stand, Dan and Tommy engage in an interesting and unexpected conversation about relationships, sexuality and themselves.

Eve

Dir. Joe Solomon

This is a comedy drama of a young woman who has just got married to her long-term boyfriend and now has doubts. She acknowledges she has been repressing her sexual attraction for women for some time, but that these feelings are genuine, after kissing the groom’s sister Olivia – an out and confident lesbian – at the hen party the night before.

I am Chuma

Dir: Wendy Spinks, Clea Mallinson

I am Chuma explores the story of how a young black woman (having experienced numerous gender-based violence incidents) studying at a business college in Cape Town found herself homeless and living rough on a park bench for three years. Chuma Somdaka is a disabled, lesbian, isiXhosa woman, who unexpectedly finds her calling as an artist when,
to survive, she responds to an inner voice and embarks on an empowering journey of awakening and healing, but meets new societal challenges in her yearning to be truly seen and remain connected to her inspired state.


Mermaid

Dir: Saber Mostafapour

Milad (Boy’s name) abandons home and school to preserve her identity and having nowhere to go, she lives in ruins. Three rapist classmates who are tired of her absence, chase after her in secret and find her in a feminine appearance.

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