Inside Out LGBT Film Festival

Inside Out is a not-for-profit registered charity that exists to challenge attitudes and change lives through the promotion, production and exhibition of film and video made by and about lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people of all ages, races and abilities. We present two annual film festivals (Toronto in May and Ottawa in October) and deliver a range of innovative programming throughout the year to promote LGBT cinema in Canada and support LGBT film and video artists.

Inside Out ImageOur Impact Why We Exist

LGBTQ voices are an important part of the fabric of Canada. Inside Out supports the development of LGBTQ culture through film and video that elevates and celebrates the lives and experiences of LGBTQ individuals and communities. From countries where individuals face imprisonment or death to our own more open, diverse climate in Canada, we represent, nurture and provide a forum for the stories that will challenge attitudes and change lives.

According to the 2015 Toronto Vital Signs Report: the LGBTQ* (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer,Questioning, and the entire spectrum of gender and sexuality outside ofheterosexual) community remains one of the top three most frequently targeted in hate-motivated assault or criminal harrassment, evidencing a need for safe spaces, greater awareness and louder and more engaging voices. Inside Out is committed to providing an active, engaging and diverse cultural community for LGBTQ individuals and their supporters and to facilitating the means by which LGBTQ cinema is produced in Canada from both emerging and established artists.


Inside Out ImageOur Story What We Do

Inside Out was launched in 1991 by a group of bold film and video artists determined to exhibit LGBT work that was not being programmed elsewhere. In our 26th year, we are the largest, glam-est LGBTQ film festival in Canada, the 3rd largest film festival in Toronto, and one of the top 5 LGBTQ film festivals internationally. Every year over 11 days May, we screen close to 200 shorts and features from around the world, host high profile guests and deliver events that explode with local talent and provide essential opportunities for networking, connection, affirmation and glitter. We also host industry initiatives such as panels, workshops and Master Classes that deliver learning, connection, development and inspiration to artists, audiences and industry personnel.

Year round, Inside Out delivers programming to nurture and support LGBTQ media artists and LGBTQ cinema in Toronto, Ottawa and the southwestern Ontario region. Each year we run a mentorship program for new artists to learn video-making skills in a safe, supportive atmosphere with experienced artists; their work is screened at our festival and sourced by education institutions and social service agencies around the world. We program and deliver the Four-Play Series which expands access to LGBTQ film year-round and opportunities for LGBTQ filmmakers. In 2014 we launched a new award for emerging filmmakers to assist with the production of a short film based on a feature in development. Currently we are planning the construction of a permanent archive and screening room for our 25-year collection of works screened at the Festival which will comprise the largest and most diverse archive of LGBTQ cinema in the country.

Our Programs How We Do It

Inside Out's Queer Mentorship Program believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. It gave me the strength and confidence to love and accept myself as a gay man. It gave me skills to overcome challenges and inspired me to be a better person and make this world a better place for everyone, especially those who struggle. ~Leo Zuniga

  • Toronto LGBT Film Festival: held annually in May, the festival showcases close to 200 feature and short films from around the world to audiences of approximately 35,000, and hosts guests, industry events and festival parties. The festival is a gathering space, an educational forum, a cultural hub and a place for the community to feel safe, supported, affirmed and celebrated.
  • Ottawa LGBT Film Festival: held annually in October, the festival offers a dozen diverse film programs to audiences of close to 4,500 in the Ottawa-Gatineau area.
  • New Visions Mentorship Project: each year 8 to 10 participants, under 25 years of age or over 55, learn video making skills in a supportive environment with experienced mentors. All works are screened at our annual Toronto festival and distributed on DVD or via online to educational and social service agencies across Canada and internationally.
  • Youth Programming: free student matinee screenings at both our Toronto and Ottawa festivals; discounted student tickets and a 14A programming stream throughout the festival; student reporter program at the Toronto Festival to mentor LGBT students in arts journalism.
  • Community Programming: this program brings LGBTQ screening events to neighbourhoods, schools and seniors' residences outlying Toronto's downtown core, such as Scarborough, North York, Etobicoke, Malvern.
  • Four-Play Screening Series: this series of four films screened in the months leading up to the annual festival in Toronto increases access to LGBT cinema in Toronto, provides more opportunities for filmmakers to show their work, and increases our capacity to screen just-released work or re-screen festival favourites.
  • OUTtv Post-Production Fund: in partnership with OUTtv, this fund assists film and video makers with the often under resourced final stages of producion.
  • Short to Feature Award: sponsored by the Harold Greenberg Fund, this award provides financial assistance to an emerging Canadian LGBT filmmaker whose work is consistent with the mandate and goals of Inside Out. 
  • Audience & Jury Awards: numerous awards conferred at both our festivals bring attention, accolades and financial support to both emerging and established filmmakers for outstanding work.

What You Can Do

Make A Donation

  • $750 covers the cost of one busload of high school students to attend our FREE student matinee with Q&A, including transportation, film admission, popcorn and drink
  • $1,000 covers one participant in our New Visions Mentorship Project
  • $1,000 covers the cost of hosting a Canadian director or artist at the festival 
  • $1,500 covers the cost of screening one feature film
  • $2,000 covers the cost of hosting an international director or artist at the festival
  • $3000 covers the cost of a community screening series (3 film events) in an under-served neighbourhood of Toronto
  • $2,000 covers the cost of new equipment for our new Festival Collection archive room
  • $2,500 covers the cost of new furniture and shelving for the Festival Collection archive room

Donations can be made at or email

Become a Member

  • Members receive terrific benefits such as ticket discounts, advance box office, advance line-up and admission, entry to all Festival events, etc, AND enjoy the satisfaction of supporting the Festival.
  • Membership levels range from Student/Senior to Deluxe

Memberships can be purchased at or email


Inside Out depends on volunteers! Our year round work and our annual Festivals would not be possible without their amazing skills and breath-taking dedication. Volunteers receive recognition, vouchers to see films, a chance to network and gain experience, and a fabulous volunteer party in June.

  • Office Volunteers: volunteers are welcome year-round in the office to help with admin work, communications, data entry and general organization
  • Festival Volunteers: each year 150-200 volunteers are needed to help run the festival, in roles from Front of House, Guest Relations, Events, Billeting and Driving.

To volunteer, visit or email


Scott Ferguson
Executive Director
416.977.6847 x21
Charitable Number: 871515995RR0001

Finance & Governance


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