Sundance Phenom Queer Lounge Makes Toronto Debut

Queer Film Hot Spot Brings Star-Studded Nightlife and Networking, including "Shortbus" Premiere Extravaganza and Hawksley Workman concert, to Film Fest

Los Angeles, CA (August 18, 2006) – After three wildly successful years championing gay films and filmmakers at the Sundance Film Festival, Queer Lounge will make its debut on the international film festival circuit this September during the Toronto International Film Festival® (TIFF), organizers announced today.

Highlights of Queer Lounge events in Toronto include the premiere extravaganza for John Cameron Mitchell's "Shortbus," which has its North American premiere on Sunday, September 10th, and a party and concert with Hawksley Workman to celebrate the international premiere of “The Bubble,” the new film by Eytan Fox. 

Hailed by the Hollywood Reporter as “ground zero for the activity surrounding the [gay] films” in Park City during Sundance, Queer Lounge will bring its distinctive mix of star-studded nightlife, networking, and advocacy to TIFF from September 9th – September 11th. TIFF has sanctioned Queer Lounge as a “TIFF Extra,” the first organization ever to be recognized with this distinction.

Launched in 2004 at Sundance, Queer Lounge is a film festival hot spot with a year round mission:  building mainstream audiences and boosting box office for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) films and filmmakers.  A non-profit organization, Queer Lounge creates a hub at festivals where LGBT filmmakers and artists connect with industry leaders, audiences, and each other.  VIPs attending past Queer Lounge events include Toni Collette, Naomi Watts, John Waters, Gus Van Sant, Liz Phair, Sting, Jared Leto, Paris Hilton, and The Scissor Sisters.  

In a fitting reflection of Canada’s leadership on LGBT issues, Queer Lounge will present its daytime events at the Church of the Redeemer located in Yorkville - the heart of industry activities during TIFF. At night, Queer Lounge will roll out the red carpet for parties and concerts in downtown Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theatre.

“There’s been a lot of demand for Queer Lounge to come to Toronto and we felt the timing was right to take the organization to the next level,” said Queer Lounge founder and executive director Ellen Huang. “Toronto is North America’s most influential film festival. It’s incredibly important that gay films and filmmakers have a high-profile presence in Toronto.”

Noting that Brokeback Mountain made its North American debut at TIFF last year, Huang said industry leaders will be watching Toronto closely for the next big gay-themed movies that will emerge from this year’s slate of films. (The remaining films for TIFF will be officially announced on August 22). 

Queer Lounge event highlights at TIFF include:

  • An over-the-top extravaganza celebrating “Shortbus”, the highly acclaimed and controversial new film from John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and THINKFilm. The evening of debauchery will feature performances by Mitchell, Shortbus star and CBC radio host Sook-Yin Lee, Gentleman Reg, Bitch and the Exciting Conclusions, Wau Wau Sisters, Kids on TV and others to be announced.  Taking place at Phoenix Concert Theatre on September 10th, the party will be open to the public. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster, with proceeds to benefit the non-profit Queer Lounge
  • An invitation-only industry brunch followed by a panel discussion entitled “Post-Brokeback:  New Horizons in Financing LGBT Film.”on Saturday, September 9 at  Church of the Redeemer
  • A panel discussion on Shortbus with Mitchell, Lee, and producer Howard Gertler, and a panel with international filmmakers sponsored by Xtra! and Inside Out
  • Queer Lounge's closing night party will celebrate the international premiere of The Bubble, a new film by Eytan Fox (Walk on Water, Yossi & Jagger) an ensemble drama featuring two men, an Israeli and Palestinian, who fall in love in Tel Aviv.  The party will showcase a performance by acclaimed singer-songwriter Hawskley Workman. Emceed by comedienne and TV personality Elvira Kurt, the party will take place on Monday, September 11th at the Phoenix Concert Theatre.  
  • The official Queer Lounge Film Guide to be distributed in special editions of Xtra!

"Xtra has always been a strong advocate of queer film and Toronto's art scenes, celebrating free expression and pushing sexual boundaries," said Brandon Matheson, publisher of Xtra, Toronto's Lesbian and Gay biweekly and a Queer Lounge sponsor. "We're thrilled to welcome Queer Lounge to Toronto, and happy to partner in bringing increased queer visibility during TIFF along with exciting opportunities to connect, schmooze and party!" 

Queer Lounge sponsors include: Presenting Sponsor Star!, Canada's only national entertainment network; Major Media Sponsors: Xtra! and Eye Weekly; and Official Sponsors:  RBC Financial Group, Coors Light, Liberty Entertainment Group, Starbucks Duetto Visa Card and the Ontario Tourism Commission.

Patrick Kowalczyk,
MKPR, 212.627.8098 (U.S.)

Holly Cybulski,
Splash Publicity, 416.979.2228 (Canada)

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