Summer is the kick-off season for LGBTQ+ film festivals. Learn what film festivals have in-person and virtual events to enjoy. Photo: Fer Gregory/Shutterstock

When the weather gets hot, there’s nothing like stepping into a frosty movie theater to check out new LGBTQ+ cinematic offerings.

The coronavirus pandemic forced LGBTQ+ film festivals to adapt quickly in 2020 and 2021. While some canceled their seasons, other festivals, such as Outfest and Newfest, switched to a virtual format.

While still dealing with new waves of COVID-19, many festivals are returning to in-person models or offering a hybrid of theater showings and virtual options.

Here’s a guide to LGBTQ+ film festivals happening this summer.

Outfest is one of the longest-running LGBTQ+ film festivals in the world. Photo: Outfest

Outfest (Los Angeles)

Virtual through July 25

Outfest celebrates its 40th anniversary this summer. Dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ filmmakers from around the world, Outfest is showcasing films from Egypt, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France and Canada. While in-person screenings are over, there are still virtual screenings through Tuesday afternoon. 

Film highlights:

“All Kinds of Love” tells the humorous and heartfelt story of a recently divorced gay man who unexpectedly falls for his younger roommate.

“You Can Live Forever” is the story of two teenage Jehovah’s Witnesses who fall for each other after the death of one of the teen’s fathers.  

 Vancouver Queer Film Festival believes film can be a vehicle for activism. Photo: VQFF

Vancouver Queer Film Festival (Vancouver, Canada)

Aug. 11-22

The theme of this year’s Vancouver Queer Film Festival is “Make it Yours,” which encourages audiences to return to the roots of political activism. This Canadian film festival has a robust lineup of feature films, documentaries and short film collections, both online and in-person. During the rest of the year, VQFF works with the community and has education programs “to engage youth in building safer, more inclusive communities.”

Festival highlights: 

“All Boys Aren’t Blue” is the film adaptation of George M. Johnson’s acclaimed young adult non-fiction book of the same name.

“Sirens” documentary follows the tenacious members of Slave to Sirens, an all-female thrash metal band in Lebanon.

aGLIFF has offered a respite for LGBTQ+ film lovers for 35 years. Photo: aGLIFF

All Genders, Lifestyles and Identities Film Festival (Austin, Texas)

Aug. 24-28

Like Outfest, aGLIFF (All Genders, Lifestyles and Identities Film Festival) is celebrating a milestone. It’s brought LGBTQ+ cinema to the Austin, Texas, area for 35 years.

aGLIFF has yet to announce its schedule of films for the upcoming festival but asks potential attendees to stay tuned for updates.

aGLIFF will offer in-person and virtual screenings, in addition to special events, post-show panels and parties.

Previous aGLIFF events have welcomed films including “Bit,” “Changing the Game” and “Wild Nights With Emily.”

News is Out will bring coverage of fall LGBTQ+ film festivals in the coming months.