Toronto-based Vivek Shraya is a musician, performer, filmmaker and writer. He was nominated for LGBTQ Person of the Year at the 2012 INSPIRE Awards. His newest short film, What I LOVE about being QUEER, is a minimalist endeavour revolving around the title’s big question posed to 34 individuals.
The film, which debuted in June in Toronto, is 18 minutes in length, and has screened at various Queer Film Festivals and universities across Canada, with more screenings scheduled. According to Shraya, the film is a partial response to dominant narratives of queer struggle and survival and was visualized by him as a way to “create more space for discussion about the positive aspects of being queer”.
And although the participants of the film include educators, activists, artists, introverts and extroverts and vary in their age, gender, racial background, gender presentations and politics, Shraya acknowledges that the film is in no way fully representative of the queer spectrum. Shraya notes, “[b]ut there is also something exciting about this! To consider and embrace that the answers in the film are not exhaustive. That because our communities are so vast and complex, so are the ways in which we come to love. And, since the word “queer” is never defined by Shraya the individuals who partake in answering the question “what I love about being queer”, in turn define queerness for themselves, touching on themes of family, identity, sex and love. The participants are mainly from Ontario and were filmed in Shraya’s Toronto home.
As an extension of the film, an official Tumblr blog has been set up by Shraya to continue the dialogue and where visitors are able to partake and answer the question posed in the film. Attach a photo of yourself and answer in a sentence or two What do you LOVE about being QUEER?
You can check out the teaser for What I LOVE About Being QUEER here. For the complete list of upcoming screenings, visit Shraya’s website. A portion of the DVD sales are donated to the SOY (Supporting Our Youth) Program [designed to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgendered youth in Toronto through the active involvement of youth and adult communities].