'Kanarie'. Picture: Facebook

The Cape Town International Film Market and Festival (CTIFMF) said on Thursday it was proud to present a series of films focused on LGBTQI+ stories from around the world. 

“Queer cinema has never offered a more richly complex and diverse characters and stories than we have seen recently and that shines through in the quality of films that the program team have put together," CTIFMF director Leon van der Merwe said.

"This diversity of films reflects shifts in cultural conversations around identity, but also the festival’s own spirit as welcoming and inclusive."

CTIFMF said the diverse selection of films spoke to the diversity of experiences from within the LGBTQI+ community and yet also resonated strongly with universal themes of love, acceptance, and self-discovery.

Two African films from South Africa and Nigeria are set for red carpet premieres during the festival.

They include 'Kanarie' (Canary), which is set in apartheid South Africa in 1985 and in which religion and war are key themes.

'Kanarie' follows teenage boy Johan Niemand, who has always been bullied in his small town over his love for British new wave music and singer Boy George.

After he gets called on by the military and auditions for the Kanaries a South African Defence Force church choir and concert group, Niemand believes this will be his ticket out of fighting the war, but begins to see the role he plays in the oppression and injustice around him. 

On tour, he develops feelings for a fellow Canary and starts to question everything he knows about himself, leading to a confrontation with his commanding officers.

Nigerian/UK co-production 'Walking with Shadows', which is set for a premiere at the CTIFMF on October 12, is based on the novel by Nigerian author Jude Dibia and tells the story of a man who has to come to terms with a dark secret and choose between keeping his family or accepting a life of possible loneliness and rejection.

Another offering at the festival will be 'The Miseducation of Carmen Post' which follows Cameron as she is sent to a gay conversion therapy centre after getting caught with another girl in the back seat of a car.

The CTIFMF will also feature 'Girl from Belgium', 'I miss you when I see you' from Hong Kong and 'Mario' from Poland.

80 feature films, 20 documentaries and 66 short films will be screened on October 10 to 19 at various venues at Cape Town's V & A Waterfront.