One way to get ready for Pride is a week of total immersion in LGBT cinema. Fortunately, Out on Film offers that opportunity from Oct. 1-7 at two venues, the Landmark Midtown Art Cinemas (LMAC) and the Ansley Park Playhouse (APP).
With 31 features, four programs of shorts and other events, you’ll be able to visit exotic locations (Rio, Buenos Aires, Peru, Nassau, 19th–century England) or spend endless hours in New York bars. Nine of the features are documentaries — and the doc is “in” these days — but fictional films offer a dose of the reality of homophobia in the Bahamas, the Marines and other places.
Festival Director Jim Farmer, who also covers theater for GA Voice, isn’t worried about Out on Film becoming obsolete anytime soon.
“The festival is as relevant as ever,” he says. “The LGBT community is more mainstream now, but we are definitely not in the mainstream yet. Festivals for, by and about us are very important. And for 95 percent of these films, festivals are the only way they will get a theatrical showing.”
Farmer cites “Undertow,” “I Killed My Mother” and “The Four-Faced Liar” as three of his favorite films in this year’s festival.
“I am also happy that we are able to show two other fine films, ‘Howl’ and ‘Making the Boys,’ before their expected theatrical releases,” he adds. “I am also ecstatic that Out on Film agreed to program ‘Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives,’ which, for all its controversy, is a film that we find empowering, and a film a lot of folks like.”
Here are our capsule reviews of the festival’s features. Check www.outonfilm.org for other details and ticket info.
(All reviews are by Steve Warren unless otherwise noted.)
Monday, Oct. 4:
MAKING THE BOYS (LMAC, 5:30 p.m.)
In a surprising must-see, Crayton Robery’s “Making the Boys” traces the history of Mart Crowley’s culturally significant stage play and subsequent film “Boys in the Band” from inception to legacy.
Even audiences unfamiliar with Crowley’s story of eight gay friends at a birthday party gone-bad are in for a treat, as the documentary effortlessly weave’s Crowley’s autobiographical narrative with the play’s development and the energy of pre-Stonewall New York.
The play’s run from small experimental theater to off-Broadway to film is perfectly juxtaposed with the birth of the gay rights movement, as its reception was intrinsic to the revolution that resulted from it.
Peppered with commentary from many of the show’s key players as well as Tony Kushner, Larry Kramer, Michael Musto and even former New York mayor Ed Koch, “Making the Boys” gives context to a controversial and complicated work that paved the way for gay themes in today’s theater, television and film. — Bo Shell
ELENA UNDONE (LMAC, 7 p.m.)
Nicole Conn revisits the classic lesbian plot (“Desert Hearts,” “Lianna,” “Personal Best” and Conn’s own “Claire of the Moon”) about a heretofore straight woman discovering her inner lesbian when she falls in love with a delectable dyke. Elena (Necar Zadegan) is married to the pastor (Gary Weeks) of a conservative congregation. Peyton (Traci Dinwiddie) writes self-help books but can’t help herself. They meet and form “the ultimate love connection,” but Conn throws all manner of obstacles in their path. If you want to see two hot women get together in beautifully photographed surroundings and share “the world’s longest movie kiss,” here’s your chance.
QUENTIN CRISP: FINAL ENCORE (APP, 7:15 p.m.)
Atlanta filmmakers Diana Cardéa and Cheryl Whitestone interview 90-year-old Quentin Crisp, the quirky author of “The Naked Civil Servant,” one of the earliest personal accounts of open gay life. Though little more than a recorded conversation, Crisp’s studied humor is both witty and inspirational. — Bo Shell
FISHNET (APP, 8:30 p.m.)
This story of lesbian lovers (Rebekah Kochan and Jillian Easton) against the mob is no “Bound,” but not bad. Pelletier couldn’t round up enough extras to populate a slow night at a bar, let alone a “packed house” with a crowd of protestors outside. Yet for a low-budget quickie it’s got nice acting, good photography and several enjoyable dance numbers. World premiere, Q&A with Director Brian Pelletier and actor Meg McLeod after the screening.
‘Children of God’ (Publicity Photo)
CHILDREN OF GOD (LMAC, 8:55 p.m.)
A gay couple comes together and an ostensibly straight couple comes apart in the Bahamas, while preachers and politicians spout anti-gay rhetoric that empowers bashers. Writer-producer-director Kareem J. Mortimer errs on the side of tastefulness where sex is concerned but we know Romeo (Stephen Tyrone Williams) and Jonny (Johnny Ferro) fall in love and Lena (Margaret Laurena Kemp) gets gonorrhea from her DL minister husband (Mark R. Ford). A strong storyline and good performances help us over the rough spots in Mortimer’s direction, leaving “Children of God” well on the side of the angels. Producer Trevite Willis will attend the screening.