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Spring Preview: ATL Film Festival packed with LGBT Films

Claremont Lounge superstar Blondie

It’s the large Pink Peach (LGBT) section that makes the Atlanta Film Festival (March 23-April 1 at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinemas and other venues) Atlanta’s second-gayest film festival; Out on Film, the winner and still champion, returns October 4.

Of the three Pink Peach features in competition for best LGBT film, two were unavailable for preview while the third is a bit less impressive than some of the other LGBT-interest films which are not part of the competition. The three up for best film are: “Glitterboys & Ganglands,” “Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads,” and the one that was available for preview -“The Grove.”

“The Grove” shows how hard it is to reach a consensus in San Francisco.  It’s the story of the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park, called “San Francisco’s best kept secret.” (I lived in S.F. in 1991 when the Grove started and never knew about it.)  The film’s recap of the AIDS era is to last year’s “We Were Here” what the Grove is to the Quilt: a weak relation.  Amid squabbling over adding architectural features to the natural setting, no one mentions the elephant in the Grove, a stone circle with names of AIDS dead carved in it.

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New print edition out today

Check out our Spring preview and the story of how Atlanta changed the heart of NOM's Louis Marinelli — and so much more!

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Spring TV: LGBT characters, plots proliferate on the small screen

Fox's hit show Glee teams up with Lady Gaga in the spring

As inane as reality shows can sometimes be, they seem to have created a new standard for LGBT visibility on TV. The tokenized “gay character” has extended beyond shows like “The Real World” and “Survivor,” so much that it’s almost unfathomable for a new show to not include a queer character.

While having an LGBT “slot” in programs risks being patronizing, reality-based and scripted shows have become more sympathetic and authentic in their portrayal of LGBT life.

“It doesn’t feel like we’re soldiers for anything anymore, we’re just here telling stories that incorporate gay people in organic ways, and that’s all I ever wanted,” Liz Brixius, the co-creator of “Nurse Jackie,” told TV Guide earlier this month.

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Spring Film: Outside of festival, season offers little new for us at the movies

Spring films

While we may be infected with spring fever in our private lives, it’s not the best season to expect to see our LGBT passions reflected on movie screens.

At one end of the scale, if 2011 holds any blockbuster gay films — think along the lines of “Milk,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “The Kids Are All Right” — they are waiting to be released during award season at the end of the year.

At the other end, the distributors of smaller-budget movies try to maximize their potential by building word of mouth at the big three queer summer festivals: Outfest in Los Angeles, Newfest in New York and Frameline in San Francisco. Others will hit the fall festival circuit in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and other cities.

The Atlanta Film Festival (April 28-May 7) will premiere four LGBT features and two programs of shorts in its Pink Peach section, plus a few others that sound gay-ish.