The Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival has announced the complete lineup for its 20th anniversary festival, taking place October 8-18, 2015. The festival is known for its glamorous parties and provocative collection of films from around the world that bring new and exciting stories of LGBTQ life to the big screen.
This 2015 festival will include 54 features and 99 shorts representing 24 countries, including eight U.S. feature premieres, 12 Seattle feature premieres, 30 Northwest feature premieres, and a world premiere. In addition there will be two live performances, a special edition of Cineoke!, and a panel discussion on the subject “Emerging as an LGBTQ Filmmaker.”
The program starts off with an opening night presentation of one of the most anticipated films of the year, Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page. Other centerpiece screening highlights include Beautiful Something, an edgy and absorbing feature following four diverse gay men who navigate art, sex and love over the course of one night; the smart romantic comedy Portrait of a Serial Monogamist, starring comedian Diane Flaks and and Sabrina Jalees (a writer on NBC’s Crowded); and Nasty Baby, starring Kristin Wiig. Closing night will feature the powerful documentary Out to Win, that profiles several athletes as they seek to stay true to themselves despite the pressure of their team and the public. Special guest (and former UW Husky) Dave Kopay will attend.
“There’s so much to be proud of in the last 20 years of programming at the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival,” said Kathleen Mullen, SLGFF Festival Director. “I’m so thrilled to add to that legacy with this year’s lineup, opening with a lesbian activist love story based on a true story, Freeheld, followed by a diverse array of films for the 11 days of the Festival. This year I’m especially excited about the many countries that are represented. We have a movie from Kenya (Stories of Our Lives), India (Margarita with a Straw), South Africa (While You Weren’t Looking), and Germany (Where Are You Going, Habibi?).”
Films with local connections include Drag Becomes Him, a documentary about Seattle’s own Jinkx Monsoon, an internationally acclaimed performer; Winning Dad, a drama/comedy about a young man who attempts to win over his partner’s homophobic father on a camping trip; Raven’s Touch, which stars Dreya Weber, known for her performances with Teatro Zinzanni; Sylvia O’Stayformore’s Night with Jacqueline, a burlesque retelling of Valley of the Dolls with the beloved performer; Capitol Hill 2, the second season of the hilarious web series made into a feature by local Wes Hurley; and The Glamour & The Squalor, the unflinching profile of famed Seattle disc jockey Marco Collins.
On its 20th anniversary the festival is taking a strong look back at LGBTQ history: Upstairs Inferno is a documentary about a New Orleans gay bar that was deliberately set on fire in 1973, resulting in the death of 28 people. (Seattle historian Johnny Townsend is interviewed in the film). Hustler White is a classic in the queer film canon and has been newly remastered for its 20th anniversary. Made in 1996 by Bruce LaBruce and Rick Castro, the film is a satirical black comedy about gay hustlers and their customers in California. It was the closing night film at the first Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. The Celluloid Closet is a 1995 documentary that explores the historical contexts that gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people have occupied in cinema history.
The popular Thrive @ Five series will continue this year with the theme “Know Your History.” All screenings are at 5 p.m. for $5. Titles include We Came to Sweat, the story of the oldest black-owned gay bar in New York; Packed in a Trunk, a celebration of the long-buried talent of the painter Edith Lake Wilkinson; Desert Migration, a profile of long term HIV/AIDS survivors rebuilding their lives in Southern California’s Coachella Valley; Reel in the Closet, a look at the personal home movies of LGBTQ communities; and Welcome to This House, a film by experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer about the secret life and loves of poet Elizabeth Bishop.
Other highlights include Addicted to Fresno, a highly anticipated film starring Judy Greer and Natasha Lyonne, the second collaboration between Lyonne and director Jamie Babbit after the 1999 cult hit But I’m A Cheerleader. The documentary A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Anima Project is a surprising award-winning Catfish-esque saga about a mysterious gay Syrian-American blogger. The lineup will also include a special festival edition of the long-running CINEOKE!, a monthly sing along event.
“The festival – which first launched with a sold-out presentation of short films and a flyer that said ‘Queer as a Three Dollar Bill Cinema’ – aspired to bring the worldwide boom in queer filmmaking to Seattle’s LGBT community, and help the community see itself on screen,” said Three Dollar Bill Cinema Executive Director Jason Plourde. “Our mission today is the same: to showcase extraordinary and award-winning work relevant to the LGBT community, and to encourage members of this community from around the world to express their creativity and tell their stories through film and video.”
SLGFF supporters are also invited to a special pre-festival event at 12th Avenue Arts’ Pike/Pine Room on Tuesday, September 29 beginning at 7 p.m. Three Dollar Bill Cinema will screen the 1995 film Big Eden in honor of its 15th anniversary and the festival’s 20th. SLGFF Festival Director Kathleen Mullen and Three Dollar Bill Cinema’s Executive Director Jason Plourde will be in attendance and will introduce the film.
The 2015 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival is produced by Three Dollar Bill Cinema.