Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What I've Seen In 2011 KC Gay & Lesbian Film Fest So Far

The KC Gay & Lesbian Film Festival started last Friday, and will continue til this Thursday. I've made it to 5 of the 9 screenings so far and have seen:

Beginners - starring Ewan McGregor & Christopher Plummer, about a gay father who comes out to his son at the age of 75 and his son's romantic relationship with a woman after his death. This will have a theatrical release, but we got to see it first :)

Gun Hill Road - an incredible, poignant and tragic drama about a trans son Michael/Vanessa (Harmony Santana) of ex-con Enrique (Esai Morales) and Angela (Judy Reyes), who finds herself prostituting herself in exchange for money for estrogen shots, etc. and who is in turn taken to a prostitute by his father to "become a man" after he finds Vanessa's wardrobe hidden in Michael's room. Enrique's prison stint also haunts him, as he finds and attacks the man who raped him in prison. Everything about this movie was perfect, but it was so damn tragic, I almost couldn't believe it!

Leave It On the Floor - is an original musical about the LA "ballroom" scene, where "houses" of queer dancers compete against one another. Brad, the main character, is kicked out when he comes out to his mom, stumbles into the scene and then tries to get into the House of Eminence, where he is wooed by two of the members - usually, in song. Brad grapples with suicidal thoughts as he tries to be accepted, but the love-triangle causes more than a few problems for him and the House of Eminence. The dancing was great, especially the very last one by Brad and the rooftop tango between Brad and one of his love interests. I've never seen anything like this before in my life. It was great, but darker than I expected it to be.

A Shorts Romance - was a screening of 4 short films about relationships, "Candy Apple Red," "Gayby," "GaySharkTank.com," and "The Colonel's Outing." My favorites (cause they were hilarious) were "Gayby" in which a gay man and straight woman are old friends and decide to have a baby together "the old fashioned way," and "GaySharkTank.com" which is a spoof of the Chat Roulette experience, and which actually managed to tell several characters' stories through a collection of short interactions.

MANGUS! - is a dark comedy by 24 year-old director Ash Christian. Mangus (Ryan Boggus) has dreamed about carrying on the family tradition of playing Jesus in the local production of "Jesus Christ Spectacular" since he was a kid. He wins the audition, but has the part taken away from him after an accident destroys the use of his legs. When his dad goes back to Iraq, his step-mother takes him to his mother (Jennifer Coolidge AKA "Stiffler's Mom") in her trailer park. He and his half-sister, Jessica Simpson (Heather Matarazzo), who comes out to him as a lesbian, decide to run away to Hollywood... hijinks ensue, John Waters makes a cameo as Jesus, and somehow everything turns out just right for Mangus. This cracked me up, and, I think, might be my favorite film of the festival so far.

I'm excited tonight to see Fishnet, about a couple of lesbian burlesque dancers who cross the mob and escape to Texas, where they turn a small town upside down with their performances. Afterwards there will be a burlesque-themed party with a couple of dancers and some drinks. It's going to be a lot of fun!

Watch the trailer:
Plus, Thursday is the FREEEEEEEE short film competition, OUT HERE NOW, which I helped curate this year. We'll show 7 short films and, based on the audience voting, we'll give the winning film director a cash prize. That's at 6 PM.

There's more going on that I'm even mentioning, just to try and keep this short(ish), so go to the Festival website to see all of the awesome screening opportunities we have to offer! You won't see this anywhere else!

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