Tag Archives: Film Festival

Queer Related Films You Should Pay Attention At This Year Tribeca Film Festival

New York City is preparing for one of its most entertaining and thought-provoking events, the annual Tribeca Film Festival.

Now in its 16th year, the festival brings a plethora of premieres from around the world, as well as retrospective screenings of film classics, an immersive arcade of virtual reality, and some red carpet glitter.

Included in the line-up this year are several feature narratives and documentaries of interest to women and the LGBTQ community.

Whitney. “Can I Be Me”

Catch Nick Broomfield and Rudi Dolezal’s exploration of Whitney Houston’s career and personal life before it comes to Showtime.

Love The Sinner

Originally titled “One Pulse”, Devaney and Gandbhir’s short explores the evangelical roots of homophobia in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting that claimed 49 lives.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

U.S.A (Director: Alexandra Dean) Hollywood screen siren Hedy Lamarr was considered one of the most beautiful stars of the 1940s, and enjoyed both a big gay following and rumors about her sexuality. But most of her fans had no idea she came up with a secret communication system to help the Allies beat the Nazis in WWII, a little known facet explored in this fascinating documentary.

Dive (Salta)

In this short directed by Marianne Amelinckx, Julia (Iruaní Gómez) goes back to the pool and remembers that sometimes life challenges ourselves to keep going and make decisions.

Saturday Church

Saturday Church focuses young, queer Ulysses as he discovers an underground community where he finds support and creative inspiration.

The cast includes Margot Bingham, Regina Taylor, Marquis Rodriguez, MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Alexia Garcia.

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

Also making its premiere at Tribeca, this documentary about the pioneering trans activist features unearthed footage and rediscovered interviews about the “street queen” who helped start the Stonewall riots.

Nobody’s Watching

The Argentinean film written and directed by Julia Solomonoff, Nobody’s Watching, challenges identity and questions how we perform our preferences for a cultural context.


Cate Blanchett portrays 13 different characters all railing against art in Julian Rosefeldt’s brilliant (anti) art film Manifesto.


Gina Gershon and Rebecca Hall star in Permission, a film about negotiating an open relationship.

Take Me

Taylor Schilling stars in Take Me, a darkly comic crime caper.


The Handmaid’s Tale

Hulu’s highly anticipated The Handmaid’s Tale debuts, followed by a conversation with the dynamic cast including Elisabeth Moss and Samira Wiley.




One Percent More Humid

The story centres on Iris (Temple) and Catherine (Garner), college-age childhood friends who reunite for a humid New England summer to help each other cope with the unimaginable – a friend has died in a car accident, an accident which they both survived.


One Percent More Humid, is written and directed by Liz W. Garcia.

What’s It Like to Grow Up Trans in the South? New Documentary ‘Deep Run’ Answers

One phrase that we’ve heard a lot recently is ‘the transgender tipping point’; the idea that now, finally, we are seeing trans characters in the media and trans people’s stories being told on our TV and cinema screens.

For example, there’s trans woman of colour Sophia Burset on Orange if the New Black, 2015 film Tangerine follows two trans working girls, Amazon series Transparent follows a family dealing with their parent’s transition. And of course, recently there’s been the high profile transition of Caitlyn Jenner of Keeping Up With the Kardashians fame.

But while the trans tipping point has given us more trans characters and stories about trans characters that aren’t exploitative or dehumanising, that doesn’t necessarily mean that life has gotten any easier for the average, real-world trans person. Murders of trans people are at a historic high in the US, with at least 20 trans women having been murdered this year.

The intolerance against trans folk is particularly potent in the south of the United States, with these states locations being infamous for their high levels of religion and low levels of acceptance. Exploring what it’s like to be a trans person in this area is a new documentary called Deep Run, which follows trans man Cole Ray Davis in a ‘coming of age’ story that follows five years of his life living in rural North Carolina, including how he find acceptance from his family, his girlfriend and his church community.

Deep Run 04

Already, Deep Run has picked up several awards including Best Documentary at the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival as well as Emerging Talent Award at Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival, but these aren’t the only endorsements attached to the film.

Deep Run 01 Deep Run 03

In addition to critics praising it as a beautifully shot piece that really does its subject and its atmosphere justice, Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon (who is also Deep Run’s executive producer) says that the film is now more important than ever and she also tells The Advocate that;

There’s people that’s just trying to make ends meet, can’t find a job, problems that a lot of people have in the United States right now with poverty and hunger and homelessness, and then on top of that you add the challenges of transitioning without money for [medication], without real counseling, without the kind of support from a community that is so important when transitioning, and it became more and more important to me that this documentary was something people should see to understand other types of situations where people are transitioning and not just the glamorous life of Caitlyn Jenner.”

Deep Run02

Davis also spoke the publication about his life and experiences during Deep Run:

[Making the film was] fun and sporadic, more overwhelming than anything,” he says “It is difficult living openly trans in the Deep South, there are times when it can be scary, but for the most part I just brush it off and live my life. I fought so hard for acceptance because I thought I deserved spiritual help as much as anyone else did. And I was so tired of hearing Christians say we believe that only God can judge, yet their whole practice seemed to be about judging, and I just thought I wanted to challenge that,and see if I could be accepted.”

Visit the Deep Run website to find out how you can see the film.


Our Pick: The Best LGBT Films from the Cinema Diverse Film Festival

It’s no secret that the film industry is monumentally rubbish when it comes to the representation of lesbian and bisexual women.

It’s why we’re so eager to shine a spotlight on films that get it right as on the rare occasions that they do, we want everyone to know about it.

Earlier this month, Cinema Diverse, one of the best and most well-known film festivals dedicated to showcasing LGBT related movies, took place in Palm Springs.

Like many Cinema Diverse showings before it, this year’s event knocked it out of the park. There was a solid slate of films on offer this year but we’ve whittled it down to the films about gay, bi and questioning women.

Take a look at the list and let us know in the comments which one you like the sound of the most.

Liz In September

Liz In September reads like a TV Tropes entry in that it’s almost embarrassingly cliché. It stars a young straight woman (the term ‘straight’ used loosely here) whose car breaks down and she is forced to spend the night at a hotel.

Liz In September

This hotel just happens to be filled with lesbians, as they’re all there celebrating the birthday of Liz (who’s played by out gay model and actress Patricia Velasquez).

Naturally, the young woman falls for Liz and the rest is deliciously trope-y history.

Reel In The Closet

Recently, dramatized historical movie Stonewall made headlines for failing to represent what actually happened during the Stonewall riots, being criticised for skewing far from the truth. As a remedy to the bitterness that Roland Emmerich’s new movie left in the mouths of many, there’s Reel In The Closet.

Reel In The Closet

A pun on the ‘come out of the closet’ adage, Reel In The Closet discusses the history of LGBT identities that have been captured on film.

The documentary is a rare look and insight into the lives of LGBT people in the 1940s and onwards, pre-2000 times in which homosexuality was still heavily stigmatised and was even illegal.

Upstairs Inferno

Also aiming to preserve one of the most important events (and tragedies) in LGBT history is Upstairs Inferno. In 1973, the UpStairs Lounge, a gay bar in New Orleans was the target of a horrific arson attack.

The Metropolitan Community Church (a denomination of pro-LGBT Protestants and the United States first gay church) had held a service and following the dinner the 60 or so patrons had had together, they soon realised that someone had set the place on fire. Although 30 people escaped, 32 people died both at the scene and in hospital as a result of their injuries.

Upstairs Inferno speaks to people who were in the fire, explaining what happened and reflecting on the lives lost in the tragedy as well as discussing the fact that the police could have done more to find the perpetrator. It also discusses how many families would not claim their family members either.

All About E

Although it’s much loved by lesbian and bisexual women the world over, Thelma & Louise was not actually a gay film (subtext only, sorry). Filling that void, however, is All About E which stars the titular DJ E as she takes something that’s not hers and before she can put it back, they’re hunting her down.

All About E

With her gay best friend tagging along with her for the ride, the two see the sights and have a laugh as they go. All About E is definitely one to watch with your pals, with a bowl of popcorn or two on a Saturday night.

‘Dual’ Is a Love Story Where Language Barriers Don’t Matter

Europe has delivered some great gay films over the past few years.

In 2006 we were blessed with Imagine Me & You with Rach and Luce making us all shed a tear, 2011 had Swedish film Kiss Me (Kyss Mig) about a woman who has an affair with her stepmother’s daughter and in 2013 we fell for Blue Is The Warmest Colour‘s gorgeous French accents.

So after having enjoyed a good run of queer media both on the British Isles and on the continent, it’s time to add yet another film to the ever-growing list.

The next movie to join their ranks is Dual, which is a film that stars two leads (one Danish and one Slovene woman) who speak English to one another throughout the movie.


Our two protagonists meet when 25-year old Danish woman Iben’s travels are temporarily ground to a halt when her plane is forced to stop in Slovenia.

The travel company sticks the passengers on a bus, to go to a hotel but when most of her counterparts leave, Iben decides to stay on, asking airport shuttle driver Tina (who is also in her 20s) to give her a sightseeing tour.

From then on, it’s quite easy for Dual‘s viewers to fall for the pair. With a language barrier being a bit of an obstacle, Iben and Tina speak English and when Tina says that she hates sleeping, they stay up talking all night.


In fact, you know this duo is a big deal when not only does Iben skip her flight to be Tina but after a job interview goes wrong, Tina decides to ditch home and travel with her. Iben even accompanies her when Tina goes to come out to her parents.

Although Tina’s mother is ok with Tina’ sexuality (though she warns Iben that when they break up to make sure that Tina will “have the courage to go on alone”) Dual isn’t exactly a simple find yourself/fall in love type of story as Iben is also holding to a huge massive secret that viewers will want to keep watching for.

That’s all part of the intrigue though and you can see Dual at the Outflix Film Festival.


Better Visibility: 8 Reasons Why We’re Excited For This Years Outfest

Things are looking good in the world of Queer cinema. Last month’s gay marriage victory was celebrated as a win for not only the nation’s LGBTs, but for Americans who believe everyone deserves equal rights under the law.

One major factor in burgeoning acceptance stems from the new millennium’s explosion of LGBTs in the media; by shining a spotlight on the humanity of gay individuals – and not just what they do in the bedroom – the once-ostracised demographic has become more relatable to mainstream America.

Outfest, is one of America’s oldest queer film festivals. Its started last Thursday but runs for more than a week.

Addicted to Fresno

Judy Greer, Natasha Lyonne, and Aubrey Plaza star in this dark comedy from director Jamie Babbit (But I’m a Cheerleader). Greer plays a sex addict who joins her sister (Lyonne) on a hotel housekeeping staff. We’re hoping the film will cement Greer’s leading lady capabilities; if nothing else, it will be a satisfying corrective to recent blockbusters (Jurassic World, for example) in which her immense talent is stifled by the bit parts she’s given.


Tig, the documentary chronicling lesbian comedienne Tig Notaro’s battle with cancer. “It’s really remarkable to go from a time when you’re not even sure if you’re going to live, several times, and then to have a movie made about my life, and live to see it,” said Notaro. Not only is our favorite sapphic funny gal living, but after seeing the film, we’re living for her.

Jenny’s Wedding

This family dramedy starring Katherine Heigl and Alexis Bledel is making its world premiere at Outfest before it hits theatres and VOD. Heigl plays Jenny, a woman who lives with her girlfriend, but has yet to come out to her family. When she finally does and begins to plan her wedding, tensions surface within her family. Will love conquer all? (Probably.)

A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile and The Cult of JT LeRoy

These two documentaries both unpack prominent hoaxes that rocked their respective communities. “Gay Girl in Damascus” was the popular blog of a Syrian lesbian commenting on the 2011 Syrian uprising. JT LeRoy was a literary rock star whose past stayed shrouded in mystery. Both of them were elaborate personas put on by straight people. With these films, we can learn the full and strange stories behind the deceptions.


This little gem stars Dianna Agron as a Sara, a young women stuck in a small town with few options, is at the top of my list of queer films this season. Agron nails the melancholy of this coming-of-age film, which is beautifully shot and directed. Sara’s romance with Paz de la Huerta‘s Pepper is intriguing and certainly pushes the norms of what we’ve become accustom to in lesbian/bisexual films.

Portrait of a Serial Monogamist

Written and directed by Christina Zeidler and John Mitchell. This is a story of a forty-something lesbian, and accomplished breakup artist, who leaves her long-standing girlfriend to pursue a younger woman, only to be haunted by memories of the past, and the growing realisation that she may have broken up with the love of her life.

While You Weren’t Looking

This South Africa drama features the stories of a married queer couple, and their daughter and her new butch girlfriend. Dealing with issues of infidelity, classism, race and family, the film is a fascinating look into the lives of these very complex women.


Married couple Deb and Trish have it all…or do they? The spark of romance has been replaced by the everyday hustle and bustle of raising a family, and their marriage is starting to fray at the seams. When Deb becomes attracted to another mom at her children’s school, the drama really starts to unfold.

Outfest Stream’s Some of Finest Festival Films Free Online

Outfest LGBT Film Festival has taken a huge step towards making its films more accessible this year with the launch of Outfest Online, a free streaming platform offering shorts, documentaries and feature films from this year’s lineup and previous festivals.

Outfest Online sees the festival partner with DIRECTV to offer more than 60 films, for free and nationwide. There are plans to keep adding new titles to the library, which will main available until the end of the year.

Outfest Interim Executive Director, Christopher Racster said

The films showcased at Outfest Los Angeles increase LGBT visibility; sharing them strengthens understanding, and in turn, creates meaningful change. Outfest is an irreplaceable launch pad making sure that our storytellers are supported and with the help of partners such as DIRECTV, assuring that their work reaches around the world.”

Dan Ferguson, from DIRECTV added

Outfest Los Angeles, which attracts audiences exceeding 40,000 annually, delivers creative, diverse and innovative films. As a proud supporter of the LGBT community, and a sponsor of Outfest Los Angeles festival for the past several years, DIRECTV is excited to take this next step, and help expand the reach of these films beyond traditional festival attendees.”

With more than 60 films available right now, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Titles currently online include Patti and Me, Minus Patti, TomorrowThe Heroes of Evil,TomgirlGideon’s CrossMaybe Next SeasonThe First DateGay OverBrocKINGton,The Friend from Tel AvivNo BoundariesMore of Last NightCafé au LaitTransfigure,Contribution of a VerseCagedEliseCherry WavesRubber DuckieA Bitter Pill,Eargasm and more.

The Outfest festival will run through to July 19.

Check out our full festival coverage here.

London LGBT Film Festival To Showcase 5 Gay Films Worldwide For Free In 70 Countries

London LGBT film festival has announced that five short films from BFI Flare, will be available to audiences around the world for the first time through BFI Player, as part of British Council initiative.

Queer filmmakers have delivered some of cinema’s most striking, vital, challenging, provocative and beautiful films, and BFI Flare has been key in bringing these to UK audiences over the last 29 years. We’re thrilled this partnership will open up the festival to audiences around the world, giving millions of people the opportunity to enjoy great new LGBT films.

Tricia Tuttle, Deputy Director of Festivals at the British Film Institute

On at London’s Southbank, the LGBT Film Festival started yesterday and runs until 29th March.

On Wednesday 25 March, fiveFilms4freedom will become a 24-hour campaign asking people everywhere to watch a film together over the course of one single day. fiveFilms4freedom is the world’s first digital, global, LGBT film festival and will be promoted through the British Council’s network in more than 70 countries and regions including across the Americas, China, India, Israel, Kosovo, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine and the Middle East.

fiveFilms4freedom is a ground-breaking LGBT film festival supporting freedom and equality all over the world and showcasing some of our finest short film makers. By bringing together the British Council and films from BFI Flare we are promoting LGBT cinema in countries that make up fifty percent of the world’s population.

On 25 March we are asking the world to watch a movie together and show that love is a basic human right.”

Alan Gemmell, Director of fiveFilms4freedom, British Council

This will be a chance for audiences, wherever they are, to enjoy a taster of LGBT cinema; to find out a little bit more about emerging LGBT filmmakers from around the world; and most importantly, to show support for freedom and equality everywhere. fiveFilms4freedom is produced in partnership with Stonewall, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans equality charity.

fiveFilms4freedom not only showcases some phenomenal talent, but also brings together the international LGBT community. In 77 countries around the world it is still illegal to be gay, and in five it is punishable by death, so the opportunity to showcase LGBT stories and filmmakers in more than 80 countries worldwide is fantastic.”

James Taylor, Head of Campaigns, Stonewall said

The five films represent a cross section of contemporary LGBT short film. The films are made by lesbians, gay men and transgender filmmakers, and range from sweet short stories about first love to documenting activism. They are polished, rough, funny, sad and inspiring and each has a different voice.



The films are:

An Afternoon (En Eftermiddag): Director Søren Green’s new short film is a sensitive exploration of nascent sexuality. Mathias and Frederik are two friends who spend an afternoon together; Mathias has decided that this is the time to tell Frederik that he is in love with him.

Chance: Jake Graf’s self-funded short film premieres at BFI Flare. It focuses on older gay love and overcoming loneliness as a chance encounter between Trevor and a mysterious stranger equally troubled by his own past, forces both men to start to live again.

Code Academy: Canadian writer and director Nisha Ganatra is best known as producer-director of Transparent, the Golden Globe-winning TV series. In Code Academy, when searching for love in all the virtual places, Frankie, Libby and Sheridan are their own worst enemy.

Morning Is Broken: Director and writer Simon Anderson’s 2014 film is a beautifully shot coming-of-age drama set in the lush English countryside, following a young man’s struggle to come to terms with his sexuality at the end of his older brother’s wedding.

True Wheel: Director Nora Mandray’s 2015 documentary focuses on Fender Bender, an inspirational bicycle workshop for queer, transgender and women’s communities in Detroit.

Watch the five films online

San Francisco Gay Film Fest to Highlight the ‘Pinkwashing’ of Israel’s Crimes

The world over, LGBT rights are a contentious issue. Countries with poor form are called out by the global community (see: the response to the anti-LGBT laws of Russia and many African nations) and those who are doing right by its LGBT citizens are heralded, praised and patted on the back for offering human rights that really should have been offered from the get-go.

But what happens when the prominence of these LGBT rights out shadows the rest of a country’s dealings? When people are so busy shouting about LGBT rights that they forget about the not-so admirable activities that a country is conducting? That’s called pinkwashing.

Pinkwashing is not an unfamiliar practice; it’s something we’ve seen with the UK’s current government as Prime Minister Cameron shares his positive views on same-sex marriage (and notes that his party helped bring it into law) seemingly in an effort to gloss over their economic and institutional failings.

However, just because it’s common it doesn’t mean that it’s right and as we’re seeing mass pinkwashing with Israel, in an attempt to gloss over the killings of Palestinians, one LGBT group is finally speaking up against it.

One way in which Israel is establishing itself as a progressive LGBT rights thinker is by sponsoring LGBT film festivals and movies, with San Francisco’s Frameline and the Vancouver Queer Film Festival both receiving funding from the Israeli government and/or screening movies funded by Israel. And so in order to challenge this, Queers for Palestine will be hosting Outside the Frame at the San Francisco Brava Theatre in June.

Despite the political leanings of the group behind the film fest, not all of the films shown at Outside the Frame have to be about Palestine.

Having such a broad submission guideline will help Outside the Frame to promote the idea that what’s going on in Palestine is an issue for all LGBT people and not just those who are already concerned with the events in the country.

Given that Israel’s actions are destroying the lives of LGBT Palestinians too, there’s all the more reason for LGBT people who have perhaps not thought about Palestine, to speak out against Israel and its pinkwashing campaign.

In addition, submissions will also have to sign up to the following mission statement:

“As queer activists for social justice, including Palestinian liberation, we recognize that Israel is attempting to co-opt the queer struggle for liberation while the Israeli government continues to kill, exclude and deny rights to Palestinians, including queer Palestinians. This is pinkwashing and Frameline must stop participating in it.”

Find out more about Outside the Frame on the official website.


Women Filmmakers Set To Shine At The Berlin International Film Festival

Berlin International Film Festival is Europe’s first major film festival of the year, and starts on Thursday.

Founded in 1951, The Berlin International Film Festival is one of the world’s leading film festivals and most reputable media events. Every year, the festival showcases up to more than 400 films across several genres, representing a comprehensive sampling of the cinematic world. Around 20 films compete for the top awards, called the Golden and Silver Bears. It’s also one of Europe’s three major film festivals, which also include the Venice International Film Festival and the Cannes International Film Festival.

Now in its 65th year, the festival will be showcasing a number of new movies, which will put women in the spotlight. A number of leading female actress, directors and producer are expected to be in attendance, premiering their latest films.

Dieter Kosslick, who has run the festival since 2001, told reporters that many of the more than 400 films that will screen focused on “strong women in extreme situations”.

Who to look out for…

The festival will begin with Oscar winner Juliette Binoche playing Josephine Peary, a woman who accompanied her explorer husband, Robert, on treacherous Arctic expeditions, in Nobody Wants the Night. The film is directed by Spain’s Isabel Coixet, only the second woman in the history of the Berlinale, as the event is known, to hold the coveted opening-night slot.

Nicole Kidman plays British adventurer and spy Gertrude Bell opposite former Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson as TE Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, in German veteran Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert.

Two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett has two Berlin entries. She closes the festival as the wicked stepmother in Disney’s live action Cinderella and is featured alongside Christian Bale and Natalie Portman in Terence Malick’s long-awaited Knight of Cups.

Portman, now Paris-based with her choreographer husband Benjamin Millepied heading the Paris Opera Ballet, will visit Berlin for Knight and as executive producer of The Seventh Fire documentary about Native American gangs.

Lea Seydoux, the latest Bond girl in the British spy franchise, returns to Berlin with French director Benoit Jacquot in Diary of a Chambermaid, based on a novel already adapted by cinema greats Jean Renoir and Luis Bunuel.

British actress Helen Mirren stars in Woman in Gold, the true story of Holocaust survivor Maria Altmann who fought the Austrian government for nearly a decade for restitution of valuable Klimt paintings that the Nazis stole from her family.

Although the proportion of female directors has not yet taken a 50-percent stake, women are heavily featured in the 2015 festival, and the red carpet appearances of these female stars have been long anticipated by the public.

Matthew Shepard’s Parents Travel to Russia to Spread Their Message of Tolerance and Acceptance

Matthew Shepard’s parents are traveling to Russia on Friday to spread their message of tolerance and acceptance in a country where anti-gay policies and attitudes are widespread.

The centerpiece of their five-day trip is a gay film festival in St. Petersburg at which the documentary film, “Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine” will be shown and discussed. The film’s director, Michele Josue, a high school classmate and close friend of Matthew’s, will be accompanying the Shepards on the trip.

The Shepards also will visit Moscow, and are hoping to meet with Russian parents who have gay or lesbian children.

“This is about families loving their kids, no matter who they are. If families would recognize that, everyone else would recognize it.”

Judy Shepard

The Shepards said they’d been briefed about current conditions in Russia, where gay activists often have been attacked or harassed in recent years and where a 2013 law outlawing the dissemination of “gay propaganda” to minors is widely viewed as a warning signal to the gay-rights movement. They have been cautioned that disruptions could occur at the film festival, and that the authorities might be monitoring those in attendance.

The Side by Side film festival has been an annual event in St. Petersburg since 2008, when it was held in secrecy after the planned venues were ordered closed. The featured films last year included “Milk,” the story of pioneering American gay politician Harvey Milk.

The festival has been denounced by Vitaly Milonov, a St. Petersburg politician known for his anti-gay statements. In comments carried by Rusnovosti news service, he called the event “socially unnecessary” and suggested that its sponsors be sanctioned. Milonov was the sponsor of a local anti-gay law in St. Petersburg that became the model for the national law signed by President Vladimir Putin last year.

Matthew Shepard, at the time of his murder, was a 21 year-old student at the University of Wyoming. His death became a rallying cry for the U.S. gay-rights movement and was a factor in the passage of federal hate-crimes legislation in 2009.

His parents formed a foundation named after their son to promote acceptance and civil-rights protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. In their role as activists, they have made numerous trips abroad in the past several years, many with support from the U.S. State Department. Destinations have included Poland, Jamaica, Mexico, Latvia, Singapore and Taiwan.

During their visit to Poland, a group of parents were so moved by the Shepards’ story that they founded a parental advocacy group, Akceptacja, to campaign against anti-gay bias. The Shepards hope for a similar response in Russia, and they also hope their message reaches some of the Russians with virulent anti-gay attitudes.

As much as they hope to make an impact, the Shepards aren’t expecting rapid change in Russia.

“Putin has made it so unhealthy to be LGBT or an ally. It will take at least a generation to clean up the mess he’s made and get some acceptance.”

Dennis Shepard

Fringe! Queer Film and Arts Festival Taking Over London’s East End

Our favourite queer film festival is back. Fringe! is an altogether different sort of film festival that brims with originality and excitement. A perfect remedy.

And this November, Fringe! celebrates Queercore and Riot Grrrl, the two subcultures that allowed the queer community to cement its relationship with punk. Films, conversation, music and rare footage from the era compose the event ‘There’s a Dyke In the Pit: A Day of Queer Grrrl Power’ on the 8 November at the Hackney Attic (Hackney Picturehouse) and the Rose Lipman Building.

The day kicks off with ‘There’s a Dyke In the Pit: Exhibition’ and Social Space, Rose Lipman Building, 12:00. The exhibition includes handmade posters and artwork by Racheal House and Gwenael Rattke, rare posters from the archives of Val Phoenix, archival Riot Grrrl photography and a complementary There’s a Dyke in the Pit zine/programme.

Frenzy: A Riot Decade, a short film programme originally curated by Dirty Looks NYC, follows at 14:00 at the Hackney Attic. The programme features shorts from Jill Reiter, Shu Lea Cheang, and more, and is followed by a panel discussion at 15:30. Both Jill Reiter and Shu Lea Cheang feature in the panel, alongside Liz Naylor (Catcall Records), Sophie Mayer (Film theorist and feminist academic), and Nazmia Jamal (Ladyfest London, Ladies! Rock Camp and film programmer).

The day finishes with In Search of Margo-Go at Club Totally, 20:00, Rose Lipman Building. Jill Reiter’s never-before-seen DIY film In Search Of Margo-Go features at Fringe! with live performance of some of the missing scenes. The film stars Bikini Kill/Le Tigre/ Julie Ruin front woman Kathleen Hanna and Jill Reiter as bandmates and fledgling queer punks on the NYC scene.

Fringe! will also held the UK premiere of Abby Moser’s Grrrl Love and Revolution, live music from London grrrl band Skinny Girl Diet and a Q&A with Jill Reiter, Lucy Thane and Val Phoenix hosted by Kanchi Wichmann. DJ’s Linster Sangster (The Librarian) and Jill Reiter will play an eclectic mix of new wave, post-punk and grrl punk in the evening.

If you can’t make it, we are also having a bonus screening of Frenzy, Grrrl Love and Revolution and In Search of Margo-Go at Hotel Elephant in association with Wotever Film Festival on Monday 10 November.

Last but not least, there will be special hair & make-up artists in the café area from 16:00 onwards, where participants will embrace the Club Totally new-wave look whilst taking a sneak peek at the teaser for Yony Leyser’s forthcoming documentary on queercore.

The event is curated by Kanchi Wichmann, Val Phoenix & Amelia Abraham. Programme supported by Film Hub London, managed by Film London. Proud to be a partner of the BFI Film Audience Network, funded by the National Lottery. The visual arts programme is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

A Chat with Caryn Hayes, Writer / Director who Doesn’t like Labels

Tom Sykes: You have recently released your short film ‘Clean Hands’, which is about a lesbian couple caring for a terminally ill man. Where did the idea for that come from?

Caryn Hayes: I wanted to do a story about a couple who don’t believe in the same things; one partner is pretty religious and the other is not. I was just fascinated by this kind of relationship and the script just kind of ballooned from there. On a storytelling level I thought it would be pretty gripping for an audience.

TS: Does the film explicitly deal with LGBT issues or are you just trying to tell a story? Could you substitute the lesbian couple for a straight couple or any other kind of couple and still tell the same story?

CH: I wanted to write something that anyone could relate to, but at the same time it is important for me to tell lesbian stories. Beyond that, the main characters could have been a gay or a hetero couple and the film would still work, I think.

TS: It was premiered at the 2014 Pan African Film Festival. Is there a kind of ethos behind that festival?

CH: It’s about promoting movies by directors from Africa itself and also from the African diaspora all over the world. It was held in Los Angeles.

TS: On Kitschmix we’ve reported on the growing problem of homophobia in Africa. Did you experience any hostility at this festival or at any other point in your career?

CH: I think that there’s a quite a bit of homophobia in every community including in the African diaspora. With Clean Hands we haven’t encountered any, at least not so far. It hasn’t been released worldwide yet. At the Pan African Film Festival people just really wanted to watch the movie, nobody wanted to come see it just so they could criticise or bash it. So the response has been pretty positive so far.

TS: Before this film you had made some very successful web series – The World of Cory and Sid and Breaking Point. To what extent does Clean Hands build on that work, or has evolved from it? Are there similar themes in those series that you’ve revisited in your latest offering?

CH: Clean Hands is very different to what I’ve done previously. My most recent series, The World of Cory and Sid, is a dramedy about relationship break-ups amongst roommates and the awkwardness that goes with that. Breaking Point is like a soap opera, a light drama, where there are murders the characters get away with. The only similarity with Clean Hands is that both works have a parent who is not accepting of her daughter’s bisexuality. But then again I wouldn’t say Clean Hands really builds on previous work because we don’t spend so much time on the mother-daughter relationship in the new movie. With Clean Hands I wanted to create a heavier, more serious kind of drama.

TS: Do you prefer writing that heavier dramatic stuff to writing comedy?

CH: It really depends on my mood. In general, I prefer dramedy because I can go wherever I need to go, but in the future I want to do more drama that’s rooted in real-life experience.

TS: You also write fiction.

CH: I’ve written short stories and started novels which I’ve never finished!

TS: How does the process of writing a short story differ from that of a screenplay?

CH: I approach them in the same way. The difference is that you have to do more describing and explaining in fiction whereas you spend more time on dialogue in a screenplay or teleplay. I started writing fiction when I was young and then later on I fell in love with the idea of writing for the screen. Then again, I do want to complete at least one novel and one day I’ll take a vacation and get it completed!

TS: Do you have a routine you follow when you write?

CH: I write best in the mornings. When a deadline’s coming I set my alarm to go off three or four hours before I need to wake up. I have a little playlist, so whatever I’m writing I try and match the mood with the music. If I’m working on something dramatic then I put on film scores, that kind of thing.

TS: What kind of artists do you listen to when you’re writing comedy?

CH: It would depend on what comedy it is. If it’s an “angry chick movie” kinda thing – because I’ve written a couple of those already – it’d be someone like Pink as I find her lyrics just so funny. ‘Like So What’ is a great song. It tends to be more poppy stuff when I’m doing comedy.

TS: You’ve been described as a ‘shining example’ of a lesbian who has made it in Hollywood. How was the journey?

CH: I don’t like labels, but with that said it’s true that I’m a lesbian and an African-American. I wouldn’t have said that the journey was more or less difficult because of my sexuality. It’s difficult for everyone. Being a black lesbian didn’t make it harder of course, but it didn’t make it easier either.

The journey’s been long because I’ve been on it for a long time and I’ve been creating my own content for 5 or 6 years now. That may not seem like such a long time comparatively because it takes other people a lot longer!

Mexico’s International Film Festival on Gender – @MICGénero

Mexico’s The International Film on Gender (MICGénero – Muestra Internacional de Cine con Perspectiva de Género) is inviting filmmakers and producers to participate in the third edition of their festival – themed “Sexual and reproductive rights”.

The Festival will take place in September in Mexico City, and the aim is to take the exploration of gender studies out of the universities and bring them to the general public by screening and analysing films through gender perspective.

The event organisers are now looking filmmakers to submit short and feature length films, whether fiction or documentary. The materials submitted must be in the rough cut/post-production stage.

We accept films from all countries, and they must deal with the subject of “Sexual and Reproductive Rights” or address issues related to gender studies or gender perspective. A maximum of 5 works will be selected for each category, and then presented before a jury and an audience consisting of audiovisual industry professionals and experts on gender studies. A maximum of 5 works will be selected for each category, and then presented before a jury and an audience consisting of audiovisual industry professionals and experts on gender studies.

GenderLab/Work in Progress will take place on September 17th and 18th, during the 3rd edition of the International Film Festival with Gender Perspective, “Sexual and Reproductive Rights”, which will take place September 9 through 28 in Mexico City and until Novembrer 9 in other cities in Mexico.

For more information, please visit MICGénero web site and Facebook page.


#OutfestLA Girls’ Shorts – 6 Lesbian Short Films to See

From exposing secret identities to weathering storms to eating pot cookies left by a one-night stand, these ladies have got a lot going on! So sit down, strap in (or on?), and let’s process these feelings together.

Things aren’t always what they seem for girls-who-like-girls. This year Outfest has wonderful selection of Lesbian Short Films, and here they are

EveBregman.076Code Academy

Directed by Nisha Ganatra, this short is about the future, where girls and boys are separated until the age of 18 and can only interact in virtual spaces – but for an awkward teen girl, the virtual world is more liberating than expected.


Girl Shorts Outfest 02Disaster Preparedness

Directed by Melissa Finell, and named an “Audience Favorite” at Palm Springs International ShortFest, this 15 minute short is about a couple dealing with the crossroads of commitment, disaster and the art of being prepared while hunkered down in their apartment when a hurricane hits. Website: www.disasterprepmovie.com


Girl Shorts Outfest 03Secrets and Toys

Directed by Quentin Lee, Secrets and Toys is a short film about a mother and daughter who discover each other’s secrets through a comedy of errors, and learn to accept them selves and each other.

Website: www.secretsandtoys.com


Girl Shorts Outfest 04The Night Is Ours

Directed By Aubree Bernier-Clarke – The Night Is Ours follows tomboy Morgan, to her best friend Olivia’s wake. Discovering Olivia has come back to life, the two escape into the night on a road trip past boundaries of friendship into a dark, uncertain future.


Girl Shorts Outfest 05Be Here Now-ish: Episode 2

Directed by Alexandra Roxo, this short story line is not so simple. A girl gets way more than she bargained for when her one-night stand refuses to leave and throws a party.

Website: www.beherenowish.com


Girl Shorts Outfest 06Alone with People

Directed by Drew Van Steenbergen, Alone with People is about a high school girl from the South seeks the help of a therapist to come out to her family and friends. This film is a hilarious and touching, coming-of-age tale.


Outfest 2014 – America’s Leading LGBT Film Festival – #OutfestLA

Los Angeles-based Outfest – America’s leading LGBT film festival started on Thursday. The 11 day event is the highlight of LGBT film circuit and showcases LGBT films from the past year’s festival circuit, as well new releases.

Founded by UCLA students in 1982, Outfest is now the leading organisation to promote equality by creating, sharing and protecting LGBT stories on the screen. Outfest goal is to build community by connecting diverse populations to discover, discuss and celebrate stories of LGBT lives.

Over the past three decades, Outfest has showcased thousands of films from around the world to audiences of nearly a million. They have educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers and protected more than 30,000 LGBT films and videos.

The 32nd Outfest LGBT Film Festival, kicked off Thursday night with its Opening Gala, a star-filled soiree and screening of the festival’s inaugural film, Life Partners.

“The community feels like they’re still kind of on a high. We’ve had some of the best ticket sales this year that we have had in a number of years. You just feel this sort of joy around Outfest, around being together. The gay community is continuing to celebrate and really excited to see our lives and stories on screen.”

Kirsten Schaffer , Outfest Executive Director


Here is asneak peak at some of the films playing at this year’s Outfest: The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

Sexy Promo for Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival – #TLVFest

The Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival is now in its ninth year and takes place June 16 June at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque during the pride parade week.

LGBT Film Festival will screen over 250 films and host special events for the gay community and friends. Also, visitors to this unique annual LGBT film festival can see films with no Israel distribution and have the opportunity to meet with filmmakers participating in panel discussions.

The special programed events and screenings aim to promote tolerance and pluralism in Israel.

The festival is one of the most important cultural events in the Israeli gay community. The annual event is now in its 9th year and coincides with Gay Pride Week. More than 13,000 people are expected to attend.

The TLVFest opening night will feature the premiere of the new Israeli film GuttmanX5, 52 Tuesdays, Something Must Brake and Eastern Boys.

Pink Celluloid: The Best LGBT Film Festivals of 2014

The Best LGBT Film Festivals of 2014 – Summer is upon us and the LGBT world is buzzing about the superb range of pink film festivals taking place right around the world. From Germany to Calgary, Athens to Auckland, wherever you are on the globe there’ll be something worth watching near you. Whether you’re into documentaries about leading feminist theorists or biopics of 1960s actors, fact or fiction, contemporary or classic – these festivals have it all!

Outview: Athens Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Location: Athens (hence the clever name).
Dates: 15th to 30th May.
Our picks: Hot Guys With Guns, Gore Vidal: United States of Amnesia, Test, In The Name Of, Eastern Boys, Pit Stop, GBF and Stranger by the Lake’.

Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival

Dates: 22nd May to 1st June.
Location: Toronto, Canada.
Our picks: Drunktown’s Finest, The Foxy Merkins, The Normal Heart, The Way He Looks, Love Is Strange, 52 Tuesdays, The Dog, Yves St Laurent, The Case Against 8.

Fairy Tales Film Fest

Location: Calgary, Canada.
Dates: 23rd to 31st May.
Our picks: TBA.

QDoc Portland Queer Documentary Festival

Location: Portland, Oregon
Dates: May 25-28
Our picks: Regarding Susan Sontag, The Circle, To Be Takei, The Case Against 8, My Prairie Home, The Dog.

XPOSED International Film Festival Berlin

Location: Berlin, Germany.
Dates: 29th May to 1st June.
Our picks: Turning, She Monkeys, You and the Night.

Out Takes Lesbian and Gay Film Festival

Location: All over New Zealand (Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch).
Dates: 22nd May to 16th June.
Our picks: Test, Geography Club, The Case Against 8, In The Name Of, Tru Love, The Way He Looks, My Prairie Home.

Out Film CT: Connecticut LGBT Film Festival

Location: Hartford, Connecticut.
Dates: 30th May – 7th June.
Programming Highlights: Queen of Amsterdam, The Way He Looks, Boy Meets Girl, Tru Love.