Tag Archives: LGBT Films

New Queer Arts Festival Breaks All the Rules

Queer people make the best art.

That’s just a fact. Queer people are creative, bold, original and provocative.

A new festival called OUTsider is highlighting the fierceness of queer artists. Over the course of one jaw-dropping week in Austin, Texas, this festival will host countless LGBT films, plays, performance pieces, dance shows, music, poems and art exhibits.

Why? The festival organizers are tired of LGBT artists being overlooked despite creating amazing work. So this new festival focuses on “provocative, overlooked and out-of-the-box” art that defies the boundaries of commercialism.

This exciting new festival hopes to “unite queer artists, audiences and scholars from around the globe to exchange ideas, ignite conversations, transcend boundaries and experience new pleasures through artistic discovery.” It’s a festival unlike any other in the world.

It started in December of 2013, when a close-knit ragtag squad of queer artists was hanging out one day; the conversation drifted into discussions about the festival scene in Austin, Texas. “Queer culture in Austin was at a creative zenith,” says one of the festival’s founders. However, this scene lacked one thing: a queer space that encouraged, even pushed, queer artists to challenge the boundaries of art.

Three years and a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign later, OUTsider is here.

OUTsider breaks the traditional one-medium festival model through a transmedia experience that bridges disciplines and activates the power and brilliance of collective LGBTQ+ creation and community.

OUTsider rejects the common separation of artistic practice and appreciation through an intertwined festival and conference that encourages generative interactions between artists, scholars and the general public.”

So what shows do you have to look forward to during the festival?

This year’s line-up includes:

  • A unicorn fashion show
  • A panel on art activism
  • Wild witchcraft
  • Solo mime performances
  • Many plays, including “Hansel and Gretel Queered”
  • A book and art bizarre
  • And more queerness than you could imagine.

The conference begins on February 15, so pick up your tickets today!

New Movie ‘Me Him Her’ Is Blurring The Lines Of Sexuality

Son of director John Landis, Max Landis has been making waves in Hollywood for quite sometime now. He can be credited for writing the likes of Chronicle, American Ultra, and Victor Frankenstein.

Now he’s moving into the director’s chair himself to tell a gay-themed tale called Me Him Her.

The movie stars Luke Bracey (Point Break), Dustin Milligan (90210), and Emily Meade (The Leftovers) as three L.A. millennials trying to figure out their lives.

Interestingly Landis says much of it is based on a true story, telling EW recently that,

Most of the things in the movie really happened to me. There are large elements of the movie that are based on a true story, which is the only thing I’ve ever written like that. I almost never write about myself in scripts. Me Him Her is sort of the lone exception to that rule.”

11HIMHER-master675

11HIMHER2-blog427He also mentions that he wanted to “learn on” a movie that was of a smaller scale than his science fiction films. Still, Me Him Her looks pretty manic, and not at all a low-key rom-com.

Check out the trailer below:

The film gets a limited cinema release and will be available via VoD from March 11th in the US.

Todd Haynes’ Lesbian Love Story ‘Carol’ Named Best LGBT Film Of All Time

Todd Haynes’ lesbian love story Carol – which was released last year – has been named the best LGBT film of all time in a top 30 list that included past and present movies.

carol-poster-01

Carol, staring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, came top of a poll compiled to mark the 30th anniversary of the London lesbian and gay film festival, BFI Flare.

Just behind Carol was Andrew Haigh’s 2011 film, Weekend, followed by Wong Kar-wai’s 1997 Hong Kong romance, Happy Together, and at No 4, Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain.

An adaptation by Phyllis Nagy of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel, The Price of Salt, Carol which topped a poll of more than 100 film experts.

It was a film adored by critics, and was nominated for six Oscar and nine Bafta nominations, although it came home empty-handed from both award ceremonies.

cate-blanchett-stars-carol

Tricia Tuttle, deputy head of festivals at the BFI, said it was no surprise that Carol came out top.

Haynes is an absolutely beloved film-maker inside and outside LGBT cinema circles and this is one of his finest films.

Everyone has their favourite Todd Haynes and this is certainly mine, I voted for it. Given the relative lack of lesbian content in cinema it is nice to see it come top.”

Haynes said he was proud Carol had won.

Carol is in illustrious company with so many films I love, from Brokeback Mountain and Un Chant d’Amour to Happy Together and My Own Private Idaho.”

5 LGBTQ Films from Sundance 2016 That You Must Watch

Every year, the Sundance Film Festival takes place in Utah. As well as being a good excuse for movie lovers to get together and enjoy a shared interest, it also gives us an idea of which films will be making the headlines throughout the year and which are likely to scoop up awards.

Sundance is also good for discovering LGBT films as well, as the event gives them a platform to show off how great they are, regardless of budget. So, to save you from going through the dozens of films at Sundance to find the ones with LGBT content, we’ve put together a list of the ones that you should keep an eye out for.


1. First Girl I Loved

first-girl-i-loved-sundance-2016

Described as a “headstrong, cool nerd”, 17-year old Anne is a member of her high school yearbook committee. While covering the school’s softball game she falls head over heels for Sasha, the team’s star player.

The two girls grow closer and when Anne tells her best friend Cliff how she’s feeling, he reveals his own crush on Anne and proceeds to lash out at her in “unanticipated ways”


2. Lovesong

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In Lovesong, Sarah (played by Riley Keough) is a young mother raising her daughter in a country home as she feels “abandoned” by her husband who travels for work. When Sarah’s friend Mindy (played by Jena Malone) comes to visit, the two women head out on a road trip and following a heart-to-heart, a “long unspoken intimacy emerges between the longtime friends”. But Sarah can’t put her feelings into words yet and Mindy goes home.

Flash forward three years and Mindy is getting married and when the two women see each other again, “Sarah is forced to reconcile the reality of her feelings”


3. The Intervention

intervention

The Intervention isn’t necessarily an LGBT-film but it does feature a same-sex couple. In this movie, marking the directorial debut of Clea DuVall (she also wrote the film), bride-to-be Annie rounds up her “30something” friends and they head out to a summer home.

Here, Jessie, Jessie’s partner Sarah, Annie and her fiancé and Jack and his 22-year old girlfriend try their best to stage an intervention for Ruby (Jessie’s sister) and her husband Peter as they try to convince the married couple that their relationship is toxic.


4. Kiki

kiki

Kiki, from Swedish documentary filmmaker Sara Jordenö is all about the Kiki scene of New York City. The Kiki scene, it’s explained, is where “competition between Houses demands leadership, painstaking practice, and performances on point”.

The film reveals more about this “high stakes world” and is also a window into the “daily lives of LGBTQ youth of color in NYC”. Moreover it offers “representation of a marginalized community who demand visibility and real political power”.


5. Suited

la-sundance-film-festival-2016-suited-20160124

Suited is another documentary from Sundance 2016, with this one starring Bindle & Keep, a tailoring company that caters to a diverse LGBTQ community and looks beyond the gender binary”.

Not only does it follow Rae and Daniel, the clothiers behind the brand, but it also delves into the lives of Bindle & Keep’s customers, including Mel who wants to look good for their 40th birthday party and Everett, who’s a law student in a “conservative environment”.

‘Queer City’ Is a Hard-Hitting Documentary About LGBTQ Lives in New York

Perhaps only rivalled by the likes of San Francisco, with its world famous Castro Street, New York City has a reputation of being the most LGBT-friendly places in the world.

Not only was it the location of the Stonewall riots, an event which catapulted LGBTQ+ rights to the forefront and was also the basis for the pride parades we know today (it also inspired the divisive upcoming movie), but New York City was also the 6th state in the USA to legalise same-sex marriage.

These things are good, great even, and New York should be heralded for being more progressive than so many other cities around the world, but things aren’t perfect for every LGBTQ person who lives there.

Much less, those headlines about NYC being a bastion of hope and equality don’t actually tell us what it’s like for LGBTQ+ people to live there, something which can massively inform how a city can improve (with regards to its LGBTQ+ residents) in the future.

Taking up that mantel and covering as many points on the great life/hardships spectrum as it can is Queer City, a new documentary about New York City’s LGBTQ residents.

Unlike many documentaries covering queer folk, Queer City is wonderfully diverse and does a fine job at representing the many LGBT people who live there.

For example, there’s Tee, a working class butch Latino lesbian who lives in Queens. Tee has known she was a lesbian since she was young and she’s had several serious relationships, but some of these relationships have been abusive, she’s been involved with drugs and has also spent some in jail.

Queer City 03 Queer City 02

 

After losing her siblings and parents to illness (though her mother died from a “broken heart”, according to Tee) she now lives alone but is surrounded by good friends.

On the other hand Queer City shows viewers the life of Sarah and Kris, who are the parents of two children named Lia and Gabriel. By speaking to the two parents as well as their children, viewers learn what it’s like to have two mothers and the doc even discusses the benefits and downsides too it. Typically, these discussions are had from a clinical, rights and laws standpoint, so it’s nice to see an actual family deliver their take on it.

Queer City 01

And while much of the sexuality spectrum is covered (there is also a bisexual woman and gay porn director, as well as a gay man in his eighties), Queer City also covers ‘T’ with Eric, a transman who transitioned in Coney Island whilst living with his Haitian family. Initially Eric thought that he was a lesbian and although his mother did accept this, it was much more difficult for her to accept his gender.

The film’s makers do note that they can’t “represent every aspect of LGBTQ life” but that’s not their “goal” and instead they are “bringing together a selection of stories to offer a compelling portrait of new American lives”. Many critics agree that Queer City has done just that, so visit the film’s Twitter and Facebook for more info on where you can see it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oN1aWFmtNk4

Queer Appeal | The Best LGBT Films From Sundance 2015

So, we’re now well-and-truly into the new year, heavily into award season, and the start of the film festival circuits around the world. This year’s festival had a lot to offer the LGBT moviegoer.

The star-studded week-long festival screened almost 120 films. Among the genres that were presented, the LGBT category seemed to grow in strength from the previous year. From documentaries on Larry Kramer and Tig Notaro, to an ex-gay drama starring James Franco and Zachary Quinto to a Lily Tomlin playing her first leading role in a film in 27 years.

Below are some titles that have queer appeal, so we suggest you keep a lookout for them throughout the year.

Grandma

2015 is the year of Lily Tomlin. With a new Netflix TV show with Jane Fonda and awarded by the Kennedy Centre, she is back. Grandma, is a great story. Self-described misanthrope Elle Reid (Lily Tomlin) has her protective bubble burst when her 18-year-old granddaughter, Sage, shows up needing help. The two of them go on a daylong journey that causes Elle to come to terms with her past and Sage to confront her future.

Sundance-2015-01

Cast: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, Sam Elliott.
Director and screenwriter: Paul Weitz

The Summer of Sangaile

Seventeen-year-old Sangaile is fascinated by stunt planes. She meets a girl her age at the summer aeronautical show, near her parents’ lakeside villa. Sangaile allows Auste to discover her most intimate secret and in the process finds in her teenage love the only person who truly encourages her to fly. Cast: Julija Steponaitytė, Aistė Diržiūtė.

Sundance-2015-02

Director and screenwriter: Alanté Kavaïté

Girlhood

Oppressed by her family, dead-end school prospects, and the boys’ law in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of free-spirited girls. She changes her name and dress, and quits school to be accepted in the gang, hoping to find a way to freedom.

Cast: Karidja Touré, Assa Sylla, Lindsay Karamoh, Mariétou Touré, Idrissa Diabaté, Simina Soumaré.
Director and screenwriter: Céline Sciamma

The Amina Profile

During the Arab revolution, a love story between two women — a Canadian and a Syrian-American — turns into an international sociopolitical thriller spotlighting media excesses and the thin line between truth and falsehood on the Internet.

Director: Sophie Deraspe

Beaver Trilogy Part IV

A chance meeting in a parking lot in 1979 between filmmaker Trent Harris and a young man from Beaver, Utah, inspired the creation of an underground film that is now known as Beaver Trilogy. But the film itself is only part of the story.

Director: Brad Besser

I Am Michael

The controversial true story of a gay activist who rejects his homosexuality and becomes a Christian pastor.

Sundance-2015-03

Director: Justin Kelly
Cast: James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts.
Screenwriters: Justin Kelly, Stacey Miller

It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise

This portrait of Hilary Knight, the artist behind the iconic Eloise books, sees him reflecting on his life as an illustrator and his relationship to his most successful work. The film also premieres March 23 on HBO.

Sundance-2015-04

Director: Matt Wolf

Larry Kramer in Love and Anger

Author, activist, and playwright Larry Kramer is one of the most important and controversial figures in contemporary gay America, a political firebrand who gave voice to the outrage and grief that inspired gay men and lesbians to fight for their lives. At 78, this complicated man still commands our attention.

Sundance-2015-05

Director: Jean Carlomusto

The Mask You Live In

Is there a “boy crisis” in America? Is our male population suffering due to our emphasis on power, dominance, and aggression? The Mask You Live In explores how our narrow definition of masculinity is harming our boys, men, and society at large and unveils what we can do about it.

Director: Jennifer Siebel Newsom

Dope

Malcolm is carefully surviving life in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles while juggling college applications, academic interviews, and the SAT. A chance invitation to an underground party leads him into an adventure that could allow him to go from being a geek to being dope to ultimately being himself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT3tHzqmkng

Cast: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Blake Anderson, Zoë Kravitz, A$AP Rocky.
Director and screenwriter: Rick Famuyiwa

Nasty Baby

A gay couple try to have a baby with the help of their best friend, Polly. The trio navigate the idea of creating life while confronted by unexpected harassment from a neighborhood man called The Bishop. As their clashes grow increasingly aggressive, odds are someone is getting hurt.

Sundance-2015-06

Cast: Sebastian Silva, Tunde Adebimpe, Kristin Wiig, Reg E. Cathey, Mark Margolis, Denis O’Hare.
Director and screenwriter: Sebastian Silva

The Royal Road

This cinematic essay, a defense of remembering, offers up a primer on the Spanish colonization of California and the Mexican-American War alongside intimate reflections on nostalgia, butch identity and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo — all against a contemplative backdrop of 16mm urban California landscapes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjTj4WN46dA

Cast: Jenni Olson, Tony Kushner.
Director and screenwriter: Jenni Olson

Tig

This documentary explores comedian Tig Notaro’s extraordinary journey as her life unfolds in grand and unexpected ways, all while she is battling a life-threatening illness and falling in love.

Sundance-2015-07

Directors: Kristina Goolsby, Ashley York
Screenwriter: Jennifer Arnold

7 LGBT Festival Films That We Recommend You Watch Before the Year is Out

Film Festivals are about discovery, it’s where the slightly more niche and indie films go to get seen, and for critics to talk them up and tell the public why they should pay attention (even when big production companies or movie distributors haven’t).

That’s often the case for many LGBT films with many big budget publishers shying away from the queer content that many of us crave. Now we move into a new year, and take time out to see what queer related films caught our eyes.

Appropriate Behavior

Making cultural and ethnic identities the subject in this tale, Appropriate Behavior’s lead character, Shirin, must reconcile her identity as a ‘politically correct bisexual’, ‘a hip, young Brooklynite’ and ‘an ideal Persian daughter’ as she, like many young people, struggles to fit all of the pieces to her identity jigsaw together.

Desiree Akhavan is the familiar name behind the project having also picked up acclaim for The Slope, a lesbian webseries that she also worked on so, with plenty of budding talent behind it, Appropriate Behavior deserves more than the appropriate amount of interest.


 52 Tuesdays

When your mother reveals to you that she is trans* and is set to transition, that’s something that will certainly accelerate your maturity as your come to terms with such a huge decision. That’s what happens to 16 year old Billie in 52 Tuesdays as she not only has to be there for her mother as he transitions, but her time with him is also limited to Tuesdays, making it paramount for the mother-daughter duo to stay close.

Keeping within the film’s theme, the Australia-set movie was actually filmed across the course of a year as shooting took place every Tuesday. 52 Tuesdays was a big hit at Sundance, with director Sophie Hyde winning the ‘World Cinema Directing Award’ for her work.


I Love Your Work

If 52 Tuesdays’ filming schedule was somewhat peculiar then I Love Your Work’s is even more mind-boggling. Being made up of over 2000 10-second clips, I Love Your Work riffs off the popular saying that you might say to an actor or director of your favourite movie, only in this film, those movies happen to be porn. As an interactive documentary, the Jonathan Harris directed piece covers the private lives of 9 women who make lesbian porn with some describing Harris’ piece as “beautifully designed.”

Beautifully designed as it may be, I Love Your Work is also around 6 hours long, given the fact that footage was taken at 5 minute intervals over 10 consecutive days, but that perhaps provides a more accurate look at the day to day of the porn industry rather than a dramatised serial that someone wants to make headlines out of.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3aURXZH_c4


The Case Against 8

A documentary that is shot more in the traditional sense, The Case Against 8 as filmed across 5 years as those in California struggled to overturn Proposition 8, the law that saw the liberal-leaning state of California ban gay marriage. Before the ban, California did allow for gay marriage, with high profile couples like Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi actually getting married just prior to the ban, which is why many saw it as ludicrous when Prop 8 actually passed.

As a result, The Case Against 8 is a phenomenal watch as it follows the team that took the first marriage equality case to the U.S Supreme Court in a move that has led the way for many couples to do the same and progress the same-gender marriage rights across the United States.


The Foxy Merkins

Also focusing on the topic of sex, but very much in a different way to that of I Love Your Work, The Foxy Merkins is based around two lesbian prostitutes in New York City. One of them, a newbie to the queer sex worker world and the other one, who is described as ‘an expert on picking up women’, make for a hugely hilarious pairing.

The Foxy Merkins is essentially a queer-centric buddy comedy that sees the two women meet a delightful selection of characters that you probably wouldn’t see in another film with a widespread release, needless to say, this film is refreshing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkRjDOWQgCY


The Skeleton Twins

Usually when a film centres on siblings who have fallen out or who have never gotten along, it takes something dramatic to bring them together and they end the film happily, reminiscing over the parts of their childhood that they actually liked. That’s very much the case of The Skeleton Twins but don’t expect it to be all smooth sailing.

As the film with the biggest amount of starpower on this list, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader play twins Maggie and Milo (Milo’s ex boyfriend is played by Modern Family’s Ty Burrell) who have a reunion after they both ‘cheat death on the same day’. The fact that they actively confront the differences between them to fix their lives rather than passive aggressive behaviour or ridiculous pranks that usually take place in similarly themed movies may make for uncomfortable viewing but with a cast like that, The Skeleton Twins isn’t one to miss.


My Prairie Home

Another intriguing form of filmmaking, My Prairie Home is a documentary and a musical that is described as a ‘poetic journey’. Put in better terms, My Prairie Home is compiled of visual interpretations of trans* singer Rae Spoon’s music, all set with beautiful landscapes of Canadian prairies.

It’s easier to watch than it is to describe because the music can’t be put into many words but if you’d like something offbeat that will be a delight to your ears, check My Prairie Home out.

LGBT Films from Sundance That We Recommend You Watch

Sundance is sort of a big a deal. An annual film festival that takes place every January in Park City – Utah, Sundance is where filmmakers go to showcase their wares and create pre-awards season buzz. In fact, the critical reception that many films receive at Sundance each year is a pretty good suggestion of which films will go on to take home the big prizes at the Golden Globes or the Oscars that follow.

For others though, Sundance is about discovery, it’s where the slightly more niche and indie films go to get eyes on them, for critics to talk them up and tell the public why they should pay attention even when big production companies or movie distributors haven’t. That’s often the case for many LGBT films with many big budget publishers shying away from the queer content that many of us crave. Now that Sundance 2014 has been and gone we have a better picture of what the queer related films on show.

So you can read the list below to find out more about the LGBT related films from Sundance 2014 that we think you should watch.

52 Tuesdays

When your mother reveals to you that she is trans* and is set to transition, that’s something that will certainly accelerate your maturity as your come to terms with such a huge decision. That’s what happens to 16 year old Billie in 52 Tuesdays as she not only has to be there for her mother as he transitions, but her time with him is also limited to Tuesdays, making it paramount for the mother-daughter duo to stay close.

Keeping within the film’s theme, the Australia-set movie was actually filmed across the course of a year as shooting took place every Tuesday. 52 Tuesdays was a big hit at Sundance, with director Sophie Hyde winning the ‘World Cinema Directing Award’ for her work.

I Love Your Work

If 52 Tuesdays’ filming schedule was somewhat peculiar then I Love Your Work’s is even more mind-boggling. Being made up of over 2000 10-second clips, I Love Your Work riffs off the popular saying that you might say to an actor or director of your favourite movie, only in this film, those movies happen to be porn. As an interactive documentary, the Jonathan Harris directed piece covers the private lives of 9 women who make lesbian porn with some describing Harris’ piece as “beautifully designed.”

Beautifully designed as it may be, I Love Your Work is also around 6 hours long, given the fact that footage was taken at 5 minute intervals over 10 consecutive days, but that perhaps provides a more accurate look at the day to day of the porn industry rather than a dramatised serial that someone wants to make headlines out of.

The Case Against 8

A documentary that is shot more in the traditional sense, The Case Against 8 as filmed across 5 years as those in California struggled to overturn Proposition 8, the law that saw the liberal-leaning state of California ban gay marriage. Before the ban, California did allow for gay marriage, with high profile couples like Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi actually getting married just prior to the ban, which is why many saw it as ludicrous when Prop 8 actually passed.

As a result, The Case Against 8 is a phenomenal watch as it follows the team that took the first marriage equality case to the U.S Supreme Court in a move that has led the way for many couples to do the same and progress the same-gender marriage rights across the United States.

The Foxy Merkins

Also focusing on the topic of sex, but very much in a different way to that of I Love Your Work, The Foxy Merkins is based around two lesbian prostitutes in New York City. One of them, a newbie to the queer sex worker world and the other one, who is described as ‘an expert on picking up women’, make for a hugely hilarious pairing.

The Foxy Merkins is essentially a queer-centric buddy comedy that sees the two women meet a delightful selection of characters that you probably wouldn’t see in another film with a widespread release, needless to say, this film is refreshing.

The Skeleton Twins

Usually when a film centres on siblings who have fallen out or who have never gotten along, it takes something dramatic to bring them together and they end the film happily, reminiscing over the parts of their childhood that they actually liked. That’s very much the case of The Skeleton Twins but don’t expect it to be all smooth sailing.

As the film with the biggest amount of starpower on this list, Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader play twins Maggie and Milo (Milo’s ex boyfriend is played by Modern Family’s Ty Burrell) who have a reunion after they both ‘cheat death on the same day’. The fact that they actively confront the differences between them to fix their lives rather than passive aggressive behaviour or ridiculous pranks that usually take place in similarly themed movies may make for uncomfortable viewing but with a cast like that, The Skeleton Twins isn’t one to miss.

Appropriate Behavior

Making cultural and ethnic identities the subject in this tale, Appropriate Behavior’s lead character, Shirin, must reconcile her identity as a ‘politically correct bisexual’, ‘a hip, young Brooklynite’ and ‘an ideal Persian daughter’ as she, like many young people, struggles to fit all of the pieces to her identity jigsaw together.

Desiree Akhavan is the familiar name behind the project having also picked up acclaim for The Slope, a lesbian webseries that she also worked on so, with plenty of budding talent behind it, Appropriate Behavior deserves more than the appropriate amount of interest.

My Prairie Home

Another intriguing form of filmmaking, My Prairie Home is a documentary and a musical that is described as a ‘poetic journey’. Put in better terms, My Prairie Home is compiled of visual interpretations of trans* singer Rae Spoon’s music, all set with beautiful landscapes of Canadian prairies.

It’s easier to watch than it is to describe because the music can’t be put into many words but if you’d like something offbeat that will be a delight to your ears, check My Prairie Home out.