Organized by the Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Society, the Reel Q Pittsburgh LGBT Film Festival celebrates the work of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered writers, directors, and actors. Now in its 27th year, the event brings a variety of LGBT-centric films from around the globe to the Harris Theater from Oct. 12-21.
Wild trucker Stella (Olympia Dukakis) and blind, serene Dot (Brenda Fricker) are a mismatched couple who have been together for over thirty years. But their lives are turned upside down when Dot’s well-meaning but clueless granddaughter decides to put her in a nursing home. Determined to stay together, Stella breaks Dot out of the facility and the two head off on a crazy road trip to get married, a trip made more interesting by a sexy but troubled young hitchhiker.
An opening night party at the adjacent Peirce Studio will follow the screening.
United In Anger: A History Of ACT UP
This documentary reveals the complex culture of a group of people who changed the way the world views the AIDS pandemic. Formed in 1987, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) is an international direct action advocacy group working to impact the lives of people with AIDS and ultimately bring an end to the disease by mitigating loss of health and lives. Using oral histories and rare footage, the film depicts how people in the trenches fought corporate greed, homophobia, and government indifference to help those who could not help themselves.
Mosquita y Mari
Chicana-American lesbian screenwriter Aurora Guerrero makes her feature film directorial debut with this coming-of-age story that focuses on a tender friendship between two young Chicanas. Yolanda and Mari live in Huntington Park, Los Angeles and are expected to prioritize the well-being of their families. When Mari moves in across the street from Yolanda, they maintain their usual life routine, until an incident at school thrusts them into a friendship and into unknown territory. Mounting pressures at home collide with their newfound connection, forcing them to choose between their obligations and staying true to themselves.
Pittsburgh Filmmakers co-presents this 2011 Iranian film about Adineh, a young woman waiting for her passport so that she can travel to Germany for gender reassignment surgery and emerge as a man named Eddie – despite her disapproving father, who intends to marry her to a male cousin. Desperate to stay out of his clutches, she flees in a taxi whose female driver agrees to take Eddie to her hideout at triple the regular fee, but tragedy strikes.
Jenn (Jenn Harris) and Matt (Matthew Wilkas) are best friends from college who are now in their thirties. Fed up with the New York dating scene and single by choice, Jenn spends her days teaching hot yoga and running errands for her boss. Matt, unable to get over a breakup, withdraws into his comic bookstore job and stops pursuing his dream of being a graphic novelist. When Jenn proposes that they have a baby together, it seems like the right idea at the right time. With Jenn distrustful of fertility doctors, and Matt boastful of being able to have sex with anyone, they decide to fulfill a youthful promise to have a child together the old-fashioned way.
Raid Of The Rainbow Lounge
Emmy-nominated actress Meredith Baxter narrates this 2012 documentary about a recent and shocking moment in LGBT history. On June 28, 2009, the fortieth anniversary of the historic Stonewall Riots, a newly opened gay bar in Fort Worth, Texas, called the Rainbow Lounge was raided by the authorities. But the incident forced the entire city to re-examine itself and begin a long, challenging journey that made Fort Worth a leader in LGBT rights.
Emotional misfit Molly believes she’s found love after a drunken one-night stand with lesbian/gay marriage activist Mercedes. Once sober, Mercedes is ready to ditch her new admirer, until she learns that Molly’s father is an influential state senator opposed to gay marriage. Seeing a golden opportunity to drive a stake into the senator’s politics, Mercedes convinces Molly to pretend they’re an engaged lesbian couple. But as she gets to know Molly’s family, Mercedes discovers that she and Molly have more in common than she thought.
Naked As We Came
After an unexpected phone call, Laura and her brother Elliot rush to their family’s country estate to find their mother, Lilly, gravely ill and living with a handsome young stranger named Ted. Estranged for some time, their mother’s condition sets Laura and Elliot on a path to realizing where their own lives have gone wrong. Lilly, on the other hand, has mellowed from the controlling woman she was and is hoping to pass on some wisdom to her children. Now her kids find themselves dealing with their own feelings of resentment and broken dreams while trying to figure out how Ted fits into their mother’s life. But Ted has a secret of his own.
Reel Q Women’s Shorts
An imaginative fairy tale, a moving period piece, and a musical comedy are just a few short films featured on this evening. Among the selections is a comedy following a bisexual woman with a severe cat allergy as she dates a variety of pet owners looking for true love.
Reel Q Men’s Shorts
A wacky murder mystery and the story of a creepy one-night stand are included in this screening of short films. Among those being shown are Unanimated, a clever film that blends animation with live action to tell the story of a cartoon boy who feels rejected by the three-dimensional world.
Israeli director Eytan Fox (The Bubble, Walk On Water) brings to life this modern fable with a catchy musical message, based on the songs of Israeli pop legend Svika Pick. Miriam dreams of being a famous singer, leading her to abandon her son Meir on his tenth birthday. Meir never stops searching for his mother, eventually moving from his small town to Tel Aviv, where he emerges as a famous drag queen named Mary Lou. The songs never stop coming as Meir/Mary Lou discovers he needs to find himself even more than his mother. First aired as a four-part series on Israeli television, this 2009 film has often been compared to the hit American TV show Glee.
Reel Q Our Shorts
There’s something for everyone in this shorts program, ranging from parenting a curious child to a musical documentary, and even a locally made film. That locally made film is a documentary capturing the complexity of Pittsburgh artist Vanessa German by revealing the process of how her work is created and how people respond to her sculptures and performances.
Men To Kiss
In this 2012 German comedy, serious-minded Ernst arrives in Berlin to begin his new job at a prestigious bank and a new life in the big city. That new life includes meeting and falling in love with flighty, unpredictable performance artist Tobi. Everything goes well until Tobi’s friend Uta arrives, turning an innocent visit into an insidious attack on their relationship.
Written and directed by Campbell, Stud Life is a light take on the darker side of queer street life in London. Brits JJ, a black lesbian, and Seb, a white gay man, are best friends who work together and play together. Then JJ falls for Elle and has to split her attention between her girlfriend and Seb. Will she juggle both relationships successfully or will she have to choose between her lover and her best mate?
Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait Of James Dean
Joshua Tree, 1951 is an intimate portrait of James Dean on the cusp of achieving notoriety as both a great actor and an American icon. Set primarily in the early 1950s and focusing on Dean’s experiences as an up-and-coming actor in Los Angeles, the film is a series of revealing and sometimes dreamlike vignettes that blend biographical and fictionalized elements to present a pivotal moment in a remarkable life.
North Sea Texas
Pim is a fun-loving teen who lives with his blowsy, promiscuous mother along the Belgium coast. He also has eyes for handsome neighborhood boy Gino, and the two embark on a special intimacy that is shattered when Gino announces that he’s leaving town with his girlfriend. Abandoned by his love and all but ignored by his mother, Pim is welcomed into Gino’s supportive family where he begins to gain self-confidence – until Gino returns.
Thirty-somethings Mia and Frida meet for the first time at their parents’ engagement party, where Mia’s father is about to marry Frida’s mother. Mia, who has not visited her father in years, arrives with her boyfriend, Tim, with whom she is about to marry. But when she’s left alone with her new family, the reserved Mia finds herself attracted to the light and easy-going Frida and they begin a torrid affair that will have consequences for the people in their lives.
Jack is a handsome, loving, and emotionally damaged gay man who has devoted himself to his late brother’s family. But when his worker’s visa is denied and deportation to his native England seems imminent, he convinces best friend Ali to marry him. Unfortunately, this perfect solution unravels when Ali fears imprisonment for fraud and a sexy Spaniard enters Jack’s life.
I Am A Woman Now
In this beautifully photographed Dutch documentary, five transgender women reflect back on their lives as females and the various paths that led them to surgery. Through a mixture of interviews, home movies, and scenes of their daily lives, Colette, Jean, British dowager, April, and former Parisian showgirls, Corinne and Bambi, recount their unique experiences.
Love Or Whatever
Corey thought he had it all: a successful career, a lesbian sister/best friend, and most of all, a bright future with his boyfriend, Jon. But when Jon dumps him—for a woman, no less—Corey sets off on a wild journey of self-discovery that leads him to a GRINDR connection, a new love, and a life-changing choice.
A closing night party at Cruze Bar will follow the screening.
Single tickets are $9 general admission, $6 with a student ID. Opening night with the Peirce Studio party is $25, and closing night with Cruze Bar is $15. Packages include the all-access $125 Diva Pass, the $70 Screen Queen Pass (any ten films except opening and closing nights), and the $45 Cheap Thrills Pass (access to any six films, except opening and closing nights). Tickets and passes are available for purchase at ReelQ.org or Banner Coin Exchange.