The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival (PIFF) returns to the Father Ryan Arts Center in McKees Rocks to showcase a variety of short and feature-length films. From June 23-25, the event will screen 59 selections from the U.S. and all over the world, including many made right here in Pittsburgh.
The festival kicks off with an opening ceremony, followed by a reception for attendees to mix and mingle. The evening will also include screenings of the animated short Corky and A Fancy Piece of Homicide, a neo-noir psychological thriller from local filmmaker Joseph Varhola. Starring Pittsburgh-based stage and screen actor Bingo O’Malley (Out of the Furnace, Creepshow), the “psychological murder mystery” follows a retired private eye who once served an extended prison sentence for killing a man he was hired to investigate. He now approaches the completion of his memoir to set the record straight. One night, envelopes containing photographs with connections to the past anonymously begin to show up at his front door, along with a mysterious man (Mark Tierno) who is receiving photographs of his own.
From 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on June 24, the festival presents 17 submissions, among them My Name is Joan, a documentary short about a woman who was illegally adopted in the 1950s, and a selection from Italy titled The Rope. Also included is
On Saturday and Sunday, the festival will also present Made In PA, two blocks of films either made in Pennsylvania or by Pennsylvania filmmakers. The chosen selections include director Jes Paul‘s narrative short Promenade and Teaching Peace, a documentary about one man’s mission to spread the virtues of pacifism.
PIFF will also show films hailing from Canada, France, the UK, Israel, and Hungary.
For over two decades, JFilm Festival has worked to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of modern Jewish culture and history. From April 20-30, the event will present new films from around the world, along with complementary programming such as visiting filmmakers, guest speakers, and more. See below for highlights and details:
The 2017 JFilm Festival will present a variety of documentaries, including the Pittsburgh premiere of Take My Nose…Please. Directed by veteran journalist Joan Kron, the film looks at the role comedy has played in exposing the pressure on women to attain physical perfection. From Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers to Roseanne Barr and Kathy Griffin, female comedians have been unashamed to talk about their perceived flaws, and the steps taken to remedy them. The film follows two women – up-and coming improv performer Emily Askin and seasoned headliner Jackie Hoffman – as they deliberate about going under the knife.
Also showing in the documentary category is There Are Jews Here, a film about the struggle to keep small-town synagogues open; The Last Laugh, an exploration of how comedians deal with the horrors of the Holocaust and World War II; and On the Map, a look at how, in 1977, an Israeli basketball team gave the country hope.
The festival will also present narrative films such as The Exception. Filled with espionage and romance, the star-studded World War II thriller features Jai Courtney as a German soldier on a mission to investigate exiled German Monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer). As he begins to infiltrate the Kaiser’s life in search of clues, he finds himself drawn into an unexpected and passionate romance with one of the Kaiser’s maids (Lily James of Downton Abbey) who is secretly Jewish. Their relationship becomes even more complicated when SS leader Heinrich Himmler (Eddie Marsan) suddenly shows up with a large platoon of Nazis in tow.
Other narrative selections include The Jews, a dark satire about anti-Semitism in France; Fanny’s Journey, a WWII-era tale about a 13-year-old girl on the run from the Nazis; and Family Commitment, a screwball comedy about an Arab-Jewish gay couple and their dysfunctional families.
From April 7-13, Row House Cinema hosts the second annual Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival, the city’s only event dedicated solely to Japanese cinema. Presented in part by the Pittsburgh Japanese Cultural Society and the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania, the festival features seven handpicked historically and culturally significant films from Japan, all representing different eras and genres.
See film descriptions and details below:
Opening Night Film – Samurai Cat (2015, Takeshi Watanabe/Yoshitaka Yamaguchi)
This action comedy follows a feared swordsman who gets caught between two warring gangs after he absconds with a warlord’s cat.
The Opening Night event includes a special screening of the Studio Ghibli short film Ghiblies: Episode 2. Tickets cost $15 and include admission to the screenings, Japanese snacks, special treats by bakery Yummyholic, and goodies from the Black Cat Market.
House (1977, Nobuhiko Ôbayashi)
Director Nobuhiko Obayashi’s bizarre fantasy horror film follows a schoolgirl who travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky country home and comes face-to-face with evil spirits, a demonic house cat, a bloodthirsty piano, and other ghoulish visions.
Sailor Moon R: The Movie (1993, Kunihiko Ikuhara)
Long before Mamoru found his destiny with Usagi, he gave a single rose in thanks to a lonely boy who helped him recover from the crash that claimed his parents. This long-forgotten friend, Fiore, has been searching the galaxy for a flower worthy of that sweet gesture long ago. The mysterious flower he finds is beautiful, but has a dark side – it has the power to take over planets. To make matters worse, the strange plant is tied to an ominous new asteroid near Earth! Faced with an enemy blooming out of control, it’s up to Sailor Moon and the Sailor Guardians to band together, stop the impending destruction and save Mamoru.
Harakiri (1962, Masaki Kobayashi)
Following the collapse of his clan, an unemployed samurai (Tatsuya Nakadai) arrives at the manor of Lord Iyi, begging to be allowed to commit ritual suicide on the property. Iyi’s clansmen, believing the desperate ronin is merely angling for a new position, try to force his hand and get him to eviscerate himself—but they have underestimated his beliefs and his personal brand of honor.
Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (2013, Sion Sono)
There’s a war going on, but that won’t stop Director Hirata and his inexperienced wannabe film crew from following their dreams of making the ultimate action epic. Ten years ago, yakuza mid-boss Ikegami led an assault against rival don Muto. Now, on the eve of his revenge, all Muto wants to do is complete his masterpiece, a feature film with his daughter in the starring role, before his wife is released from prison. And Hirata and his crew are standing by with the chance of a lifetime: to film a real, live yakuza battle to the death.
Closing Night Film – Ghost in the Shell (1995, Mamoru Oshii)
Set in the year 2029, Oshii’s anime masterpiece follows a female government cyber agent and the Internal Bureau of Investigations are hot on the trail of a “The Puppet Master,” a computer virus capable of invading cybernetic brains and altering its victim’s memory.
Check the Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival website for ticket prices and showtimes. The festival also includes performances by Pittsburgh Taiko, food and movie pairings with Blue Sparrow Food Truck, local vendor tables, and more.
From March 17-18, the University of Pittsburgh‘s Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies and the Serbian National Federation will present the Serbian Movie Festival, two days of narrative and documentary films about Serbian history and culture.
See film schedule and details below:
Enclave (2015, dir. Goran Radovanovic)
A Christian boy, determined to create a proper community burial for his late grandfather, crosses enemy lines and makes friends among the Muslim majority in deeply divided, war-torn Kosovo.
Where the Yellow Lemon Blooms (2006, dir. Zdravko Sotra)
A documentary about the suffering of the Serbian people and its army in WWI.
We Will Be the World Champions (2015, dir. Darko Bajić)
A film about the founders of the famous Yugoslav Basketball School and the first gold medal at the Championships in Ljubljana in 1970. Based on a true story.
See You in Montevideo (2014, dir. Dragan Bjelogrlić)
A football team from Belgrade, in the former Yugoslavia, gets a chance to go to the First World Football Championship, but things get complicated along the way.
The Man Who Defended Gavrilo Princip (2014, dir. Srđan Koljević)
The film follows the investigation and trial following the Sarajevo assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, which triggered the First World War. The courtroom drama is seen through the eyes of Rudolf Zistler, one of the attorneys appointed by the court to defend the 24 accused members of Young Bosnia and assassin Gavrilo Princip.
The Serbian Movie Festival will take place in Room 232 of the Cathedral of Learning. The event is free and open to the public.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the August Wilson Center will showcase African-American contributions to the silver screen with the first-ever Black Bottom Film Festival (BBFF). The event takes place from February 24-26 and includes a selection of features, shorts and documentaries that “parallel the reoccurring themes of spirituality, family conflict, race and working class struggle that serve as the foundation for August Wilson’s award-winning and internationally renowned Pittsburgh Cycle plays.”
The festival will also recognize the creative contributions of filmmaker Michael Schultz. As one of the first African-American directors hired by the major studios, Schultz opened the doors for directors of color with such features as Car Wash, Krush Groove and The Last Dragon. His career has spanned more than four decades and includes films, children’s programming, and television episodes for series such as Blackish, New Girl, My Crazy-Ex-Girlfriend and Arrow.
See event schedule and details below:
Post-Racial Cinema: Black Film in The Obama Age
Reelblack Podcast co-hosts Mike D. and Charles Woods identify trends and milestones in Black films released from 2008-2016.
Friday Night Shorts
Selections include Dream (dir. Nijla Mu’min), A Day in the Life of a Hashtag and African in America (dir. Njaimeh Njie), Ghetto Steps (dir. Emmai Alaquiva), and Father’s Day (dir. Demetrius Wren).
Chapter & Verse (dir. Jamal Joseph)
After serving eight years in prison, reformed gang leader S. Lance Ingram re-enters society and struggles to adapt to a changed Harlem. Living under the tough supervision of a parole officer in a halfway house, he is unable to find a job that will let him use the technological skills he gained in prison. Lance is forced to take a job delivering for a food pantry where he befriends Ms. Maddy, a strong and spirited grandmother, and assumes responsibility for her 15-year-old grandson Ty, a promising student who is pulled into a dangerous street gang. When gang members decide to punish Ty for disobeying the “law of the streets,” Lance risks sacrificing his “second chance” at freedom so that Ty can have a “first chance” at a better life. Starring Daniel Beaty, Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and Selenis Leyva.
Saturday at the Cine
Screenings include the short Father’s Day from University of Pittsburgh professor Demetrius Wren and the documentary Agents of Change by Frank Dawson. Includes Q&As with Wren and Dawson.
Michael Schultz Q&A
Schultz sits down for a conversation with the newly appointed CEO of Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Germaine Williams.
Like Cotton Twines (dir. Leila Djansi)
Jay Ellis (The Game, Insecure) plays an American volunteer who takes a teaching job in a Ghanaian village. There he meets a bright girl who must atone for a deadly accident committed by her father and, according to custom, must abandon her education to be offered into religious slavery.
Michael Schultz will receive an award commissioned Pittsburgh-based artist Thad Mosley during the BBFF for Cinematic Excellence Ceremony. The evening includes a retrospective of Schultz’s work and a screening of Cooley High, his 1975 film about a group of teenage friends living in 1964 Chicago.
Late Night Feature
See a late night screening of Which Way Is Up?, Michael Schultz’s 1977 comedy starring Richard Pryor in multiple roles.
Spirits of Rebellion: Black Cinema from U.C.L.A. (dir. Zeinabu Irene Davis)
Documentary filmmaker Zeinabu Irene Davis goes behind and in front of the camera as she profiles several filmmakers identified with the L.A. Rebellion, including Charles Burnett, Ben Caldwell, Julie Dash, Haile Gerima, Barbara McCullough, and Billy Woodberry.
Destination Planet Negro (dir. Kevin Willmott)
In 1939, a group of African-American intellectuals come up with an ingenious and unlikely response to Jim Crow America – leave the planet and populate Mars. Using technology created by George Washington Carver, a three-person crew and one rambunctious robot lift-off in Earth’s first working spaceship on a mission that will take them to a world not unlike present-day America. Their spacey adventure illuminates some hard truths about American culture and threatens to undermine the timeline of history along the way.
Two Trains Runnin’ (dir. Sam Pollard)
The feature-length documentary by filmmaker Sam Pollard pays tribute to a pioneering generation of musicians and cuts to the heart of our present moment, offering a crucial vantage from which to view the evolving dynamics of race in America. The film is narrated by Common and features the music of Gary Clark Jr.
All events take place at the August Wilson Center. A Q&A will follow each screening. Tickets cost $15 for a single-day pass and $35 for a festival pass and are available for purchased online, over the phone at (412) 456-6666 or in person at the Theater Square Box Office. Tickets will also be sold, based on availability, two hours before the event time at the August Wilson Center’s box office located at the venue.
Muggles and wizards alike will have loads of fun when Row House Cinema and its sister store, Bierport, host the Harry Potter Film And Cultural Festival. The event will feature two weeks of live music, themed food and drinks, and, of course, film screenings dedicated to one of the most successful and widely beloved YA series in history.
The itinerary includes regular showings of the Harry Potter screen adaptations. Starting in 2001 with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and ending with the two-part finale Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the expansive franchise follows the adventures of the young wizard Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his best friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) as they hone their magic skills at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Along the way, they face increasing peril as they unravel the mysterious connection between Harry and the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), whose band of rogue wizards are intent on destroying Harry along with anyone who stands in their way.
During the festival, fans young and old can enjoy a number of other activities, including a performance by the Harry Potter tribute band Muggle Snuggle, storytime with the Carnegie Library, and a house sorting night where people can discover if they belong to Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin. There will also be crafts, trivia, costume contests, and treats of both the alcoholic and kid-safe variety.
The Harry Potter Film And Cultural Festival runs from February 17–March 2. Tickets and additional information about the event are available at the Row House website.
The Hollywood Theater will finish off the month with Janu-Scary, a selection of five independent horror films from the US and around the world. See details and schedule below:
The Autopsy of Jane Doe
In the latest from director Andre Ovredal (Trollhunter), coroner Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) and his son Austin (Emile Hirsch) run a family-owned morgue and crematorium in Virginia. When the local Sheriff brings in a dead Jane Doe it seems like just another open-and-shut case. But as the autopsy proceeds, Tommy and Austin discover that her insides have been scarred, charred and dismembered — seemingly the victim of a horrific yet mysterious ritualistic torture. As they piece together these gruesome discoveries, an unnatural force takes hold of the crematorium. While a violent storm rages above ground, it seems the real horrors lie on the inside.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe screens at 7 p.m. from January 31–February 2.
The Eyes of My Mother
Set in a secluded farmhouse and shot in crisp black and white, writer/director Nicolas Pesce’s feature debut follows a mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, as she teaches her daughter, Francisca, to understand anatomy and be unfazed by death. One afternoon, a mysterious visitor horrifyingly shatters the idyll of Francisca’s family life, deeply traumatizing the young girl, but also awakening some unique curiosities. Though she clings to her increasingly reticent father, Francisca’s loneliness and scarred nature converge years later when her longing to connect with the world around her takes on a distinctly dark form.
The Eyes of My Mother screens at 7 p.m. from January 27–January 30.
Under the Shadow
Tehran, 1988: As the Iran-Iraq War rumbles into its eighth year, a mother and daughter are slowly torn apart by the bombing campaigns on the city coupled with the country’s bloody revolution. As they struggle to stay together amidst these terrors, a mysterious evil stalks through their apartment.
Under the Shadow screens at 7 p.m. from January 29–February 1.
In the middle of a routine patrol, officer Daniel Carter happens upon a blood-soaked figure limping down a deserted stretch of road. He rushes the young man to a nearby rural hospital staffed by a skeleton crew, only to discover that patients and personnel are transforming into something inhuman. As the horror intensifies, Carter leads the other survivors on a hellish voyage into the subterranean depths of the hospital in a desperate bid to end the nightmare before it’s too late.
The Void screens at 7 p.m. on January 28.
We Are the Flesh
A young brother and sister, roaming an apocalyptic city, take refuge in the dilapidated lair of a strange hermit. He puts them to work building a bizarre cavernous structure, where he acts out his insane and depraved fantasies. Trapped in this maddening womb-like world under his malign influence, they find themselves sinking into the realms of dark and forbidden behavior. A visionary and bizarre slice of Mexican arthouse cinema, We Are The Flesh is an extraordinary and unsettling film experience, a sexually charged and nightmarish journey into an otherworldly dimension of carnal desire and excess, as well as a powerful allegory on the corrupting power of human desire.
We Are the Flesh screens at 9 p.m. from January 27–February 2.
Tickets are available for purchase online or at the door. Guests can also buy a $30 festival pass for all five films.
Last summer, two Pittsburgh cultural organizations – Film Pittsburgh (formerly JFilm) and Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PF/PCA) – joined forces to produce the Three Rivers Film Festival (3RFF). Sponsored by Dollar Bank, the 35-year-old annual event is considered the oldest and largest film festival in the region. An official press release stated that JFilm and PF/PCA aimed to transform 3RFF into “a highly visible event, generating more awareness of the festival’s rich offerings, promoting tourism to the city, and helping to elevate the art form of independent cinema within Pittsburgh’s cultural landscape.”
That transformation begins with this year’s 3RFF, which takes place from November 16 – 20, and offers 31 films at venues throughout the city.
The festival opens with the Pittsburgh premiere of director Eddie Rosenstein‘s work The Freedom to Marry. Presented in collaboration with Reel Q, and supported in part by the ACLU – PA, the documentary shows how, over the last four decades, the same-sex marriage has gone from a “preposterous notion” to one of the most successful civil rights campaigns in the world. Largely focused on Pittsburgh native and marriage equality pioneer Evan Wolfson, the War Room-style film captures the final frenetic months of the movement’s Supreme Court legal battle.
The screening takes place at 7 p.m. at the August Wilson Center. The evening will also feature a post-screening reception and conversation with Rosenstein and Wolfson.
The schedule includes other films making their Pittsburgh debuts, including director Sophia Takal‘s female-led thriller Always Shine, David Byrne‘s musical tribute to color guard Contemporary Color, and Robert Greene‘s experimental nonfiction film Kate Plays Christine.
The latter follows actress Kate Lyn Sheil (House of Cards, The Girlfriend Experience, Listen Up Philip) as she prepares to play Christine Chubbuck, a real-life Florida newscaster who committed suicide live on-air in 1974. As Sheil investigates Chubbuck’s story, she uncovers new clues and information, and becomes increasingly obsessed with her subject. The film went on to win the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
3RFF will also highlight films from around the world, including the Polish film Blindness, the Swiss-German family film Heidi, and the Spanish-language biopic-narrative hybrid Neruda. Also featured is the UK film Trespass Against Us, an intense drama that stars Michael Fassbender as an outlaw at odds with his crime boss father, played by veteran actor Brendan Gleeson.
The lineup will also showcase a selection of short films, a double-feature looking at independent filmmaking in Pittsburgh, and a special presentation of the newly restored German silent film Varieté. Made in 1925, the story of a seedy ex-trapeze artist who abandons his family for an exotic dancer offers high-flying cinematography and pre-Code sexuality. Its 3RFF premiere will include live musical accompaniment by the Alloy Orchestra.
Click here for the complete 3RFF schedule and details. Tickets for regular screenings cost $12, $8 for students 26 and under with valid ID. Special pricing applies to the opening night screening and the Varieté screening. All tickets are available for purchase online or at the door.
From October 20th through November 2nd, the FISA Foundation and JFilm co-present the fourth annual ReelAbilities Film Festival, an event showcasing films about the lives, stories, and artistic expression of people with different disabilities. The lineup includes previews and Pittsburgh premieres, as well as a shorts program featuring several works from around the world. There will also be post-screening talks, presentations, and receptions. See schedule and details below:
Follow a diverse community of artists from Zeno Mountain Farm who come together year after year to make a Hollywood movie, find friendship and grow as actors and individuals, regardless of their ability. This refreshingly genuine and endearing film-within-a-film reveals a dynamic, inclusive world that transcends stigmas and challenges stereotypes, while raising important questions about the lack of artistic opportunities for people with disabilities.
Followed by a conversation with AJ Murray, an actor living with cerebral palsy, and Will Halby, co-founder and director of Zeno Mountain Farm.
Margarita with a Straw
An aspiring young writer with cerebral palsy leaves her home in India to attend New York University. After a chance encounter with a fiery female activist, she begins to explore this uncharted world and its liberal sexualities. Based on the true story of a young Punjabi woman, Margarita with a Straw is a unique coming-of-age story about love, identity, and sexuality.
This screening is presented in collaboration with Reel Q.
A misdiagnosis as a child gave Gabe Weil a new, longer life expectancy and the unexpected gift of time. Empowered to now think about a future that he never thought he would have, Gabe embraces his passions, deepens his friendships, and finds joy in each day as he continues to manage an ongoing disability. This honest and insightful documentary reminds us all to value the time we are given no matter what our challenges.
Followed by a conversation with the film’s director Luke Terrell.
Since the Fair Labor Standards Act passed in 1938, American workers have been free from labor exploitation, with one exception: people with disabilities. In 2016, nearly 250,000 people with disabilities continue to earn less than the minimum wage. Through personal stories and poignant interviews, this eye-opening documentary exposes this practice while presenting new employment alternatives with competitive wages and community inclusion for workers of all abilities.
Followed by a panel discussion with local stakeholders moderated by Halle Stockton, managing editor of Public Source.
ReelAbilities Shorts Program
Seven short films totaling 70 minutes highlight diverse themes across the ability spectrum. Includes Autism in Love, I Don’t Care, Macropolis, Midfield, Perfect, Strings and Welcome to the Last Bookstore.
Followed by a conversation with emerging filmmakers from Pittsburgh’s Joey Travolta Film Camp.
Thank You For Your Service
The U.S. military faces an unprecedented mental health crisis as veterans returning to civilian life find themselves unequipped to manage the post-traumatic stress and depression that is leading to veteran suicides at an alarming rate. With candid interviews including those from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus, the film reveals how current policies of the U.S. military are falling short of the critical mental health needs of our veterans.
Followed by a conversation with the film’s director, Tom Donahue, film subjects Dr. Mark Russell and Phil Straub, and Dr. Rory Cooper, founding director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, a VA Rehabilitation R&D Center of Excellence.
All screenings will be followed by receptions including vegan, kosher and gluten-free options. There will also be an art exhibit featuring works from Reinventing the Wheel, a photography project that paired twenty-one people with spinal cord injury with 21 photographers from cities nationwide to create photo essays through a realistic, positive and creative lens.
All films and programs will take place at Rodef Shalom. General admission is $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $8 for students under age 26 with valid ID. There are also special group rates and discounts. Tickets are available online or at the door if not sold out.
The Pittsburgh Gay and Lesbian Film Society (PLGFS) celebrates the experiences of the LGBTQ community with the 31st annual Reel Q film festival. From October 6th through October 15th, the annual event screens 17 full-length films, among them documentaries, comedies and dramas, and three short programs, all from the US and around the world. The lineup will also feature Pittsburgh premieres, works from the 1990s, and parties. All screenings will take place at the Harris Theater. See a full schedule and details below:
Strike A Pose
In 1990, seven young male dancers – six gay, one straight – joined Madonna on her most controversial tour. On stage and in the iconic film Truth or Dare they showed the world how to express yourself. Now, 25 years later, they reveal the truth about life during and after the tour.
Reel Q will also kick off the festival with a Strike A Pose afterparty at Bricolage.
Writer/director Cheryl Dunye‘s 1996 debut depicts the struggles of a young, black lesbian (played by Dunye) who works as a video store clerk while trying to make a documentary about a black actress known for playing racist “mammy” roles in the 1930s. Considered the first feature ever directed by a black gay woman.
A lonely middle-aged man hires a young male escort to help him relive a road trip from his past in director Nick Corporon‘s feature debut.
Based on the play by Jonathan Harvey (who also adapted the screenplay), director Hettie Macdonald‘s 1996 British drama follows two teen boys who fall in love in a rough London suburb.
In 1971, Delphine, a 23-year-old farmer’s daughter, comes to Paris and dreams of running her own business, something unthinkable for a woman to do at this time. There she meets Carole, a 35-year-old Parisian woman actively involved with burgeoning feminist movement. When Delphine and Carole meet, their love affair turns their lives upside down.
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four
After being wrongfully convicted of gang-raping two little girls during the Satanic Panic witch-hunt era of the 1980s and 90s, four Latina lesbians fight against mythology, homophobia, and prosecutorial fervor in their struggle for exoneration in this riveting true crime documentary.
Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo
Two men spend the night together in the hospital after they have unprotected sex .
In Shaleece Haas‘s documentary, transgender teenager Bennett Wallace embarks on a journey to find his voice—as a musician, a friend, a son, and a man. As he navigates the ups and downs of young adulthood, he works to gain the love and support of his mother, who has deep misgivings about her child’s transition. Along the way, Bennett forges a powerful friendship with his idol, Joe Stevens, a celebrated transgender musician with his own demons to fight.
Burn, Burn, Burn
Following the death of their friend, Seph and Alex, two women in their late twenties, go on a road trip to spread his ashes.
A New York teacher is fired from a small Texas school for being gay and returns disguised as Bianca to wreak revenge on the town. Stars RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio.
Passions reignite and hidden secrets revealed when a graphic designer in Los Angeles (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) reconnects with an ex-lover (Aaron Costa Ganis) he hasn’t seen or heard from in 15 years. Over the course of a weekend at a vacation house in the desert, they must determine whether or not they have a future together.
Trans Shorts program
The Trans Shorts program will showcase a variety of short films from the US, Canada and the UK. Selections include Closing, Dawn, Handsome & Majestic, Mezzo, Say U Will and Tear Jerker.
Women’s Shorts program
The Women’s Shorts program will showcase a variety of short films from all over the world. The selections include B, Charlotte, Dance Card, Little Doll, Spunkle and Tits on a Bull.
Men’s Shorts program
The Men’s Shorts program will showcase a variety of short films from around the globe. Selections include Alzheimer’s: A Love Story, Bittersweet, Crazy House, Folsom Street, The Glory Hole, Noam, Thanks for Dancing and The Weigh In.
Grieving the death of her partner, a heartbroken Oklahoma artist returns to her childhood home and exposes cracks in her family’s complacent suburban routine when she falls for her brother’s girlfriend. Directed by Maura Anderson.
A fresh take on the coming-of-age story, this surreal tale follows the artistically driven Oscar (Connor Jessup) hovering on the brink of adulthood. Struggling to find his place in the world after a rough childhood and haunted by images of a tragic incident, Oscar dreams of escaping his small town. After he meets a mysterious and attractive new co-worker, Oscar follows the guidance of his pet hamster Buffy (voiced by Isabella Rossellini) and faces his demons to find the life he wants.
Joey (Lola Kirke) is a young woman in search of direction in her small town. A visit to an army recruiting office appears to provide a path, but when she meets and falls in love with Rayna (Breeda Wool) that path diverges in ways that neither woman anticipates. Building on the award-winning short of the same name, director Deb Shoval crafts a clear-eyed love story, and an impressive feature film debut.
Women Who Kill
Morgan and Jean work well together as true crime podcasters because they didn’t work well, at all, as a couple. When Morgan strikes up a new relationship with the mysterious Simone, their shared interest turns into suspicion, paranoia and fear. Ingrid Jungermann’s whip-smart feature debut is an adept and wry comedy on modern romance’s hollow results, set in an LGBTQ Brooklyn.
Polish-German writer-director Piotr Lewandowski‘s coming-of-age story follows Jonathan (Jannis Niewöhner), a German teen who discovers his dying father’s sexuality while working on a remote farm.
It’s 2006, YouTube is in its infancy, and internet porn is still behind a paywall. Taking the stage name Brent Corrigan, a fresh-faced, wannabe adult video performer (Garrett Clayton) is molded into a star by Stephen (Christian Slater), a closeted gay porn mogul who runs the skin flick empire Cobra Video from his seemingly ordinary suburban home. But as Brent’s rise and demands for more money put him at odds with his boss, he also attracts the attention of a rival producer (James Franco) and his unstable lover (Keegan Allen) who will stop at nothing to squash Cobra Video and steal its number one star. Based on a stranger-than-fiction true story, King Cobra is a deliciously dark, twisted plunge into the behind-the-scenes world of the pornography industry. Co-starring Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald.
To close the festival, Reel Q will host a King Cobra afterparty at Pierce Studio in the lower level of the Harris Theater.
Admission for both the opening and closing afterparties is $15 for the entire evening, $10 with student ID. Both parties are included with the Diva and Festival passes. All tickets are available for purchase online at Showclix.