25th Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
June 1-9 at Cinestudio, Trinity College, Hartford
Opening June 1st, for LGBT Pride Month, and programmed by a group of approximately 15 volunteers, the Connecticut Gay & Lesbian Film Festival offers something for everyone, chosen from 200 submissions: comedy, drama, musical comedy, documentaries, historical dramas, and a host of shorts with unique viewpoints. Screenings take place at Cinestudio at Trinity College, with a dual closing night screening there and at the Connecticut Science Center and Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in downtown Hartford.
Shane Engstrom, Director of Out Film CT, salutes the selection committee for the diversity of the programme honoring the Festival's 25th season. "While the films are selected for their interest to the LGBT community, they depict a wide array of human experience and concerns that are universal to all audiences."
Special events of the Festival include the Opening Night Party, Friday, June 1, at Cinestudio courtyard, and Closing Night Party, Saturday, June 9, at the Wadsworth, included with evening admission. In addition, sponsors Pratt & Whitney will host a Centerpiece Reception, Wednesday, June 6, 6:30 p.m. in the Cinestudio lower lobby. And June 9 is also Connecticut Open House Day, featuring $2 off matinee admission. Evening screenings are 7:30 p.m. and matinee screenings are at 3:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. For tickets and the full schedule: OutFilmCT.org
Some film highlights:
Friday, June 1, 7:30 p.m.
Cloudburst — Drama/Comedy/Adventure
(Canada, 2011) Directed by Thom Fitzgerald, starring Olympia Dukakis, Brenda Fricker, Kristen Booth, Ryan Doucette. [see review]
Saturday, June 2, 3:00 p.m.
Jobriath AD — Documentary
(USA, 2011) Written and Directed by Kieran Turner. While glamrock superstars like David Bowie only flirted with a gay image and gay rockstars like Freddie Mercury were circumspect, Jobriath was an openly gay rock'n'roller. The toll it took on his career — with neither the gay community nor the straight press quite able to deal with him — is explored in this documentary.
Saturday, June 2, 7:30 p.m.
Christopher and His Kind — Drama
(UK, 2011) Directed by Geoffrey Sax. Screenplay by Kevin Elyot [see review].
Saturday, June 2, 10:30 p.m.
Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads — Comedy
(US, 2011) Directed by Michael Schiralli. Screenplay by Jeffery Roberson and Jacques Lamarre.
Billed as "not for the faint of heart or the easily offended," this comedy by Hartford's own Jacques Lamarre chronicles the effort by "loose chanteuse" of dive bars and bathhouses Varla Jean Merman (Jeffery Roberson) to find a new audience now that hers is rapidly aging: children! Don't miss this late-night special screening.
Sunday, June 3, 3:00 p.m.
Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together — Musical Comedy
(USA, 2011) Written and Directed by Wendy Jo Carlton.
This film explores the pains and thrills of erotic tensions in a same-sex friendship between teens, complete with musical and dance numbers.
Sunday, June 3, 7:30 p.m.
Wish Me Away — Documentary
(USA, 2012) Directed by Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf.
Chely Wright, the Top Female Vocalist at the 1999 Country Music Awards, came out as a lesbian in 2010. With access to Wright's private video diaries, this film explores the courage to tell the truth despite the realities of homophobia in the media, the music industry, and public life.
Thursday, June 7, 7:30 p.m.
Vito — Documentary
(USA, 2011) Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz. [see Review]
Saturday, June 9, 7:30 p.m. at Connecticut Science Center, 250 Columbus Boulevard
Gayby — Comedy
(USA, 2012) Written and Directed by Jonathan Lisecki. [see Review]
Saturday, June 9, 7:30 p.m. at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 600 Main Street
The Night Watch — Drama
(UK, 2011) Directed by Richard Laxton.
Paula Milne's adaptation of Sarah Waters' novel, the film follows four young Londoners linked by experiences in WWII London. During the Blitz, Kay, Helen, Viv, and Duncan enjoyed a unprecedented level of freedom, but after the war comes a reckoning with the past.
An exhibit of materials from the Festival's organizers, Out Film CT, is on view now at CCSU's Elihu Burritt Library until June 10. Donated to the library's extensive collections on Connecticut gay and lesbian history, the exhibit features programs, posters and advertisements documenting the history of the festival, the longest-running film festival in the state, and a rallying point for LGBT supporters since 1988. For more info about the exhibit: the Burritt Library Special Collections department at (860) 832-2085 or (860) 832-2086.
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