Out on Film unveils lineup for biggest festival yet

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With a little Madonna, some bears, bullies, passion and love – even some big screen star power – Out on Film released its full lineup for the upcoming festival of LGBT movies

The annual event – about to celebrate its 29th rendition – includes more than 110 feature films, documentaries, short films and web series. Out on Film teased us earlier this summer that “Strike a Pose” – the revealing film about seven dancers on Madonna's “Blond Ambition Tour” in 1990 – will open the festival. On Monday, organizers let it all hang out and announced the full schedule. 

“This is an exceptional year for LGBT cinema,” Out on Film director Jim Farmer said. “This is, by far, our biggest festival to date in terms of the number of films we are showing, as well as the most diverse slate we’ve ever presented. It’s an amazing year, as well, for terrific features and documentaries by female directors.”

The festival will include appearances by several actors and cast members from the documentaries, including Carlton Wilborn. He's among the dancers featured in “Strike a Pose.” Other talent expected for the festival include Kerstin Karlhuber and Gregory Harrison (“Fair Haven”), Randal Kleiser and Gregory Harrison (“It’s My Party”), Doug Langway and Gerald McCullouch (“BearCity 3”), Andrea Meyerson (“Clambake” and “Letter to Anita”), Nick Corporon (“Retake”), Jacqueline Gares (“Free CeCe”), Jasika Nicole (“Suicide Kale”), and Bennett Wallace and Joe Stevens (“Real Boy”).

The festival includes some Atlanta flavor, which includes “Bullied to Death” by local producers Cindy Abel and Sheri Mann Stewart and starring Tendal Mannn, Gerald McCullouch in “BearCity 3,” and Joe Stevens in the documentary “Real Boy,” and a numbre of short films presented in the Southern Shorts program.

The festival – which runs Sept. 29 through Oct. 6 – will again take place at Landmark's Midtown Art Cinema. 

The full press from Out on Film:

Out On Film, Atlanta’s LGBT film festival, has announced its programming for Out On Film 29, the 29thth annual LGBT film festival. The event will take place September 29 – October 6 at Landmark’s Midtown Art Cinema. Festival passes and three-pack ticket are on sale now and individual tickets will be available September 1.

“This is an exceptional year for LGBT cinema,” says Out On Film festival director Jim Farmer. “This is, by far, our biggest festival to date in terms of the number of films we are showing, as well as the most diverse slate we’ve ever presented.  It’s an amazing year, as well, for terrific features and documentaries by female directors.”

More than 110 features films, documentaries, short films and web series will be shown. 

The opening night film is Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan’s “Strike a Pose.” In 1990, seven young male dancers – six gay, one straight – joined Madonna on her most controversial tour, the Blond Ambition tour. On stage and in the iconic film they showed the world how to express yourself. 25 years later, they reveal the truth about life during and after the tour. “Strike a Pose” is a dramatic tale about overcoming shame and finding the courage to be who you are. The cast includes Luis Camacho, Oliver Crumes, Salim Gauwloos, Kevin Alexander Stea, Carlton Wilborn and Jose Xtravaganza.” Carlton Wilborn will be in attendance.

The closing night film will be Chris Kelly’s “Other People,” in which a struggling comedy writer (Jesse Plemons), fresh off a breakup and in the midst of the worst year of his life, returns to Sacramento to care for his dying mother (Molly Shanon in a superb performance).

Other highlights include Tim Kirkman’s (“Loggerheads) “Lazy Eye,” (top photo) in which 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 and director Jacqueline Gares’ “Free CeCe!,” the story of activist CeCe McDonald who, on her way to the store with a group of friends, was brutally attacked. While defending her life, a man was killed. After a coercive interrogation, CeCe was incarcerated in a men’s prison in Minnesota. An international campaign to free CeCe garnered significant support from media and activists, including actress Laverne Cox.

“BearCity 3,” the finale to the “BearCity” trilogy – with all films directed by Doug Langway – brings all the original, beloved characters back. In “Do You Take This Man,” Daniel (Anthony Rapp) and Christopher (Jonathan Bennett) are on the eve of their wedding, but when a long-lost friend of Christopher's shows up and the stressful day begins to spiral out of control, the couple must rely on their close friends and family. “Kiki” is Sara Jordeno’s Sundance smash about New York-based, LGBTQ youth-of-color and their love of Ballroom, which was made famous in the early 1990s by Madonna’s music video “Vogue” and the documentary “Paris Is Burning.” Twenty-five years after these cultural touchstones, a new and very different generation of LGBTQ youth have formed an artistic activist subculture, named the Kiki Scene. “Kiki” follows seven characters from the Kiki community – including Twiggy Pucci Garçon, the founder and gatekeeper for the Haus of Pucci, over the course of four years.

One of the first Hollywood feature films to deal with AIDS patients dying with dignity, “It's My Party” chronicles a two-day party hosted by Nick Stark (Eric Roberts), who is in the latter stages of HIV/AIDS, for his family and friends. At the end of the party he will commit suicide, but not before getting closure with loved ones, including his ex Brandon, who left after his diagnosis. The cast includes Eric Roberts, Gregory Harrison, Margaret Cho and Olivia Newton John. Actor Gregory Harrison and director Randal Kleiser (“Grease”) will be present for a Q and A. Kleiser will also receive the Icon Award on October 1.

In the sexy, award-wining “Paris 05:59: Theo and Hugo,” (second photo) Theo and Hugo’s bodies meet, click together and merge in a passionate embrace. After the headiness of desire and the ecstasy of their first encounter, these two young men, in the empty streets of Paris by night, are faced with their budding love.

Giovanni Coda’s “Bullied to Death” depicts a 24 hour journey through the true stories of teenagers worldwide that experience severe bullying episodes at school, from their own families and on the web, as a result of their coming out about their sexuality.

In Kerem Sanga’s“First Girl I Loved,” seventeen-year-old Anne just fell in love with Sasha, the most popular girl at her LA public high school. But when Anne tells her best friend Clifton – who has always harbored a secret crush – he does his best to get in the way. 

Other feature films include Catherine Corsini’s lush, exquisite “Summertime;” the Teddy-Award winning “Tomcat;” Tor Iben’s soulful drama-comedy “Where Are You Going, Habibi?,” Russell Brown’s funny, satirical “Search Engines” with an all-star cast; Deb Shoval’s lovely romance “AWOL;” Nathan Adloff’s comedy “Miles” with Molly Shannon, Paul Reiser, and Tim Boardman; Carly Usdin’s dark comedy “Suicide Kale;” Arnie Ahn’s Sundance hit “Spa Night,” featuring an award-winning performance by actor Joe Seo; Stephen Dunn’s quirky coming out film “Closet Monster” starring Connor Jessup (“American Crime”); Piotr J. Lewandowski’s emotionally powerful family drama “Jonathan,” legendary director André Téchiné’s beautiful new drama “Being 17,” Nick Corporon’s sexy road drama/mystery “Retake,’ starring Tuc Watkins of “Desperate Housewives;” Ray Yeung’s romantic comedy “Front Cover;” Marco Berger and Martin Farina’s sexy Argentine drama “Taekwondo;” and Clay Liford’s  adorable “Slash.” 

Out On Film’s embrace of documentaries continues with the likes of Conor Horgan’s “The Queen of Ireland,” about noted Irish drag performer Panti Bliss; Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares’ remarkable “Political Animals,” which tells the story of the civil rights struggle of this century – the gay rights movement – through the eyes of four elected women in California, a group often left out of gay histories until now; Eddie Rosenstein’s empowering “The Freedom to Marry,” two films by noted documentarian Andrea Meyerson – “Clambake,” about the beginning of the Provincetown Women’s Weekend and “Letter to Anita,” the heart-wrenching story of Anita Bryant's anti-gay campaign, its shattering effect on one Florida family, and the redemptive power of forgiveness; Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer’s “Check It,” about an African-American gang struggling to survive in some of the most violent neighborhoods of Washington DC who claw themselves out of gang life through an unlikely avenue:  fashion; Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ acclaimed “The Trans List,” Shaleece Haas’s “Real Boy,” the coming-of-age story of Bennett Wallace, a transgender teenager on a journey to find his voice-as a musician, a friend, a son, and a man; Morgan White’s “The Slippers,” a documentary about the unbelievable world of the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz;” Deborah Esquenazi’s “Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four,” which follows the struggle for exoneration of four Latina lesbians who were wrongfully convicted of gang rape against two young girls in 1994; and Scott Sheppard’s “An Act of Love,” which follows Rev. Frank Schaefer, who was put on trial in the United Methodist Church for officiating his son's same-sex wedding.


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