(*homocinematically inclined)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Reverend's Preview: Qfilms is Heating Up


Things promise to get hot during the 22nd annual Long Beach QFilm Festival. The city’s longest-running cinematic event will once again take place the second weekend of September, which has proven historically to be one of the warmest weekends of the year locally. What better way, then, to spend September 10th-13th but in the air-conditioned Art Theatre, located at 2025 East 4th St. and the neighboring LGBTQ Center of Long Beach? Passes and individual film tickets are now available through the festival’s official website.

Known locally and affectionately as simply “Qfilms,” the festival has been presenting narrative features, documentaries and short films that embody the rich diversity and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities since 1993. More than 1,500 people attend each year to savor a mix of West Coast, Southern California and local premieres as well as some of the most acclaimed features currently on the film festival circuit. Over 200 submissions were received this year from both student and professional filmmakers around the world.

To accommodate the festival’s growth, an additional night has been added this year with the official opening on Thursday, September 10th as well as some weekend morning screenings. Also, all films will be shown in the 350-seat Art Theatre after a smaller, secondary space with unreliable a/c had been used the last few years for some screenings.

Many filmmakers and cast members of the films to be shown will be present for audience discussions after each screening. Among these luminaries will be out bestselling author Christopher Rice (son of Anne), who serves as narrator of the powerful West Coast premiere documentary Upstairs Inferno. Numerous post-screening parties at The Center will also provide opportunities for attendees to meet and mingle with filmmakers, actors, critics and other industry professionals.

The 2015 QFilm Festival will open with the Long Beach premiere of Tab Hunter Confidential, award-winning director Jeffrey Schwarz’s popular documentary about the heartthrob 1950’s movie star who later came out as a gay man. It will be followed by the Southern California premiere of Kittens in a Cage, a hilarious send-up of women in prison films starring Rebecca Mozo and local stage fave Gigi Bermingham as the power-hungry matron. An Opening Night party will take place between screenings at the LGBTQ Center of Greater Long Beach, located directly next door to the Art Theatre, with the opening night after-party taking place at Hamburger Mary’s on downtown Long Beach’s Pine Avenue.

Two acclaimed features will have their Long Beach premieres the night of Friday, September 11th. Liz in September stars Patricia Velasquez (The Mummy and The Mummy Returns) as a woman on a Caribbean vacation with friends who refuses to let her health issues hold her back from love. Those People, an elegant, appropriately New York-set story about a young man struggling with an all-consuming love for his troubled best friend, will serve as Friday night’s selection for men. It recently won the Audience Award for Best First US Dramatic Feature at Outfest. A party will take place between screenings at the Center and an after-party will again be held at Hamburger Mary’s.

Major West Coast premieres selected to screen on Saturday and Sunday are: Clambake, Andrea Meyerson’s entertaining new documentary about the women who congregate each summer in Provincetown; Robert L. Camina’s chilling Upstairs Inferno, which details a little-known New Orleans crime that endures as the largest gay mass murder in US history; and Velociraptor, which has nothing to do with dinosaurs but everything to do with two young Mexican men sorting out their feelings for each other as the world threatens to come to an end.

Other narrative and documentary features having their Long Beach premieres between Saturday and Sunday are: How to Win at Checkers (Every Time), a moving exploration of the relationship between two brothers in Thailand that won the award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2015 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival; While You Weren’t Looking, a lesbian love story set against South Africa’s complex political and racial backdrop; the uniquely-crafted Drown, about sexual tensions among a group of Australian lifeguards; S&M Sally, a wacky, revealing romp through the world of BDSM for both women and men; Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story, which pulls back the curtain on the life of the founder of Falcon Studios, known as “the MGM of gay porn”; and the uproarious comedy BFFs, in which two longtime female friends on a weekend retreat begin to wonder if there isn’t more to their relationship.

In addition, QFilms signature Men in Briefs and Women in Shorts film programs will return on September 13th along with a new all-inclusive, mixed-genre program titled All Sorts of Shorts on September 12th. The festival will come to a close the evening of Sunday, September 13th.

Jury awards will be given to worthy films in several categories. All net proceeds from the festival benefit The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach and its important community outreach programs. The complete 2015 Qfilms schedule is below. Please note that Q&A talent availability is subject to change.

7:00pm- TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL (Long Beach premiere) followed by Q&A with director Jeffrey Schwarz and producer Neil Koenigsberg.
8:00pm-10:00pm- Opening Night Party at the Center.
9:15pm- KITTENS IN A CAGE (Southern California premiere) followed by Q&A.
10:00pm-1:00am- After Party at Hamburger Mary’s on Pine Ave.

7:00pm- LIZ IN SEPTEMBER (Long Beach premiere) followed by Q&A with cast member Eloisa Maturen.
8:00pm-10:00pm- Friday Night Party at the Center.
9:15pm- THOSE PEOPLE (Long Beach premiere) preceded by short film Britney-Holics Anonymous and followed by Q&A.
10:00pm-1:00am- After Party at Hamburger Mary’s on Pine Ave.

11:00am- ALL SORTS OF SHORTS program featuring Clown Service, God I Hope I Get It, Deux, Tomgirl, House, Not Home, More of Last Night and Gonna Sip That Sip, Hit That Dip. Followed by Q&A with filmmakers and cast members.
1:15pm- WHILE YOU WEREN’T LOOKING (Long Beach premiere) preceded by short film Girls You Know.
3:00pm- UPSTAIRS INFERNO (West Coast premiere) followed by Q&A with director Robert L. Camina, narrator & bestselling author Christopher Rice, and participants from New Orleans.
5:15pm- CLAMBAKE (West Coast premiere) followed by Q&A with director Andrea Meyerson and cast member Vickie Shaw.
7:30pm- DROWN (Long Beach premiere) followed by Q&A with cast member Harry Cook.
8:00pm-10:00pm- Saturday Night Party at the Center.
9:15pm- S&M SALLY (Long Beach premiere) followed by Q&A with cast members.
10:00pm-1:00am- After Party at Hamburger Mary’s on Pine Ave.

10:30am- HOW TO WIN AT CHECKERS (EVERY TIME), Long Beach premiere preceded by short film New Year.
11:30am-1:30pm- Brunch at the Center (Free with festival pass or ticket to HOW TO WIN AT CHECKERS or MEN IN BRIEFS).
12:30pm- MEN IN BRIEFS program featuring Pipe Dream, Morning Announcements, Seven Drinks, Relacion Albierta, Bombs, You. Me. Bathroom. Sex. Now; Mi Amigo Jaime and Lady of the Night. Followed by Q&A with filmmakers and cast members.
2:45pm- SEED MONEY: THE CHUCK HOLMES STORY (Long Beach premiere) preceded by short film Midnight and followed by Q&A with director Michael Stabile and others.
5:00pm- WOMEN IN SHORTS program featuring Truth Be Told: Stacy, The First Session, Ma/ddy, The L Market, Plunge, Carina, Blood & Water, Trucker Kitty, Falling and First Clue. Followed by Q&A with filmmakers and cast members.
7:00pm- BFFs (Long Beach premiere) followed by Q&A with screenwriter & actress Tara Carsian.
7:30pm-9:00pm- Closing Night Party at the Center.
9:15pm- VELOCIRAPTOR (West Coast premiere)
9:00pm-12:00am- After Party at Hamburger Mary’s on Pine Ave.

UPDATE: See the comments section below for the list of winners of the QFilm Jury Awards and Audience Awards.

Preview by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Rage Monthly Magazine.


  1. Love, love, love how you keep us up to date on LGBT movies.



    How to Win at Checkers (Every Time)

    Upstairs Inferno

    Morning Announcements

    Kate Lefoe, Plunge

    Catherine Stewart, While You Weren't Looking

    Jeffrey Schwarz, Tab Hunter Confidential

    Lady of the Night (there are 3 writers credited, don't know if space on the certificate will allow for them all)

    Michelle Ehlen, S&M Sally

    Best Documentary Short: First Clue
    Emerging Talent: Joey Kuhn, writer-director of Those People