(*homocinematically inclined)

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Reverend's Preview: Long Beach Celebrates Cinematic Diversity Too


Palm Springs’ Cinema Diverse may have a bigger reputation and budget but each September also brings the Long Beach Q Film Festival. Now in its 23rd year, Qfilms (as it is more briefly known locally) remains the longest-running film festival in the ocean-side “international city.”

The 2016 edition will run September 8th-11th at the historic Art Theatre, 2025 E. 4th Street, and the neighboring LGBTQ Center of Long Beach. Qfilms isn’t just Long Beach’s longest-running LGBTQ fest, it is the longest-running film fest period. What’s more, all net income from pass, ticket and drink sales as well as in-kind sponsorships during the weekend go directly to the non-profit Center’s important community services.

More than 1,500 people attend each year to view a mix of West Coast, Southern California, Los Angeles and Long Beach premieres. Several of the feature-length and short films being shown this year are among the most acclaimed currently on the film festival circuit, LGBTQ or mainstream. Jury and audience awards will be given in several categories. All-access passes and individual tickets are now available for purchase through the festival’s website.

Qfilms 2016 will open the evening of Thursday, September 8th with the Long Beach premiere of Jewel’s Catch One, the celebratory documentary about the queer black woman who established Los Angeles’s landmark nightclub “for gays, lesbians, bis, tris and otherwise.” It will be followed by the Los Angeles-area premiere of Rob Williams’s Shared Rooms, a sexy and moving story focused on several different gay men whose paths inadvertently cross between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. 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.

Two acclaimed, “killer” features will have their local premieres the night of Friday, September 9th. Women Who Kill is a dark comedy of manners involving two ex-girlfriends who have become true-crime podcasters. Writer-director-star Ingrid Jungermann’s screenplay has won awards at both the Tribeca and Outfest film festivals. It will be followed by Casper Andreas’s Kiss Me, Kill Me, in which a man is accused of murdering his unfaithful boyfriend. This twist-filled mystery’s cast includes Gale Harold of Queer as Folk fame. It recently won multiple awards including Best Narrative Feature at FilmOut San Diego. A party to die for will take place between screenings at the Center.

Other narrative and documentary features that will have their Long Beach premieres between Saturday and Sunday are: Kiki, a worthy successor to Paris is Burning and Leave It on the Floor about the young, multicultural participants in New York City’s famed drag balls; Retake, in which a man played by Tuc Watkins (Desperate Housewives, Where the Bears Are) hires a hustler to accompany him on a life-changing road trip; The Revival: Women & The Word, a fly-on-the-wall documentary focusing on four queer, black women devoted to poetry and the spoken word; Free CeCe, another powerful documentary (featuring Laverne Cox of Orange is the New Black) that confronts the culture of violence surrounding trans women of color; Bruising for Besos, in which a lesbian artist finds her life upended when she falls for a Puerto Rican woman; Raising Zoey, the inspiring real-life story of a transgender teenager who won an anti-discrimination legal case against her school district; and Angry Indian Goddesses, a delightful, award-winning Bollywood comedy-drama set against the backdrop of a woman’s impending wedding.

The Closing Night films on Sunday, September 11th will be First Girl I Loved, a Sundance Film Festival award winner about the love triangle between two high school girls and a jealous male best friend, and Paris 05:59: Theo & Hugo, the initially racy but ultimately romantic tale (and winner of the prestigious “Teddy” Audience Award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival) of two men who meet in an underground sex club.

Even if you are planning to attend Cinema Diverse this year, be sure to make a pit stop in Long Beach first for the very best in current LGBTQ movies. The complete 2016 QFilm Festival selections and schedule follows. Please note all talent availability is subject to change.

7:00pm- JEWEL’S CATCH ONE (Long Beach premiere) followed by Q&A with subject Jewel Thais Williams and director C Fitz.
8:00pm-10:00pm- Opening Night Party at The Center.
9:15pm- SHARED ROOMS (Los Angeles area premiere) preceded by short film “The Radical Fairy Prince” and followed by Q&A with writer-director Rob Williams and cast members.
10:00pm-1:00am- After Party at Hamburger Mary’s on Pine Ave.

7:00pm- WOMEN WHO KILL (Long Beach premiere).
8:00pm-10:00pm- Friday Night Party at The Center.
9:15pm- KISS ME, KILL ME (Los Angeles area premiere) followed by Q&A.
10:00pm-1:00am- After Party at Hamburger Mary’s on Pine Ave.

10:30am- QUEER & TRANS PEOPLE OF COLOR SHORTS program featuring “Afuera,” “Xavier,” “Gaysians,” “Transcend,” “Whittier Boulevard,” “Vessels” and “NUOC.” Followed by Q&A with filmmakers and cast members.
12:00-4:00pm- Film Industry Professionals Open House (also open to All Access Pass Holders) at Filmmakers’ Gallery in Long Beach.
12:45pm- WOMEN IN SHORTS short film program featuring ”Wedlocked,” “Persistence of Memory,” “Partners,” “Prudence,” “Angelino Heights,” “Vamonos” and “Never a Cover.” Followed by Q&A with filmmakers and cast members.
2:45pm- THE REVIVAL: WOMEN & THE WORD (Long Beach premiere) followed by an exclusive reception for members of Black Lesbians United at The Filmmakers’ Gallery.
5:00pm- RETAKE (Long Beach premiere) followed by Q&A with writer-director Nick Corporon and cast members Tuc Watkins and Devon Graye.
7:15pm- BRUISING FOR BESOS (Long Beach premiere and fully closed captioned) followed by Q&A with ASL interpretation.
8:00pm-10:00pm- Saturday Night Party at The Center.
9:30pm- KIKI (Long Beach premiere).
10:00pm-1:00am- After Party at Hamburger Mary’s on Pine Ave.
12:00am- THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW at the Art Theatre (requires separate ticket purchase).

10:30am- RAISING ZOEY (Long Beach premiere) preceded by short film “Dawn” and followed by Q&A with director Dante Alencastre and subjects Zoey Luna, Ofelia Barba and Leticia Barba.
11:30am-1:30pm- Brunch at The Center (Free with festival pass or ticket to RAISING ZOEY or MEN IN BRIEFS).
12:30pm- MEN IN BRIEFS short film program featuring “Tremulo,” “Burning Soul: The Raising of the Flag,” “Bed Buddies,” “Seeking: Jack Tripper,” “Me + You” and “Boys on the Rooftop.” Followed by Q&A with filmmakers and cast members.
12:30-3:30pm: QFilms Open House at the Filmmakers’ Gallery, 2238 E. Broadway.
2:45pm- ANGRY INDIAN GODDESSES (Los Angeles area premiere).
5:15pm- FREE CECE (Long Beach premiere) followed by Q&A with director Jacqueline Gares.
7:15pm- FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Long Beach premiere) followed by Q&A with writer-director Kerem Sanga and producer Ross Putman.
7:30pm-9:00pm- Closing Night Party at the Center.
9:30pm- PARIS 05:59: THEO & HUGO (Long Beach premiere).
10:00pm-12:00am- After Party at Hamburger Mary’s on Pine Ave.

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

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