(*homocinematically inclined)

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Reverend's Preview: Everyone’s a Friend at QFilms 2018


A friendship that lasts 25 years or more is a treasure, and so is a 25-year old LGBTQ film festival. Long Beach’s QFilm Festival has been drawing friends new and old to its tantalizing annual line up of great LGBTQ movies since 1993. The 25th anniversary, 2018 event will take place September 6th-9th at the historic Art Theatre located at 2025 East 4th St. and the neighboring LGBTQ Center of Long Beach, both on Long Beach’s renowned “Retro Row.”

Qfilms remains Long Beach’s longest-running film festival. It annually presents narrative features, documentaries and short films that embody the rich diversity and experiences of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities. More than 1,500 people attend each year to savor a mix of West Coast, Southern California and local premieres as well some of the most acclaimed features on the film festival circuit. Numerous filmmakers and cast members of the films to be shown will be present for audience discussions after many screenings. Festival events include nightly parties, Sunday brunch, and opportunities for attendees to meet and mingle with filmmakers, actors, critics, and other industry professionals.

The 2018 QFilm Festival will open at the Art Theatre the evening of Thursday, September 6th with the Long Beach premiere of The Advocate Celebrates 50 Years: A Long Road to Freedom. This acclaimed documentary about the pioneering LGBT publication is narrated by Laverne Cox and features music by Melissa Etheridge. It will be preceded and followed by an Opening Night party for all pass- and ticket-holders at the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach, located directly next door to the Art Theatre.

Two engaging, biographical feature films will have their local premieres the night of Friday, September 7th. Wild Nights with Emily is an irreverent exploration of the famous poet Emily Dickinson, brought to vivid lesbian life by the hilarious Molly Shannon. It will be followed by Mapplethorpe, the eye-opening and sexy life story of controversial gay photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (well-played by British actor Matt Smith of Dr. Who and The Crown fame). A festive party for all attendees will take place between screenings at The Center.

Friendship is the potent subject of two memorable men’s features that will be making their Southern California premieres during Qfilms 2018. Mi Mejor Amigo (My Best Friend) is an award-winning coming of age tale from Argentina. Lorenzo is a quiet teenager who lives with his parents and younger brother. One day, a family friend’s son named Caito moves into Lorenzo’s home. Lorenzo soon finds himself with an unexpected secret to keep, added responsibility, and an intimate friend who will expose him to new life experiences.

Just Friends(Gewoon Vrienden) (Southern California premiere) is a delightfully off-kilter love story between two young men from very different backgrounds. Unfortunately, the idiosyncrasies of their parents threaten to keep them apart. When we first meet handsome medical student Yad, he has quit his hard-partying life in Amsterdam and moved home to a smaller Dutch city to live with his Middle Eastern mother and father. To their dismay, he settles for a temporary job in domestic care, working for a bubbly elderly woman named Ans. Like a mischievous Cupid, Ans slyly introduces Yad to her dashing and sexy grandson Joris. Their connection is immediate but Joris is dealing with his own set of family problems, including an overbearing mother who is addicted to plastic surgery and who has never fully dealt with the messy end of her marriage to Joris’ late father. Don’t miss Just Friends and Mi Mejor Amigo, and bring your friends/amigos!

Several other strong narrative and documentary features will screen on Saturday, September 8th and Sunday, September 9th. These include Kiss Me! (West Coast premiere), a French comedy in which a lesbian serial romantic crushes on her new obsession; Man Made (Long Beach premiere), a fascinating, award-winning documentary focusing on transgender bodybuilders; Transmilitary (Long Beach premiere), another award-winning documentary about trans service members who challenged the Pentagon; The Heiresses (Southern California premiere), the subtle but intense story of two Paraguayan women from wealthy families who risk all to be together; Shakedown (Long Beach premiere), a skillfully-crafted glimpse into the history of Los Angeles’ African-American lesbian club scene; and Every Act of Life (Long Beach premiere), an inspiring look at the life of out Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally.

In addition, QFilms 2018 will boast several extraordinary short film programs between Saturday and Sunday including "Men in Briefs", "Women in Shorts", and "Queer & Trans Shorts". The shorts lineup will include the Finding Home series featuring three stories of LGBTQ asylum seekers seeking refuge throughout Los Angeles. Jury and Audience awards will be given to worthy feature and short films in a number of categories.

All net proceeds from Qfilms and related events benefit The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach and its numerous, important community outreach programs. For more information, visit the QFilms website.

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

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