The GayCharlotte Film Festival, first established in 2009, has become an annual event in the Queen City and since 2014 has been a program of Charlotte Pride. Our mission is to entertain, enlighten, and build valuable bridges of understanding, support, and acceptance within and between the LGBTQ and ally communities in the Charlotte region. Today, the GayCharlotte Film Festival is one of Charlotte’s premiere arts and cultural events, which has brought thousands of attendees together to celebrate the artistic, cultural, and historical contributions of LGBTQ and ally individuals, all through the power of film. Each year, we work to strengthen our program by expanding the diversity and subject matter of the films we show. In addition, to enhance the overall experience for film goers, we have introduced new features to engage our community, including our new audience awards and free admission events to educational film screenings and panel discussions.
Pablo, a shy teenager, meets Marco, who is a few years older than him. Together they go on a impromptu road trip to the Mexican desert, a trip that will make them face what they mean to each other. This experience will turn Pablo’s life around: his points of view, his strength and his own sexuality. Two guys and a video camera that will record their friendship, struggles and the possibility to find another destiny.
FEATURING THIS SHORT FILM SCREENING:
The Other Side / Al Otro Lado
Twenty-five years after Paris Is Burning introduced the art of voguing to the world, Kiki revisits New York City’s thriving underground ballroom scene. It’s a larger-than-life world in which LGBTQ youths of color are empowered by staging elaborate dance competitions that showcase their dynamic choreography, fabulous costumes, and fierce attitude. It’s also a safe haven for struggling, at-risk teens who find acceptance, support, and friendship within the Kiki community.
THICKER THAN BLOOD
Thicker Than Blood tells the story of Jordan, the youngest of two sons, who returns home for the first time in three years to celebrate his older brother’s promotion to partner in his law firm. During what’s supposed to be a joyous afternoon of family, friends, and food, secrets are revealed, masks are uncovered, and some things are said that can’t be taken back. A once tight-knit family is left broken and faced with the task of trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces and put them back together before losing each other forever.
JEWEL’S CATCH ONE
Jewel’s Catch One’s documents the oldest Black owned disco in America and establishes the legacy of businesswoman, activist, and healer, Jewel Thais-Williams, who stood up against hate and discrimination for 42 years. The story of Jewel and “The Catch” celebrates four decades of music, fashion, celebrity, and activism that helped change the course of our country by breaking down racial, social, and cultural barriers. One of the original safe spaces for both the LGBT and Black communities, The Catch also served as a refuge for many during the AIDS crisis. As her club grew to become known as the “unofficial Studio 54 of the West Coast,” Jewel became a national model for how to discrimination and serve the less fortunate. The film is a lush visual and musical journey highlighted by exclusive interviews with Sharon Stone, Thelma Houston, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Madonna, Sandra Bernhard, Thea Austin, Jenifer Lewis, Representative Maxine Waters and Bonnie Pointer. CCH Pounder narrates this historically important film rich with music from the last forty years.
PUSHING DEADPushing Dead is a warm and magnetic comedy drama from Director Tom E. Brown. The film follows a struggling poet and writer named Dan Schauble (played by James Roday), who has been HIV positive for 22 years. He splits his San Francisco flat with his dear friend Paula (Robin Weigert), who is more like a sister than a friend to Dan.
FEATURING THIS SHORT FILM SCREENING: The Mess He Made
A MILLION HAPPY NOWS
Veteran actress Lainey AlleN is tired of being sidelined for younger talent on the soap she has starred in for twenty years. Coupled with finding it harder to retain her lines, she decides not to renew her contract, and she and her publicist and partner, Eva Morales (Leccia), move to a beach house overlooking the ocean on the Central California coast. The move highlights some small changes in Lainey’s personality – mild depression that Eva puts down to leaving the show. But when Lainey starts to forget more than can be attributed to stress, Eva insists on a visit to the doctor. A Million Happy Nows chronicles Lainey and Eva’s changing relationship as they struggle to deal with the diagnosis of Lainey’s Early Onset Alzheimer’s, the prospect of an indomitable woman’s future of dependence and her single support system – the woman who was once in awe of her, became everything to her, and will now look after her.
On her way to the store with a group of friends, Chrishaun Reed “CeCe” McDonald was attacked. In fighting for her own 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 and executive producer Laverne Cox. Laverne uses her platform to explore the roles race, class, and gender played in CeCe’s case. CeCe emerges not only as a survivor, but as a leader. Documentarian Jac Gares pushes past everyday narratives of victimhood that surround the lives of trans people, to foreground the way CeCe and other trans people are leading a growing movement to critically interrogate and disassemble the prison industrial complex.
THE LAVENDER SCARE
The Lavender Scare is the first documentary film to tell the little-known story of an unrelenting campaign by the federal government to identify and fire all employees suspected of being homosexual. In 1953, President Eisenhower declared gay men and lesbians to be a threat to the security of the country and therefore unfit for government service. In doing so, he triggered the longest witch hunt in American history. Over the next four decades, tens of thousands of government workers would lose their jobs for no reason other than their sexual orientation. The actions of the government had an unintended effect. They inadvertently helped ignite the gay rights movement. In 1957, after thousands had lost their jobs, a Harvard-trained astronomer named Frank Kameny became the first person to fight his dismissal. His attempts to regain his job evolved into a lifelong fight for the rights of LGBT people. The Lavender Scare is a compelling story of one man’s fight for justice. And it is a chilling reminder of how easy it can be, during a time of fear and uncertainty, to trample the rights of an entire class of people in the name of patriotism and national security.
WOMEN WHO KILL
Commitment phobic Morgan and her ex-girlfriend Jean, hosts of a female serial killer-centric podcast, still show all the signs of being a couple. But everything changes when Morgan falls hard and fast for the mysterious Simone, who may or may not be a killer. WOMEN WHO KILL is the first feature from writer/director/actor Ingrid Jungermann. Ingrid’s previous work includes two critically acclaimed web series — The Slope and the WGA Award-nominated F to 7th.
SOMETHING LIKE SUMMER
Benjamin Bentley is the only guy at his Texas high school with the courage to come out of the closet, dooming himself, he believes, to a life of loneliness. Putting up with the bullies and his classmates’ whispered condemnations keeps him from pursuing his dream of being a singer, despite the encouragement of his best friend, Allison. Instead, Ben spends his summer vacation stalking the handsome athlete who just moved to town, Tim Wyman. SOMETHING LIKE SUMMER, based on the novel by author Jay Bell, follows the course of true love over the span of a dozen years, from awkward adolescence through challenging adulthood, featuring seven classic and original musical numbers and the artwork of a talented young artist.
LGBTQ Shorts Competition
He Could’ve Gone Pro
The 3rd Try
Get the Life