The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival
Reeling: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival is the second longest-running film festival of its kind in the U.S. and prides itself on showcasing the best lesbian and gay films and videos from around the world. From international feature films to social issue documentaries to experimental shorts, Reeling has always presented a range of genres that demonstrates the rich diversity of work being produced. The festival is not only one of the most important cultural events for Chicago audiences, it also attracts many people from throughout the Midwest who consider the festival to be the highlight of their cinematic year.
YEN TAN / features / USA / 2018 / 81 mins
In this bittersweet, deeply human drama from award-winning writer-director Yen Tan (PIT STOP; CIAO), Manhattan transplant Adrian (Cory Michael Smith, GOTHAM; CAROL) returns to his Texas hometown for Christmas during the first wave of the AIDS crisis, hiding both his HIV status and his sexuality from his religious conservative mother (Virginia Madsen, SIDEWAYS) and father (Michael Chiklis, THE SHIELD). Adrian reconnects with his younger brother, who may be questioning his own budding sexuality, and his estranged childhood pal and onetime girlfriend (Jamie Chung), while struggling with whether to reveal his true nature and health challenges.
Brock Yurich / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 10 mins
Based on the events of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy in June 2016, four strangers reeling from a large scale attack must come together and help one another heal through love, acceptance, and understanding.
Omar Al Dakheel / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 15 mins
The bond between a disabled Muslim father and his son is tested when love is pitted against religion.
SCUD / features / Hong Kong / 2017 / 97 mins
North American Premiere! Renowned for his erotically outrageous films (VOYAGE; UTOPIANS; AMPHETAMINE), Scud pushes the envelope even further with ADONIS, his seventh feature. It’s the story of Yang Ke (Adonis He Fei), an actor with the Beijing Opera, whose dreams of stardom are fading now that he’s pushing 30. When he loses his job and is down on his luck, he finds himself answering ads for “nude outdoor model” gigs and soon ends up participating in what will become his ticket to infamy: a gay porn film that becomes a sensation in the underground. As Ke descends further and further into a world of hedonism as a hotly desired sex worker, he finds himself increasingly emotionally detached. When Ke accepts the invitation of a mysterious, masked client (played by gay porn star Eric East) on his 30th birthday, even he might have found his limits. Filled with the mind blowing visuals and ultra-sexy cast director Scud is renowned for, ADONIS may well be his most provocative film. Contains graphic visual content; viewer discretion advised.
SHAZ BENNETT / features / USA / 2017 / 88 mins
Tough, but diva fabulous, Leo (Martin L. Washington, Jr.) is stuck working in a fish cannery in Alaska dreaming of drag superstardom. To escape the monotony of fish guts, Leo and his twin sister hang out at the town’s only gay bar owned by their surly surrogate mom (a hilarious Margaret Cho). Out of necessity, Leo’s learned to defend himself and his fighting skills catch the eye of his cannery boss (Jason Scott Lee), who offers to train him. When Declan (Matt Dallas), the buff new guy in town and the object of Leo’s erotic yearnings, offers to be his sparring partner, Leo has a choice to make – drag, boxing or both? This offbeat dramedy from writer-director Shaz Bennett is the essence of a fish out of water story – literally.
JASON T. GAFFNEY / features / USA / 2018 / 91 mins
WORLD PREMIERE! Tyler (co-writer/director Gaffney) seems like the perfect catch. He’s smart, funny and adorably hunky, but he suffers from an unusual anxiety disorder – analysis paralysis, which makes him incapable of taking action without imagining the multiple ways that each possible choice could go wrong. At the behest of his therapist, Tyler fights the disorder by asking out his dreamy neighbor Shane (Kevin Held). Despite the odds (visualized with a multitude of hilarious fantasies), the romance flourishes until Tyler’s affliction comes up against a stumbling block that might finally be too much for the couple: Shane’s rigidly stern parents. You won’t have to fight your resistance to this delightful romantic comedy.
CARLOS MARQUES-MARCET / features / Spain / 2017 / 112 mins
Eva (Oona Chaplin, GAME OF THRONES; BLACK MIRROR) and Kat (Natalia Tena, HARRY POTTER’S Nymphadora Tonks) live a carefree lifestyle aboard their London canal boat until Eva presents Kat with an ultimatum: she wants a child. Kat resists, knowing that it will end their bohemian existence, but when her best friend Roger (David Verdaguer) visits from Barcelona and offers to be the sperm donor, the three independent spirits decide to go for a more traditional life. As Eva revels in her pregnancy and Roger fantasizes about his role in this new family, Kat feels like a third wheel, and suddenly what was meant to enrich their lives threatens to pull them apart. This amicable, eccentric romantic drama features a wonderful supporting performance from acting legend Geraldine Chaplin (Oona’s real life mother) as Eva’s no-nonsense mom.
Nicole Allan / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 12 mins
When Syd fears her twin sister will abandon her for a new girlfriend, she uses her scientific invention, a portal to another universe, to finally take control of her life. But will she go too far for her sister?
Kyle Reaume / Shorts / Canada / 2018 / 14 mins
Toronto's most cerebral drag queen and "tragicomedienne" Pearle Harbour aka Justin Miller prepares to take the stage for his new show "Battle Cry: Songs Of Warfare & Gaiety" at Buddies In Bad Times – the oldest-running queer theater in the world.
Nina Oppliger, Nadia Lanfranchi & Corinne Pfister / Shorts / Switzerland / 2017 / 34 mins
Eleven years ago, a mob tried to kill Okey and his partner in their hometown in Nigeria, where homosexuality is a crime. They narrowly escape death and flee to Switzerland as asylum seekers – only to be caught between the constant fear of deportation and the hope for a safe life.
Tom Gelo / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 12 mins
The first episode in a new web series that discusses everything from gay stereotypes, being a gay actor, PreP, poppers and Grindr to the importance of having a platonic soulmate to help get you through the day.
Jannik Splidsboel / Shorts / Denmark / 2018 / 22 mins
Tony, an Italian man on holiday, meets Oscar in a Copenhagen bar. What seems like a one-night stand becomes more complicated and the two men form a fragile friendship based on mutual loneliness.
Brian Emerick / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 9 mins
Bob the Drag Queen, RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE Season 8 Winner, discusses condom use, sexual health disparities for gay Latino and African-American men, slut shaming, and more!
Barb Taylor / Shorts / Canada / 2018 / 12 mins
Bobbi meets a mythological creature whose ancient battle for acceptance helps Bobbi overcome her own fear of being a lesbian. This animated short was created in a traditional method with thousands of hand painted cells and pencil crayon backgrounds. Featuring Canadian actor Nisha Ahuja and Irish actor Mel Bradley.
Emmett Jack Lundberg & Sheyam Ghieth / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 12 mins
BROTHERS is a new web series that offers an intimate look at the everyday lives of a group of four trans masc friends living in Brooklyn, NY.
ARTHUR J. BRESSAN, JR. / features / USA / 1985 / 81 mins
When timid 25-year-old New Yorker David (David Schachter) volunteers to be a “buddy” to an AIDS patient, the community center assigns him to Robert (Geoff Edholm), a 32-year-old gay activist from California who has been abandoned by his friends and lovers. With each subsequent visit to his hospital room, the growing bond between the two men unfolds as Robert recalls his life as a handsome, confident and pioneering gay activist to David, who records his thoughts about their visits in a journal. This early queer cinema classic, the first dramatic feature film about AIDS, has long been unavailable and will be shown in a new digital restoration. Reeling’s connection to Buddies couldn’t be more personal: it played on opening night of the festival in 1985 to a sold-out crowd at the Music Box with director Bressan in attendance.
Courtney Hermann / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 15 mins
Fifteen years after Burton began his gender-affirming transition, his longtime friend Courtney calls him up with news that she has uncovered a cache of home video footage from that time period.
PJ RAVAL / features / Phillipines, USA / 2018 / 98 mins
When Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina and alleged sex worker, is found dead in a motel room, the perpetrator is quickly identified as 19-year-old U.S. Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton. Pemberton solicited Jennifer at a disco while on liberty leave, brutally murdering her when he discovered she was transgender. Amidst a media storm and police inquiry, three women intimately invested in the case pursue justice – an activist attorney, a transgender investigative journalist, and Jennifer’s mother – taking on hardened histories of U.S. imperial rule that have allowed previous American perpetrators in the Philippines to evade consequences. Part human interest story, part investigative exposé, the Hollywood Reporter calls CALL ME GANDA “As suspenseful as it is moving.”
CHRISTIAAN OLWAGEN / features / South Africa / 2018 / 122 mins
Seventeen-year-old Johan is a small-town boy whose love for Boy George and Depeche Mode makes him an easy target for bullying from the neighborhood kids. When he gets drafted during apartheid by the South African Army, Johan is accepted into the Kanaries, the military’s traveling choir. Johan’s innate musical gifts are embraced by his fellow misfits, but as the tour continues, his eyes are opened to the oppression and injustice around him. At the same time, his long-repressed sexual identity, heightened by an illicit affair with one of his fellow songbirds, threatens to push him into the danger zone. Set in the mid-80s, this dramedy with vibrant musical numbers artfully explores issues of sexuality, patriotism, and the power of individuality – all set to a throbbing new wave beat.
ALEX LEVY-HELLER / features / Brazil / 2017 / 112 mins
Deep in the vast tropical savannah of Brazil’s Cerrado region, Christabel, the only daughter of a rural farmer, finds a woman late one night in the forest who says she's been attacked by men. Christabel offers her shelter in the home she shares with her father. Enthralled by the mysterious Geraldine’s independent spirit, the tenderhearted Christabel soon finds herself falling under the older woman’s sultry spell. Geraldine claims to be the daughter of one of Christabel’s father’s sworn enemies and urges him to journey to meet her father and reconcile. Once alone, the seductive tension between the two women builds to a passionate encounter that Christabel has secretly desired, but Geraldine’s motives may be less than pure. This moody, erotic film, a sensual melding of gothic romance and the supernatural, was inspired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s legendary poem.
Andrew Wyatt Arnold / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 16 mins
Budding starlet Cocoa Fondue prepares to shoot the pilot of her very own variety show! Featuring Bob the Drag Queen, Ginger Minj, Jackie Beat, Manila Luzon, Vivian Rubio, and Anita Procedure.
DAVID WEISSMAN / features / USA / 2017 / 69 mins
With astonishing detail, honest insight, and unadorned poignancy, Kerby Lauderdale, a man in his late 70s, recounts the major events that shaped his life and identity as a gay man, in this intimate filmed conversation with David Weissman, the acclaimed director of the award-winning documentaries WE WERE HERE and THE COCKETTES. Weissman leads Lauderdale through a fascinating tour of this “regular guy’s” life – from his vivid recollections of his sexual awakening, through a first college romance, to a lengthy marriage to a woman, and an eventual coming out that led him to a 14-year partnership with a man during the height of the AIDS epidemic, Lauderdale is expressive, sincere and deeply touching as he recalls his journey to wholeness. The film is an installment of Weissman’s ongoing intergenerational oral history documentary series.
LISA MILLER / features / Germany / 2017 / 102 mins
After years of indulging in the cosmopolitan high life of Berlin, Toni finds herself broke and in a 20-something crisis. She decides to return to Bubenhausen, the small town she once called home. Saddled with a sullen father and a conservative, prejudiced mother, not to mention a dead-end gig as an intern for a local newspaper, life is anything but a cabaret for Toni. “Hip” is not the word for Bubenhausen, but things look up when the pink-haired Toni is assigned to cover the local Carnival celebration and she reconnects with her childhood friend, the fun-loving, lip-pierced, trombone player, Rosa. These two kindred spirits do their best to shake up humdrum Bubenhausen – but Rosa’s crush on the proudly gender-fluid Toni may or may not be reciprocated – and it might finally be time for her to grow up. Miller’s liberating, raucous comedy was an official entry of the Berlin International Film Festival.
AMARA CASH / features / USA / 2018 / 86 mins
Maya Mitchell (Madison Lawlor) is a talented queer artist on the verge of a first love that is more complicated than anything she could ever imagine. She spends her days escaping into her drawings and social media, where she cyberstalks the alluring Jasmine Jones (Montana Manning), an aspiring designer who is in an emotionally charged, co-dependent relationship with Simon Craw (Andrew Pifko), a neurotic sugar daddy. When Maya and Jasmine’s paths finally cross, they begin a romantic relationship that provides Maya her every dream of first love and gives Jasmine the creative inspiration she needs to jump start her career. It's all gumdrops and fairytales until a bizarre love triangle soon emerges – thanks to those pesky daddy issues. Cash’s visually eye-popping, wildly offbeat tale of a twisted relationship has been described as being the lovechild of Wes Anderson and David Lynch.
Manuel Kinzer & Jorge A. Trujillo Gil / Shorts / Colombia, Germany / 2018 / 15 mins
A 17-year-old boy from Barranquilla, Colombia, loves to dance in a carnival dancing group, but does so in secret in order to avoid his mother's judgment and disapproval.
Matika Wilbur / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 4 mins
Matika Wilbur, a visual storyteller from the Swinomish and Tulalip peoples of coastal Washington, has been traveling for the past five years photographing Indian Country in the pursuit of one goal: To Change the Way We See Native Americans.
Benjamin Howard / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 10 mins
In the early 1960s, a sexually conflicted teenager finds faith and acceptance after escaping the tortures of electrotherapeutic conversion therapy.
MATTHEW MONTGOMERY / features / USA / 2018 / 86 mins
In the early ‘90s, two strangers, Noah (Stephen Twardokus) and Patrick (JD Scalzo) meet in a wilderness park where gay men cruise for sex. What seems like a random encounter quickly descends into a horrific nightmare. With recent disappearances and attacks, the two men soon find themselves on the run, drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse. As they flee further into the woods they begin to understand that the greatest danger may be closer than either of them realizes. Will these strangers be able to work together to survive or will their own secrets and lies lead them to be the next two victims? Gay indie acting fave Montgomery (PORNOGRAPHY: A THRILLER; SOCKET; FINDING MR. WRIGHT) makes his directorial debut with this creepy, sexy thriller that will have you guessing until the last moment.
Rocket Ear / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 3 mins
DON'T F*CK WITH ENGLAND is a love story of words, whips, fries, and chips.
VISHAL VASANT AHIRE / Shorts / India / 2017 / 15 mins
Rajjo, a member of the Hijra (intersex/transgender) community in India develops a crush on a girl but realizes that neither his community nor the world at large completely approve of his existence. (Warning: attempted sexual assault - multiple perpetrators, violence)
Nathan Miller / Shorts / United Kingdom / 2018 / 8 mins
On one night, in the same apartment, two dates take place. One is between Rose and her boyfriend. The other is supposed to be between Rose's sister Lily and a new romantic interest of hers. But Lily decides to stir up trouble – it's just supposed to be a bit of fun, but Rose soon finds herself on the precipice of betrayal.
Sylvain Coisne / Shorts / France / 2017 / 16 mins
Dylan, the foster son of Yanis and Hugo, passed away a few months ago. The men struggle to understand each other's emotions and their insurmountable loss.
Julianna Notten / Shorts / Canada / 2017 / 15 mins
Erin, a spunky twelve year-old,attempts to woo the coolest girl in school with the help of her best friend, Liz.
Asia LeMasters / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 16 mins
Two young lovers reminisce about their past, desperate to find the truth behind their dissolution.
Shwenn Shunya Chang / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 4 mins
EXPIRATION DATE is a poetic, animated story about searching for an unexpired romance, a mélange of sexy fantasy and innocent love.
Alden Peters / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 18 mins
Carson, a gay twenty-something looking for love on all the wrong apps, gets rejected by an online hookup for being too 'femme'.
Aaron curtis / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 8 mins
FIGHTING TWO WARS: THE STORY OF THALIA JANE AINSLEY is about a Vietnam war veteran who transitioned later in life.
Edward Jack / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 10 mins
A surreal farce about a man with a big, throbbing, veiny secret: he can't stop thinking about dick.
Ferran Navarro-Beltrán / Shorts / Spain / 2018 / 8 mins
Irene and Luisa, two 70-year-old women, go to a cemetery to visit their deceased relatives. A series of coincidences will cause their paths to cross.
Lisa Donato / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 15 mins
A married lesbian couple take ballroom dance lessons in a very heteronormative class.
SONIA SEBASTIAN / features / USA / 2018 / 81 mins
Reeling’s 36th edition kicks off with this Chicago-based fizzy screwball comedy. Stuck in a dead-end job with an impossible-to-please boss played by a hilarious Alexandra Billings (TRANSPARENT, GOLIATH), Billie (Lisa Cordileone, EASY ABBY) has a meltdown and quits. Now what is she going to tell her demanding fiancé Gayle (Natasha Negovanlis, ALMOST ADULTS) who’s planning a lavish wedding? When she meets a ragtag group of other underemployed women, Billie is struck with the idea of cultivating their skills to create an app for freelancers. Billie takes the risk of her life, lying to Gayle in order to buy time. When the wedding and app launch party are booked for the same day, will the sly, resourceful Billie be able to keep it all together? This delightful romp from director Sonia Sebastian (GIRL GETS GIRL) features an outstanding supporting cast of seasoned laugh getters including Jennifer Bartels (AMERICAN WOMAN; BROKEN), Megan Cavanagh (A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN; SCROOGE & MARLEY), and Amy Shiels (TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN).
Pablo Guerrero / Shorts / Spain / 2017 / 16 mins
Several days before the Epiphany holiday, Antonio and Carmen read the letter that their son has written to the three Wise Men. The child’s dearest wishes will eventually test the convictions and love of his parents.
MICHAEL GALLAGHER / features / USA / 2018 / 87 mins
When narcissistic, womanizing TV star Walter Campbell (Matthew Glave, GRACE AND FRANKIE; FEUD; THE WEDDING SINGER) discovers that his latest fling is pregnant, he figures he better break the news to his estranged adult daughter Nicole (Jana Winternitz, THE THINNING) in person by crashing her vacation in Big Sur. As a favor to Nic, he agrees to bring her friend Kim (Emily Bett Rickards, ARROW), along with him on the drive. When they arrive at their destination, Walter realizes he’s unknowingly invited himself to his daughter’s wedding with Kim. Surrounded by Nic’s closest gal pals, he’s a fish out of water. But that isn’t the biggest problem – he’s learned something about Kim on the trip up that might mean he has to ruin the wedding. What’s a father to do? Gallagher’s delightfully dark wedding dramedy, a Slamdance Festival favorite, offers some surprisingly insightful answers.
Andrea Meyerson / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 22 mins
When Grace decides to come out to her grandmother, she finds something she wasn't expecting.
Erica Rose / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 17 mins
Girl Talk follows 20-something Mia, as she explores the disparity between emotional and physical intimacy, coming to a head when she meets an intriguing couple.
Zoe Lubeck / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 12 mins
When Grace decides to come out to her grandmother, she finds something she wasn't expecting.
Cheryl Monique / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 8 mins
A transgender couple from Smyrna, Tennessee, shares their insights surrounding life, love, and pet snakes.
Kat Cole / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 7 mins
For transman Del, visiting his 100-year old grandmother is an exercise in subterfuge, as she does not know that he has transitioned. Out of love for her, Del pretends to be a woman each time he visits his grandmother, and his fiancé captures him as he prepares to see her once again.
Deborah Craig with Veronica Deliz / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 28 mins
“A Great Ride” is a documentary about several California lesbians who are aging with dynamism and zest for life.
Bryan Louie / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 10 mins
A young man trying to go clean is haunted by his addiction.
RUPERT EVERETT / features / UK / 2017 / 105 mins
SPECIAL PRESENTATION! The multi-talented Rupert Everett, one of filmdom’s first openly gay actors, brings his dream project to the screen – a study of the sunset years of legendary writer and wit Oscar Wilde. Hailed as a “brilliant tour de force,” we encounter Wilde at the end of the 19th century when the sophisticated dandy was the darling of London society. But his open homosexuality was his undoing and after a much publicized, notorious trial, Wilde is sent to prison. Impoverished and stricken by ill health upon his release, he goes into exile in Paris, surviving on the flamboyant irony and brilliant bon mots that defined him. After a half-hearted attempt to reconcile with his wife Constance (Emily Watson, BREAKING THE WAVES, ANGELA’S ASHES), he heads back into the arms of his young lover Lord Douglas (Colin Morgan, MERLIN; HUMANS), an emotionally disastrous decision. Supported by loyal friends, including Reggie Turner (Oscar winner Colin Firth) who try to protect him from his own excesses, Wilde reflects on his life while observing from an ironic distance with detachment and humor his reduced circumstances. Everett wrote the script, makes his directorial debut with THE HAPPY PRINCE and caps his extraordinary acting career with a deeply moving performance. “Rupert Everett is magnificent in a dream role,” THE GUARDIAN raved and so he is. Rupert Everett is scheduled to attend the screening.
Judy Febles / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 2 mins
A young daughter creates a hand made Valentine's Day card to her crush. The mother is curious to who this card is going to, she assumes it's for a boy in her class but soon discovers it is not.
KONSTANTINOS MENELAOU / features / Greece, UK / 2017 / 72 mins
Convinced a holiday away from the city will help mend their rocky relationship, two young men hitchhike to a remote seaside enclave, filling their days and nights with passionate lovemaking in the crystal clear water and making excursions into the rocky outcrops for sensuous alone time under the sun. A narrator articulates their inner thoughts as they frolic in the sand and surf, but even in this golden paradise, doubts they left behind catch up to them, leading to an emotionally charged confrontation that will either result in the crumbling of their already fragile relationship, or an opportunity to once again discover the spark that united them in the first place. HE LOVES ME, frank in its depiction of sex, is an exploration of the unconventional nature of love and its ability to survive against the odds.
Jeanette L. Buck / Shorts / UK, US / 2018 / 14 mins
When Heather decides to lose her virginity for her 15th birthday, Mom’s wife must convince Mom, and Mom’s ex, and Mom’s ex’s partner that it’s time for Heather to have “the talk”. Which mom is ready to help Heather make a big decision? It’s a mother-daughter story. Times four.
Amalia Ramirez Atiles / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 9 mins
A short film about a closeted gay teenager coming back home in order to come out to his conservative latino family
Jody Wheeler / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 15 mins
Left alone to caretake a gay nude resort closed for the season, a man finds himself confronted by what he can see and by what he can't.
Diana Khong / Shorts / Canada / 2017 / 10 mins
Home Made is an intimate, contemplative portrait of two queer tattoo artists navigating an industry traditionally dominated by white, straight, cisgender males. The film weaves together the parallel narratives of Jasmine, a shop owner in Philadelphia, and sally, a stick-and-poke artist in Brooklyn, through their trials and triumphs.
Laura Varela / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 26 mins
The story of one ground-breaking woman who opened the door to new roles and portrayals of women in books and television.
AYELET ALBENDA / features / Israel, UK, USA / 2017 / 73 mins
IN MY ROOM is a coming of age film that takes place inside the rooms of six teenagers, and is told entirely out of self-made videos they posted on YouTube. Not Youtube stars, these are just teenagers talking to anyone who is willing to listen. Arieh, a 12-year-old boy loves makeup; Lydia is questioning her gender and begins transitioning to Liam; Rachel struggles daily with anorexia; Lina is Muslim and fighting prejudice; Ryan is a sweet, straight Asian teen who lives for his music; and Sabrina is pregnant at 15. Through cross-editing of the characters, viewer comments, and footage from the entire video blogosphere, their lives are woven into one collective journey. The result is a visual and narrative kaleidoscope of adolescence, a rare invitation to peek inside the world of these fearless kids whose insights are both heartbreaking and inspiring.
Adrià Guxens / Shorts / Spain / 2017 / 20 mins
An instant is a story about friendship, love and the importance of the small moments that endow our lives with meaning.
Juan David Romero / Shorts / Colombia, Greece, USA / 2018 / 18 mins
An Iraqi LGBT refugee who is also a belly dancer escapes his country and moves to Greece, seeking safety from a family who wants him dead and hoping to find a home that will grant him a life in peace and tranquility.
Tim J. Lim / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 15 mins
A grieving widower must come to terms with the biggest obstacle in his healing process: his dead husband's dog.
Bobby B. Grubic / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 12 mins
The relationship becomes complicated and deceitful when two women confront each other.
ELLEN SMIT / features / Netherlands / 2018 / 80 mins
Yad (Majd Mardo), a darkly handsome Middle Eastern medical student in Amsterdam, quits his hard partying lifestyle to spend the summer in a small Dutch city with his parents. A temp job as a domestic working for the energetic Ans (Jenny Arean) leads to Yad meeting her hunky blonde grandson Joris (Josha Stradowski). The erotic fireworks between the two are off the charts and their affair is the perfect respite from their respective family problems. But can this be more than just a hot, summer fling? Can the possibility of love bridge the cultural differences threatening to tear the seductive heartthrobs apart? This ultra-sexy romantic dramedy offers something beyond the usual pleasures of a young gay love story, and the conflicts with their families have nothing to do with Yad and Joris’s sexuality, marking JUST FRIENDS as a truly modern tale of queer love.
Faroukh Virani / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 12 mins
When his father passes away, Vijay is forced to return home after a 10 year estrangement and must confront a life he fled as well as manage broken relationships with his sister, his ex, and most significantly, his mother.
RYAN LONERGAN / features / USA / 2018 / 80 mins
Handsome control freak Patrick (writer-director Ryan Lonergan, A THOUSAND BEAUTIFUL THINGS), his second half, the charismatic, impulsive, trust fund baby Sutton (Garrett McKechnie, TERRITORY), and the third and newest member of their threesome, darling boy toy Frankie (Jack Ball, HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY), live the charmed life of your average, everyday thruple. But when Frankie is stricken with a mysterious illness, the dynamic trio swings into action, heading west in search of a holistic cure. On the way, between fights and makeup sex in nondescript hotel rooms, the unique challenges facing this three-way relationship are probed. Shot in radiant black and white with a lively music score, part gorgeous travelogue, part political allegory, and a full on examination of the quirks and kinks of a loving threesome, KILL THE MONSTERS is the road trip you wish you could take.
DEAN HAMER, JOE WILSON / features / Tonga / 2018 / 72 mins
Tonga, the tiny island kingdom of Polynesia, is home to the “leitis” – an intrepid group of native transgender women fighting a rising tide of religious fundamentalism and intolerance in their South Pacific home. Over the course of an eventful year, we follow the gracious but quietly determined Joey Mataele, a devout Catholic of noble descent, as she organizes an exuberant beauty pageant, mentors a young contestant rejected by her family, garners the support of a Royal Princess, and spars with American-financed evangelicals threatening to resurrect colonial-era laws that would criminalize the leitis’ lives. With unexpected humor and extraordinary access to the Kingdom’s royals and religious leaders, this deftly observed documentary reveals what it means to be different in a society ruled by tradition and what it takes to be accepted without forsaking who you are.
Troy Price / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 15 mins
Kristin Farrell just can’t seem to ever catch a break. But that all changes when she receives a call from her mom that launches her into a whole new world.
Jana Heaton / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 19 mins
After offhandedly breaking up with her girlfriend, Blaire moves back in with her gay best friend, Michael. Reunited in the homotopia of Brooklyn, they sift through booze, babes, and absurd life decisions. After inviting too many dates to a party, Blaire and Michael band together to wrangle the crisis.
Darcy Long / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 5 mins
Bud and Don have shared 41 years of love and gratitude in the wake of gay liberation and the AIDS epidemic. Take a moment to listen to the story of Ben, Don's first partner, who succumbed to AIDS in 1995.
Ali Raheem / Shorts / Iraq / 2018 / 9 mins
It's about a gay couple living under the conditions of ISIS in Mosul
Kevin Rios / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 8 mins
After an intimate moment is shared online, Little Bill tries to cope with the consequences of being a homophobic bully.
Andreas Samuelson and Nader Pahlevani / Shorts / Sweden / 2017 / 10 mins
A boy and his two fathers are visited at night by a mysterious stranger.
Robin Kampf / Shorts / USA / 2016 / 30 mins
The story of two women who fell in love during a time when doing so was strictly taboo.
Jeff Sumner / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 13 mins
A single awkward businessman finds himself attracted to his hunky, ride-share driver, but must fight for a chance with him when they pick up an annoying passenger, Gregory (Jason Boegh), who wants the driver for himself.
Dan Hass / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 15 mins
Burned by a cheating boyfriend (and some mild chlamydia), a heartbroken pushover turns to a mysterious Magic 8 Ball for the answers. But as he starts giving into his impulses, he risks his hurt turning into hate—and losing all control.
Sarah Feinbloom, Diana Fox / Shorts / Jamaica, USA / 2017 / 18 mins
Jamaica has frequently been cited by international press and human rights organizations for egregious homophobic violence. This is the story of the nascent LGBTQ+ movement in Jamaica, highlighting courageous members of the community and their allies.
ONDI TIMONER / features / USA / 2018 / 102 mins
Matt Smith (THE CROWN; DR. WHO) gives a fearless, unabashedly sexy performance in this long awaited biopic as Robert Mapplethorpe, arguably one of the most important artists of the 20th century, who discovered himself both sexually and artistically in New York City through the ‘70s and into artistic renown in the ‘80s before his untimely passing from AIDS in 1989. Timoner’s unapologetically frank movie explores Mapplethorpe’s life as he and then girlfriend Patti Smith (Marianne Rendon, IMPOSTERS) move into the famed Chelsea hotel, home to a world of bohemian chic. Photographing his new found circle of friends of artists, musicians, socialites, film stars, and members of the S&M underground, Mapplethorpe soon discovers his unique photographic gifts. Enabled and emboldened by his lover and art patron, Sam Wagstaff (Tony Award winner John Benjamin Hickey), Mapplethorpe’s erotically charged photos shocked the art world, setting off a firestorm of controversy that is still being played out today in the court of public opinion.
Marianne Farley / Shorts / Canada / 2017 / 19 mins
An aging woman and her nurse develop a friendship that becomes the catalyst for an introspective look at the past and unearthed desires.
Clara Stern / Shorts / Austria / 2017 / 30 mins
A young transgender man feels solid in his choice to present authentically, but struggles to settle into his daily life, from finding a new job to dealing with the girlfriend he's had since before his transition.
Kat Cole / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 10 mins
After a chance encounter in Waikiki, a young Filipina teen explores her sexuality in secret.
MIKKO MAKELA / features / Finland, UK / 2017 / 108 mins
Leevi, who has been living in Paris while attending college, returns to his native Finland for the summer to help his estranged father renovate the family lake house so it can be sold. Tareq, a handsome, soft-spoken recent asylum seeker from Syria, has been hired to help with the work, and when Leevi’s father returns to town on business, leaving them on their own, the two young men warily establish a connection that leads to a hot love affair set against the idyllic Finnish summer. Looming over the budding romance is the father’s imminent return, the inevitability of Leevi returning to Paris, as well as Tareq’s complex relationship with his family in Syria. Timely and thought provoking, writer-director Makela’s movie is also the first independent LGBT film ever made in Finland.
ALESSANDRO GENOVESI / features / Italy / 2018 / 89 mins
In this merry romantic comedy, tall drink of water Antonio and his cuddly bear of a boyfriend Paolo happily cohabitate in Berlin and are finally taking the plunge. They decide to celebrate in the small village in Italy where Antonio grew up. Though his mother is immediately supportive, her husband Roberto, the town Mayor, is much more reluctant. Paolo, who is estranged from his conservative mother, must also get her to the nuptials as a condition of Antonio’s mom attending and paying for the whole shebang – a lavish ceremony dreamed up by Italy’s most renowned wedding planner. Then there’s the problem of Antonio’s female stalker who insists that she, not Paolo, is his one true love. Throw in a couple of wacky roommates and the aisle to the altar is paved with hilarity, hijinks and lots of love in this warm-hearted commedia d’amore.
Joseph Ressler / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 20 mins
One twin documents the journey of his trans brother Blake's struggle with mental illness, drug addiction, and gender transition over the course of one tumultuous year.
Risheeta Agrawal / Shorts / Czech Republic, India / 2017 / 12 mins
The film is a satire on the hilarious hypocrisy of society’s "conventional social order of things”, told through the story of two young girls who were in love.
Andrew Arnold / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 19 mins
A closeted Chicano teen, Mateo, travels from El Paso, TX to visit his sister, Lupita, a struggling actress in Hollywood. But, what Lupita doesn’t know is that Mateo has plans to meet someone else in Los Angeles while he's there.
John Haley / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 17 mins
Two young gay men experiencing homelessness in Chicago face the reality of life on the streets in their personal journeys to self-acceptance.
Inaya Graciana Yusuf / Shorts / Malaysia, USA / 2017 / 30 mins
A fierce group of Muslim trans women stand their ground against social marginalization in secular Malaysia. Redefining femininity in Islam, they are painting their own portrayal of womanhood.
Leandro Goddinho / Shorts / Brazil / 2016 / 29 mins
POOL is about gay persecution during the Nazi period and the achievement of LGBT civil rights in contemporary history.
Jenna Larson / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 11 mins
Closeted prom nominee Callie is forced to make a life altering decision on the night of her senior prom.
MARK SAXENMEYER / features / USA / 2018 / 99 mins
DOCUMENTARY CENTERPIECE! Using the framework of Chicago’s 35 year old Miss Continental Pageant as its backdrop, Saxenmeyer’s entertaining and insightful documentary explores the transgender subculture of competitive female impersonation in all its glittery glory. The journeys of several contestants are explored as they plot their paths to victory. Along the way we meet several other entertainers immersed in this fascinating close-knit community who share the dazzling highs and unique challenges of their lives on and offstage. The film also delves into the rich history of The Baton, Chicago’s historic female illusion showplace (now in its 49th year). A warm profile of Jim Flint, pioneering LGBTQ rights pioneer and local legend, owner of the Baton and the pageant, is also included. Part RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE, part POSE, part MISS AMERICA, and all absolutely fabulous, this is THE QUEENS.
Sam Wineman / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 28 mins
When Michael's attempt at suicide awakens a psych ward demon, he must stop her before she kills everyone in the hospital he connects with.
Cass Dennis / Shorts / Australia / 2018 / 20 mins
REAL tells the story of a teenage girl struggling to find her place, who takes comfort in the strength and perseverance of a fictional television character.
Paul Rowley / Shorts / Ireland/Italy / 2017 / 20 mins
Narrated by renowned Italian actor Leo Gullotta, THE RED TREE is a short documentary that tells the little known history of Italian gay men being arrested and exiled to a remote island during Mussolini's Fascist regime.
Liat Shukrun / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 13 mins
Ever wondered what people say most often before dying a violent death? Hint: It's a familiar four letter word.
MICHELLE MEMRAN / features / USA / 2018 / 89 mins
María Irene Fornés has been called “America’s Great Unknown Playwright.” She’s written more than 40 plays, won nine OBIE awards, been a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and mentored thousands of playwrights across the globe. Theater luminaries like Tony Kushner, Paula Vogel, Lanford Wilson, and Edward Albee have credited Irene as an inspiration and influence. When she stopped writing in 1999 due to dementia, a friendship with a young female writer reignites her creative spirit. The camera becomes a catalyst, capturing Irene’s ability to teach, to inspire, and to turn the scraps of everyday life into moments worthy of wonder and delight. Memran’s film captures Irene’s memories – of creative triumphs, groundbreaking friendship, female love affairs long and short – weaving together present and past while moving mentor and student towards an ever-deepening connection in the face of forgetting. A warm, lively portrait of a virtuosic theater artist is the result.
JEFFREY WALKER / features / Australia / 2017 / 106 mins
RIOT tells the story of the courage and passion behind Australia’s first Gay and lesbian Mardi Gras. In the late 1970s when homosexuality is still a crime in Sydney, a group of activists – some friends, some lovers, some just committed to their search for equality – don fancy dress, join hands and parade down Oxford Street – unaware that angry police lie in wait and that history is about to written. Gay rights pioneer Lance Gowland, uncompromising and utterly charming, is the leader of this eclectic band that includes a passel of his lovers, a lesbian couple fighting a losing custody battle, and others. Damon Herriman is superb as Gowland, heading a marvelous ensemble cast playing the real-life figures. Walker’s spirited, moving retelling of Australia’s Stonewall crackles with energy and fiery passion, culminating in the riot that finally changed hearts and minds Down Under.
Shayon Maitra / Shorts / India / 2017 / 9 mins
Raghu is a poor boy who is obsessed with a beautiful, ornate sari that is sold in the sari shop where he works. When a bride-to-be selects his favorite sari as her own, Raghu is crushed to lose his prized possession to someone who doesn't understand its true value.
LEILAH WEINRAUB / features / USA / 2018 / 82 mins
“Shakedown” was a series of parties founded by and for African American women in Los Angeles that featured strip shows for the city’s lesbian underground scene. Inspired by transwoman Mahogany who, as the mother of the scene, presided over queer strip shows and balls in the 1980s, butch Ronnie Ron created, produced, and presented these new shows. Showing the protagonists backstage and in interviews, this intimate chronicle reveals that Shakedown was more than just a strip club. As one of the few spaces for the lesbian subculture, Shakedown brought together and galvanized a queer community of color. Director Weinraub, well-known as the one-time CEO of the high fashion streetwear clothing brand Hood By Air, participated in the scene, shooting 400 hours of footage which she has edited into a swirling, intoxicating mass of raw female pleasure that has been critically hailed as a new form of documentary.
João Inácio / Shorts / Brasil / 2016 / 11 mins
SHALA is the story of Pedro, a young boy living in an orphanage in the Amazon who has a hard time being adopted because of several prejudices.
Erika Kramer / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 21 mins
A 20-something woman gets invited to her ex-girlfriend's wedding to a man and decides to go. Despite her disapproval of the wedding, she travels to Connecticut for the weekend where she reunites with old friends and her ex, gaining a new perspective on her past relationship.
Pascal Halim / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 9 mins
Two young men share an unexpected encounter that pushes them out of their comfort zones.
Kevin Rios / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 6 mins
After taking the biggest sh*t of his life, a 'top-only' diva will do whatever it takes to become a power bottom.
Cloudy Rhodes / Shorts / Australia / 2018 / 7 mins
When tragedy strikes a young girl in love, she wants to express her grief, but can’t.
Zara Dwinger / Shorts / The Netherlands / 2017 / 26 mins
A 15-year-old boy notices that he feels different than other boys his age. When he becomes friends with an enchanting girl, he gets tangled up in his confusion even more.
Faraz Arif Ansari / Shorts / India / 2017 / 16 mins
Set in the fast-paced environs of the typically bustling Mumbai local train system, this short details a romance that develops slowly and intoxicatingly, nestled in the silences and quiet comforts of the end-of-day train journeys.
MELANIE MAYRON / features / USA / 2018 / 91 mins
Set in the present with flashbacks to the early ‘60s, SNAPSHOTS brings together three generations of women – matriarch Rose (Oscar nominee Piper Laurie, CARRIE; TWIN PEAKS; THE HUSTLER), her daughter Patty (Brooke Adams, DAYS OF HEAVEN; THE DEAD ZONE; INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS), and granddaughter Allison (Emily Baldoni, RECKLESS; COHERENCE). Each year Patty and Allison spend a laughter-filled girl’s weekend with gran at her lakeside home. But this year will be different. Allison’s discovery of forgotten photos leads Rose on a trip into her past…to memories of the love of her life – the beautiful, free spirited Louise (Emily Goss), her one time next door neighbor. Rose’s secret past is set to collide with Allison’s secret future in this powerfully acted family drama from renowned actor-director Melanie Mayron (THIRTYSOMETHING; JANE THE VIRGIN; GLOW; GRACE AND FRANKIE).
Cait Lyn Adamson / Shorts / United Kingdom / 2017 / 19 mins
Shy and quiet Mina vies for the affections of Lana – but, as she's swept up in the excitement of teen rebellion and discovery, struggles to fulfill her desires and come to terms with her sexuality.
Reinout Hellenthal / Shorts / The Netherlands / 2017 / 19 mins
A 14-year-old boy, Alex, develops a close friendship with his older sister's boyfriend, and must confront the depth of his feelings when the couple announces that they will be moving away.
Aharonit Elior / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 6 mins
SPARK is an animated short about finding someone to ignite the flame inside.
Zohar Melinek Ezra, Afek Testa Launer / Shorts / Israel / 2017 / 15 mins
A documentary series that follows the social, political, and spiritual lives of ten members of the transgender community in Israel.
Q ALLAN BROCKA / features / USA / 2018 / 110 mins
That adorable, unlikely couple from 2014’s musical comedy WAITING IN THE WINGS are back in this equally delightful sequel. Buff Tony (Adam Huss) is still shaking his moneymaker at the gay strip club while Anthony (co-writer, director Jeffrey A. Johns) is still dreaming of Broadway glory while working with his fellow wanna-be stars as a singing/dancing waiter. In-between the hilarious musical numbers, competition is heating up backstage at the restaurant. Anthony’s still just as naïve as ever and doesn’t figure out that his new bestie at work is scheming to take his place and grab his audition spots. And to Tony it looks like Anthony is cheating – nothing to sing about. Queer movie maven Q. Allan Brocka (BOY CULTURE and the EATING OUT series) keeps the action zipping along in this frothy and very sexy comedy that will be nirvana for showtune queens. The cast includes a host of cameos from Broadway legend Chita Rivera to Bruce Vilanch, Cindy Williams, Sally Struthers, Lee Meriwether, Ed Asner, Patricia Richardson, and Seth Rudetsky.
MATT TYRNAUER / features / USA / 2018 / 98 mins
Studio 54 was the epicenter of ‘70s hedonism – a pulsating pleasure palace that not only redefined the nightclub but also came to symbolize an entire era. Its co-owners, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, one introverted and straight, the other flamboyantly gay, seemed to come out of nowhere. The extraordinary success of the first of the mega clubs with its restrictive door policy and mix of sex, drugs and glamorous celebrities is detailed, as are the factors that brought the phenomenon crashing down. Underneath all the glittery excess is the story of the two owners. Schrager finally opens up to filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer (VALENTINO; SCOTTY AND THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD) about his improbable friendship with the late Rubell, a victim of AIDS. Thirty-nine years after the velvet rope was first slung across the Studio 54’s hallowed threshold, here is the film that finally tells the real story behind the greatest club of all time.
Pearl Gluck / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 19 mins
Two teenage girls in a Hasidic sleepaway camp, despite their every effort to maintain their purity, explore a forbidden book which leads them to a sexual awakening neither of them are prepared to encounter.
Olivia Crellin / Shorts / United Kingdom / 2017 / 24 mins
Trans dad Fernando Machado became an international news sensation when he announced he was pregnant with his trans girlfriend Diane Rodriguez in Ecuador last year. This film is an intimate and touching portrayal of a couple tackling first-time parenthood while they challenge complex ideas of gender roles in their lives and in politics.
Larry Tung / Shorts / Taiwan, USA / 2018 / 18 mins
A short documentary about Taiwan's quest to become Asia's first country to legalize same-sex marriage.
Caitlin Stickels / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 13 mins
When Natalie spontaneously runs into her ex at a party, she is forced to confront her feelings for her new love interest.
Chelsea Steiner / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 22 mins
Uptight academic Riley starts a new job at the Pleasure Chest, where the colorful, queer team of misfits introduce her to the irreverent world of the sex toy industry. The employees work together to improve the sex lives of their diverse clientele – and their prudish new co-worker.
Akhil Sathyan / Shorts / India / 2016 / 24 mins
THAT'S MY BOY is a touching look at the successful and remarkable life of Sonu, a transgender man thriving in India.
Felix Guerra / Shorts / Australia / 2016 / 10 mins
Two pavement artists based in Melbourne, Australia share a unique relationship and system of collaboration that allows them to flawlessly combine their ideas to create fantastic original art works as one.
Natasha Straley / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 9 mins
Fate pits two anonymous lovers against each other at work.
Foster Wilson / Shorts / USA / 2017 / 5 mins
The morning after a casual one-nighter with an older woman, Gina scrolls through her Facebook feed, only to discover that the person in bed beside her is the epitome of everything she loathes in this world. Staring hypocrisy square in the face, this young gay millennial must choose between swallowing her pride and standing by her principles.
Sverre Kvamme / Shorts / Norway / 2017 / 10 mins
In the middle of the winter in Northern Norway and surrounded by a wild group of kids, a young boy’s impulses are affected by his attraction to his best friend.
MADELEINE OLNEK / features / USA / 2018 / 84 mins
NARRATIVE CENTERPIECE Molly Shannon (SNL; DIVORCE; SUPERSTAR) is the legendary poet Emily Dickinson in this black comedy by writer-director Olnek (THE FOXY MERKINS, CODEPENDENT LESBIAN SPACE ALIEN SEEKS SAME) that explores the hidden aspects of Dickinson’s life. Dickinson’s persona has been that of a reclusive spinster – a delicate wallflower too sensitive for this world. But through the lens of Olnek, Dickinson’s vivacious and irreverent side is revealed, along with her lifelong romance with her sister-in-law Susan Dickinson (Susan Ziegler, HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS; DON’T TRUST THE B---- IN APARTMENT 23). Incorporating Dickinson’s letters and poems into its fabric, and hailed as, “the best lesbian comedy in years,” here at last is the full-bodied woman, creatively stimulated by her lifelong secret love affair, emerging from the confines of her stereotypical public persona at long last.
Leandro Goddinho / Shorts / Germany / 2017 / 10 mins
The journey of a gay African refugee seeking asylum in Germany.
Leandro Goddinho / Shorts / Germany / 2017 / 5 mins
An African refugee visits the Memorial to Homosexuals persecuted under the Nazi regime in Berlin, Germany.
Nick Neon / Shorts / USA / 2018 / 24 mins
When Jimmy Park visits home for the first time in years, he's forced to make peace with the ghost of who he could have been.