It’s that time of year again, folks! The 20th Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival kicks off Thursday, OCTOBER 8TH at the Egyptian!
This year’s programming promises to be all sorts of educational, fun, and just plain awesome. That being said, here are my picks for those who love women.
What better way to begin it all than with Freeheld, the highly-anticipated near-documentary starring Julianne Moore and our esteemed Lesbian Vice President, Ellen Page?!
Screening at The Egyptian at 7:15pm (SOLD OUT), this is the true story of Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree of New Jersey, who took on the freeholders of their county. Before equal marriage was legal in the state, same-sex couples had to go through about a million legal loopholes just to get a few of the rights automatically granted to opposite-sex couples. We should all recall those days—they were only last year. At the time this story took place, only Massachussetts had equal marriage. Frankly, it’s refreshing to see Page in something true to her real-life character as a recently-out lesbian. It’s “Moore” of the same for Julianne, as we also saw her in The Kids Are Alright. Though this time, she pulls a switch (ahem) and takes charge of her relationship and desire to provide for her partner.
Grim’s will be hosting the opening night gala after the film, with complimentary beverages and appetizers. Apparently a guest will be in attendence, but I won’t hold out for either of the stars; they’re pretty busy doing junkets in prep for the limited release. Hopefully it’s the screenwriter, Ron Nyswaner, who also wrote Philadelphia. Seems LGBT legal battles are his forte.
This film seemingly sets the tone for the whole festival, as mixed in with many of our (typical, and sometimes fun) stories is a need to remind people of our Big Gay History.
Before I get into w4w-specific films, here’s a rundown of what everyone should watch, to be better informed as to why the SCOTUS decision on June 26th was so important:
- The Celluloid Closet will be shown for FREE. It’s a documentary narrated by Lily Tomlin, based on the 1981 book of the same name. You’ll be shown examples great and small of queer people in cinema from the early days till the days of infamy. Saturday, Oct. 10 at 4:30pm, 12th Avenue Arts.
- While not specifically historical, Gayby Baby profiles the lives of four children being raised by same-sex couples in Australia. As the SLGFF guide says, “This honest documentary is told from the kids’ point of view as they deal with everyday life, whether that be developing a love for wrestling, learning to read, or handling issues in school.” The director, Maya Newell, is also a child of lesbian mothers, and if nothing else, this film should get you to act on the Australian front of marriage equality. Sunday, Oct. 18 at 1pm, AMC Pacific Place.
- Our history isnt’t just about legal battles and getting famous. Sometimes it’s the behind-the-scenes people who go unnoticed and underappreciated. That’s how we get to see The Glamour & The Squalor, a movie about sexually ambiguous Marco Collins. As a DJ, he helped spearhead the successes of Nirvana, Beck, Pearl Jam, and other grunge/alt bands born in the Pacific Northwest. Saturday, Oct. 17 at 3pm, AMC Pacific Place.
- For your PMSing activist self, there’ll be Stories of Our Lives, a series of five shorts from Kenya. Because there are *still* places in the world—in fact much of the world—that punish people for being who they are or loving who they love. In many countries it is perfectly legal to punish people and commit heinous acts, almost like how it was here in the U.S. before the Hate Crimes Act. Bring the tissues; it’ll be screened with The Pearl of Africa, about a transwoman from Uganda. We often think to ourselves, “Why don’t they just leave?” Easy for us privileged folk to say. Go get your eyes opened. Saturday, Oct. 10 at 4:45pm, Northwest Film Forum.
- And the perspectives of people of color don’t stop there, thankfully. We Came to Sweat: The Legend of Starlite is a film about the black-owned gay bar in Brooklyn established in 1962. Co-directed by two women, this story should be especially relevent to those of us feeling a little crushed by our current Seattle gentrification. At what cost do we “improve” a neighborhood? Can we honestly put a price on our history? And how do we fight back? Friday, Oct. 9 at 5pm, NWFF.
- Reel in the Closet should prove to be a real gem: It’s comprised of old home movies dating back to the 1930s. From new gay bars to Japanese internment camps to protests and rallies, organizations across the country are doing their best to find and preserve these intregal and personal aspects of our history. If you’ve got something in your attic or basement, please consider lending your snippets of time to your local LGBT libraries. Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 5pm, NWFF.
- On closing night, Out to Win will outline what it’s been like in recent history to come out or be closeted in professional athletics. We’ll hear from UW Husky Dave Kopay, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Brittney Griner, Michael Sam, Jason Collins, and Billy Bean. Kopay will be in attendance for Q&A. Basically sports just need a lot of GSAs. Sunday, Oct. 18 at 6:30pm, AMC Pacific Place.
- Last, but not least: For ALL of us who were grossly disappointed with Stonewall, there’s Upstairs Inferno. The UpStairs Lounge was a safe haven for gay men and allies in New Orleans, until in 1973 someone set fire to the building with everyone still inside. The media refused to legitimize the victims, using the slang and offensive terms of the time to brush the horror under the rug and further into the closet, as it were. Only four years after Stonewall, it literally brought more fuel to the fire of the LGBT movement. This is a must-see for anyone who needs to be made aware of why we still fight, and why we still celebrate Pride every year. Saturday, Oct. 17 at 12pm, AMC Pacific Place.
Ok, enough educational stuff. Where are the lesbians?? Besides Freeheld, here ya go!
- The big to-do other than opening night seems to be Portrait of a Serial Monogomist. Yeah, you know the type. It’s a very easy thing for women to be and practice, amirite? (Guilty!) While there’s asbolutely no wrong way to do relationships, things can get messy. Acting comedians take on several roles in the film to provide ridiculously funny insight into what makes us crave girlfriend-hopping. A comedic lesbian story? Say it isn’t so! (Maybe we’ll see one in the future from Cameron Esposito and soon-to-be-wife Rhea Butcher? Let’s hope!) This might be this year’s Appropriate Behaviour. Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 7:15pm, Egyptian.
- In another shout out to Down Under, All About E is a story about what we have to beat down inside ourselves, to find ourselves. So what if you find someone else along the way? Friday, Oct. 16 at 7:15pm, AMC Pacific Place.
- For those of us looking for a queerer, more hilarious version of Rock of Ages, Dyke Hard (who else wants to say, “with a vengeance!” after that?) should be everything you love and miss and hate and diss about the ’80s! All the hair. ALL THE HAIR. And guitars. And glitter. Enjoy! Saturday, Oct. 10 at 11:45pm, Egyptian.
- A story highly relevant to the horrific events happening in Syria, A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile brings us an inside look into a lesbian blogger captured, lost, and hunted. Her online girlfriend attempts to find her, and with the chase comes a myriad of media attention, both good and malicious. This is a story that could only be done in the 21st century, on the tide of heavy social justice causes brought to light by the internet. Sunday, Oct. 11 at 12:15pm, NWFF.
- It’s hard enough to have a diagnosed disability. It’s also hard enough to be LGBTQ-identified. But both at the same time? Especially when you’re from a different country? That’s why there’s Margarita, with a Straw. Self-discovery, travel, university, and overcoming limitations give us all something to think about. Friday, Oct. 9 at 7pm, NWFF.
- There’s a little something in all of us that likes a decent biography, yeah? I’m keenly interested in this story shrouded in some mystery: Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson. Despite the long title, my heart goes out to anyone institutionalized wrongly in a mental facility, especially pre-1970. (American Horror Story season two, anyone?) Wilkinson’s great grand-niece discovered an abandoned trunk filled with the former’s paintings, and decided to try to piece together a lifetime of closeted art and relationships. Monday, Oct. 12 at 5pm, NWFF.
- In a sexy little movie from a lesbian perspective, S&M Sally explores the lives of people who think they know who they are in the bedroom—until they try something new. As the sex-positive community might tell you, this’ll probably be much more accurate than that hideous 50 Shades of Grey thing, and definitely more inclusive than Secretary. And hey, bisexuals: you’ll get some representation, too! Sunday, Oct. 11 at 9pm, NWFF.
- Speaking of sexy, Traci Dinwiddie (Supernatural, The Notebook) is in two films in the festival this year: Stuff, and Raven’s Touch. In both, she plays a mother, and in both, some other woman finds her character in the midst of mental and emotional anguish. Choose your story in the guide, and bring a hand to hold. Raven’s Touch: Friday, Oct. 16 at 9:30pm, AMC Pacific Place. Stuff: Saturday, Oct. 17 at 7:30pm, AMC Pacific Place.
- Let’s not forget how it was when we came out as youngsters! Summer is your typical, cute coming-of-age story, because let’s face it: we’re all from a small town, and the hot chick on the hot bike always caught our eyes. Think Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,'” only in The Netherlands. Saturday, Oct. 10 at 9:30pm, NWFF.
- For more representation of women of color, please see While You Weren’t Looking. Set in Cape Town, South Africa, a biracial lesbian couple raises a teen struggling with her own sexuality. Although the country has had anti-discrimination laws for 20 years or so, what does it mean for people of one social class or another? It could be our story, or your story, but it really does matter where you live. Saturday, Oct. 17 at 9:30pm, AMC Pacific Place.
Shorts! No, not the problematic summertime clothing. You bet your cute ass I’ll be attending “Bad-ass Babes,” seven shorts about the dykier/more butch/more dom among us who refuse to take “No” for an answer. They push boundaries, never back down, and never surrender. And they’re fuckin’ hot doing it, too! Thursday, Oct. 13 at 9:15pm, NWFF. “Animated!” will be the night before, featuring ELEVEN tiny films created by LGBTQ people with LGBTQ themes. Wonderful! Wednesday, Oct. 14 at 9:15pm, NWFF. And, as always, there’ll be “Girls Shorts,” with ten little pieces offering snapshots of life and weird stories. Bring a date, because there’s something for just about every lez! Saturday, Oct. 10 at 2:15pm, Egyptian.
But hey! That’s not all! Here are my honorable mentions, not necessarily lez-oriented:
- From This Day Forward: A thoughtful look on how a family interacts when the patriarch wants to wear a dress to his/her daughter’s wedding. As a personal journey and telling on the part of director Sharon Shattuck, we can peek into how trans people may or may not be accepted outside of our almost-progressive Seattle bubble. Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7pm, NWFF.
- Nasty Baby. Because Kristen Wiig! I mean, she’s impossible not to love! She plays the friend of a gay couple who might be the carrier of their child. Full of humor, spice, and stark dramedy realness, I can’t wait to see Wiig try another character before her upcoming Ghostbusters material. Friday, Oct. 16 at 7pm, AMC Pacific Place.
- Cineoke! Special Festival Edition! Always a big fan of Cineoke, so this time should be no different. Pretend you got that part in the latest Broadway show you didn’t audition for! Break out your showtunes and Disney karaoke side! You can even bring your own request on a DVD. Gasp! Sunday, Oct. 11 at 7pm, Re-bar.
- Also, I’m a pretty decent fan of any storyline where there’s a bunch of characters who discover some stuff about themselves in a group setting over the course of a day or two. That’s Not Us is exactly that. Three different examples of couples explore who they are with talk, sex, love, and games. Sunday, Oct. 11 at 2:30pm, Egyptian.
- The “Reel Queer Youth” shorts program is an important inclusion to the festival every year, and I’m most interested in The Year We Thought About Love, the supplementary feature-length film. It documents True Colors, a Boston queer theather group that talks about everything, from terrorism to coming out to parents, and everything else teens these days have to deal with. Saturday, Oct. 17 at 12:30pm, AMC Pacific Place.
That’s all I can think of for now. I’ll be the short brown girl flitting between all the theaters, probably chatting with everyone in line. If you’re cute and single, let’s do coffee. Maybe we can make our own short film… *wink*