We’re heading Down South to Atlanta, Georgia this week for OUT ON FILM one of fav. queer film festivals. What started as a five-day festival back in 1987 has grown into an eleven-day celebration of LGBTQ stories and artists including narrative features, documentaries, short films, and premieres. This year a total of 130 films will be shown in screenings and online streaming
Under the leadership of Festival Director, Jim Farmer also an Atlanta-based Arts Writer, OUT OF FILM has our together an exciting and diverse program that covers most of the LGBTQ+ spectrum. It proudly succeeds in its mission to both educate and entertain.
The QUEERGURU reviews have scoured the whole to come up with what think are the MUST SEE FILMS AT THE FEST : here they are.
BEING BEBE: Newbie filmmaker EMILY BRANHAM took a shine to BeBe aka MARSHALL NGWA back in 2006 before the world came to know about him. Then the tall good-looking man from Cameron in West Africa was living in Minneapolis Minnesota and doing amateur drag in a local gay bar. Even then he stood out as his costumes and performances were heavily immersed and inspired by his African Culture. After Bebe was the first-ever winner of Ru Paul’s Drag Race she had a roller coaster life of rags to riches and back again which she shares with disarming honesty that makes this doc so compelling and such a sheer joy to watch.
BOULEVARD: A Hollywood Story. In 1950 DICKSON HUGHES and RICHARD STAPLEY, two young songwriters and romantic partners approached GLORIA SWANSON with a new Musical they had written just for her. The 50+-year-old star still glowing in the reception of SUNSET BOULEVARD FILM, had been champing at the bitt as offers of film roles had simply dried up. So she persuaded the couple to change their plans and write a musical based on Sunset Boulevard for her to recreate Norma Desmond. This previously untold story, the latest fascinating doc from Emmy Award Winner Jeffrey Schwarz is what happened to that musical and also the men’s love affair
FIREBIRD is an enormously satisfying and complete film. It tells a full tale of life, and love, and loss from its beginning right up to an end that could never need or want a sequel. PEETER REBANE‘S story of two Soviet military recruits, a pilot officer and a private, falling in love on a military base during the 70s cold war, is based on a true story. Skeptical as we are about stories ‘based on’ truth, people’s ages and weights on dating profiles might make that same claim, there is an undeniably human element to this story that grips the heart and mind with a sense of both individuality and history
Despite all the problems in the world, 2021 has seen a remarkable crop of such excellent queer debut feature films from first-time directors/writers. Forgotten Roads from Chilean filmmaker NICOL RUIZ BENAVIDES is right up there amongst them. Kudos for both his script and his visual interpretation but especially for the sublimely nuanced performance from his lead actress ROSA RAMÍREZ RÍOS in her very first movie. She plays 70-year-old Claudina and her journey of self-discovery is a sheer joy to watch, and will no doubt be a real inspiration to others.
GEMMEL and TIM: This very timely and extremely well-measured doc will probably leave most people angry. It’s about the lives and widely publicized deaths of Gemmel “Juelz” Moore and Timothy “Tim” Dean two gay Black men who died of a meth overdose at the Laurel Street apartment of Democratic donor, Ed Buck. The story that the media presented was hatefully homophobic and racist and went to great lengths to defend the fake reputation of Buck who is finally locked up behind bars. We all need to watch this one.
JUMP DARLING : When you reach the end of the road you are on, what can you do? There are two answers, you stop or change direction. In CLORIS LEACHMAN’s final film made prior to her death, both these alternates are explored, and the poignancy is inescapable. Leachman plays Grams, the aging grandmother grown tired, frail, and distanced from the passions that engulfed her earlier years. Dreams of joining the ice capades are barely a memory. Facing a slow exit from her life, or the inertia of a retirement home, she grapples with what little sovereignty she has left. It is an exquisite swan song for one helluva wonderfully actress and person
No Ordinary Man is the story of musician BILLY TIPTON who has iconic status in the trans community. Tipton’s story starts with his death in 1989 when after decades of living as a closeted trans man, his ‘secret’ was discovered and his very successful life just became a tawdry tabloid story. Trans filmmaker CHASE JOYNT and his co-director AISLING CHIN-YEE have chosen to tell Tipton’s story as a very imaginative documentary whic focuses on not just its historical importance but also on its relevance to today’s transgender community.
POTATO DREAMS OF AMERICA queer filmmaker WES HURLEY’S excellent autobiographical tale of his journey from Russia as a young gay immigrant is the perfect choice for the opening night gala. Maybe a tad patchy in parts but it’s a joyous wee film with some wonderful surprises like an adorable JONATHAN BENNETT as Jesus and an almost unrecognizable LEA DELARIA giving a scene-stealing performance.
PS Burn This Letter Please. In 2014, a trove of letters was discovered in the storage locker of Los Angeles DJ and talent agent Reno Martin chronicling the joys, squabbles, and everyday lives of New York City drag queens during the 1950s and 60s. In the hands of filmmakers JENNIFER TIEXIERA and MICHAEL SELIGMAN this story is gorgeously told through vintage home movies, photos, and interviews with the queens themselves, this fascinating look at Pre-Stonewall gay culture rewrites what we know about the clandestine, transcontinental networks that sustained queer people when female impersonation and homosexuality were criminal offenses.
The Sixth Reel : We think it is no secret that the multi-talent that is Charles Busch was born in the wrong era. He is the perfect epitome of a glamorous Hollywood star of the 1930s and 1940s: he doesn’t just look the part, but he totally lives it. So convincingly with all the mannerisms and melodrama, watching his new movie. we revel in turning the clock back for the next 90 minutes
TRANS IN TRUMPLAND Just 4 days after American/Iranian filmmaker Tony Zosherafatin finished his transitioning, Trump was elected President. Despite his occasional rhetoric about wanting to be the President for all Americans, what followed was the most divisive and hate-ridden four years in our country’s history. Some of the worst-hit were the transgender community which Trump and the Far Right were hell-bent on completely destroying.
From his relative comfort in liberal New York City Zosherafatain decided to hit the road with a camera crew to see how other transgender people were faring in the ultra-conservative States. By observing and talking to four people at different parts of their own journey, Zosherafatain manages to give us such an intimate look at so the obstacles they had to overcome. Many of which will come as such a surprise to most of us resulting in giving us a better understanding of some of their enormous personal struggles.
ATLANTA'S LGBTQ FILM FESTIVAL FOR INFO ON THE WHOLE PROGRAM https://www.outonfilm.org/ SEP 23rd - OCT 3rd, 2021
Labels: 2021, Atlanta, Must See Picks, Out on Film