Out on Film Festival offers diverse LGBT stories

With more than 100 screenings on tap, the 29th annual Out on Film festival promises to be bigger and better than ever before. The jam-packed eight-day event is scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 6 at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.

Covering the full spectrum of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender experience, this year’s lineup includes entries from all over the world, ranging from fictional comedies and dramas to fact-based documentaries, in addition to a wide variety of short subjects and web series.

Among the many highlights:

“Strike a Pose”

7 p.m. Sept. 29

The festival begins with this Dutch-produced documentary focusing on the seven male dancers who performed with Madonna on her 1990 Blond Ambition tour. Looking back on it 25 years later, they share personal stories about their experiences, and about the importance of self-expression. One of them, Carlton Wilborn, is scheduled to attend the screening.


7:25 p.m. Sept. 30

Set in the early 1970s, this French drama depicts a lesbian romance between Carole (Cecile De France), a militant feminist in Paris, and Delphine (Izia Higelin), a dutiful farmer’s daughter from the Limousin countryside. When a family emergency forces Delphine home, Carole leaves the city to be with her, but complications ensue.

“Fair Haven”

9:20 p.m. Sept. 30

A prodigal son (Michael Grant) returns to his small Midwestern farming community in this drama. Recently released from an “ex-gay conversion therapy” program, he struggles to put his past behind him, and to reconnect with his emotionally detached father (Tom Wopat). Co-star Gregory Harrison and director Kertin Karlhuber are expected to be in attendance.

“It’s My Party”

3 p.m. Oct. 1

This all-star 1996 drama was one of the first major studio movies to deal with AIDS. Eric Roberts leads an ensemble that includes Gregory Harrison (again), Marlee Matlin, Olivia Newton-John, George Segal, Lee Grant and Margaret Cho. Harrison and director Randal Kleiser are slated to take part in a post-screening Q&A. Kleiser also will receive this year’s Out on Film Icon Award.

“Do You Take This Man?”

7:40 p.m. Oct. 1

Anthony Rapp and Jonathan Bennett co-star in this romantic comedy. On the eve of their wedding, a long-lost friend of one of the grooms suddenly arrives to wreak additional havoc on an already stressful day. The couple must rely on close friends and family to keep things from spiraling out of control. The supporting cast includes Alyson Hannigan.


9:30 p.m. Oct. 1

Over the course of four years, this Swedish documentary chronicles the lives of seven LGBT youths of color, who form an artistic-activist subculture in New York known as the Kiki Scene. Their elaborate performance-art ballroom events provide a startling contrast to the daily issues they face involving homelessness, illness and prejudice.

“The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”

11 p.m. Oct. 1

This 1994 Australian movie follows a group of drag queens on a road trip across the Outback. Besides making stars of then-unknowns Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving, the film revived the career of veteran British actor Terence Stamp. The screening is co-sponsored by Out Front Theatre, which will stage a musical version of the story Oct. 20-Nov. 6.

“Political Animals”

12:45 p.m. Oct. 2

This documentary tells the story of four lesbians elected to political office in California — Jackie Goldberg, Christine Kehoe, Sheila Kuehl and Carol Migden — whose commitment to the civil rights of the LGBT community resulted in the passage of groundbreaking legislation about domestic partnerships, and an anti-bullying bill to protect gay high-school students.

“Free CeCe!”

4:35 p.m. Oct. 2

Directed by Jacqueline Gares, who’s scheduled to attend the screening, this documentary examines issues of race, class and sexuality in detailing the case of CeCe McDonald, a transgender woman who was sentenced to a men’s prison after defending her life during a brutal attack in which a man was killed. Transgender actress Laverne Cox executive-produced the film.

“Other People”

8:30 p.m. Oct. 6

This year’s festival closes with a dramatic comedy written and directed by Chris Kelly. The film features Jesse Plemons as a gay writer struggling with various professional and personal problems — not the least of which involves his free-spirited mother, who’s battling cancer. In an intriguing change of pace, she’s played by Molly Shannon.

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