31st Annual Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival unveils schedule
Festival opens Wednesday, October 12, continues October 14-23
The 31st Annual Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival, which opens Wednesday, October 12 and continues this October 14-23, reveals its offerings, detailing the films that they will share across their 11 days.
The Festival previously announced that KIKI will illuminate the Oriental Theatre as the Festival’s Opening Night film. The dark relationship comedy WOMEN WHO KILL will be the Festival’s Centerpiece at the Downer Theater.
Festival Director Carl Bogner, also an instructor in the UWM Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres, promises a “lively and informative” mix of the entertaining and the edifying, as the Festival uncorks an array of narrative features and documentaries and short films. “We aspire to be like a Pride parade, working to texture the selection with as many representations as possible, with as many cinematic pleasures as possible. We strive to be as lively and as rich as the communities we work to serve.”
The selection of narrative features, Bogner reports, offer engaging considerations of romance and the dynamics of the couple. For example Catherine Corsini’s SUMMERTIMEpresents the story of two women who find their allegiances tested when they meet in Paris in 1971 as members of the same feminist collective. Also from France, Jacques Martineau and Olivier Ducastel’s daring PARIS 05:59 THÉO AND HUGO stages a real-time scenario wherein two young men hook up at a sex club and then wander Paris until dawn gauging the possibility of a relationship. The American independent feature LAZY EYE, from director Tim Kirkman, wonders if an early relationship, a first love, can have a second life as two men, restless in middle age, reunite after 15 years, spending a weekend together to reflect on where they are and what their future could be.
“A LGBT film festival always showcases films depicting young people bravely risking declarations about themselves,” Bogner reports. This year’s coming-of-age films include two that debuted at January’s Sundance Film Festival, where they each garnered prizes. Kerem Sanga’s FIRST GIRL I LOVED depicts the collisions of high school crushes in its comic and emotionally messy story of a love triangle among 17-year-olds. Anthony Ahn’sSPA NIGHT chronicles the haltingly emerging identity of a First Generation American, a Korean American college-age young man, negotiating his self, his ties to his family, and his future. Also of note is the Italian film ARIANNA, from director Carlo Lavagna, a rare drama that addresses the subject of intersexuality in its story of one teenager’s discovery of her identity. Among the documentaries, Shaleece Haas’ REAL BOY is, per Bogner, “a most winning real life coming-of-age story that portrays the hardships and complications that attend an awkward process however rewarding.” The documentary tells the ultimately triumphant story of Bennett Wallace, a charismatic teenager navigating their gender transition and a history of substance abuse, while confronting his mother’s resistance. (The movie is a coming-of-age film for Bennet’s mother as well, Bogner reports).
The Festival is also characteristically rich with documentaries. “It’s an election year, and many of the documentaries function like bulletins around activism, inspiring participation as they portray subjects and civil rights pioneers all fighting for social justice.” For instance: Annalise Ophelian’s MAJOR!
offers a rousing portrait of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy
, an African American elder in the trans activist community who is a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and a survivor of Attica State Prison fighting for the rights of trans people of color. Jonah Markowitz & Tracy Wares’ POLITICAL ANIMALS
celebrates the legendary civil rights victories of the first four openly out elected California state legislators – all of whom were women: Carole Migden, Sheila Kuehl, Jackie Goldberg, and Christine Kehoe
– and chronicles their foundational victories in the fight for LGBT+ civil rights. Tiffany Rhynard’s FORBIDDEN: UNDOCUMETED AND QUEER IN RURAL AMERICA
follows Moises Serrano
, a North Carolina young adult, gay and undocumented, as he relentlessly campaigns for the rights of the undocumented while trying to secure a spot in college. C. Fitz’s JEWEL’S CATCH ONE
details the legacy of Jewel Thais-Williams
, an L.A. businesswoman who fought hate and discrimination for over forty years while building the legendary Catch One nightclub, one of the original safe spaces for LGBT folks of color and women, an of-necessity resource center for people suffering from AIDS, and eventually, the Studio 54 of the West Coast. S. Leo Chiang & Johnny Symons’ OUT RUN
is on the trail with Ladlad
, the world’s only LGBT+ political party, as they campaign for a candidate who would be the first transgender woman in the Philippine Congress.
The Festival is also thrilled to host the regional premiere of Andreas Horvath’s HELMUT BERGER, ACTOR. Filmmaker John Water’s selection as the Best Film of 2015, Horvath’s raw portrait recalls Albert and David Maysles’ Grey Gardens in its examination of celebrity delusionally sustained. “It’s about the limits of stardom, the limits of documentary,” Bogner reports.
Short films have always defined the Festival, and this year’s edition will share a record eight programs of shorts, historical and contemporary. The Festival is honored to showcase the recent 16mm restorations of the short films of cult underground filmmaker Curt McDowell. The two programs of TRUE BLUE AND DREAMY: SHORT FILMS OF CURT McDOWELL will showcase the spirit and talents of this sexually avid and cinematically playful legendary figure from 1970s San Francisco. The program will include such works as Wieners and Buns Musical (1972); Peed Into the Wind (1972); and Stinky-Butt (1974). The kindred program CORPOREAL MATERIALISM: A BRIEF HISTORY (1963-1974) OF BODIES FROM THE QUEER UNDERGROUND, curated by J.T. Moore, an undergraduate in the UWM Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres, will showcase canonical 16mm queer films, including work by Barbara Rubin, Warren Sonbert, Barbara Hammer, Tom Chomont and others. The Festival is hosting local arts collective After School Special to share F#!@CK’d AT FIRST SIGHT: A QUEER SCREENING, a program that, per the curators, will feature “emerging queer and femme makers.”
The Festival will also offer its popular programs that offer an evening of gay men’s shorts, lesbian shorts, and shorts about and from the trans community. New this year, the Festival’s Closing Night spotlight will be a program of shorts. “The Programming Committee, comprised of UWM undergraduates, wanted a diverse program of stories and of nonfiction that portray and celebrate the LGBT community in all its complexity and riches.” Highlights include Eric Rockey’s PINK BOY, a documentary portrait of a Florida lesbian raising a gender nonconforming child, and Dan Taberski’s THESE C*CKSUCKING TEARS, about queer Country Western legend Patrick Haggerty.
The Festival is presented by the Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres in the UWM Peck School of the Arts. The Festival is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Cream City Foundation, Wisconsin Gazette, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, Milwaukee Pride,The Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Eldon E Murray, Joseph R Pabst, and Richard Kaul Funds, Jack H. Smith of Shorewest Realtors, and Bronze Optical.
The Cream City Foundation has challenged the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival and the Milwaukee Community with grant that will match all new, lapsed, and increased donations up to $7,500. To make a gift to the Festival go to: uwm.edu/give
31st Annual Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival
Opens: Wednesday, October 12
Festival continues: Friday, October 14- Sunday, October 23
Screenings at the Oriental and Downer Theatres, the UWM Union Cinema, and the 6th Floor of Kenilworth Square East.
Complete ticket and schedule and venue info here
All tickets to all shows go on sale Thursday, September 15
All UWM and Milwaukee-area students are admitted free-of-charge to all
Screenings at the UWM Union Cinema. At least 7 Films screened at the 2016 Festival are free-of-charge to the entire community.