Arts & EntertainmentFeaturedFilm/DVD

QFest Celebrates 20 Years of Queer Film

Share with your friends










Submit

Houston’s LGBTQ Film Festival returns July 21–25.
By Megan Smith

Talk about a party 20 years in the making! From July 21 to July 25, QFest will be marking their 20-year anniversary as Houston’s premiere LGBTQ film festival. With over 25 film screenings (including one international premiere and three U.S. premieres) hosted by nine of Houston’s finest cultural and arts venues, this year’s lineup isn’t one to miss.

The excitement builds starting on July 20 with the official QFest launch party at DiverseWorks, the festival’s official hangout headquarters. Attendees are invited to mix and mingle with other festivalgoers while enjoying the art space’s current exhibit by out lesbian artist Sheila Pepe.

Kiki
Kiki

The festival’s lineup has been carefully curated to reflect the current climate facing the city’s LGBTQ community, with respect to both the tragedy in Orlando and the defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. “Houston has become the epicenter of every campaign that centers around transphobia,” says Kristian Salinas, QFest’s executive director. “The anti-trans movement has really galvanized on the bathroom issue because [the entire nation] saw it succeed here. That’s what’s really motivating some of the programs this year—responding to that in an artistic and provocative way. To me, this reflects why this festival is still needed, why it’s still relevant, and why it’s deserving of support.”

The festival’s film tribute to 83-year-old Italian lesbian filmmaker Liliana Cavani exemplifies this response. Focusing on the physical, emotional, and psychological aftermath of war, the three Cavani films being screened—The Night Porter, The Skin, and The Year of the Cannibals—explore the idea that even though traumatic events may be distant  memories, the damage to the psyche remains. “This is someone who has always been ahead of her time,” Salinas says of Cavani. “I knew it was time to do this tribute. We’ve been in the longest war in our history, and people are forgetting that. These films deal with that atrocity of what war is.”

Continuing with this theme is Next to Me, from Serbian director Stevan Filipović. The film, which is having its international premiere at QFest, follows the story of Olja, a history teacher at a Belgrade high school. After her husband’s controversial art piece causes outrage among Serbian nationalists, Olja is attacked by a group of masked hooligans at her home. The next day, after she catches some of her students watching a cell-phone video of her attack, she realizes that they are the ones responsible. As we watch Olja’s response unfold, the film lays out a critique of the dangers of mob mentality on youth. “This is a director who really has a grasp for current events, and relating them to young people,” Salinas says. “It speaks to a much broader audience than a typical gay film.”

Another standout is Kiki, a film by Sara Jordenö and Twiggy Pucci Garcon that takes an inside look into New York City’s Kiki community, an offshoot of the city’s colorful drag-ball scene. The Kiki scene not only includes some of the fiercest vogueing competitions, but it also provides LGBTQ youth of color with a space and chosen family to call their own. “Many have called this the spiritual successor to Paris Is Burning,” Salinas says.

The First Girl I Loved
The First Girl I Loved

QFest’s lineup sports an impressive female-centric selection as well, with 11 of the festival’s features directed by women. Lesbian highlights include AWOL—a short film turned full-length feature by director Deb Shoval—and The First Girl I Loved, an honest portrayal of self-discovery, first love, and knowing when to walk away. “I’m so excited for this year’s lesbian content,” Salinas says. “The First Girl I Loved is excellent—absolutely excellent.

“This year’s festival is truly one of the best,” he adds, noting that most selections won’t be accessible on Netflix or other online platforms. “You’re going to see films that you can’t see anywhere else. I think that’s very exciting—and allows for more discovery.”

What: QFest 2016
When: July 21–25
Details/Tickets: q-fest.com


QFest 2016 Schedule of Events

Wednesday, July 20

7 p.m. QFest Launch Party
• DiverseWorks
FREE

Thursday, July 21

7 p.m. Other People
Opening Night
• MFAH
$10

Friday, July 22

7 p.m. The Skin
Liliana Cavani Tribute
• MFAH
$10

7:15 p.m. Spa Night
American Centerpiece
• Asia Society Texas Center
$10

7:30 p.m. The First Girl I Loved
• Rice Media Center
$10

7:45 p.m. Kiki
• Houston Museum of African American Culture
$10

9:30 p.m. Valley of the Dolls
Patty Duke Tribute
• Rice Media Center
$10

Saturday, July 23

12:30 p.m. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
David Bowie Tribute
• Rice Media Center
$10

1:30 p.m. Freedom to Marry
• Montrose Center
FREE

3 p.m. Liebmann (U.S. Premiere)
• Rice Media Center
$10

3:30 p.m. Flaming Creatures
Jack Smith Tribute
• Aurora Picture Show
$10

Don't Call Me Son
Don’t Call Me Son

5 p.m. Don’t Call Me Son (U.S. Premiere)
Special Centerpiece
• Rice Media Center
$10

5:30 p.m. The Night Porter
Liliana Cavani Tribute
• MFAH
$10

7 p.m. AWOL
• Rice Media Center
$10

7:30 p.m. Next to Me (International Premiere)
International Centerpiece
• MFAH
$10

8:30 p.m. Search Engines
• Brasil Café
$10

9 p.m. Paris 05:59 (Théo et Hugo dans le même bateau)
• Rice Media Center
$10

Sunday, July 24

1:30 p.m. Upstairs Inferno
• Resurrection MCC
FREE

1:30 p.m. The Cannibals
Liliana Cavani Tribute
• Rice Media Center
$10

2 p.m. Uncle Gloria: One Helluva Ride
• Ripcord
FREE

3 p.m. Women He’s Undressed
• MFAH
$10

3:30 p.m. Cancelled Faces (U.S. Premiere)
Experimental Centerpiece
• Rice Media Center
$10

Uncle Howard
Uncle Howard

5 p.m. Uncle Howard
Documentary Centerpiece
• MFAH
$10

5:30 p.m. Girls Lost
Special Centerpiece
• Rice Media Center
$10

7:30 p.m. Liquid Sky
• Rice Media Center
$10

8:30 p.m. Lazy Eye
• Brasil Café
$10

Monday, July 25

7 p.m. Love Island
Closing Night
• Rice Media Center
$10

Schedule is subject to change. For the most current films and times, visit q-fest.com.

 

Share with your friends










Submit

Comments

Tags
Show More

Megan Smith

Megan Smith is the Assistant Editor for OutSmart Magazine.

Related Articles

Back to top button