Full coverage of the Seattle Gay and Lesbian film festival can be found here.
The hardest part of any film festival is figuring out what you want to see and whether anything conflicts. The Seattle International Film Festival seems especially brutal because of the sheer number of screenings occurring simultaneously. This year, they had 6 screens in Seattle, but it takes about 15-30 minutes to get from one screen to the next. So, travel considerations must always be taken into account.
Luckily, the Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is on 2 screens and, at their farthest, they’re within blocks of each other, ensuring one can easily and quickly walk from one venue to the next without much hassle. Also, the longest movie in the schedule is 123 minutes (Xenia), so there isn’t much overlap. The only real decisions you have to make are whether you want to see the rom-com gay equivalent to My Best Friend’s Wedding (The 10-Year Plan) or the documentary about a gay S&M festival (Folsom Forever).
Some choices are easy (like the above), but some are far more difficult. Should you see the excellent docu-drama hybrid The Circle or the shorts festival focusing on Queer Women of Color? That debate becomes “do you want to learn about the past or about the margins?” If you had missed The Circle at SIFF, you’d probably be inclined to go for the past, but then you probably haven’t heard much from queer women of color since The Watermelon Woman, have you?
As usual, part of the consideration of every film festival is whether there will be guests in attendance. Tonight’s opening movie Back On Board: The Greg Louganis Story brings Louganis in with his film. There are usually a handful of screenings that brings in at least one or more guests in with the movie, which is most fun with documentaries so you can delve deeper into the subject with the guests. This year, according to the program, there are guests for the following docs: Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy, Club King, In the Turn, Letter to Anita, Out in the Night, Regarding Susan Sontag, and States of Grace. The fictional films Broken Gardenias, The Dark Place, Happy End?!, In the Turn, Lyle, A Reunion and Tiger Orange all have guests.
One can’t ignore the shorts. One of the shorts festivals I’m really curious about, New Visions from the Queer Avant Garde, unfortunately runs parallel with the guest-in-attendence documentary Out in the Night. Other sorts of short line ups include the usual Boys/Girls/Trans shorts, but then there’s International Rights, Queer Youth, Coming Out, Kinky Sexuality, etc etc. Some of these themed short lists are along the gender lines (At the Crossroads seems lesbian oriented, Power Play seems male oriented), but there are a few that try to co-mingle the queer alphabet soup.
Where you go in a queer film festival really depends on what you want out of it. I’m on a learning kick, so I’ll probably be found in Children 404 about queer youth in Russia and Purple Skies about queer women in India. I’m addicted to horror, so you might find me fighting with sleep at the midnight screening of Lyle (bring on the coffee). The only two features to be noted with “Contains graphic sexuality” are Tiger Orange and Folsom Forever, though a few others are noted with the lesser “Contains sexuality” (that even Bruce LaBruce’s Gerontophilia didn’t receive). The rest are going to be trickier to figure out.