Self-discovery, unrequited love, sexual liberation, gender transitions and a lot of organic popcorn. It’s official: the 29th Annual Milwaukee LGBT Film Festival is upon us. This year’s showcase of new and historical queer film spans across an unprecedented eleven day period. In past years, the festival has shared the two week engagement at UWM’s Union Theatre with the venues’ regularly scheduled films.
Equipped with more films, guests, fashion shows and receptions than ever before, it may be difficult to choose which events you should attend. Although all of this year’s selections are likely to impress, here are five films you cannot miss.
Blackbird ($15 general/$10 students, Oriental Theatre)
Opening night of the 2014 Milwaukee LGBT Film Festival will be hosted in the Oriental Theatre’s centerpiece auditorium, one of the city’s most stunning hidden gems. From director Patrik-Ian Polk, this coming of age drama portrays the struggles of a high school choir boy, Randy (Julian Walker) as he comes to terms with his sexuality in a conservative Mississippi town.
His mother (Academy Award-winner Mo’Nique) is still heartbroken over the disappearance of youngest child, leaving Randy’s cries for help unnoticed. This is Mo’Nique first role since winning the Oscar for her powerful role in Precious. Considering the film’s heavy material, Blackbird could be her ticket back into the awards race.
Based on the novel by Larry Duplechan, Blackbird explores universal themes of loss, love and regret while juggling the meaning of family and identity.
Blackbird will screen on Thursday, October 16 at 7:30pm.
Director Partik-Ian Polk has been invited to attend the event. Regardless of his presence, a special reception will take place at Beans & Barley after the film.
Appropriate Behavior ($9/$7, Union Theatre)
The most exciting and ironically most upsetting part of the LGBT Film Fest is that the audience has only one chance to catch a particular movie. Once the box office is closed, you may not be able to find the film again for months. I have the feeling audiences will regret missing Appropriate Behavior after it stops by the Union Theatre.
This comedy staring writer/director Desiree Akhavan has been affectionately hailed as the Iranian-American, bisexual answer to HBO’s Girls. The comparison stems more from the film’s honesty about growing up than it compares the two project’s sense of humor. Akhavan’s impeccable deadpan style of comedy has earned the film solid word-of-mouth buzz.
Appropriate Behavior plays one show only on Friday, October 17 at 7pm.
Genderqueer persons are perhaps the LGBT community’s most misunderstood and underexposed members. Although Something Must Break doesn’t bill itself as the definitive genderqueer film, it is certainly a landmark in this previously uncharted topic. Acting as the LGBT’s sole feature length entry under the genderqueer banner, this “rousingly raw” Swedish romance is bound to leave an impression.
Our genderqueer lead, Sebastian (Saga Becker) is a bad-ass, take no shit kind of person. They are ready to send any trans or homophobe a message whenever the opportunity arises. When they meet a cis-gender companion, Andreas (Swedish TV star, Iggy Malmborg) life begins to change.
Something Must Break (Nånting måste gå sönder) will screen at 9pm on Friday, October 17.
Eight films for the price of one! What’s not to like? This film fest within a film fest will screen a feature length program of shorts centered all-around women. These short films range from anywhere from a Polish hangover story to a Milwaukee-made comedy called, Dykes on Bycycles.
Here’s how I see it: If you dislike a film in this series, don’t worry, you might enjoy the next one. You never know what to expect next.
An Evening of Women’s Shorts begins at 9pm on Saturday, October 18.
Ticket holders are invited to a promising night of drinks, good talks and other spirits at Art Bar – Riverwest after the presentation.
Following a well-received Milwaukee premiere last February, Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger returns to the Union Theatre. This well-crafted documentary from director Sam Feder, follows Bornstein on a tour of public and political performances. A gender outlaw, trans-dyke and self-professed “recovering Scientologist”, Bornstein is a true force of nature that deserves to be heard.
Audience Award-winner for Best Documentary at the Translations Film Festival, this intimate portrait proves just how significant its subject’s work was and continues to be. The festival is offering free tickets in anticipation of Kate Bornstein’s upcoming appearance at UWM on October 30. Having seen the film before, I can say this is an entertaining documentary well worth your time.
Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger will play for FREE at 5pm on Friday, October 24.
The 2014 Milwaukee LGBT Film Festival runs October 16th through the 26th. You can find the complete program here.
Tickets can be purchased at the Helene Zelazo Center, Outwards Books, the Oriental Theatre, online or at the Union Theatre box office.