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Home LGBT FilmGay Movies American South LGBT Film Festivals: Gay Australian Surfers & Lesbian Parenthood

American South LGBT Film Festivals: Gay Australian Surfers & Lesbian Parenthood

The New World
Newcastle (top); The New World (bottom).
Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

According to its website, the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (website), located in Durham, is the second largest such event in the American Southeast. (I’m assuming the biggest one is in Miami.) Among the films to be screened at the festival’s 13th edition, which runs from Aug. 14–17, are Jamie Babbit’s Itty Bitty Titty Committee, the Australian surfer drama Newcastle, the haunting short Lloyd Neck, and this year’s Outfest winner Were the World Mine. (See full schedule/synopses below.)

Also, Randy Jones of the Village People will be on hand to introduce Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild! at Durham’s Fletcher Hall at 9:10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16.

And finally, as a sort of pre-festival event, the French miniseries What Love Means will screen at 7:30 pm (the event begins at 7 pm) on Saturday, August 9, at the Carolina Theatre in Durham.

Schedule and synopses from the NCGLFF website.

3-DAY WEEKEND (US, 2008, 85 min)

* Friday, 5:15pm – Cinema 2
* Saturday, 4:30pm – Cinema 2
* Sunday, 2:10pm – Cinema 2

From the director of Back Soon and Long-Term Relationship comes a new dramatic adventure. Shot entirely on location in Big Bear Lake, California, 3-Day Weekend explores the friendships and sexual relationships in a group of eight gay men as they escape to a mountain cabin for a long, relaxing weekend. However, the combination of new friends and old tensions offers more than anyone anticipated. By the end of 72 hours, a new couple has formed while another has parted ways. It’s a weekend no one will forget.


Special Guest, Randy Jones!

* Saturday, 9:10pm – Fletcher Hall

Andy, Nico, Jarod and Griff are back, cherries popped and ready to go. Meeting up during steamy Spring Break in Florida, our heroes enthusiastically enter the ultimate contest, “Gays Gone Wild.” The goal: to attain the most “action” over the course of the vacation. This may sound easy in a place where shirtless, bikini-clad collegiate hunks are around every corner, but when wet “package” contests, evil gay fratboys and genital crabs enter the picture, the guys have their work cut out for them. Sweetness reigns supreme however, as love proves to be the biggest obstacle of all. Jonah Blechman, Jake Mosser, Jimmy Clabots and Aaron Michael Davies star as the horny friends, with RuPaul and The Lady Bunny as the contest’s salacious MCs, Brent Corrigan as Stan the Merman and Scott Thompson and Lypsinka back again as Mr. and Mrs. Wilson. Beach Blanket Bingo, Mean Girls, Showgirls and The Price is Right are just some of the pop cultural references in store in what promises to be an unabashed, laugh-out loud and eye-popping good time.


* Saturday, 6:45pm – Cinema 1
* Sunday, 2:20pm – Fletcher Hall

From Casper Andreas, the director of Slutty Summer and A Four Letter Word comes this modern gay drama about falling in and out of love, and the rocky ride in between. Love makes the world go round. At least that’s what Marcel and Kyle believe, until they suddenly discover that love can alternatively flip the world upside-down. Even though they can’t legally marry, they find a way to make it work. French Marcel marries their lesbian friend Sarah so he can stay in the US with Kyle. Together, they can overcome any obstacle, hurdle any barrier. Enter Kyle’s sister, April, a former prostitute. She needs a place to crash, but for how long? Taking a quick dislike to Marcel, April methodically drips poison into their happiness. But where Marcel sees a conniving woman with a not-so-hidden agenda, Kyle only sees his sister – in need. And how do you choose between family and the love of your life? Our perfect couple falls headlong into possessiveness, jealousy and rage; trapped in the tangled emotions found in that space between love and goodbye. Just how far will one of them go to put a stop to the madness?

BOYSTOWN (Spain, 2007, 100 min)
In Spanish with English Subtitles

* Thursday, 7:00pm – Cinema 2
* Friday, 11:10pm – Cinema 2
* Saturday, 12:00pm – Cinema 2
* Sunday, 10:00am – Cinema 2

In this dark comedy, sexy and charming Victor (20 Centimeters Pablo Puyol) has created the perfect strategy to become Boystown’s top real estate agent: He makes old apartments available by murdering the elderly ladies who live in them and disguises their deaths as suicides. He then quickly updates their décor to upwardly-mobile gay couples because his ultimate goal is to transform the neighborhood into a hip “gayborhood” like the Castro in San Francisco and Chelsea in New York. But when Victor targets his latest victim – a sweet next door neighbor of a working-class gay couple – his plan hits a snag as the old lady has already bequeathed her apartment to the not-so-trendy boys next door. Toss in the eccentric Inspector Mila and her charmingly clueless
son, assigned to investigate the suicides, and soon the neighborhood is brimming with comic mishaps, sexy seductions, and more murders!

BUTCH JAMIE (US, 2008, 84 min)

* Friday, 7:10pm – Fletcher Hall
* Sunday, 10:15am – Fletcher Hall

Tootsie meets Victor Victoria in this outrageous comedy! Jamie Klein is an out-of-work butch lesbian actress who’s willing to try almost anything for a role. Not being a traditionally feminine woman, Jamie dresses up for auditions as “Femme Jamie,” but has no success in landing roles. Jamie’s best friend convinces her that the way to get cast in movies is to simply be herself, which in Jamie’s case, is short hair spiked up with gel, Doc Martin boots, a studded belt, and a neck chain. Unfortunately, this transformation tips Jamie’s perceived gender in the opposite direction, and she gets offered a role in a film…as a man! On set, Jamie confronts a whole new set of hoops to jump through as a male imposter and ends up unintentionally peaking the interests of Jill, a straight woman on location. Despite Jamie’s better judgement, she and Jill begin a hilariously complicated and sexy affair in this quirky, gender-bending comedy about struggling for success in Hollywood.

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

DADDY’S BIG GIRL (US, 2008, 17 min)

Preceding Lez Be Friends
Official site:

* Friday, 10:45pm – Cinema 1
* Sunday, 6:30pm – Cinema 1

Overweight and uninspired Millie finally attempts to reconcile with her gay father, but his half-naked male companions keep getting in the way! Starring openly gay actor, Christopher Bradley (Leather Jacket Love Story, Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss).

DRIFTING FLOWERS (Piao Lang Qing Chun) (Taiwan, 2008, 97 min)
In Taiwanese with English subtitles.

* Saturday, 9:00pm – Cinema 1

From the maker of last year’s Spider Lilies, the quietly affecting Drifting Flowers tells the interconnected stories of three Taiwanese women living in different times but all seeking themselves. The first segment opens with a fragile domestic bliss cobbled together by Jing (Serena Fang), a beautiful, blind nightclub singer, and her younger sister Meigo (Pai Chih-ying). Butch accordionist Chalkie (the striking Chao Yi-lan) upsets the balance by falling for Jing and inspiring Meigo’s first big crush. To offer Meigo a more secure future, Jing is convinced to place her in foster care with a wealthy family, causing Meigo to rage with jealousy and betrayal and risk losing both of the women she loves. The middle story belongs to Lily (Lu Yi-ching), an Alzheimer’s patient endlessly searching in her disintegrating memory for her lost lover, Ocean. When Yen (Sam Wang), her sham husband from long ago, leaves his unfaithful boyfriend and comes to visit with his own suitcase of troubles, Lily often mistakes him for the butch Ocean returned, and the two wounded friends build on a sympathy they’ve always shared. The final segment follows Chalkie, coming of age with best pal Yen and coming to terms with her repulsion at her own budding body and her complicated feelings for girls. She meets the young Lily and both claim their futures, which arrive in unexpected ways.

“EVE AND THAT DAMNED APPLE” (US/Australia, 2007-2008, 89 min)

* Saturday, 10:30am – Fletcher Hall
* Sunday, 2:15pm – Cinema 1

After seeing these seven hilarious shorts, you might find yourself inspired to watch some very bad lesbian romance flicks in order to stop laughing. Jersey Dyke is the uproarious tale of two Catholic-schoolgirl lesbian lovers who are torn apart by family pressures. The makers of last year’s Menopausal Gals Gone Wild are back with Weimar House, a comedic horror short that mocks the mockery of the gay marriage debate! And in the comedic documentary Ready or Not, three women face their fears and find happiness in unexpected places. Human Potential is about a gay Development Associate in her 30s who attempts to bring order to a disorganized non-profit organization. Love is Love is a poignant yet funny look at what life might be like or how life might be like if the world was predominantly gay and straight people were the queer ones. Members Only is about Amy, the new kid in town, who can’t seem to get a date…or even a woman to look in her direction until she meets a power lesbian. And an outrageous soap-opera drama from Down Under, The Vicious and the Delicious, explores the shocking scandals of the powerful Cassamento family and their lovers. Hair-pulling catfights, countless illicit affairs, flamboyant fashion statements and bizarre story twists…all this and more!

Love is Love (US, 2007, 7 min); Human Potential (US, 2007, 19 min); Weimar House (US, 2008, 12 min); Members Only (US, 2007, 10 min); Jersey Dyke (US, 2008, 11 min); Ready or Not (Australia, 2008, 17 min); The Vicious and the Delicious (Australia, 2008, 12 min)

Official site:

* Friday, 11:00pm – Fletcher Hall
* Saturday, 11:10pm – Fletcher Hall

Come find out why some things should stay in the closet! Helen and Luella are just another typical God-fearing mother and daughter who happen to bake Mincemeat muffins and run a charming B&B named the Sahara Salvation Inn. But on the eve of the biggest circuit party of the year, five couples find themselves in the middle of the desert, off the main highway, having to make accommodations at the remote lodge with its Southwest homey décor. Suddenly, the biggest party of the year turns into a deadly night of mayhem for each special guest in The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror, a campy but legitimately creepy horror flick. Checking-into the guest book are some arty lipstick lesbians, some sweater queens, coffee-house dykes, a sugar daddy, a drag diva, a Mr. Leather Dom, and an annoying fag hag. What follows is a perfect mix of chills and skin, including severed heads, pool-house hookups, blood-filled bathtubs, naked body painting, knife-wielding Republicans and a frightening shrine to neo-conservatives and evangelical pastors. With nods to Psycho, A Nightmare on Elm Street and countless teen slasher films, The Gay Bed & Breakfast of Terror is guaranteed to scratch your scary movie itch.

“IN THE GAZE OF THE BUTCH GODDESS” (US/Canada, 2007-2008, 88 min)
Official sites: (Godspeed)

* Thursday, 9:25pm – Fletcher Hall
* Sunday, 4:30pm – Fletcher Hall

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

In the Gaze of the Butch Goddess is an electrifying collection of short features about femmes, butches, and drag kings! Eddie tells the story of a young Latina girl who is forced to deal with her sexuality as a result of an embarrassing mishap during a summer afternoon kickball game. Godpseed features a speed freak bike messenger who passes as a boy to win the love of a stripper, but instead finds his own heart on the way. Always an outsider, a young woman finds her niche when she lands a job at a kooky drag bar and assumes the new identity of Prada Handbag. Using borrowed clips from three films about gender bending, a personal gender landscape is created in The Role I Was Born to Play. An office worker daydreams of wide open spaces and a certain cowgirl in the deliciously entertaining Cubicles and Cowgirls. What more could any butch ask for in Mechanic’s Daydream: an homage to perfection with high femmes, aerialists and vintage motorcycles. And witness the escapades and philosophy of a professional pimp daddy in Who Is Sterling Maxwell, PPD?

Godspeed (US, 2007, 16 min); The Role I Was Born to Play (Canada, 2007, 10 min); Cubicles and Cowgirls (US, 2008, 2 min); Mechanic’s Daydream (US, 2008, 9 min); Eddie (US, 2007, 10 min); Prada Handbag (US, 2007, 22 min); Who is Sterling Maxwell, PPD? (US, 2008, 20 min)


* Saturday, 4:50pm – Cinema 1

From the director of But I’m a Cheerleader and the producer of D.E.B.S. comes Itty Bitty Titty Committee, the new film by Jamie Babbit which updates riot grrrl culture and breathes new cool into feminism. Our heroine, wide-eyed young dyke Anna has just been dumped by her first girlfriend. She works a miserable job at a breast augmentation clinic and suffers her parents’ and coworkers’ efforts get her to pad her own inadequate chest. But her plunge into self-loathing is arrested when she is swept into a guerrilla feminist cell by the enticing Sadie (blond bombshell Nicole Vicius.) The group (acronym C(I)A; see the movie and you’ll know what it stands for) embarks on an anarchic rampage with a riotous glee rarely granted to women in movies: they run from cops, hop fences, spray-paint over sexist billboards, shout feminist slogans, and graffiti everything with their acronym. Soon, however, they run afoul of the same problems that have beset activist groups since the 1960s: sexual drama, a dependence on an older and stodgier generation for money, and heated debates over the use of violence. But Itty Bitty reminds us that just because these problems always crop up, that doesn’t mean they’re insurmountable – and that actually, looked at in the right light, they’re kind of funny. Itty Bitty is a rockin’ love song to the heady rush of sex, freedom and rebellion that happens when an everyday girl discovers her own strength and the righteous indignation needed to take action and change the world.

LEZ BE FRIENDS (US, 2008, 70 min)
Official site:

* Friday, 10:45pm – Cinema 1
* Sunday, 6:30pm – Cinema 1

From the producer of Boy Culture, Stephen Israel, and the director of Boychick, Glenn Gaylord, comes this hilarious new feature-length sitcom! A throwback to the three-camera sitcoms of the 60s and 70s, Lez Be Friends consists of two super-sized episodes that pay homage to those comedies of days gone by. Ricca Pike is a butch lesbian who must pretend to be a hetero girly-girl in order to live with her two (inevitably shirtless) gay male roommates lest she incur the wrath of their lesbian-hating, old queen of a landlord, Truman DuBois. Set the day after the Stonewall Riots in 1969 Greenwich Village, Lez is a loving homage to the great sitcoms of the 70s with an even gayer twist on Three’s Company than anyone thought possible! Move over Will and Grace, 70s queer history serves as the basis for a delightfully skewered sitcom with gay and lesbian characters that would make Norman Lear proud.

“LOW-HANGING FRUIT BASKET” (Various Countries, 2007-2008, 94 min)
Official sites: (Sucker) (Gay Zombie, above)

* Saturday, 12:30pm – Cinema 1
* Sunday, 4:20pm – Cinema 1

Here’s a collection of intriguing shorts from around the world that tells us no matter the array of gorgeous looks we conjure for ourselves, beauty really is only skin deep. Gay Zombie is a hilarious, heart-ripping tale that centers around a sexually confused flesh-eater from West Hollywood who meets a special someone named Todd. Everything is peachy until his flesh eating appetite can no longer be subdued. Will his bloody ways be too much for a boy to bear? Sucker is the tale of a young man and his notable “talent.” A clever 1950s social etiquette film teaches straight men how not to look, act, or feel gay in How to Go on a Man Date. A cynical French film student is disillusioned by his experiences in London until he’s befriended by a stranger who shows him a side of the city – and himself – that he would have never seen during Le Weekend. Two warring neighbors toil with everyday existence in Rock Garden: A Love Story. An average-looking guy discovers a magic website that transforms his body into anything he describes himself as online in VGL-Hung. A girl writes love letters to a policeman and places them in The Police Box on his daily beat, but a jealous boy decides to play a trick on both of them.

Sucker (US, 2008, 17 min); Le Weekend (UK, 2007, 15 min); Gay Zombie (US, 2007, 20 min); Rock Garden: A Love Story (Canada, 2007, 10 min); VGL-Hung (UK, 2007, 20 min); How to Go on a Man Date (US, 2008, 8 min); Police Box (Hong Kong, 2007, 4 min)


* Saturday, 8:45pm – Cinema 2
* Sunday, 4:15pm – Cinema 2

From beginning to end, this collection of women’s shorts spans the range an average lesbian’s life experiences: from youth to maturity, sexual awakening to romantic love, as well as heartbreak, defiance, individualism, and everything in between. A young girl defies convention during her summer swim class in No Bikini. 8-year old Kristy is a feisty tomboy who absolutely loves a particular T-shirt of hers. But on the day of her grandmother’s birthday party, Kristy learns that her mother has thrown it away and wants her to wear a dress! Why? Because grandmother always confuses Kristy with her cousin, Johnny. Tokens is an experimental documentary that explores the intersection of sexuality and Mormonism at a pivotal moment in a young woman’s life. In Just Me?, the only lesbian in a large, extended family discovers her great-grandmother’s photo album and begins to suspect she is not alone. In Long Ago, a hairstyle that won’t go away mirrors the difficulty of moving on after a romance has ended. And finally in the dark drama Congratulations, Daisy Graham, seventy year-old Daisy is having a hard day. There’s a ceremony in her honor tomorrow at the local high school, but Daisy has more important things to think about. She’s dug out her old rifle, now all she needs is a box of bullets.

Tokens (US, 2008, 18 min); Just Me? (US, 2008, 11 min); Long Ago (US, 2008, 13 min); No Bikini (Canada, 2008, 9 min); Kristy (US, 2008, 7 min); Congratulations Daisy Graham (Canada, 2007, 15 min)

NEWCASTLE (Australia, 2008, 107 min)
Official site:

* Thursday, 9:30pm – Cinema 1
* Friday, 9:15pm – Cinema 2
* Saturday, 10:00am – Cinema 2
* Saturday, 11:00pm – Cinema 2
* Sunday, 6:15pm – Cinema 2

Newcastle is a beautiful Australian coming-of-age family drama (think Ordinary People) set in world of competitive surfing. Every second of surfing footage in Newcastle is so mind-blowingly gorgeous, you won’t want to take your eyes off the screen. The Hoff family has three brothers: Jesse (Lachlan Buchanan), a 17 year old surfer, living in the shadow of his older half-brother Victor (Reshad Strik), a former surf champion whose life is now in ruins due to a knee injury and a drinking problem; and Fergus (Xavier Samuel), who dies his hair purple, wears nail polish and Clash t-shirts, and is in the midst of discovering he might be gay. Even when he’s in his natural habitat of magnificent surf breaks, Jesse’s blue-collar future is brought home by the coal barges that constantly line his horizon. He has the natural skills to surf his way out of this reality and onto the international circuit, but when a weekend with his mates turns into an unexpected and devastating tragedy, Jesse must now face the biggest wave of his life and find the courage to hold on and discover his dreams.

THE NEW WORLD (Le Nouveau Monde) (France, 2008, 92 min)
In French with English subtitles.

* Saturday, 12:35pm – Fletcher Hall

In this fresh comedy on lesbian parenthood, things go awry right from the beginning. Lucie accidentally announces her need to have kids with her girlfriend Marion… via microphone to a karaoke club. When Marion agrees, they go through one train-wreck of a sperm donor after another. And when they tell their families, the real fun begins. Lucie’s neurotic hippie parents worry that her desire to have kids means she’s becoming “too normal”. Marion’s pathologically homophobic church-lady mom refuses to call Marion a mother, only because she’s not the one giving birth. Just as things start to stabilize, the dyke-parent couple find that is their role models goes down in drunken messy flames. And their donor Hugo, whom they’re hoping will take interest in the pregnancy, seems more interested in a poker game than an ultrasound. All this before the final trimester! Amidst the pile-up of trouble, The New World has plenty of warmth and humanity, as well. These wide-eyed mommies-to-be may have no idea what they’re doing, but they’re in it together.

NIGHTDRAGON (UK, 2008, 80 min)
Official site:

* Friday, 8:50pm – Cinema 1

In the tradition of Bound, NightDragon is a dark suspenseful thriller about love and forgiveness overcoming violence and betrayal. A small cabal of professional criminals attempt to extort information from a beautiful but naive lawyer, but are betrayed from within when Liz, one of their number falls in love with the victim. Now, the two women are on the run from the ruthless killers. But who is friend and who is foe? And what is the dangerous drug cocktail known as…nightdragon?

“OUT RIDING FENCES” (US, 2007-2008, 88 min)
Official sites: (Trystan) (Just) (Laundromat)

* Friday, 5:10pm – Cinema 1
* Saturday, 11:15pm – Cinema 1

Everyone sometimes knowingly breaks the rules set by their spouses, friends, parents or significant others. Here are six cautionary, dramatic tales about men who must confront the reality of getting what they wished for. In Solace, a lonely young man meets his dream come true…but when he heads out for a late-night hook-up, he gets more than he bargained for. A teenage boy discovers that he has a crush on his piano teacher in Trystan. And two men learn that a casual hook-up is anything but in Just. A Lesson in Biology unfolds on prom night, 1968, in the Deep South, as 18 year-old Tom confronts his biology teacher about dangerous secrets they have shared. Meanwhile, a young gay couple learn the meaning of “taking it day by day” in Laundromat. In Lloyd Neck, Alex has a crush on her brother’s friend Jesse, but he likes Alex’s brother Taylor.

A Lesson in Biology (US, 2007, 23min); Trystan (US, 2008, 10 min); Just (US, 2007, 12 min); Laundromat (US, 2008, 12 min); Solace (US, 2007, 15 min); Lloyd Neck (US, 2007, 16 min)

PAGEANT (US, 2008, 95 min)
Official site:

* Saturday, 2:30pm – Fletcher Hall

Pageant takes you behind the scenes as 52 ordinary gentlemen go to extraordinary lengths in order to be crowned the 34th Miss Gay America. This contest is about the art of illusion, so hormones and surgical body enhancements are forbidden. The movie follows five of the most talented and beautiful female impersonators as they prepare to dominate in this underground competition. Hear from the men as well as from those in their entourage: husbands, mothers, sons, and little brothers. Pageant features stunning musical numbers, while diving into the heart and soul of this make-believe world. But it’s the film’s focus on the people under the mascara that makes Pageant truly resonate. Soon the real-life drama of the competition takes over as we watch extravagant performances and frantic costume changes, wondering who will walk away with the coveted crown. Everybody has a dream; these men are making theirs a reality. “It will steal your heart away in a way you’d never expect. Everyone will have a favorite.”- Amy Sewell, Filmmaker, Mad Hot Ballroom.


* Thursday, 9:15pm – Cinema 2
* Friday, 7:15pm – Cinema 2
* Saturday, 2:15pm – Cinema 2
* Saturday, 6:30pm – Cinema 2
Sunday, 12:00pm – Cinema 2

Witness this enchanting, heartbreaking, and oftentimes hilarious collection of tales featuring queens of all fashions! From the makers of Taco Chick and Salsa Girl comes Cooking with Kay, a laugh-out-loud comedy about a bitter cooking show diva and a former Miss Teen Tijuana (Kay Sedia) who is thrust into the limelight as her replacement. In The Red Dress, a mischievous woman honors friendship and life by fulfilling her best friend’s dying wish. Waiting for Yvette is a heartfelt comedy about having second thoughts on the eve of an operation that will change you forever. And after his untimely death, an amateur drag queen returns from the grave to lay his hands on his favorite dress in the charming comedy, What the Frock! Be forewarned: leave all your political correctness at the concessions counter when you watch Tranny McGuyver. It’s a brutally funny romp about three rookie cops who outdyke Cagney and Lacey while tackling pimps, hoes and the evilest criminals the underworld has to offer. Finally, in the true-to-life psychological drama, It’s Me, Matthew!, a young man deals with the painful effects of his past on his current life.

Cooking with Kay (US, 2008, 22 min); Waiting for Yvette (US, 2008, 14 min); Tranny McGuyver (US, 2008, 17 min); What the Frock! (US, 2008, 12 min); The Red Dress (US, 2008, 7 min); It’s Me, Matthew! (US, 2008, 15 min)

READY? OK! (US, 2007, 90 min)
Official site:

* Saturday, 4:45pm – Fletcher Hall
* Sunday, 12:10pm – Cinema 1

From the producers of 29th and Gay and Feet of Clay comes this poignant comedy about a single mom struggling to understand her young son’s obsession with dresses, dolls and girls’ cheerleading. Although Joshua is a smart, happy and enthusiastic ten-year-old, Andrea worries that he’s on the wrong track. With each summons to the Mother Superior’s office at Joshua’s private school, she searches for answers to a nagging problem: How can she convince him that aspiring to be on the cheerleading squad, relishing the art of the French braid and calling Maria von Trapp his most influential role model is just not what little boys do? Some hard advice from her gay next-door neighbor Charlie (Michael Emerson, Ben from TV’s Lost) helps Andrea turn her focus in the right direction: inward. Embracing Joshua’s individuality rather than fearing it might be the only answer, but can she do it? With comically truthful performances and a healthy dash of wacky farce, Ready? OK! explores a family on the verge of either destruction or elevation.

SAVE ME (US, 2008, 96 min)

* Friday, 9:10pm – Fletcher Hall

Though there is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed, the ex-gay movement has been at the polarizing center of religious and sexual debates in the U.S. since the 1970s. In Save Me, starring not one, but two openly gay actors; Mark (Chad Allen) a self-destructive addict hooked to anonymous sex and narcotics finally hits bottom. Concerned for his welfare, his brother checks him into Genesis House, an ex-gay Christian ministry located in the sandy landscape of New Mexico, and miles from anywhere. Overseen by a compassionate husband and wife team, Gayle (Judith Light) and Ted (Stephen Lang), their life’s mission is to guide, young gay men to convert to heterosexuality by offering spiritual guidance through a 12-step program. Initially rebellious and suspicious of the ministry’s work, Mark soon develops a close bond with some of the other residents, especially with Scott (Robert Gant), a Genesis resident and “level 5” mentor charged with guiding Mark through the steps. Protective of her new charge and nursing a painful secret, Gayle becomes increasingly wary of Scott’s intentions as Mark and Scott’s affinity for each other strengthens. Forced to confront values that she holds true, Gayle has to finally face some truths about love.

“STANDING IN THE COLD RAIN” (Australia/US, 2007-2008, 89 min)

* Friday, 5:00pm – Fletcher Hall
* Saturday, 2:45pm – Cinema 1

Here’s a collection of eight dramatic short women’s films that attempt to shed light on why modern relationships can be so difficult. Billie, the heroine of Dandelion Fall, is a guitar-strumming cowgirl from the sticks who must choose to stay or move on from a destructive relationship with a wealthy Manhattan socialite. Twilight’s Shadow introduces the adventure of a female vampire, caught between two worlds. But when the leader of her Coven takes revenge against the mortal she loves, Carlisle is summoned to face the creature that lurks within. In The Insomniacs, Bell can’t sleep, so she goes to a nightly Insomniacs Anonymous meeting and discovers the girl of her dreams. A woman whose thoughts and actions are controlled by a 100 year-old code of social etiquette struggles to attract the attention of a potential female suitor in Fine and Dandy. Innocent dumpster diving becomes a mood-changing experience for a woman and her friends in Mood Swing. In Trophy, a teenager’s routine visit to her father’s vacation home turns steamy when she finds herself unexpectedly attracted to her father’s fiancé. Set in 1908, The Touch is based on the true story between a well-known poet and a married Islamic woman. In Last Exit, Cody returns to her hometown and discovers that old flames still burn.

Last Exit (US, 2007, 14 min); Dandelion Fall (US, 2008, 14 min); Mood Swing (US, 2008, 4 min); Fine and Dandy (Australia, 2007, 15 min); The Insomniacs (US, 2007, 11 min); In Twilight’s Shadow (US, 2008, 12 min); Trophy (US, 2008, 11 min); The Touch (US, 2008, 8 min)

“TINKERBELL SPRINKLED THE FAIRY DUST” (US/Canada, 2007-2008, 80 min)
Official sites: (Fabulosity) (Ready? OK!) (Just Me?)

* Saturday, 10:20am – Cinema 1
* Sunday, 10:10am – Cinema 1

Here’s a toy box of shorts for boys and girls of all ages! No sex and violence, no bad language, no condescension; just fun for everyone. Ready? OK! is a comedic coming-of-age tale about a young boy who’s just discovered his latest passion: cheerleading! As he decides to audition for the squad, his mother is forced to confront age-old stereotypes. A young girl defies convention during her summer swim class in No Bikini. Eddie tells the story of a young Latina girl who is forced to deal with her sexuality as a result of an embarrassing mishap during a summer afternoon kickball game. In Just Me?, the only lesbian in a large, extended family discovers her great-grandmother’s photo album and begins to suspect she is not alone. In a delightful animated comedy, a conservative couple learns that their unborn son will have Fabulosity. 8-year old Kristy is a feisty tomboy who absolutely loves a particular T-shirt of hers. But on the day of her grandmother’s birthday party, Kristy learns that her mother has thrown it away and wants her to wear a dress! Why? Because grandmother always confuses Kristy with her cousin, Johnny.

Fabulosity (US, 2008, 6 min); Eddie (US, 2007, 10 min); Kristy (US, 2008, 7 min); No Bikini (Canada, 2008, 9 min); Ready? OK! (US, 2008, 26 min); Just Me? (US, 2008, 11 min)

TRU LOVED (US, 2008, 101 min)
Official site:

* Thursday, 7:20pm – Cinema 1
* Sunday, 12:15pm – Fletcher Hall

Finally a plucky high school heroine who’s neither pregnant nor a cheerleader! In this delightful second feature from Stewart Wade (Coffee Date), Tru is the new girl in a conservative suburban California high school. If she seems a little aloof and way too grown-up, ask her more about her name and you’ll find out why. Tru as in Gertrude as in Gertrude Stein, so named by her two overprotective Moms. That’s right, two Moms, as in… exactly. But contrary to school rumor, Tru’s not a lesbian herself. In fact, in a hilariously hetero high school cliché, she’s falling for the quarterback Lo. The only catch is… well, let’s just say Lo takes Tru to a musical on their first date, and he doesn’t even try for a goodnight kiss. See, Lo’s on the Down Low, and this is just the beginning of Tru’s romantic woes. This romantic comedy abounds with wry humor, gentle warmth and it has universal appeal. The cast’s older generation is full of faces you know and love from TV and film, including comic legend Bruce Vilanch, Jasmine Guy (A Different World), Jane Lynch (Best In Show, The L Word) Marcia Wallace (The Bob Newhart Show) and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura from the original Star Trek!).

WERE THE WORLD MINE (US, 2008, 96 min)
Official site:

* Thursday, 7:10pm – Fletcher Hall

If you had a love potion, who would you make fall madly in love with you? Timothy (Tanner Cohen) is a cute gay outcast at an all-boys prep school with a serious crush on handsome jock, Jonathon (Nathaniel David Becker), who fuels his dazzling musical daydreams. Recognizing Timothy’s potential is the eccentric drama teacher, Ms. Tebbit (Wendy Robie, Nadine from Twin Peaks), who convinces him to audition for the school’s staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Perfectly cast as the mischievous sprite, Puck, Timothy is delighted to discover that Jonathon will share the stage with him. Jonathon’s homophobic coach, on the other hand, is decidedly less than thrilled with the idea that his boys will be prancing around on stage – some even playing female roles! Inspired by the play, Timothy stumbles upon a hidden recipe within the script to whip up a batch of love potion and is stunned when it unexpectedly works – only too well. Not only has he made Jonathon fall in love with him, but the rest of his small town seems to be turning gay too! With vibrant imagery, an incredibly talented young cast, and innovative music rivaling the best of contemporary Broadway, Were The World Mine pushes modern gay cinema and musicals beyond expectation. “Hedwig had better move over.” – The Advocate.

WHAT LOVE MEANS (Sa Raison d’Etre)
in French with English subtitles

* Saturday, August 9
* Tickets: $20 (fundraiser for the 13th Annual North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival)

Spanning 20 years over the course of two extended parts, the series follows the lives, loves, and tragedies of an extended family beginning in the early 1980s. Siblings Nicholas and Isabelle are both in love with Bruno, but his heart belongs to Isabelle. As this triangle plays out against the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic, none will survive unscathed, drawing in other family members and friends as they confront homophobia, illness, parenthood, and new relationships over the years. Immediately addictive from the first scene, and featuring brilliant acting and believable characters, What Love Means is an intelligent, heartfelt, and romantic drama that is not to be missed.

Ticket price includes a wine and cheese reception (during a 30-40min intermission) as well as admission to an exclusive silent auction, benefiting the 13th Annual North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

THE WORLD UNSEEN (UK/South Africa, 2007, 94 min)

* Saturday, 7:00pm – Fletcher Hall

In this beautiful 1950s South African set drama, an unexpected love develops between two Indian women against the backdrop of the beginnings of apartheid. Rebellious café owner Amina, in her trousers and male shirts, makes her own rules. Her café harbors those who are most affected by the new racial laws. When she meets the more traditional (and stunningly beautiful) Miriam, a pretty young wife and mother, she is immediately smitten. Strait-laced Miriam, stuck in a loveless marriage, is fascinated by Amina’s unconventional ways. Their immediate mutual attraction surprises them both. Seeing such a self-possessed Indian woman makes Miriam think and feel things she hasn’t before. She discovers just how imprisoned she is in her traditional marriage and starts to look for ways to have her own voice and enter the larger world. As the two women get to know each other through a series of driving lessons, passion ensues, and events soon force them to stand up to the ever-vigilant and volatile apartheid police. But in a system that divides white from black and women from men, what chance is there for an unexpected love to survive?

XXY (Argentina, 2007, 91 min)
In Spanish with English subtitles.
Official site:,68

* Friday, 7:00pm – Cinema 1
* Sunday, 6:45pm – Fletcher Hall

Alex is not like other girls. She is a 15-year-old with a secret. She was born an intersex child (with both male and female genitalia). Her parents keep her hidden away at a coastal town in amongst the dunes of the shoreline, buying time before they must decide on a life-threatening operation. When an old family friend arrives from Buenos Aires with his teenage son Alvaro, Alex is immediately attracted to the young man and begins to realize that this visit could change her life forever. As the parents wrestle with the complications that will arise as Alex reaches adulthood, Alex and Alvaro become close, their relationship causing tensions amongst the locals. However, as the parents battle to instill a sense of open-mindedness amongst their society, it is the children who prove themselves to be flexible in understanding the sexual leanings and complexities of others.

Sarasota GLBT Film Festival

The Sarasota Film Society’s GLBT Film Festival is taking place this weekend.

Shelter, screening this evening, has received much praise at various gay film festival across the US. Based on a record-breaking bestseller, The Yacoubian Building, which screens tomorrow, was a major box-office hit in Egypt upon its release a couple of years ago. Using Cairo’s landmark Yacoubian Building (though the film was shot elsewhere) as a microcosm representing the decaying country in which the structure is located, director Marwan Hamed succeeded in creating a vast and intricate — and hardly flattering — tapestry of modern Egyptian society.

Schedule and synopses from the Sarasota Film Society’s site.

AFFINITY (120 min.)
Directed by Tim Fywell
A grieving upper-class woman, Margaret (Anna Madeley) becomes a “Lady Visitor” at Millbank prison, hoping to escape her troubles and be a guiding figure in the lives of the female prisoners. Of all her friendships with prisoners, she is most fascinated by Selina (Zoe Tapper) — a medium. Set in the 1870s.
Friday 08/15, 5:00 PM

Florida Premiere!
Directed by Todd Stephens
Andy (Jake Mosser), Nico (Jonah Blechman), Jarod (Jimmy Clabots) and Griff (Aaron Michael Davies) reunite in Fort Lauderdale for Spring Break and participate in a contest called “Gays Gone Wild.”
Friday 08/15, 7:45 PM

Directed by Tom Murray
This light-hearted documentary celebrates the lives of Gay men, their bonding, sense of brotherhood and quest to explore non-urban adventures.
Saturday 08/16, 1:00 PM

Florida Premiere!
Directed by Casper Andreas
A modern gay drama involving Kyle (Simon Miller) and Marcel (Justin Tensen) who are falling in love at first sight, and the rocky road they travel leading them to fall out of love.
Sunday 08/17, 3:15 PM

Directed by Stu Maddux
(Playing with MOMMY MOMMY)
The story about two men who met in the service, confronted the troops in their unit 52 years ago and went on to live the rest of their lives together.
Friday 08/15, 2:30 PM

FREEHELD (40 min.)
Florida Premiere!
Academy Award Winner!
Directed by Cynthia Wade
Closing Night Event with reception at Esca
Screening followed by panel discussion on the Marriage Amendment
Lieutenant Laurel Hester is dying. All she wants to do is leave her pension benefits to her life partner — Stacie.
Sunday 08/17, 5:30

LOVE MY LIFE (96 min.)
Directed by Kôji Kawano, in Japanese w/Eng. subtitles
This story, based on a manga, relates the intense relationship between two young women, Ichiko (Rei Yoshii) and Eri (Asami Imajuku), both university students.
Sunday 08/17, 1:00 PM

MOMMY MOMMY (42 min.)
Florida Premiere!
Directed by Sylvie Rosenthal
This documentary explores the trials and tribulations of Linda and Mona in their attempts to start a family in Quebec. Even though Quebec is one of the few places in the world having legalized gay marriage and adoption, things are harder than they seem.
Friday 08/15, 2:30 PM

READY? OK! (93 min.)
Florida Premiere!
Directed by James Vasquez
Opening Night Film followed by a party at Burns Court Cinemas
In this comedy, a single Mom (Carrie Preston) struggles to understand and accept her young son’s (Lurie Poston) obsession with dresses, dolls and girls’ cheer-leading.
Saturday 08/16, 6:15 PM

SHELTER (88 min.)
Directed by Jonah Markowitz
Followed by a Karaoke party at 5ONE6 BURNS
Forced to give up his dreams of art school, Zach (Trevor Wright) works dead-end jobs to support his sister and her son. Questioning his life, he paints and surfs. When his best friend Gabe’s older brother, Shaun (Brad Rowe), returns home for the summer, Zach suddenly finds himself drawn into a relationship he did not expect.
Saturday 08/16, 8:15 PM

Florida Premiere!
Directed by Marwan Hamed, in Arabic w/Eng. subtitles
The Yacoubian Building in Cairo was long regarded as the last word in comfort and elegance. Nowadays the veneer has cracked and the shine has dulled to reveal the truth underneath the façade. Through interwoven stories of a number of the residents, the film paints a portrait of corruption, fundamentalism, prostitution, homosexuality, and drugs in central Cairo and creates a vibrant but socially critical picture of contemporary Egypt.
Saturday 08/16, 3:00 PM

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