The Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) just announced their entire 2015 film line up and it looks pretty fantastic. Taking place at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, September 10-13, 2015, the festival opens with director Andrew Nackman’s, FOURTH MAN OUT starring Chord Overstreet (“Glee”), Parker Young (“Suburgatory”), Kate Flannery, (“The Office”) and Evan Todd, one of my favorite films from Seattle International’s Catalyst program, and perfect choice to kick of the fest. It’s funny and just a bit subversive, and is the sort of film that plays well to both gay and straight audiences alike. “Fourth Man Out is a terrific coming of age story with a breakout performance from lead actor Evan Todd as Adam who comes out to his three best guy friends,” says Program Director Jim Brunzell, “the film has plenty of heart, laughs and sincerity and I couldn’t be happier that this award winning comedy will be opening the 28th annual aGLIFF.” FOURTH MAN OUT won the narrative Audience Award at June’s Inside Out in Toronto and the Dramatic Audience Award at Outfest in Los Angeles last weekend.
As a closer, aGLIFF will present just the 2nd US Festival screening on the documentary THE STATE OF MARRIAGE, the untold story is how legal pioneer Mary Bonauto partnered with small town Vermont lawyers Beth Robinson and Susan Murray in a two-decade long struggle that built the foundation for the entire marriage equality movement and how Vermont became the first state in the U.S. to introduce civil unions in 2000 and same sex marriages in 2009.
The rest of the schedule is below, and they are all pretty new to me other than THE SUMMER OF SANGAILE, which I described after Sundance as pretty teens looking wistfully in a faraway direction. Still, it’s a perfect choice for aGLIFF and is gorgeously shot. I am especially looking forward to the sports doc GAMEFACE, Australian prison drama CUT SNAKE and (obviously) S&M SALLY.
28th annual Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, 2015 Film Line-Up, Sept 10-13, 2015
Opening Night Film
Fourth Man Out / U.S.A. (Dir.Andrew Nackman) Southwest Premiere (pictured above)
Thursday, September 10 at 7:00pm & 7:30pm
Its Adam’s 24th birthday, and he feels that this is the perfect opportunity to come clean and reveal his secret: He’s gay to his three best guy friends. Lighthearted and unexpectedly subversive, this is a refreshingly unique take on coming out of the blue-collar closet.
The New Girlfriend / France (Dir. Francois Ozon) Southwest Premiere (pictured left)
Acclaimed French director, Francois Ozon employs elements of other great auteurs—the vibrant colors and soaring score of Sirk, the shifting psychological grounds of Hitchcock and the gender-based subversiveness of Almodóvar—blending them into a concoction all his own, when a husband’s wife dies and turns to her best friend to help him during his grief and his unexpected secret.
Closing Night Film
The State of Marriage / U.S.A. (Dir. Jeff Kaufman) Southwest Premiere
Sunday, September 13 at 5:15pm
The untold story of how legal pioneer Mary Bonauto partnered with small town Vermont lawyers Beth Robinson and Susan Murray in a two-decade long struggle that built the foundation for the entire marriage equality movement.
Narrative Films in Competition
Bright Night (Nachtelle) / Germany (Dir. Florian Gottschick) – Southwest Premiere
It could have been an idyllic summer weekend in the countryside: Anna and boyfriend Stefan meet her ex and his new partner Marc. But old guilt and differing thoughts on relationship upset the tranquillity and create an atmospheric balancing act between a mystery film and an erotic chamber drama.
Jason & Shirley / U.S.A. (Dir. Stephen Winter) – Southwest Premiere (pictured left)
In his newest experimental feature, Stephen Winter “Chocolate Babies” fictionalizes the infamous 12-hour film shoot that resulted in Shirley Clarke’s trailblazing work of cinéma vérité, “Portrait of Jason” (1967).
That’s Not Us / U.S.A. (Dir. William C. Sullivan) – Southwest Premiere
Through each of the three couples – one gay, one lesbian, and one straight – “That’s Not Us” explores sex and relationships with a fresh perspective, finding that while sexuality and gender may vary, the struggles to keep love alive do not.
The Surface / U.S.A. (Dir. Michael Saul) – Southwest Premiere
When Evan finds an 8mm movie camera at a yard sale the owner offers to teach Evan how to use it if he comes back the following week. Upon returning, Evan meets the man’s 43-year-old son, Peter. They strike up a conversation, and their youthful flirtations and tenderness are uncomplicated and pure.
Two 4 One / Canada (Dir. Maureen Bradley) – Southwest Premiere
“Two 4 One” is a bittersweet comedic drama with a transgender hero in an unimaginable predicament. Oddball couple Adam and Miriam have a pivotal an ill-advised one night stand that sees them both wind up pregnant.
Documentary Films in Competition
Deep Run / U.S.A. (Dir. Hillevi Loven) – Southwest Premiere
Executive produced by LGBTQ supporter Susan Sarandon and shot by first-time filmmaker Hillevi Loven, “Deep Run” is a powerful verité portrait of trans life in rural North Carolina.
Desert Migration / U.S.A. (Dir. Daniel F. Cardone) – Southwest Premiere
A meditation on the life of long-term HIV/AIDS survivors who have migrated to form a unique community in the beautiful but harsh landscape of Palm Springs, California.
From This Day Forward / U.S.A. (Dir. Sharon Shattuck) – Texas Premiere
When director Sharon Shattuck’s father came out as transgender and changed her name to Trisha, Sharon was in the awkward throes of middle school. Her father’s transition to female was difficult for her straight-identified mother, Marcia, to accept, but her parents stayed together.
Game Face / Belgium (Dir. Michiel Thomas) – Austin Premiere (pictured left)
“Game Face” tells the parallel story of Fallon Fox, MMA’s first transgender pro fighter, and Terrence Clemens, a college basketball player in Oklahoma who happens to be gay. The film follows both athletes during their coming out process, and sheds light on the obstacles LGBT sports players deal with throughout their career.
Reel in the Closet / U.S.A. (Dir. Stu Maddux) – Southwest Premiere
“Reel In The Closet” transports us into LGBT life of the past through rare home movies of the people who lived it. Many of the moving images in this film are shown for the first time. Many more wait to be discovered in people’s closets but are being thrown out-sometimes on purpose.
All About E / Australia (Dir. Louise Wadley) – Texas Premiere
E, a sexy DJ, is neither Spanish nor out, passing off girlfriend Trish as her lodger to her traditional Lebanese parents. When E betrays her dream of becoming a professional musician by making a deal with the sociopathic nightclub owner, her carefully-crafted illusions fall apart.
Cut Snake / Australia (Dir. Tony Ayers) – Austin Premiere (pictured left)
Ex-con Sparra is trying go straight in ’70s Melbourne courtesy of hard work and the love of a good woman. When his former cellmate Pommie darkens his doorway, Sparra scrambles to keep his sordid – and secret – past buried. Delivering all of the intrigue and involved plotting associated with neo-noirs but delighting in subverting our expectations, Ayres likewise finds surprising angles to the romantic triangle that serves as his thriller’s dramatic foundation.
Eisenstein in Guanajuato / Netherlands (Dir. Peter Greenaway) – Austin Premiere
In his dazzling and giddy glitter-bomb of a film, the always inventive British-born director Peter Greenaway (“The Cook, The Thief. His Wife and Her Lover”, “The Draughtsman’s Contract”) imagines what might have happened to the great Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein during a pivotal period of artistic and sexual awakening while sojourning in Mexico in 1931 to shoot a film he nearly couldn’t finish.
Guidance / Canada (Dir. Pat Mills) – Texas Premiere
This unconventional and quirky redemption comedy proves that everyone deserves a second chance—even an aging former child star with a penchant for booze and bad decisions masquerading as a high school guidance counselor.
How to Win at Checkers (Every Time) / Thailand (Dir. Josh Kim) – Texas Premiere
Based on the stories from the bestselling book “Sightseeing” by Rattawut Lapcharoensap, the film is set in the economic fringes of Bangkok and examines the joys and challenges of growing up in contemporary Thailand through the lens of an uneven love story between two young men.
Liz in September / Venezuela (Dir. Fina Torres) – Austin Premiere
Based on Jane Chamber’s classic lesbian play, “Last Summer At Bluefish Cove.”
Every year, Liz, a hardcore party girl and womanizer, celebrates her birthday with her friends at a Caribbean beach retreat. When a young woman outsider arrives, Liz friends dare her to seduce her.
Nasty Baby / U.S.A. (Dir. Sebastian Silva) – Austin Premiere
Winner of the 2015 Teddy Award for Best Feature at the Berlin Int’l Film Festival, follows Brooklyn artist Freddy (writer/director, Sebastian Silva) and his boyfriend, Mo (Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio), who have recruited their best friend, Polly (Kristen Wiig), to help them have a baby or conceiving a child via artificial insemination. When the three begin to be harassed by The Bishop, a mentally ill neighborhood man, an escalating series of incidents threaten to derail the comfortable lives these people have built for themselves.
S&M Sally / U.S.A. (Dir. Michelle Ehlen) – Austin Premiere (pictured left)
When Jamie finds out her girlfriend Jill has spent time exploring BDSM, her insecurities about falling behind in the bedroom push her to propose that they start going to underground clubs. A provocative and hilarious ride, “S&M Sally” details the unexpected journey that happens when your insecurities push you outside of your comfort zone, leading you down a path for which there is no going back.
The Summer of Sangaile / Lithuania (Dir. Alanté Kavaïté) – Austin Premiere
Winner of the World Cinema Directing Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Seventeen-year-old Sangaile is fascinated by stunt planes. At a summer aeronautical show near her parents’ lakeside villa, she meets Auste—a local girl who, unlike Sangaile, lives her life to the fullest with creativity and bravery. As the two girls grow closer, Sangaile allows Auste to discover her most intimate secret, and finds in her teenage love the only person who truly encourages her to fly.
While You Weren’t Looking / South Africa (Dir. Catherine Stewart) – Texas Premiere
The complex political and racial climate of South Africa is beautifully encapsulated in this lesbian drama depicting the tension between liberal bourgeois ideals and working-class realities.
You’re Killing Me / U.S.A. (Dir. Jim Hansen) – Southwest Premiere
An intriguing mix of horror, camp and romantic comedy, “You’re Killing Me” demonstrates what happens when narcissistic, wannabe Internet star George meets Joe, a monotone serial killer. This horror-comedy also features Mindy Cohn (“The Facts of Life”), comedian Drew Droege, Funny or Die’s Bryan Safi and Matthew Wilkes (“Gayby”).
Drag Becomes Him: The Jinkx Monsoon FIlm / U.S.A. (Dir. Alex Berry) – Southwest Premiere
“Drag Becomes Him provides” an intimate glimpse inside the life of internationally acclaimed drag performer Jinkx Monsoon. This raw and affectionate film follows the passionate pursuits that transformed a working class boy in a struggling family to an illustrious performer on a global stage.
Formerly Known As / U.S.A. (Dir. Janet Jensen) – World Premiere
Formerly Known As follows a trans-activist, an ASL student and a divorced parent as they navigate their transitions from female to male with the support of the queer community in Austin, TX.
The Guy with the Knife / Canada (Dir. Alison Armstrong) – Austin Premiere
Filmed over eight years, “The Guy With the Knife” traces the history of the friendship between prominent gay rights activist Ray Hill and a convicted ‘gay bash’ murderer, set against the backdrop of gay rights, victims’ rights, and prisoners’ rights, in the harsh Texas justice system.
Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story / U.S.A. (Dir. Michael Stabile) – Austin Premiere
Seed Money is the story of Chuck Holmes, a San Francisco pornographer turned philanthropist. Holmes helped shaped and create gay identity in the years after Stonewall, and became a founder of gay advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign and the LGBT Victory Fund, only to find later in life that while his money was welcome in philanthropic circles, he wasn’t.
The Royal Road / U.S.A. (Dir. Jenni Olson) – Texas Premiere (pictured left)
A cinematic essay in defense of remembering, The Royal Road offers up a primer on the Spanish colonization of California and the Mexican American War alongside intimate reflections on nostalgia, butch identity, the pursuit of unavailable women and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo – all against a contemplative backdrop of 16mm urban California landscapes, and featuring a voiceover cameo by Tony Kushner.
Brokeback Mountain / U.S.A. (Dir. Ang Lee) (10th Anniversary screening)
Winner of Three Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, “Brokeback Mountain” is one of the great American love stories between two cowboys and their lives over 20 years.
The Year We Thought About Love / U.S.A. (Dir. Ellen Brodsky) – Texas Premiere (Free Family Feature)
What happens when LGBTQ youth of color band together and dare to be ‘out’ on stage about their lives and their loves? The cast of True Colors: OUT Youth Theater transforms their struggles into performance for social change. With wit, candor, and attitude, the troupe captivates audiences surprised to hear such stories in school settings.
For badges and a list of the short films playing, head to www.agliff.org. Individual film tickets will go on sale August 30.