More than 25 films will be showcased in this year’s Kansas City Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Each of the films featured was chosen to become part of a representative sampling of the excellence and variety in new and emergent LGBT cinema.

Four of the films selected for 2012 have been honored in advance by the festival’s selection committee

Morgan, a love story centered on a young gay man whose spirit and drive prevent him from accepting his new life as a paraplegic, has been awarded the 2012 Jury Prize. The Jury Prize, first awarded in 2001 to Big Eden, is a special distinction bestowed upon a film that advances the diversity and excellence of LGBT cinema. Past recipients of this award have also included Saint of 9/11, The Edge of Heaven, Undertow and last year’s honoree, Gun Hill Road.

Keep the Lights On has been named as the 2012 Critics Pick Selection. This new feature film by award-winning director Ira Sachs chronicles an emotionally and sexually charged journey of two men in New York City through love, friendship and addiction. It has been praised as an honest new work that can be added to the short list of high-quality dramatic films that have been made about the contemporary gay experience.

The warm-hearted yet irreverent ensemble comedy Gayby has been chosen as the 2012 Centerpiece Comedy. Gayby reimagines and generously expands upon the award-winning short film of the same name that screened at more than 100 film festivals — including ours in 2010. It follows the misadventures of two former college buddies, a gay man and a straight woman, who decide to have a child together the old-fashioned way.

Our 2012 Director’s Showcase honoree is a rising, Latino filmmaker, Gary Terracino, who will attend the festival to present his poignant comedy-drama Elliot Loves. This just-named Audience Award Winner from the 2012 Miami Gay Film Festival follows the title character at two stages of his life: as a 9-year-old who is sidekick and confidant to his barely keeping it together single mom; and as a 21-year-old looking for love in New York City.

Throughout the festival, audiences will have the opportunity to cast their ballots to help determine the winner of the festival’s annual Audience Awards for Best Feature, Best Documentary, and Best Short Film.

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