It’s Time to Come Out to the Movies
To celebrate our fabulous 14th season, the Kansas City Gay & Lesbian Film Festival is changing its name to OUT HERE NOW and getting a new, more inclusive title — the Kansas City LGBT Film Festival. But our June 2013 schedule is packed with all the great entertainment that area audiences have come to enjoy.
OUT HERE NOW kicks off with a series of short-film showcases at the LIKEME Lighthouse throughout June. Our screening team has selected some of the best LGBT short films from around the world, and they will be shown in three Tuesday night programs at the Lighthouse. Audiences will have the opportunity to rate these short films just like the festival’s screening team does. The top-rated films from the first two showcases -- on June 4 and June 11 -- will be shown at a third showcase, on June 18. These showcases are presented free, with a donation to the Lighthouse welcomed at the door. Thanks to Elizabeth Andersen, coordinator of the weekly movie nights at the Lighthouse, for hosting these short-film programs.
The film festival returns June 20-27 to the Tivoli Cinemas in Westport. More than 24 films will be featured in the seven-day showcase, including new comedies, dramas and documentaries, as well as world cinema and film classics. A record number of filmmakers will be coming to the festival for the Midwest premieres of their movies, including three world premiere screenings.
The film selected for this year’s Opening Night Celebration of Courage honor is "The Rugby Player". Winner of the 2013 HBO Audience Award from the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, "The Rugby Player" explores the lives of Mark Bingham, one of the passengers of United Flight 93 on 9/11, and his mother, Alice Hoagland, a former United Airlines flight attendant. Within the shadow of a national tragedy, "The Rugby Player" is an intimate portrait of how a young gay man’s heroism can inspire a nation and how a mother’s love can turn unfathomable loss into unshakable resolve. Alice Hoagland will be in attendance at the screening, which is co-presented by the Kansas City Human Rights Commission’s Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and the local gay rugby team, the Kansas City Carnivores.
On Friday, June 21, we celebrate our Fabulous 14th Premiere Night with a trio of highly entertaining films. Up first is the world premiere of "One Third the Terror", a beautifully shot comic spoof of the horror classic "Trilogy of Terror". It is impressively acted by Scott Presley, best known in West Hollywood as the legendary Bell Aire. Filmmaker and Kansas City native John McCrite will be here to share his fresh new take on the cult classic.
The Premiere Night fun will continue with the Midwest debut of "I Am Divine". This lively and celebrity-packed documentary follows Harris Glenn Milstead, aka Divine (1945-1988), from his humble beginnings as an overweight, teased Baltimore youth to an internationally recognized drag superstar, through his collaboration with filmmaker John Waters. Spitting in the face of the status quo of body image, gender identity, sexuality, and preconceived notions of beauty, Divine was the ultimate outsider turned underground royalty. With a completely committed in-your-face style, he blurred the line between performer and personality, and revolutionized pop culture. Advance ticket purchases are strongly recommended.
Premiere Night will conclude with the Midwest premiere of a timely, feel-good comedy about two closeted high school seniors who want to make their coming out special. In "G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend)", director Darren Stein steers his brilliant comedic ensemble through the trials and tribulations of teendom with a script chock-full of hilarious one-liners. Check out the film’s trailer at the festival website to see the likes of Megan Mullally, Natasha Lyonne, and a top-notch cast of familiar faces at their funniest.
The first film produced by the OUT HERE NOW Short Film Project and funded by our festival’s kind and generous supporters will have its world premiere on Saturday, June 22. "Outwrite" profiles three local writers — Philip blue owl Hooser, Mark Manning and David Wayne Reed — whose life stories and creative work are a vital part of both Kansas City’s gay history and its current dynamic arts scene. Director and Kansas City native Lisa Marie Evans and the featured trio of performers will be in attendance at the screening.
Sunday’s Centerpiece Screenings include "White Frog", a universal story of the power of family, friendship, and love, featuring Harry Shum Jr. from "Glee", and B.D. Wong from "Law & Order". Also featured is "Tennessee Queer", a hilarious feature film where politics, religion and gay pride clash in a small Southern town. Call it Mayberry LGBT. "Tennessee Queer" director Mark Jones will be attendance.
Our Comedy Night on Monday, June 24, features the concert film of transgender comic (and Margaret Cho’s frequent opening performer) Ian Harvie, called "Ian Harvie Superhero", and the world premiere of "Birthday Cake", a mockumentary about all the wonderfully funny and heart-warming mishaps around a gay couple’s first birthday for their daughter.
We partner with UMKC on Tuesday, June 25, for a night of screenings that will include "Break Through", an eye-opening documentary about a group of impassioned theater students who come together to produce a play aiming to shed light on the many stigmas and equality-rights issues faced by LGBT youth in the United States today.
GLAMA -- the Gay & Lesbian Archives of Mid-America -- joins us to host the premiere of two richly historic films on Wednesday, June 26. "Lesbiana" takes us on a journey to meet the lesbian writers, philosophers and activists who were key players in creating a revolutionary sisterhood in the 1970s. In "Continental", Malcolm Ingram ("Small Town Gay Bar") returns in person to Kansas City to premiere his new documentary that takes viewers back to New York City’s legendary and notorious Continental Baths.
To watch film previews, get film descriptions and download the festival schedule, visit our new website, www.OutHereNow.com.
And thanks for coming out to the movies.
Jamie Rich is the director of the Kansas City LGBT Film Festival.