QFilm Festival: Long Beach Celebrates 20 Years Of LGBTQ Cinema
My, how time flies when you're delivering fun—and drama and romance and thrills and chills and everything else associated with quality film festivals. But in this case, there's a heavy dollop of tolerance, equal rights and queer culture on top.
No one may be more surprised that Friday kicks off the 20th QFilm Festival in Long Beach than Robert Cano, its founder and programmer.
"Twenty years ago, when I founded this film festival, my primary goal was to get films seen in the Greater Long Beach area that were only being presented in Los Angeles," Cano says.
Since 1993, everything from under-the-radar shorts to well-known faves from the cross-county Outfest! to Margaret Cho concert films to last year's very excellent Highland Park coming-of-age flick Mosquita y Mari has appeared at the longest-running LGBTQ-themed film fest in town.
And Cano is not letting up this year, beginning with the premieres at the Art Theatre of Reaching for the Moon, a bio-pic on lesbian poet Elizabeth Bishop, and Darren Stein's G.B.F., which features solid comic actors Megan Mullally, Natasha Lyonne, Horatio Sanz and Jonathan Silverman. The opening-night party is just a stumble away at the LGBTQ Center of Greater Long Beach (or "The Center," as the cool kids call it).
Saturday and Sunday's highlights include: I Am Divine, a moving documentary on the late drag star of John Waters' Pink Flamingos and Hairspray; James Franco and Travis Mathews' controversial Interior. Leather Bar.; the romantic satire Who's Afraid of Vagina Wolf?; and Getting Go: the go doc project, a documentary from the award-winning producer of Were the World Mine, Tom Gustafson.
Cano has even wedged in a sneak-preview screening of Corpus Christi: Playing With Redemption, a documentary about Terrence McNally's frequently condemned play that depicts Jesus Christ as a gay man living in rural Texas. Intriguing shorts programs are sprinkled throughout the festival, which is capped by a juried awards night on Sunday. All net proceeds from the festival benefit the Center and its important community-outreach programs.
"It's great that 20 years later, we are still able to present filmmakers with an opportunity to . . . showcase their films," observes Cano, obviously still amazed.
Not that he has much time to reflect. Besides making final preparations for QFilms 2013, he's busy soliciting submissions for next year (through withoutabox.com).
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