Over the course of 10 days (Oct. 11 through 20), SWGLFF will host 21 features, five documentaries and 44 short films. On a good day that means the 2013 film festival will run from noon until well past midnight. Better stock up on your sodas and popcorn, people. In fact the submissions for this year’s festival were so overwhelmingly good that Appicciafoco found himself cramming in more films even after the schedule was done. Everybody’s Got Somebody... Not Me, a contemporary Mexican film examining the relationship between a condescending intellectual woman and a curious private school teen wasn’t supposed to be on the schedule. But once he saw the attention-grabbing lesbian drama, Appicciafoco couldn’t resist. He calls the innovative black-and-white film one of the most stylish narratives he’s seen since Pulp Fiction. And that’s just one of five Showcase Films featured in this year’s festival. So what other highlights can attendees look forward to in this year’s movie-packed lineup? We’ve picked out a few highlights just to give you an idea of what’s in store.
Fri. Oct. 18, 9:15pm
In 1980, director William Friedkin made the controversial and sometimes brutally honest crime drama Cruising, set in New York’s notorious S&M leather bar scene. In order to avoid an X-rating, distributor United Artists expunged 40 minutes from the film. Now actor James Franco and filmmaking partner Travis Matthews have set out to “recreate” all that lost footage. Part documentary, part sexually explicit art film, Interior. Leather Bar. is the sort of attention-grabbing experiment that draws curious audience members like flies. This one will probably be the first of the festival to sell out.
Sat., Oct. 12, 7:45pm
Before his death in 1988, drag performer Divine (né Harris Glen Milstead) went from trashy transvestite to certified movie star thanks to his work with maverick filmmaker pal John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Hairspray). This documentary charts Milstead’s journey from bullied fat kid in suburban Baltimore to beloved actor, entertainer and comedian. Archival interviews with the Divine One as well as new footage featuring family, friends, costars and admirers make this an emotional portrait of a proud outsider icon.
Wed., Oct. 16, 8pm
Quebecois actor/filmmaker Xavier Dolan (I Killed My Mother, Heartbeats) has made a name for himself as an up-and-coming filmmaker to watch. His newest effort stars longtime French actor Melvil Poupaud (Genealogies of a Crime, A Summer’s Tale, Le Divorce) as a respected high school literature teacher and author who decides to begin the transition to womanhood. The character’s emotional, 10-year journey is chronicled in this joie-de-vivre-filled family drama. The film won the Queer Palm in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. It also won Best Canadian Feature at the Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the French Cesar Awards.
Sat., Oct. 12, Midnight
Of course not all gay- and lesbian-themed films fall in the “emotionally wrenching family drama” category. This winking horror comedy finds notorious vampire Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Louise Griffiths, The Revenant) searching for the perfect hunting grounds to fuel her bloody “Botox” therapy. She finds it posing as an abstinence educator in small-town America. What better place to find gallons of virginal blood in which to bathe? Now it’s up to feminist high school reporter Leah (Allison Scagliotti, “Warehouse 13”) to expose the ancient monster.
Sun., Oct. 20, 12:30pm
SWGLFF loves shorts. This year there are six “themed” blocks of shorts to choose from—including favorite standbys like Fun in Girls Shorts and Queer Youth United! If you want a broad selection of homosexually oriented short films, however, this year’s Foreign Bodies block could be the hot ticket. It contains six short films from around the globe. Check out selections from Austria, Spain, Brazil, Germany, Israel and Belgium. It’s a whole world of gay experiences in just over an hour and a half.