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 Oct 12 - 18, 2017 
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Festival Preview

Gay and Lesbian Film Fest Goes WAY Out

Longtime local film festival changes it up

By Devin D. O’Leary

Tom of Finland
Tom of Finland
For 15 years the Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival has brought high-quality cinematic entertainment touching on issues of gender and sexuality to the Albuquerque area. After a decade and a half of fabulous and informative film, organizers are shedding the festival’s accurate if prosaic title—trading it in for the far jazzier descriptor Way OUT West.

The newly re-christened Way OUT West Film Fest arrives October 13 through 22, with art shows, lectures, parties, brunches and—of course—a diverse collection of more than 34 features, documentaries and shorts from around the globe. Venues in this year’s mix include Guild Cinema (3405 Central NE), South Broadway Cultural Center (1025 Broadway SE) and Flix Brewhouse (3236 La Orilla NW).

The fest gets up and running on Friday, Oct. 13, at Guild Cinema (7pm) with the Opening Night Film, director Francis Lee’s UK drama God’s Own Country. The film centers on a young Yorkshire lad who grudgingly works on his parents’ farm by day and drinks to excess by night, seeking furtive sexual experiences with other men whenever he can. But when a Romanian migrant worker shows up to assist the family, our protagonist finds an opportunity for something more lasting and emotional. The film won the Audience Award for Best Feature at Frameline Film Festival, a Directing Award in World Cinema at Sundance and the Best First Feature Award at Toronto’s Inside Out Festival.

Way OUT West’s Centerpiece Film is Vincent Gagliostro’s semi-autobiographical romantic drama After Louie. Gagliostro was a founding member of the AIDS activist group ACT UP and designed many of the group’s iconic graphics. His debut film dramatizes the complicated relationship between an older gay man (the iconic Alan Cumming) who battled for survival and acceptance during the AIDS crisis and the attractive younger man (Zachary Booth from “Damages”) for whom gay marriage and HIV prevention are no big deal. After Louie screens Tuesday, Oct. 17 (8:30pm) at Guild Cinema.

Chavela
Chavela
This year’s International Centerpiece falls to Mexico’s Chavela. Directors Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi combined their skills to create this documentary biopic about the “tortured and tequila-cured” voice of game-changing, gender-bending Mexican singer Chavela Vargas. Among those interviewed in the film is Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, who considers Chavela—known as “the rough voice of tenderness”—his personal muse. Gund and Kyi’s award-winning film will screen Wednesday, Oct. 18 (7pm) at the South Broadway Cultural Center.

Way OUT West shuts it down on Sunday, Oct. 22 (7pm) at Flix Brewhouse with the down-and-dirty biopic Tom of Finland. Dome Karukoski, considered Finland’s most successful filmmaker, directs this look into the life of Tom of Finland (a.k.a. Touko Laaksonen), whose erotic portraits of hyper-masculine, magnificently endowed men in uniform have become an icon of gay culture.

Nestled between these high-profile tent poles are all sorts of hidden gems. There’s Jennifer Reeder’s comedy-drama Signature Move, in which a closeted lesbian Pakistani Muslim lawyer studies lucha-style professional wrestling (Sunday, Oct. 15, 8pm at Guild Cinema). Tom Gustafson’s disco-infused fantasy Hello Again (Wednesday, Oct. 18, 6:30pm at Guild Cinema) covers a little over 100 years’ worth of sexual proclivities in 11 musical vignettes. Jennifer M. Kroot delivers her vibrant new literary documentary The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin (Friday, Oct. 20, 7pm at Flix Brewhouse). For something completely different, you can take in the mind-bendingly odd Mexican sci-fi film The Untamed (Saturday, Oct. 14, 11:15pm at Guild Cinema), in which orgasmic aliens take over Earth (or something to that effect).

For a complete schedule of screenings, parties and other events taking place over the course of the festival’s 10 days, go to wayoutwestnm.com. Ticket prices are $11 general admission or $9 for Way OUT West members. A 4-movie punchcard will set you back $40. An 8-movie punchcard is $75. Full festival passes go for $125. Advance tickets are available at Self Serve in Nob Hill (3904B Central SE).

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