ImageOut, all grown up
05:00 AM, Oct 06, 2013
For a full schedule, including the parties and panels, go to ImageOut.org.
Rochester area filmgoers are blessed to be able to see films at an appealing variety of film festivals (to say nothing of the ongoing classic film festival that is the Eastman House Dryden Theatre).
A favorite is ImageOut the Rochester LGBT Film & Video Festival, opening its 10-day run on Friday. It has been a mainstay of Rochester moviegoing for 21 years. Once again, organizers have corralled films of all sorts that will not only appeal to the area’s vibrant gay community, but also to anyone interested in informative and entertaining movies.
The movies come from a score of countries, and include narrative films, documentaries and shorts. This year, however, a highlight comes from here: Kevin Indovino’s superb feature-length documentary, Shoulders to Stand On: The LGBT History of Rochester, NY.
In addition, there are engrossing portraits of author Alice Walker and everyone’s favorite movie queen, the late Divine, oversized star of several memorable John Waters’ films, and a powerful opening drama from Bruno Barreto, the Brazilian creator of Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands.
The films will be shown at the Little and Dryden theaters. Here are a handful of my highlights, though you may find a few others of your own:
Shoulders to Stand On. This is a superb accomplishment by Kevin Indovino and the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley. Using archival files and footage from a variety of sources, and insightful interviews of most of the key figures in the history of the area’s gay community, Indovino has fashioned an important work of local history. It’s beautifully made, informative, definitive and inspiring. Quite frankly, it made me proud to have lived in Rochester alongside such brave, resourceful, spirited and determined people for so many years. The world premiere is at 11 a.m. Oct. 12 at the Dryden. Be warned, it’s the hottest ticket at this year’s fest.
Reaching for the Moon. This is a lovely and moving drama, based on the story of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop, who travels to Brazil in the early ’50s, where she falls in love with a charismatic woman who eventually becomes a force in Brazilian politics. First-rate performances, a strong script and lovely cinematography fuel this potent opening-night selection. It’s at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at Little 1.
I Am Divine. This documentary focuses on the Baltimore drag queen (Glenn Milstead, aka Divine), who starred in films by his high school friend, John Waters. It shows how she became a camp sensation by eating dog feces in Pink Flamingos and eventually crossed over to the mainstream in Hairspray and Alan Rudolph’s Trouble in Mind, before an early death at 42. It’s at 3:45 p.m. Oct. 12 at Little 1.
Before You Know It. In this poignant study of aging gay men and the problems they face (which are sometimes shared by the heterosexual aged, and sometimes not), we meet a Harlem community activist, a widower cross-dresser, a man who runs a drag-queen club and a handful of other gay seniors. It’s at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at Little 1.
Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth. This is an informative portrait of one of America’s great writers, taking us through her coming-of-age in the segregated South, the various relationships and family stories that feed her work, including the landmark Color Purple, and much more. The film’s place in a gay film festival comes about because Walker has had her share of lovers, both male and female, though she’s reluctant to label or define herself by her sexuality. It’s at 6 p.m. Oct. 13 at Little 1.
Portrait of Jason. This is a challenging, experimental 1967 film that’s been chosen as this year’s archival film, from the Eastman House collection. Shirley Clarke filmed hustler and raconteur Jason Holiday over one long night in his apartment, and then edited it down to 105 minutes. In it, Holiday tells memories and alcohol-fueled anecdotes, as well as tall tales. As he continues to warn us, he’s a born-and-bred hustler, and even his talk here could be probably is a hustle. I’ll be introducing this film. It’s at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Dryden.
The Rugby Player. This is a fascinating, multi-dimensional profile of a popular young man, a former college rugby player who happened to be gay, and who was among the people aboard United Flight 93, the plane that crashed in a Pennsylvania field on 9/11. It’s at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 19 at the Dryden.