The 5th Annual Stella Artois QFest | 04.22-26. 12

qfest cloudburst 75Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker star as an elderly lesbian couple in this year’s QFest opener, Cloudburst. Both women are suffering from age-related afflictions, and their families are not inclined to recognize their 31-year relationship.

 

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Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker star as an elderly lesbian couple in this year’s QFest opener, Cloudburst (4/22 1:30 p.m.). Both women are suffering from age-related afflictions, and their families are not inclined to recognize their 31-year relationship. When Dot (Fricker) is placed in a nursing home by her granddaughter, Stella (Dukakis) pulls a prison break of sorts, and the two women head to Canada to get married. Cloudburst has already won a slew of awards from international film festivals, and the featured song “My Love, My Love” by Jay Brannan was nominated for a Genie Award. Two short comedy films, both starring Kids in the Hall actor Scott Thompson, will be shown with Cloudburst: “4 Pounds” (dir. Josh Levy; 8 min.) and “52” (dir. Josh Levy; 4 min.).

Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Anglican bishop, is the subject of Macky Alston’s documentary Love Free or Die: How the Bishop of New Hampshire is Changing the World (4/22 3:45 p.m.). Robinson, who wore a bulletproof vest to his consecration and has regularly been targeted since then, made the cause of gay clergy an international issue. Love Free or Die was awarded a Special Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

St. Louis native Jax Jackson plays one of the leads in Jamie and Jessie Are Not Together (4/22 6 p.m.), a feature film directed by Wendy Jo Carlton. Jackson plays Jamie, an aspiring actress about to move to New York to further her career, a decision that does not please her best friend and secret crush Jessica (Jessica London-Shields). Carlton and Jackson will attend the screening. The romantic comedy short “The Fox in the Snow” (dir. Richard Paro, 10 min.) will be shown at the screening.

August (4/22 8:30 p.m.), directed by Eldar Rapaport, tells the story of two former lovers who qfest august 250meet up after several years apart, during which time their lives have taken different directions. Troy (Murray Bartlett) has spent several years in Spain; upon returning to Los Angeles (not coincidentally, in the hottest month of the year), he finds that his former lover Jonathan (Daniel Dugan) has taken up with someone else. The short film “Viewer Discretion Advised (Tape 96)” (dir. Drew Stephens; 11 min.) will be shown with August, and director Stephens will attend.

The story in Mary Marie (4/23 5 p.m.) features a love triangle between two sisters (Alana Kearns-Green and Alexandra Roxo), returning to their childhood home after their mother’s death, and a local handyman (Tim Linden) hired to prepare the home for sale. Mood is the real star in this film, however, as Roxo (a fashion industry veteran) and cinematographer Magela Crosignani create what Variety critic Ronnie Scheib describes as “a swoony aura that morphs according to the surroundings, from suffused daylight glancing off the grass to the smoky, bluish haze of a barroom dance floor.” Director/actress Alexandra Roxo will attend.

North Sea, Texas (4/23 7 p.m.) is a sensitive character study of Pim, a lonely teenage boy with a crush on the boy next door. Based on a popular young adult novel, the film traces Pim’s life from youth to adolescence in a dead-end Belgian town. As a child, Pim escaped into fantasies and played dress-up with his mother’s clothes; as an adolescent, he dreams of fulfillment with Gino, a childhood friend. “Regrets” (dir Michelle Pollino, 11 min.), a short about the morning after, will also be shown.

Jeffrey Schwarz’s documentary Vito (4/24 5 p.m.) celebrates the life of Vito Russo, whose book The Celluloid Closet revolutionized our understanding of gay characters (from comic sissies to dangerous dykes) in mainstream Hollywood films. Besides his work exposing Hollywood’s treatment of non-heterosexuals, Russo was an early gay rights activist and member of ACT UP, GLAAD, and the Gay Activist’s Alliance.

The moral of Jan’s Coming Out (4/24 7p.m.), a documentary directed by Carolyn Reid, is “it’s never too late.” Not when it comes to discovering your true identity, anyway, as Jan Walker discovers, after 23 years of marriage. The L Word and a diverse case of women, including St. Louisans Jane Ellen Ibur and Sondra Seller, help Jan find her place in the world. Ibur and Seller will attend the screening. The short “Some Things Are Worse than Being Gay” (dir. Regine Richards, 7 min.) will be shown, as well.

The title of Donatella Maiorca’s feature film Purple Sea (4/24 9:15 p.m.) is taken from the name of a saltwater fish that can change from female to male over the course of its life. The changing in the film is done by Angela (Valeria Solarino), who falls in love with her best friend Sara (Isabella Ragonese). They live in 19th-century Sicily, a time and place that simply can’t accommodate two women in love, so Angela takes the only solution available to her: to dress and pass as a man, while maintaining her identity as a woman.

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same (4/25 5 p.m.), directed by Madeleine Olnek, is a tribute to the low-budget, black-and-white sci-fi films of the 1950s, with a modern twist: three female aliens visit earth on a mission to have their hearts broken, lest their romances exhaust their planet’s ozone layer. Their mission does not run exactly to plan, however, as one of the space invaders (Susan Ziegler) finds true love with a stationary store clerk (Lisa Haas).

Morgan Jon Fox’s documentary This Is What Love in Action Looks Like (4/25 7 p.m.) examines the effects of a Tennessee fundamentalist Christian program that claims it can turn gay and lesbian teenagers straight. Several of the program’s former clients are featured, as well as the daily protests at the facility, which attracted international attention. Director Fox will attend the screening. The documentary short “What Do You Know?” (dir. Ellen Brodsky; 13 min.) will also be shown.

Roger S. Omeus, Jr.’s ensemble drama Finding Me: Truth (4/25 9:15 p.m.) follows the struggles of teenage Faybien (RayMartell Moore) to find his place in the world. His friends offer up a whole soap opera’s worth of issues, but the film presents a positive take on life within the gay African-American community. Derrick L. Briggs, J’Nara Corbin, and Ron DeSuze co-star, while location shooting in Jersey City (just across the Hudson and up the Palisades from Manhattan) by Nicholas DeWitt captures a real feel for the city. Moore will attend the screening.

St. Louis native Erin Greenwell’s My Best Day (4/26 7:30 p.m.), which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, will close the festival. The story of this feature film, described by Variety critic John Anderson as a “witty, wacky, multi-character comedy,” takes place on a single day (the Fourth of July) in a sleepy small town (but the kind that includes a motorcycle-loving lesbian community), as a chance encounter prompts a young woman (Rachel Style) to try to recover part of her past. Director Greenwell will attend. | Sarah Boslaugh

All screenings for the 5th annual QFest St. Louis presented by TLA Releasing will be held at the Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Blvd. in the University City Loop district). Tickets are $12 general admission, $10 for students and Cinema St. Louis members with valid photo ID. Advance tickets may be purchased from the Tivoli box office or online from Landmark Theatres.

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