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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

12 Movies to See at Reeling 2016: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival



Tomorrow night Reeling 2016: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival begins its 34th year of presenting movies that celebrate the queer experience. During the last few weeks I've watched many of this year's featured films, and below I have selected my Top 12 favorites in order of preference (click on a title for more information). Unfortunately, I was not able to see a preview screener for Hurricane Bianca (which is the festival's Opening Night film) or Fair Haven (which will be featured on Friday), but I hope that you will check them out - along with some of my selections - during Reeling, which runs September 22 to 29.

Reeling's main venue will once again be Landmark's Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark), and for advance tickets, festival passes and a complete schedule of films, go to www.reelingfilmfestival.org.

1) Closet Monster
Written and directed by Stephen Dunn
Canada (90 minutes)
American Crime's Connor Jessup stars as Oscar, a young man who is obsessed with designing and photographing the wild monster make-up he dreams up while nursing a crush on his bad boy co-worker Wilder (Aliocha Schneider). Struggling to find his place in the world, Oscar finds solace in his talking pet hamster Buffy, who is voiced by Isabella Rossellini.

Show time: 7:00 pm, Friday, September 23



2) The Slippers
Directed by Morgan White
Canada (91 minutes)
Utilizing firsthand accounts, archival interviews and footage, this documentary details the fascinating journey of the ruby slippers that Judy Garland wore as Dorothy in 1939's The Wizard of Oz.

Show time: 1:00 pm, Saturday, September 24



3) Slash
Written and directed by Clay Liford
USA (100 minutes)
15-year-old Neil (Teen Wolf's Michael Johnston), who writes slash fiction (erotic fan fiction focused on same-sex fantasies), finds a kindred spirit in Julia (Hannah Marks), who convinces him to post his stories anonymously online. The site’s administrator, Denis (Michael Ian Black), then invites Neil to read his work at an upcoming convention and begins an online flirtation with him, unaware of his age.

Show time: 5:00 pm, Saturday, September 24



4) Jonathan
Written and directed by Piotr J. Lewandoswki
Germany (99 minutes)
23-year-old Jonathan (Jannis Niewöhner) is curious to find out what secret his terminally ill father has been hiding, and all is revealed when Ron (Thomas Sarbacher), an old friend of his father's, suddenly reappears after many years.

Show time: 3:15 pm, Sunday, September 25



5) Upstairs Inferno
Directed by Robert L. Camina
USA (96 minutes)
Narrated by author Christopher Rice, this documentary tells the story of the Up Stairs Lounge, a New Orleans gay bar that was set on fire by an arsonist on June 24, 1973, killing 32 patrons. It was the largest gay mass murder in U.S. history until the tragic events in Orlando earlier this year.

Show time: 7:00 pm, Sunday, September 25



6) Lazy Eye
Written and directed by Tim Kirkman
USA (86 minutes)
Dean (Lucas Near-Vrbrugghe) agrees to meet up with his ex-lover Alex (Aaron Costa Ganis) after 15 years, and over the course of a lusty weekend in the California desert, the two men reexamine their past relationship and contemplate the future.

Show time: 7:00 pm, Wednesday, September 28



7) Before the Fall
Written and directed by Byrum Geisler
USA (92 minutes)
This modern day variation on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is about the friendship that slowly forms between Ben Bennet (Ethan Sharrett), a gay attorney, and Lee Darcy (Chase Conner), a troubled welder.

Show time: 7:15 pm, Sunday, September 25



8) Retake
Written and directed by Nick Corporon
USA (98 minutes)
Tuc Watkins (Desperate Housewives, One Life to Live) stars as Jonathan, a lonely man who hires a hunky male prostitute (Devon Graye) to join him on a role-playing road trip to the Grand Canyon.

Show time: 7:00 pm, Saturday, September 24



9) bwoy
Written and directed by John G. Young
USA (95 minutes)
In this erotic drama, Brad O’Connor (Anthony Rapp) becomes obsessed with Yenny (Jimmy Brooks), a young Jamaican man whom he meets on a gay hook-up site.

Show time: 7:00 pm, Monday, September 26



10) King Cobra
Written and directed by Justin Kelly
USA (91 minutes)
Based on true events, this crime thriller stars Christian Slater and James Franco as rival gay porn producers and Garrett Clayton as Sean Paul Lockhart, a young twink who becomes gay adult superstar Brent Corrigan. The cast also includes Keegan Allen, Molly Ringwald and Alicia Silverstone.

Show time: 7:00 pm, Thursday, September 29



11) Taekwondo
Written by Marco Berger and co-directed by Berger and Martín Farina
Argentina (105 minutes)
Fernando (Lucas Papa) invites a new friend from his taekwondo class, Germán (Gabriel Epstein), to spend his vacation with him and his buddies at his family's holiday home - and Germán soon realizes that he might not be the only gay man in residence.

Show time: 9:15 pm, Wednesday, September 28



12) Esteros
Directed by Papu Corutto
Argentina/Brazil (83 minutes)
Childhood friends Matías and Jerónimo, who spent summers together in the Argentine wetlands of Esteros, meet up again as adults, and their long-repressed feelings for each other are reawakened during a trip bcck to Esteros.

Show time: 9:15 pm, Thursday, September 29

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