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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Groovy Gay Film Festival #13: Fish Out of Water

Chicagoan Ky Dickens' experience in coming out to her Tri Delta sorority sisters at Vanderbilt University led to the making of Fish Out of Water, the fascinating documentary that she wrote and directed. Dickens' rejection by her college friends sparked her desire to explore the relationship between homosexuality and the Bible--and in her film, she does this successfully--and, at times, amusingly--by dissecting the seven Bible verses used to condemn homosexuality and marriage discrimination.

Through the use of cute but effective animation, Dickens makes her movie accessible and non-threatening to everyone, and hopefully it will help educate and open many minds across our country--although I seriously doubt that it would change the twisted beliefs of the anti-homosexual propagandist Fred Phelps (who appears in the film and comes across, of course, as a creepy nutcase) and his followers. But you never know. In an interview with Dickens that I recently read, she says: "I'm hoping that if I can get just one Evangelical to scratch their head and think 'Hmm, maybe I'm wrong,' then change will have a chance to happen. A storm starts with only one drop of water." Or one Fish Out of Water as the case may be.

I especially enjoyed all the interviews that Dickens conducted with various theologians, who offer their expert opinions, as well as with members of the LGBTQ community, who share their own personal stories. One young girl reveals that her father suffered a heart attack when she came out to him, and he later blamed her for his condition because she "broke his heart" with her news. On a much lighter note, another interviewee makes the sassy statement that if all the homosexuals end up going to hell instead of heaven, "we'll have a big party"--and I definitely second that emotion.

Fish Out of Water is an important, thought-provoking documentary about a serious subject that needs to be confronted and discussed all across this country. With her film, Ky Dickens has taken us another step forward in our continuing fight for gay rights, and for this, I say to her: Thank you.

Show time: 5 pm, Sunday, November 8, at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport)
Running time: 60 minutes

Other films I recommend seeing at Reeling 2009: The 28th Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival are (click on the title to read my review):

Fruit Fly at 2:30 pm, Sunday, November 8, at the Landmark Theater (2828 N. Clark)

American Primitive at 7:30 pm, Sunday, November 8, at the Landmark Theater

Training Rules at 7 pm, Monday, November 9, at the Landmark Theater

Shank at 9:15 pm, Wednesday, November 11, at the Landmark Theater

ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction at 9 pm, Friday, November 13, at Film Row Cinema (1104 S. Wabash)

For a complete schedule of films and events at the festival (which runs through November 15), go to You can purchase tickets either by phone (773-293-1447), online, or in person at Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark)

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