Written by H. Clent Bowers for THE ARTISTS FORUM MAGAZINE
Edited by Amos White V for THE ARTISTS FORUM, INC
Photos: Courtesy of Long Beach QFilm Festival
5 out of 5 stars
2012 LONG BEACH QFILM FESTIVAL
LONG BEACH, CA (September 17, 2012) The Q Film Fest this year was nothing short of enchanting. The Long Beach LGBT community put on a wonderful assortment of films depicting the humanity of being a part of the fabric of the American and world culture. The gracious hosts set the tone: Ron Sylvester and Christina D. Rios, head the LGBTQ Center Long Beach along with the staff, volunteers, and the ART theater next door, making everyone feel relaxed, welcome, and comfortable. There was always something to drink or nosh on, read, or some place to simply sit and chat with one another.
I loved sitting and watching what collection of people would watch which films, and found it a tad uncomfortably interesting to see how mostly women watched the women films and mostly men watched the male films. (more women watched the men as did men women) Odd I thought, as I find every aspect of the human experience teaches me something about myself or my fellow spirits. I see it as an act of omission not to be as interested in all aspects of a group fighting for equality. But then again I also found it hard to watch every single film as wonderful as they all were.
Don’t get me wrong – Long Beach QFilm Festival is the longest-running gay film festival in Long Beach, California. With one of the largest LGBTQ populations in the state, everyone had open arms no matter the gender or race… everyone had a softness no matter how tough the exterior. There is always a sense of humbleness in crowds like this, and it is reflected in the work. There are far too many wonderful pieces to review but I will mention a few highlights that spoke to me. I also suggest you visit the site and take a gander at all 17 films. qfilmslongbeach.com
CLOUDBURST (USA, 2011)
Writer/Director: Thom Fitzgerald
I am always amazed at the power of women. The way they are not afraid once started, to go for it all. Cloudburst stars Oscar®-winning actresses Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as Stella and Dot, an aging couple who escape from a nursing home in Maine and drive to Nova Scotia on a quest to be legally married. This well written piece coupled with the wonderful performances of the entire cast really gives hope to the determination to be heard and validated — An attempt to rid oneself of the stigma of being considered an aberration in ones own society… even at the ultimate cost. A sad and comically wonderful narrative.
RAID OF THE RAINBOW LOUNGE (USA, 2012)
Writer/Director: Robert L. Camina
Imagine it is 2012 and someone walks into the grocery store and arrest you because you have red hair, wearing the wrong color dress, or your eyes show that you’re of mixed race. I cannot imagine how anyone can feel justified in turning back our social growth as it was done in the grand state of Texas just 3 years ago.
This documentary takes us to a Fort Worth, Texas gay bar in 2009, where officers of the law come in in full uniform and arrest the men for lewd conduct, saying they were hitting on them, groping and kissing them — yes, a good old fashioned raid! The arrestees were handcuffed, booked, slandered and humiliated, then put on record as being sexually deviants.
As a so-called minority, I understand the feeling of being violated and lied about. For this group, what follows is a movement not unlike Stonewall of the 1960’s. The development of what happens when the gay community stood up for their rights as a united front eventually turned the non-tolerant Texas city into a leading example of equality for LGBT people of the city of Fort Worth. Deep in my heart, I do believe… Someday.
I STAND CORRECTED (USA, 2012)
Director: Andrea Meyerson
This is the true story of jazz bass virtuoso, Jennifer Leitham, formerly known as John Leitham, who risked everything when she transitioned publicly during the height of her career in order to be her true self, an authentic person. Jennifer dared to strive and express herself unencumbered. When you see John as a bass player with Doc Severinsen’s band on the Carson Show you see a very handsome man with a beautiful head of hair playing the bass like the virtuoso he is. But if you look closely, now that you know the truth, you can see, it is so subtle but there it is in the way he is holding his head.
Now when you meet Jennifer, it’s crystal clear that this being thrives in her female body – She owns it and Lives through it – as if she were saying quietly with a twinkle in her eye, “Hi, I am here and it is nice to meet you.” Not a transition as one might think. The experience seems more like a revealing or uncloaking, an emergence, This documentary is a must see. Not only will you enjoy learning about Jennifer’s truth in the documentary, but you will witness an amazing jazz artist to boot. There is no place like home (freedom).
A romantic drama about a complicated love triangle. To stay in the US, gay Brit Jack convinces his lesbian best friend Ali to marry him. Things get messy when he falls for a sexy Spanish architect while his commitment to his brother’s widow complicates his decision either to stay or to follow his lover. Sounds confusing? Well, it isn’t. Glenn Gaylord (winner of best feature for this years film and last years film Leave it on the Floor which he wrote) directs this movie in grand romantic style. From the moment the film begins, you are drawn into it’s beautiful quality, characters, comedic irony, and yes, eventual conflict shortly there after.
The characters David W. Ross creates allows us to see a full community of loving people; gay and straight men and women working together for the success of these two lovers. While doing so, it brings into play the problems of LGBT issues not just here in America but world wide. Gaylord handles these issues without hitting us over the head, but rather focuses on the narrative complexities of career, life style, family, and daring to live a life loving the person you choose. A beautiful film. Congrats Glenn!
Closing night was just as warm and mellow as was the opening. The LGBT community make you feel right at home. I hope that if you’re out on the west coast next year and in Long Beach, please stay at the Queen Mary Hotel (a sponsor of the festival) and enjoy a relaxed journey through the continuing growth, change, and evolution of a culture. I will look forward to seeing what they have in store for us.
2012 Q Film Festival Jury Award Winners include:
BEST PICTURE – FEATURE FILM: ($10,000 PRIZE FROM GREENHOUSE STUDIOS): I Do
BEST DIRECTOR – FEATURE FILM: Aurora Guerrero for Mosquita y Mari
BEST SCREENPLAY – FEATURE FILM: Terracino for Elliot Loves
BEST DOCUMENTARY: I Stand Corrected
BEST SHORT FILM ($5,000 PRIZE FROM GREENHOUSE STUDIOS): Polaroid Girl
BEST DIRECTOR – SHORT FILM – TIE: Bob Pondillo for “The Miracles On Honey Bee Hill”and James Valdez for Fallen Comrade
For more information about 2012 Long Beach QFilm Festival, visit: qfilmslongbeach.com