I am especially looking forward to this year’s festival for several reasons. First, there is the world premiere of “Bumming Cigarettes,” a short film by Tiona McClodden. I have a cameo as a man who denies Vee (Alia Hatch) a cigarette as she waits for the results of her HIV test. (My character is credited as “Trade Throwing Shade.”) Seeing a rough cut of the film, I was particularly moved by James Tolbert III’s performance as Jimmy. I can’t wait to see this with audiences at the screening of ”Black, Blues and Other Hues” [7:15 p.m. July 20, Bourse]. I’m also anxious to see the short “T’Aint Nobody’s Bizness” in this program, as I’ve just read Philadelphia native Donald Bogle’s fabulous book on Ethel Waters.
In addition to being on screen at QFest, I will also be on stage, doing a Q&A with Rose Troche at her tribute [4:45 p.m. July 21, East]. I am a huge fan of the New Queer Cinema/“Go Fish” filmmaker I interviewed years ago for her film “The Safety of Objects.” I look forward to catching her new work and discussing one of my favorite films of hers, “Bedrooms and Hallways.”
QFest gives me the opportunity to catch up with some of my other favorite filmmakers and see their new works, (which I prescreen on DVD) on the big screen. Todd Verow will be on hand for the North American premiere of (and afterparty for) of his fun film “Bad Boy Street” [9:15 p.m. July 19, Bourse; 5 p.m. July 20, Bourse]. Shot in Paris, this intimate comedy-drama is more romantic than sexy, but still contains the expected eroticism from the hunky leads that are a staple of Verow’s work. The filmmaker also has a fantastic cameo and includes some very funny comments about 3-D films and product placement in cinema. It does “Bad Boy Street” a disservice to reveal much about the plot involving Claude (Yann deMonterno) and his relationship with a stranger named Brad (Kevin Miranda), but this is a highly enjoyable work by an independent queer filmmaker at the height of his talent.
Another independent queer filmmaker I adore is Everett Lewis, whose latest work, “Somefarwhere” [12:15 p.m. July 21, East; 7:15 p.m. June 22, Bourse], is an impressive, multilayered film. Lewis transports viewers to the Middle East, where Price (Bryce Blais) searches for his military boyfriend, and encounters Combs (Dale Dymkoski), a CIA agent. The sexual and dramatic tension between these two men is palpable — particularly in a homoerotic hotel-room scene. Dymkoski is a revelation as the seductive Combs. In addition, “Somefarwhere” looks ravishing. Lewis does a fantastic job capturing the intimacy of the character amid the vast canvas of the Middle Eastern landscape. I am anxious to see this film again — and on the big screen.
Lastly, QFest allows me the opportunity to screen films I want to see that I have not previewed. I am most looking forward to seeing:
— “Unfit: Ward Vs. Ward” [2:30 p.m. July 14, Bourse], a documentary about a Florida custody battle between a lesbian mother and her ex-con ex-husband.
— “Another Movie of Love” [8:15 p.m. July 17, Bourse), a Chilean drama about young men tentatively falling into a relationship.
— “Let My People Go” [7 p.m. July 15, East; 9:15 p.m. July 19, East], a gay Jewish dysfunctional family comedy, co-written by Christophe Honore.
— “Men to Kiss” [9:30 p.m. July 21, East; 12:30 p.m. July 22, East], the latest comedy featuring the irresistible Marcel Schlutt.
— And the shorts programs “Dangerous Trade” [9:30 p.m. July 17, East; 9:45 p.m. July 20, East] and “First Contact” [9:30 p.m. July 16, East; noon July 22, East].
See you at the movies!