The qFLIX Film Festival opened last night with a screening of “Such Good Friends.” Between now and Sept. 22, various features, shorts and documentaries will be projected at Kimmel Center, the Prince Music Theater and the University of the Arts. Here is a trio of films to catch — and one to avoid:
One of the strongest documentaries playing at the festival is Charles Lum and Todd Verow’s “Age of Consent” (9:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St.), about the London all-male fetish club the Hoist, which opened in 1996. Shot largely on location, the film presents a terrific behind-the-scenes tour of the celebrated establishment — its bar and its bars (e.g., iron cages), along with the backrooms, bathrooms, slings and the titular “hoist.”
“Age of Consent” features engaging interviews with the men of the Hoist, from the kinky patrons to the proud employees; John Mitcheson, who cleans the place, is especially ingratiating. One of the best scenes in Lum and Verow’s intrepid documentary effectively juxtaposes Human Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell explicating Britain’s laws discriminating against gay men in voiceovers while explicit sex acts are performed by patrons, like porn star Adam Dacre, on screen. These sequences emphasize the defiant attitudes towards criminalized homosexuality in Britain.
Ultimately, the documentary illustrates how subcultures can build and maintain a supportive community, a message that “Age of Consent” conveys adroitly.
The festival closes with the Philadelphia premiere of writer/director Rob Williams’ delightfully naughty “Out to Kill” (7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at Perelman Theater at Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.). Filled with hunks who fill out their Speedos, this romantic mystery offers eye-candy galore. Justin Jaymes (the terrific Tom Goss) is first seen naked in the pool, and then turns up dead in it. This may be an extreme punishment, so newcomer Jim Noble (Scott Sell) is hired by Gene (Rob Moretti) to investigate his murder. As Jim meets and interrogates the suspects — which include doctor Vic Barnaby (Mark Strano from “Tiger Orange;” see sidebar) among others — he gets seduced, and perhaps in over his head. “Out to Kill” features a clever twist that will keep viewers intrigued as the crime is solved. Sell makes for a sexy private dick, and his fine performance compensates for some of this endearing low-budget film’s cheesier moments.
For more information, visit www.qflixphilly.com.