|qFLIX Philadelphia celebrates all things LGBTQ+
posted by Ralph Malachowski on Mar 29, 2018 10:30am | comments
qFLIX Philadelphia, The LGBTQ+ Film Festival, took over several Center City Philadelphia venues during the festival run March 19-25, 2018. qFLIX Philadelphia presented feature films, short subjects, a concert, award ceremonies, and gala opening night and closing night festivities. Of course, it being an LGBTQ+ event, there were parties.
According to producers Thom Cardwell and James Duggan, there are entries from twenty-nine countries addressing topics as diverse (yet related) as religion, oppression, acceptance, transgender lives, queer youth, theatre life, and everyday lives that may be fabulous, but which all too often are just like everyone else’s life outside of “The Life.”
This review is Part One of two parts of qFLIX Philadelphia which will deal with the short subjects seen on Saturday, March 24, at the Plays and Players Theater in Center City Philadelphia.
Beginning with “Acceptance: Mixed Shorts,” eight short features were shown at 2:30. The short features were from filmmakers hailing from Belgium, the USA, New Zealand, Iran, Cyprus, and three places uncredited. All eight films were finely-observed, well-made, and well-crafted. All dealt with painful experiences or recollections which were shared with us. The only criticism that can be levelled at their unrelenting truths is that there appeared to be very little of the theme of acceptance. Rather, we saw one story of oppression after another, with some short films detailing horrible violence and injustices done to their subjects. All were tales of melancholy, regret, or sadness if they weren’t detailing out-and-out violence. One could be forgiven in thinking that the title should have been Resignation rather than Acceptance.
Some of the short subjects Saturday afternoon had the following topics. Sparrow showed us the story of a grandfather in battle who loved a soldier who was shot by their own commanding officer because of a kiss. He later spent the rest of his life in an asylum, where he died, alone. His grandson values his life years after his death. Calamity relates how one day and one dinner with family can turn the world upside down for the straight people in a Belgian family. In two minutes (and the most viscerally frightening film of the program), Not Acceptable showed us panic and violence in the life of a young transgender person in Iran, provoking disgust in the viewer about the evils of religion and oppression. Intrinsic Moral Evil addressed non-acceptance bred through sham moral posturing and hate. The title was later revealed to be part of Pope Benedict 16’s statement condemning homosexuality. The most involved short at ten minutes was Thin Green Line. We heard several speakers, whose identities were concealed by not showing their faces, speak of their tortured relationships. It took the viewer a while to understand their stories. The thin green line of the title is a sort of DMZ which separates Cyprus into Turkish and Greek zones. The gay and lesbian tales spoke of cultural, ethnic, and religious oppression. One comment that stays in the mind is from the woman who opined that it really just might be class warfare masquerading under the accepted bans of religion and nationalism.
The short subjects preceding the Saturday evening feature were no less fascinating and adventurous. The Hairy Tales was an animated feature from Argentina dealing with a gay sexual encounter with a werewolf. It was a picaresque, enjoyable, fun film. We were gratified to see that werewolves wear condoms. Being Single seemed to be three different short subjects: a funny vignette of a Southern Lady crashing a gay party; a beefcake homage a la Bruce Weber; and an awkward gay breakup. Sugar Daddy was a truly fine effort dealing with a topic few address: the hot, young man who is gay-for-pay to support his young daughter. The interactions between father and tot were heartwarming and tender. At seven minutes it told a story and told it well. This was the only short feature no one in the audience wanted to applaud, but applaud they did, although hesitantly.
In Part Two, the three features seen during the qFLIX Philadelphia film festival.
To learn more about the festival, visit www.qflixphilly.com .