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Reel Affirmations: Five Lesbian, Queer, and Trans Films You Should See

Free Cece

The International LGBTQ Film Festival returns to Washington, D.C. October 14 – 16, 2016. The annual festival will bring three days of new and exciting international, documentary, short, and feature films from all over the world. The festival also includes thought-provoking panel discussions, filmmaker Q&A’s, and celebrations.

Below are five lesbian, queer, and trans films worth putting on your festival calendar.


awol_stillRaised in a depressed small town in rural Pennsylvania, 19-year-old Joey (Lola Kirke) has few career prospects beyond scooping ice cream. For Joey, the best way out of her aimless small town life seems to be joining the Army — a move that her mother (Dale Soules of OITNB) desperately wants. But after falling for a spitfire housewife from the wrong side of the tracks, Joey’s resolve to escape her small town life begins to falter. Rayna (UnREAL’s Breeda Wool) has to keep her steamy affair with Joey secret, not just from the rest of the town, but also from her long-haul trucker husband.

Friday, October 14th 7 p.m. | Gala Hispanic Theatre/The Tivoli | Film Screening of AWOL


Free CeCe
In June 2011, CeCe McDonald, a black trans woman, fell victim to a racist and transmisogynistic attack while passing by a local bar. Her attempts to defend herself resulted in the death of one of her assailants and a forty-one-month stint at a men’s prison for second degree manslaughter. Jac Gares’ inspiring and brilliantly directed documentary gives activists, including the film’s producer Laverne Cox and CeCe herself, the chance to tell her story and address the daily struggle trans women of color face against a racist and transphobic society and equally violent criminal justice system. More than just a story of victimhood and injustice, “FREE CeCe!” celebrates her life and work, the massive outpouring of love and solidarity her case inspired, and the still-growing movement against transphobia and the prison industrial complex.

Saturday October 15th 5 pm | Gala Hispanic Theatre/The Tivoli | Centerpiece Feature: Free CeCe
In attendance for a Q&A session will be CeCe McDonald and Director Jacqueline Gares


Frances ReedFrances Reed identifies as gender non-conforming. While they love their body, they have struggled with pain and injury connected to their gender presentation. Frances’ story is about the challenges and joys of living in one’s body, while also seeking to connect and grow in relationship and service to others. This short documentary follows Frances and their long-time partner Jessica as they navigate life together, running an evolving community wellness space called Freed Bodyworks, and being who they are.

Saturday, October 15th 1 p.m. | Gala Hispanic Theatre/The Tivoli | Film Screening of Spectrum Shorts: Gender, Identity and Aging


Loaded with diversity—and sexual innuendo, Spunkle is the new LGBT-themed short film hitting the film festival circuit. Presented by Sparkle Motion Films and Beela Productions, this female–driven and directed narrative is the story about a brother who contemplates fatherhood when his older sister and her free-spirited wife ask him to be the sperm donor and uncle of their baby.

Saturday, October 15th 7 p.m. | Gala Hispanic Theatre/The Tivoli | Short Films Screening


Suicide Kale
Billie and Jordan have a beautiful home and a perfect life. Or, so it seems…When Jasmine and Penn come over for an afternoon barbeque, the tension begins to build as the perfect couple becomes careful and deliberate in their actions. A simple afternoon with friends turns into a drama filled episode as concerns from a suicide note that Jasmine finds is the catalyst that unleashes secrets which redefines relationships and friendships.

Sunday, October 16th 1 p.m. | Gala Hispanic/Tivoli Theatre | Suicide Kale with short film Golden Golden


For more information on Reel Affirmations or to purchase your tickets for the festival, visit www.reelaffirmations.org.


Ebone Bell
Eboné Bell
Eboné is the Editor-in-Chief of Tagg Magazine. She is the illegitimate child of Oprah and Ellen...so it's only right that she continues their legacy in the media world.