This month, Reel Affirmations film festival returns to Washington, D.C. with an impressive schedule of over 40 new features, shorts, and documentaries representing diverse experiences and stories from across the LGBTQ community — and the world.
From behind the scenes of Madonna’s most infamous tour (Strike a Pose), to the challenges of being out in India (LOEV), Reel Affirmations offers all Washingtonians the opportunity to see the world’s most adventurous, boundary-pushing cinema. Representing LGBTQ filmmakers from South Africa to Luxembourg, you will not be able to see most of these unique independent films on Netflix or LOGO, let alone in theaters.
“2016 is truly a breakthrough year in filmmaking because we have several films that tell stories about our trans family as well as our queer people of color,” says Kimberley Bush, Reel Affirmations Film Festival Program Director. “We are presenting a truly unique selection of films that may not have been picked up by other festivals, including truly extraordinary films such as LOEV, a gorgeous, romantic exploration of love from India.”
Four days of screenings will include award-winning features and documentaries including:
“LOEV” – A weekend road trip between inseparable friends Sahil and Jai takes a sudden turn, making them each question what love is and what it means to them. Beautifully shot around the stunning natural terrain of India’s Sandhan Valley and Mahabaleshwar plateau, this poignant romance features an eclectic soundtrack featuring artists from Kanye West and Pearl Jam, to Pakistani pop stars Zeb & Haniya. (Friday, October 14 9 p.m. | Gala Hispanic Theatre/The Tivoli)
“Free Cece!” – In June 2011, CeCe McDonald, a black trans woman, was the victim of a violent attack. Her attempts to defend herself resulted in the death of one of her assailants, landing CeCe in a men’s prison for second degree manslaughter. This documentary gives activists, including 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 an equally violent criminal justice system. (Saturday, October 15 5 p.m. | Gala Hispanic Theatre/The Tivoli) (In attendance for a Q&A session will be CeCe McDonald and Director Jacqueline Gares)
“Suicide Kale” – This dark indie comedy, written by Brittani Nichols (Transparent), took home the OutFest Audience Award Winner for Best First U.S. Dramatic Feature. A simple lunch turns into a catastrophe when Jasmine and Penn, a new couple with an uncertain future, find an anonymous suicide note at the home of the happiest couple they know. (Sunday, October 16 1 p.m. | Gala Hispanic/Tivoli Theatre)
“Strike a Pose” – In 1990, seven young male dancers joined Madonna on her most controversial blockbuster tour, Blonde Ambition. Now, 25 years after the tour, the talented performers who helped the Material Girl bring voguing to the mainstream – Luis, Jose, Kevin, Carlton, Slam and Oliver – continue to express themselves, baring their truth in this revealing documentary look at the dancers after the dance. (Sunday, October 16 3 p.m. | Gala Hispanic/Tivoli Theatre with Q&A/Panel Discussion with Dancer Salim “Slam” Gauwloos)
The weekend also includes the popular Women’s Shorts series taking place on October 15 at 3 p.m. Some of the short films include: So Long, Farewell, Betrayed, A Woman’s Gaze, and Rebounding.
For more information on Reel Affirmations or to purchase your tickets, visit http://www.reelaffirmations.org/filmfestival.