The five organizers of this year's Queer Film Festival (QFF) have taken great strides to make this year's festival a smash. Now it's up to us--me, you, your Aunt Gretchen, the guy who snaps gum in your office and your neighbor who brings you zucchini bread--to show up. You see, according to QFF organizer Dan Scott, "What makes a festival feel like a festival is a room full of people. The energy and laughter in the audience--it's beautiful."
For three years now, a small committee of dedicated students, faculty and community members have brought independent, queer-themed cinema to Boise, thanks largely to the support of Boise State's Cultural and Ethnic Diversity Board. The QFF committee seeks out films that positively represent the LGBTIQQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and Questioning) community. This year's line-up is unabashedly popular and entertaining. Any experimental leanings have been put aside (until the festival grows and matures) and in their place are solid, independent crowd-pleasers.
The broad appeal of this year's selections make this the ideal opportunity to step out of your comfort zone--if only for a few hours. Let this not be a festival where gay men file into the gay male film and lesbians line up for the lesbian film and never the twain shall meet. How boring, predictable and safe. Let this be the festival where straight folk are blown away by the lesbian love story and gay folk are moved by the documentary about transgender college students. We could all stand a chance to dip our toes into the sea of another. And what better way than at QFF?
29th and Gay
7 p.m., $5 student/$8 general, The Flicks
29th and Gay follows a year in the life of James Sanchez, a guy without a six-pack, a full head of hair or a boyfriend. James, on the brink of turning 30, is an unemployed actor who works as a tour guide at a movie studio/theme park (the setting alone has to be good for some chuckles). What ensues is a semi-autobiographical (the leading actor, James Vasquez, also wrote the script), existential crisis set in gay L.A. among James' colorful friends: Roxy, an actress-turned-activist, and Brandon, a gay-boy magnet. This campy film played to a sold-out audience at NewFest, the 17th Annual New York Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and was named one of the Best of NewFest.
6 p.m., FREE, Boise State Special Events Center
If you missed TransGeneration when it screened at Boise State in late August, here's another chance to catch this incredible Sundance Channel documentary about four transgender college students. TransGeneration follows two female-to-male and two male-to-female students on four different campuses as they balance the challenges of school, family and friends with a commitment to gender reassignment. According to Jennie Myers, one of the festival organizers, "TransGeneration confirmed to me that everyone has unique experiences and you cannot put one person's experience on anyone else." After the free screening of TransGeneration, one of the students in the film, Gabi, will participate in a Q-and-A session.
Queer Shorts Program
8 p.m., $3 single/$5 all shows for students; $5 single/$8 all shows general, Boise State Special Events Center
Who can pass up an opportunity to see shorts? As Myers put it, "Seeing shorts is like treating yourself to a mini pizza ... or a variety pack of mini cereals."
This year's shorts include: Latchkey, a lesbian documentary that wrestles with notions of privacy; PROM-trovercy, about a high school lesbian who wants to be Prom King; Little Black Boot, a different take on Cinderella, this time starring a Tomboy; Different, about a high school where gay is the norm; Ryan's Life, about a boy developing a gay consciousness; and A Different War, about two disparate brothers on the West Bank. Also mixed into the program order is a devilish, "mystery short." With knowing smirks on their faces, QFF organizers revealed that this "mystery short" is complete with "hotties" you know, dirty jokes and loads of laughs. What a teaser.
10 p.m., $3 single/$5 all shows for students; $5 single/$8 all shows general, Boise State Special Events Center
How's this for intrigue: The leading actresses in this film are playing themselves, telling the true story of falling in love while co-starring in a play. As Robin and Lacie gain intimacy on stage, the sparks begin to fly offstage, despite the fact that Robin is already in a committed relationship. As the story unfolds, the film tackles hard choices and the complexity of relationships with equal parts charm, steam and humor. Robin Greenspan and Lacie Harmon star as lovers, Dom Deluise as a flamboyant director, and the memorable Mink Stole as Robin's mother. Girl Play has won numerous awards, including "Outstanding Lesbian Narrative Feature Film" and "Outstanding Actress in a Film" at Outfest 2004 in Los Angeles.
In talking about this year's selection of films, Scott is clearly enthusiastic. "These are films you can't rent, films that haven't been screened very much. They have a film festival feel." Myers, too, is passionate about the films and all the behind-the-scenes work to select and secure the films as well as to organize and promote the festival. "Every major city has a queer film festival," she says, "We're the third largest city in the Northwest. We must have people show up." Scott chimed in, "Yeah, we can't have people lament, 'Oh, I missed that.'"
Visit www.queerasfilmboise.com for schedule and ticket info.