AGLIFF Closing With Mapplethorpe
Festival adds major bio-pic, plus complete line-up
By Richard Whittaker,
11:00AM, Thu. Jul. 26, 2018
AGLIFF, the All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival, has just announced the rest of its line-up for 2018, including the addition of the closing night film: Mapplethorpe, the story of one of the 20th century's great photographers and chronicler of queer culture.
The biopic of the controversial and groundbreaking artist (played by Matt Smith - yes, Doctor Who himself) comes after the festival had already announced that Austin's own P.J. Raval will be bringing his award winning documentary Call Her Ganda home, plus a retrospective for the fest's first ever Tribute honoree, Yen Tan. In addition, there will be a special celebration of inaugural Breakthrough Award winner Jake Graf (The Danish Girl), with several of his shorts screening. Plus, be on the watch-out for an eagerly-awaited secret screening, with the director and writer in attendance.
aGLIFF 2018 runs Sept. 6-9. Tickets and full lineup soon at www.agliff.org/. Now here's that full line-up of films.
OPENING NIGHT SELECTION
CALL HER GANDA
D: PJ Raval, USA, 93 min, Southwest Premiere
The film investigates the story of Jennifer Laude, a Filipina transwoman, who was brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine. Three women intimately invested in the case--an activist attorney, a transgender journalist and Jennifer's mother, galvanizing a political uprising, pursuing justice and taking on hardened histories of US imperialism.
CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION
D: Ondi Timoner, USA, 94 min
The first-ever biopic of Robert Mapplethorpe stars a revelatory Matt Smith in the title portraying the artist from his early days in New York City, chronicling his relationships with musician Patti Smith (Marianne Rendón) and curator Sam Wagstaff (John Benjamin Hickey), to his death in 1989 from HIV/AIDS at age 42.
NARRATIVE FILM COMPETITION
D: Naoko Ogigami
Japan, 127 min
Tomo is an 11-year-old girl whose mother is woefully incapable of caring for her. When the child awakes one morning to find her mother gone—apparently off on a bender— Tomo seeks refuge with her bookstore-clerk uncle, Makio. Before bringing her home to his apartment, Makio cautiously informs Tomo that he’s got a new girlfriend, Rinko, and that there’s something different about her. Rinko is a transgender woman, whose maternal instincts kick in immediately upon Tomo’s arrival—she offers the child a warm meal, a spot on the couch to play Wii, and a bed to sleep in. While Tomo is at first hesitant to accept Rinko’s gestures of affection, she is quickly won over by the tenderness that this new mother figure in her life offers, not to mention the exquisite delicacy with which Rinko does everything from packing lunch to knitting—a craft she teaches Tomo as a way to channel the girl’s anger and sadness. Woven closer every day as a family unit, the three characters are confronted with a wrenching decision when Tomo’s wayward mother returns, looking to be reunited with her daughter.
D: Amara Cash
USA, 90 min A modern-day tragedy about a 19-year-old queer pixie, her estranged neurotic father, and the woman they're both infatuated with (screens with "Spark" D: Aharonit Elior, USA, 6 min)
DIANE HAS THE RIGHT SHAPE
D: Fabien Gorgeart
France, 87 min Diane doesn’t hesitate for a moment when her best friends, Thomas and Jacques, ask her to be their surrogate mother. It is in these less than perfect circumstances that she suddenly becomes infatuated with her electrician, Fabrizio.
D: Pablo D’Alo Abba
Argentina, 80 min, North American Premiere
Lena and Celeste love each other and desperately want to become mothers. One night, they go out looking for a sperm donor and choose a stranger to conceive their child with. That night Celeste meets Darío, a young man unhappy with his life and dominated by his overprotective mother. The event will set their lives on a different course, especially Dario's, who will discover that he can do something for himself. Based on the play "Wind in a Violin" by Claudio Tolcachir.
D: Jeffrey Walker
Australia, 105 min
Riot shines a spotlight on Australia’s 1970s Gay Rights Movement and the passionate individuals who were unwavering in their fight for decriminalization, recognition and equality.
DOCUMENTARY FILM COMPETITION
50 YEARS OF FABULOUS
D: Jethro Patalinghug
USA, 80 min
50 Years of Fabulous recounts the rich history of the Imperial Council, one of the oldest and most influential LGBT organizations in the world, from its genesis as a critical public space for the community and capacity building of LGBT San Franciscans, to its vital role in the advocacy for LGBT human rights. The film documents the full scope of the organization’s historical evolution up to its contemporary struggle in finding relevance, both in the wake of social progress it has helped foster, and in light of a newly empowered political coalition committed to rolling back a half-century of civil rights achievements.
THE ICE KING
D: James Erskine
UK, 89 mins
John Curry transformed ice skating from a dated sport into an exalted art form. Coming out on the night of his Olympic win in 1976, he became the first openly gay Olympian in a time when homosexuality was not even fully legal. Toxic yet charming; rebellious yet elitist; emotionally aloof yet spectacularly needy; ferociously ambitious yet bent on selfdestruction, this is a man forever on the run: from his father's ghost, his country, and even his own self. Above all, an artist and an athlete whose body time and time again – sometimes against his will– becomes a political battlefield.
D: Laura Marie Wayne
Canada, 75 min Following the journey of a young gay musician who is attacked and paralyzed from the waist down, Love, Scott is an intimate and visually evocative window into queer experience, set against a stunning score by Sigur Rós.
D: Melissa Haizlip
USA, 90 min Premiering in 1968, SOUL! was the first nationally broadcast all-Black variety show on public television, merging artists from the margins with post–civil rights Black radical thought. Visionary producer-turned-host Ellis Haizlip—openly gay and committed to charting new aesthetic territory—brought the avant-garde into the mainstream by foregrounding poetry and politics. Debuting icons like Patti Labelle, Ashford & Simpson and Arsenio Hall alongside early legends such as Toni Morrison, James Baldwin and the Last Poets, Haizlip's keen ear for talent propelled a cultural shift so powerful it pushed Nixon into action. Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Kathleen Cleaver and more reflect on this lost chapter of pop culture history and revisit their time on Soul! With original music by Robert Glasper, take a deep dive into these unseen yet urgent archives and learn about the complex man who was the SOUL! of it all.
D: Mika Gustafson, Olivia Kastebring, Christina Tsiobanelis
Sweden, 91 min
Swedish rapper Silvana Imam quickly rose to fame with her blunt, uncompromising rhymes. In the span of just a year, she became a superstar. The world of hip-hop has long been male-dominated, which means she has to work even harder. Not only is she female, but also a lesbian feminist. Her politically charged anthems about destroying the patriarchy brought a whole new audience to rap. Huge crowds of young women came with fists in the air to sing along to her lyrics. The media began labeling her a hero for women and the LGBT community. The praise was nice, but the pressure of being a role model was hard to handle. She was also tired of journalists focusing only on her gender and sexuality, rather than on her musical talents. Everything started to take a toll on her mental health.
RETROSPECTIVE AND ANNIVERSARY FILMS
BEFORE YOU KNOW IT (2013)
D: PJ Raval
USA, 110 min
Three gay seniors navigate the adventures, challenges, and surprises of life and love in their golden years.
D: Yen Tan
USA, 87 min
Jeff is taking care of everything Mark left behind when he died in an accident. Mark was about to have a visitor, Andrea, an Italian guy he met online. Now, Jeff and Andrea have the chance to share memories of the Mark they knew while getting to know each other.
D: Yen Tan, USA, 80 min
Inspired by the award-winning short film of the same name, 1985 follows Adrian (Cory Michael Smith, Gotham), a closeted young man returning to his Texas hometown for Christmas during the first wave of the AIDS crisis. Burdened with an unspeakable tragedy in New York, Adrian reconnects with his brother (Aidan Langford) and estranged childhood friend (Jamie Chung), as he struggles to divulge his dire circumstances to his religious parents (Virginia Madsen and Michael Chiklis).
ANCHOR & HOPE
Dr: Carlos Marques-Marce, Spain, 113 min
In their mid-30s, Eva (Oona Chaplin) and Kat’s (Natalia Tena) humble, yet carefree, lifestyle in their London canal boat gets turned upside down when Eva presents Kat with an ultimatum: she wants a child. Kat resists, knowing that it will end the bohemian lifestyle she’s always envisaged with Eva. When Kat’s best friend, Roger (David Verdaguer), drops in from Barcelona to party with the ladies, however, the three of them toy around with the idea of creating a baby together. Forced into a corner, Kat sees no other way out but to say yes. Surprisingly, their offbeat DIY fertilization process is actually successful. As Eva enjoys her pregnancy and Roger fantasizes about his role in his new family, Kat feels like the third wheel and begins distancing herself. When Eva has an unexpected miscarriage, the group’s true feelings are laid bare, leading Eva and Kat to break up while Roger prepares to go back to Barcelona (Screens with "Yes and No" D: Shannon Hardy, USA, 5 min).
Around 15,500 transgender people serve in the U.S. military (notably the largest transgender employer in the U.S.), where they must conceal their gender identity because military policies ban their service. Transmilitary chronicles the lives of four individuals (Senior Airman Logan Ireland, Corporal Laila Villanueva, Captain Jennifer Peace & First Lieutenant El Cook) defending their country’s freedom while fighting for their own. They put their careers and their families’ livelihoods on the line by coming out as transgender to top brass officials in the Pentagon in hopes of attaining the equal right to serve. The ban was lifted in 2016, but with President Trump now trying to reinstate it, their futures hang in the balance again.
WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY (2018)
D: Madeleine Olnek
USA, 84 min
Molly Shannon plays Emily Dickinson in the humorous drama Wild Nights With Emily. The poet’s persona, popularized since her death, became that of a reclusive spinster – a delicate wallflower, too sensitive for this world. This film explores her vivacious, irreverent side that was covered up for years — most notably Emily’s lifelong romantic relationship with another woman (Susan Ziegler). After Emily died, a rivalry emerged when her brother's mistress (Amy Seimetz) along with editor T.W. Higginson (Brett Gelman) published a book of Emily's poems (screens with "Fifteen," D: Louisa Baldwin, USA, 4 min).
ALASKA IS A DRAG
D: Shaz Bennett
USA, 88 min
This is a fish out of water story -- literally. Everyone who slices fish all day daydreams - his are just glamtastic. He's had to learn to fight to survive. And his boss who is also an amateur boxer takes note. When a new kid offers to be his sparring partner – he and his twin are forced to confront the real reason they’re stuck in fish guts.
D: Filipe Matzembacher, Marcio Reolon
Brazil, 118 min
Set in Brazil's southern city of Porto Alegre, the film focuses on a socially repressed young man who only comes out of his shell during chatroom performances, when he strips and smears neon paints on his lithe body.
D: Marcelo Martinessi
Paraguay/Germany/Uraguay, 95 min
Chela and Chiquita have lived together for decades in fading elegance, sharing Chela’s childhood home in Asunción, Paraguay.Forceful Chiquita manages practical matters, while reclusive Chela stays in and paints. When mounting money troubles force Chiquita to start selling off family treasures, Chela clings to her tattered dignity and proudly refuses financial help from friends. But this carefully observed tale about social status takes a dramatic turn when Chiquita is sent to prison for covering up their debts. Chela is forced to reconsider her notions of class by going to work—at first hesitantly, offering rides to her elderly (and judgmental) wealthy friends despite her discomfort behind the wheel, and then more confidently, starting a kind of private taxi service. It is a journey that will take her down exciting new avenues of independence, and into thrilling contact with young and beautiful Angy, who encourages her freedom
D: Ellen Smit
Netherlands, 80 min
Two young men from different cultural backgrounds seem perfectly matched for love, but the idiosyncrasies of their parents may keep them apart, in this winning romantic tale set in the Netherlands. When we first meet handsome medical student Yad (Majd Mardo), he has quit his hard-partying life in Amsterdam and moved home to a smaller Dutch city to live with his Middle Eastern mother and father. To their dismay, he settles for a temporary job in domestic care, working for a bubbly elderly woman named Ans (Jenny Arean). Like a mischievous Cupid, Ans slyly introduces Yad to her dashing and sexy grandson Joris (Josha Stradowski), and their connection is immediate. But Joris is dealing with his own set of family problems, including an overbearing mother who is addicted to plastic surgery and who has never fully dealt with the messy end of her marriage to Joris’ late father (screens with "Flashback" D: Queer Youth Media Project, USA, 6 min).
D: Jenna Laurenzo
USA, 90 min
A still closeted young woman brings her girlfriend home for Thanksgiving only to have her coming out efforts thwarted by the unexpected arrival of her male roommate (screens with "Children Alike" D: Julia Boström, Sweden, 5 min).
D: Marcel Giser
Switzerland, 119 min
Mario has fallen in love for the first time. Yet his new love is Leon, the team’s new striker, who could pose a threat to Mario’s chances of advancing his soccer career. Before long, their relationship is discovered by their team members and rumors begin to spread beyond the locker room. Mario realizes this jeopardizes his career as a professional football player, but he does not want to lose Leon at any price. He has to make a decision. Does he risk his fame as a soccer star or the only man he has truly loved?
D: Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio
Peru, 101 min
Stumbling across a heartbreaking secret his father is harboring, 14-year-old Segundo will come to face the raw reality of his deeply conservative surroundings, as well as a more profound connection with his father than he’d ever imagined. Segundo sees silence as his only option for dealing with his father Noé’s secret. The 14-year-old lives with his parents in a village high up in the mountains of Peru. Noé is a respected artisan and Segundo’s role model. With loving eye for detail, he artfully crafts altarpieces for church and homes, and is preparing his son to follow in his footsteps. But cracks form in their tight bond.
THE WILD BOYS
D: Bertrand Mandico
France, 110 min
Mandico’s genre- and gender-bending surrealist work zigzags through a perverse, hyper-stylized world of transgressions. In this nightmarish adventure, well-bred teenage boys, played by women, commit a heinous crime and are sent to sea with the barbaric Captain. Landing on a magical island with bizarre animals and lascivious plants, the teens metamorphose. Outrageous vulgarity blends with refinement as machismo’s cruelty and the glory of sexual freedom are exposed in this phantasmagorical visual feast and erotic fantasia.
ANTONIO LOPEZ 1970: SEX FASHION & DISCO
D: James Crump
USA, 95 min
A feature documentary-based time capsule concerning Paris and New York between 1969 and 1973 and viewed through the eyes of Antonio Lopez (1943-1987), the dominant fashion illustrator of the time, and told through the lives of his colorful and sometimes outrageous milieu.
EVERY ACT OF LIFE
D: Jeff Kaufman
USA, 92 min
World-renowned Playwright Terrence McNally’s pioneering 5-decades in the theatre, in the struggle for LGBT rights, and through his pursuit of love and inspiration at every age. Featuring Angela Lansbury, F. Murray Abraham, Meryl Streep, Bryan Cranston, Larry Kramer, Nathan Lane, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci and many more (screens with "Queer Youth and Creativity, D: Queer Youth Media Project, USA, 9 min).
D: T Cooper
USA, 95 min
Man Made takes us into the heart of transgender male (FTM) culture, revealing unexpected truths about gender, masculinity, humanity, and love. Four trans men, take a variety of life paths toward stepping on the stage at Trans FitCon, the only alltransgender bodybuilding competition in the world.
D: Matt Tyrnauer
USA, 98 min
For 33 months, from 1978 to 1980, the nightclub Studio 54 was the place to be seen in Manhattan. A haven of hedonism, tolerance, glitz and glamor, Studio was very hard to gain entrance to and impossible to ignore, with news of who was there filling the gossip columns daily. Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, two college friends from Brooklyn, succeeded in creating the ultimate escapist fantasy in the heart of the theater district. Rubell was the outgoing party-boy who wanted to be everybody’s friend and was photographed with every celebrity du jour who entered the club and Schrager was the quiet, behind-the-scenes workhorse who shunned the limelight. Studio 54 was an instant success and a cash cow, but the drug-and-sex-fueled dream soon crumbled before their eyes. With unprecedented access to Schrager, who tells the whole unvarnished story for the first time, and a treasure-trove of rare footage, director Matt Tyrnauer constructs a vivid, glorious portrait of a disco-era phenomenon, and tells the story of two friends who stuck together through an incredible series of highs and lows.
TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS
D: Adam Sekuler
USA, 93 min
A couple struggles as one person pursues a conscious death amidst the chaotic decline of Alzheimer's.
YOURS IN SISTERHOOD
D: Irene Lusztig
USA, 101 min
Yours In Sisterhood invites strangers in communities all over the US to read aloud and respond to letters from the 1970s sent to the editor of Ms. MagazineAmerica's first mainstream feminist magazine. The intimate, provocative, and sometimes heartbreaking conversations with strangers that emerge from these spontaneous performances of forty-year-old letters make us think critically about the past, present, and future of feminism, providing a space of reflection that is newly urgent in the aftermath of the 2016 election.
WORKS OF JAKE GRAF
"BRACE" (2014) UK, 30 min
"CHANCE" (2015) UK, 17 min
"DAWN" (2016)UK, 14 min
"DUSK" (2017) UK, 15 min
"BODIES OF WATER" D: David Lykes Keenan, USA, 14 min
"MY AUNT MAME" D: Krissy Mahan, USA, 8 min
"POP ROX" D: Nate Trinrud, USA, 13 min
"PRE-DRINK" D: Marc-Antoine Lemire, Canada, 23 min
"THERE YOU ARE" D: Lisa Donato, USA, 16 min
"THE WORLD IS ROUND SO NOBODY CAN HIDE IN THE CORNERS – PART II: THE KISS" D: Leandro Goddinho Germany, 5 min
"ZERO ONE" D: Nick Neon, UK, 24 min (world premiere)
"BRANNEN & THE MONOSEXUALS: DOUBLE BOOKED" D: Caryn K. Hayes, USA, 17 min
"FOXY TROT" D: Lisa Donato, USA, 14 min
"GRACE & BETTY" D: Zoe Lubeck, USA, 11 min
"I LIKE GIRLS" D: Diane Obomswain, Canada, 8 min
"MATT & DAN/SEX NOTES" D: Will Gordh, USA, 4 min
"SOMETHING NEW" D: TJ Marchbank, USA, 17 min
"ANGELA WILSON, A BUTCHER’S STORY" D: Gaby Scott, USA, 7 min
"DO I HAVE BOOBS NOW?" D: Milena Salazar, Joella Cabalu, Canada, 6 min
"PICTURE THIS", D: Jari Osborne, Canada, 33 min
"SALTWATER BAPTISM" D: Jared Callahan, Russell Sheaffer, USA, 16 min
"SUNUNÚ: THE REVOLUTION OF LOVE" D: Olivia Crellin, UK, 24 min
"BLACK LIPS" D: Adrian Chiarella, Australia, 15 min
"LE CONVIVE" D: Hakim Mastour, Switzerland, 19 min
"DARIO" D: Manuel Kinzer, Jorge A. Trujillo Gil, Germany, 15 min
"MANIVALD", D: Chintis Lundgren, Estonia, 12 min
"MATHIAS" D: Clara Stern, Austria, 30 min
"PHOTOMATON" D: Roberto Fiesco, Mexico, 5 min
"SOMETHING ABOUT ALEX" D: Reinout Hellenthal, Netherlands, 18 min
LATE NIGHT & SEXY SHORTS
"ARIDAI" D: Igor Luna, Spain, 8 min
"THE CLEANSE" D: Lucas Omar, USA, 12 min
"GIRL TALK" D: Erica Rose, USA, 17 min
" MEAT" D: Vishesh Pires, USA, 8 min
"NIGHT SHIFT" D: Chris Phillips, USA, 12 min
"THE QUIET ROOM" D: Sm Wineman, USA, 27 min
"BENEATH BY HAPPY LITTLE CLOUDS" D: Jenny Bergman, Stephen LoVerme, USA, 4 min
"CONTROL – SLOOM & DANCINATRA" D: Diego Lozano, USA, 4 min
"MOTHER’S BALLS" D: Catherine van Campen, Netherlands, 48 min
"REACH THE SKY" D: Daniel Sterlin-Altman, Canada, 5 min
"SILVER LIGHT" D: Brad McDermott, Canada, 5 min
"SPACECARS N’ BABES" D: Taylor Mansmann, USA, 22 min