AGLIFF Presses Play on The Capote Tapes
LGBTQIA+ film festival announces online lineup for 2020
By Richard Whittaker,
7:22PM, Wed. Jul. 8, 2020
The All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival (aGLIFF) may have had to go online for 2020, but the selection for this year's virtual fest is still worthy of the big screen, with the announcement that new documentary The Capone Tapes is this year's opening night film.
The new documentary by Ebs Burnough examines the life of the author, screen writer, journalist, and defining satirical voice of the 20th century through a remarkable and recently uncovered archive: a series of conversations between the In Cold Blood author and his friend, The Paris Review co-founder George Plimpton.
The festival will run over two weekends across Aug. 6-16; badges for the virtual festival are available for $35 per weekend, or $65 for both. All aGLIFF members automatically receive badges, as well as first dibs on reserving screening links (like a regular festival, there are only so many "seats").
Casandra Alston, aGLIFF board president said, “Just a few months ago, nobody could have predicted the current situation or extent of the COVID-19 takeover, or the heightened racial and political tension in the country. That is why aGLIFF felt this year it is even more important for our queer community to have a place to come together and see stories that reflect the diverse perspectives of LGBTQIA+ people. We hope this year’s virtual festival, aGLIFF 33: Prism provides that opportunity.”Aside from The Capone Tapes the festival has announced a packed schedule, including not one but three special secret screenings (no details, but expect the return of an aGLIFF regular, and new films from France and Canada). Among the revealed titles, there's the return of fashion doc House of Cardin, which the fest previewed earlier this summer; a work-in-progress screening of Women in Blue, about Minneapolis Chief of Police Janee Harteau's efforts to diversify and reform the department; a close look at the personal costs of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in Surviving the Silence; and Ahead of the Curve, about Curve Magazine founder Frances “Franco” Stevens and her immeasurable but overlooked impact on lesbian history.
“With the ride that has been 2020, putting this year’s lineup together has been one of the most challenging experiences ever, but rewarding at the same time. From features and documentaries to shorts, this year’s festival is truly an all-inclusive representation for LGBTQIA+ stories,” said aGLIFF Artistic Director, Jim Brunzell. “We have continued to search for films that represent all the voices in the community, including filmmakers from groups underrepresented in queer film — and I believe we’ve struck a nice balance with this year’s offerings.”
Here's the 2020 lineup: Find passes and more details at www.agliff.org/festival.
OPENING NIGHT FILM
The Capote Tapes
D: Ebs Burnough
Truman Capote was a singular figure in the 20th century. He presented himself unapologetically on television at a time when most gay men took pains to avoid scrutiny. His books Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood were bestsellers and critical darlings. Now The Capote Tapes delivers a fresh portrait that reinvigorates our understanding of this vital writer. Among the film’s revelations are newly discovered tapes of interviews that The Paris Review co-founder George Plimpton conducted with Capote’s friends after his death.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Ahead of the Curve
D: Jen Rainin
Ahead of the Curve is the story of one of the most influential women in lesbian history most people have never heard of and the impact her work continues to have today. Frances “Franco” Stevens is the founding publisher of Curve Magazine, and her story unfolds through intimate interviews with magazine staff, celebrities, cultural critics, and Franco herself intertwined with extraordinary footage from Franco’s personal collection and LGBTQ archives to situate the story in its historical context. Franco’s present-day struggle is told through verité handheld footage.
Women in Blue (work in progress)
D: Deirdre Fishel
The Minneapolis Police Department’s first female chief, Janee Harteau, embarks on a mission to remake the department by ridding it of corruption, demanding accountability, and re-training the officers. As part of her effort she also recruits more women and encourages their leadership. Women in Blue follows three of these police officers as each try in their own way, at their own levels in the department, to play a role in the reform effort.
FICTION JURY COMPETITION
D: Gil Baroni
North American Premiere
Alice Junior is producing her latest YouTube video about the long-awaited first kiss. But when her father walks into her bedroom and announces in front of the camera that they will be leaving the vibrant Brazilian city of Recife and moving to a small, conservative town in the south, Alice has to prepare herself for the prudery and small-mindedness she will confront there.
D: Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon
Nominated for twelve Israeli Film Awards, Flawless follows three teenagers from Jerusalem who sell their kidneys to pay for cosmetic surgery and prom dresses. As a secret uncovers, they realize nothing is as it seems.
The Glass Room
D: Julius Sevcik
Liesel Landauer and her friend Hana are linked by a lifelong relationship and an exceptional house built by the architect Von Abt for Liesel and her husband Viktor in Czechoslovakia in the early 1930s. Based on Simon Mawer’s bestselling novel and filmed on location at the stunning Villa Tugendhat stars Claes Bang (The Square), Hanna Alstöm (Kingsman: The Secret Service) and Carice von Houten (Game of Thrones).
D: Isabel Sandoval
Olivia (writer/director/star Isabel Sandoval), an undocumented Filipino transwoman, works as a caregiver to Olga, an elderly Russian woman, in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. When Olivia runs out of options to attain legal status in the U.S., she becomes romantically involved with Alex, Olga’s adult grandson, in the pursuit of a marriage-based green card.
A Perfectly Normal Family
D: Malou Reymann
Emma has a perfectly normal family until one day it turns out her dad is transgender. As Thomas becomes Agnete, both father and daughter struggle to hold on to what they had, while accepting that everything has changes.
DOCUMENTARY JURY COMPETITION
Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly-Glenn Copeland Story
D: Posy Dixon
Winner of the Audience Award at the 2020 Hot Docs Film Festival, Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly-Glenn Story tells the time-traveling tale of a mystical musician and vocalist, as the present finally catches up with him and he embarks on his first international tour at the age of 74. Capturing five decades of relentless musical output and shifting manifestations of gender and sexual identity, set against a backdrop of profound social change, the film celebrates the unpredictable rhythms of life. A lullaby to soothe those souls struggling to find their place in the world.
D: Elegance Bratton
Caught up in the precariousness of survival and self-preservation, homeless queer and trans youth of color hang out at Christopher Street Pier, forging their own chosen family. Genuine and charming, these eloquent youth must contend with overwhelming amounts of homophobia and abuse. Director Elegance Bratton’s still-hopeful portrait exposes a raw side of New York City many often choose to ignore.
The Right Girls
D: Timothy Wolfer
Three young transgender women from El Salvador and Honduras—Valentina, Johanna, and Chantal—travel through Southern Mexico within the high-profile “Migrant Caravan.” They develop a deep friendship as they walk and hitch rides northwards, coping with long journeys, limited funds, and regular harassment. They team up with other trans girls along the route and integrate within the caravan’s LGBTQ community.
Sex, Sin & 69
D: Sarah Fodey
Sex, Sin & 69 is a historical, retrospective film about the 1969 legislation to ‘decriminalize’ homosexuality. Told through contemporary voices including queer academics, historians, activists, educators, artists, and community builders, the film attempts to challenge our understanding of queer history by shining a light on widely adopted misconceptions surrounding decriminalization. Narrated by writer/actress Fawzia Mirza (Signature Move).
Surviving the Silence
D: Cindy L. Abel
Years before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Colonel Patsy Thompson presided over the review board that dismissed Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer for being a lesbian. Although she had been in tough spots over the course of her 28-year service, this was the toughest. Presiding over this case forced Patsy to confront her own moral dilemma and her own secret: she too was a lesbian. Surviving the Silence tells the story of two women in love who played a part in changing military policy, shining light on the unknown history of how a closeted colonel forced to expel and Army hero for being lesbian did so in a way resulting in re-instatement via federal court.
ADDITIONAL FICTION FILMS
Beyond the Horizon
D: Delphine Lehericey Texas Premiere
In the summer of 1976, sweltering heat plagues rural Romandy, Switzerland, where 13-year-old Gus lives on his family farm. When seemingly carefree Cécile, a new friend of Gus’s mother, arrives, she brings life to their family dinners, sharing anecdotes about seeing a film called Jaws and catching the only European performance by the band, The Ramones. But not everyone in the family is as smitten with Cécile as Gus’s mom. Staring Clémence Poésy (127 Hours, Tenet).
D: Mike Mosallam
Mo, a practicing Muslim living in West Hollywood, is learning to navigate life post heartbreak. Enter Kal, an All-American guy who surprises Mo by offering to break fast with him during the holy month of Ramadan.
D: Jonathan Wysocki
A last party between lifelong theater geek friends before they scatter to college reveals just how much they don’t know about one another in writer/director Jonathan Wysocki’s warm, funny, and ultimately moving coming-of-age-dramedy.
Give or Take
D: Paul Riccio
When a disillusioned New Yorker’s father dies, he goes home to Cape Cod and prepares the house for sale while sharing it with his father’s late in life live-in boyfriend. With nothing to separate them they are forced to negotiate how to remember and move on from the man they both loved. Starring two-time Tony Winner Norbert Leo Butz, and Emmy nominee Cheri Oteri.
D: Morgan Ingari
Seeking direction and purpose, Milo rashly decides to become a surrogate and egg donor for an older gay man she meets in a bar. However, as Milo becomes increasingly attached to him, she starts leveraging the pregnancy as a means of staying embedded in his life.
D: Hong Khau
Crazy Rich Asians’ sexy leading man Henry Golding star in this poetic film from director Hong Khau (Lilting) about a man who returns to his native Vietnam from the U.K. to distribute his parents’ ashes. As part of his journey, he hooks up with an American, Lewis (Parker Stevens) who has his own personal connection to the country—their liaison offering both men a sympathetic ear. Asking questions about home, place, and identity, this beautifully shot film, with the dreamy Golding at its heart, finds that the answers can sometimes be wondrously elusive.
D: Ray Yeung
One day Pak, 70, a taxi driver who refuses to retire, meets Hoi, 65, a retired single father, in a park. Despite years of societal and personal pressure, they are proud of the families they have created through hard work and determination. Yet in that brief initial encounter, something is unleashed in them which had been suppressed for so many years. As both men recount and recall their personal histories, they also contemplate a possible future together.
ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILMS
All We’ve Got
D: Alexis Clements
All We’ve Got is a personal exploration of LGBTQ women’s communities, cultures, and social justice work through the lens of the spaces they create, from bars to bookstores to arts and political hubs. And it comes at a time when many of those spaces are closing.
D: Rubi Gat
Fredy Hirsch was born in Germany, a proud Jew and openly gay man he we 19 years old when the Nuremberg Laws were published, he fled from Germany to the Czech Republic which was conquered by the Nazis. Together with members of the underground in Auschwitz, he planned a revolt that never came to pass, following his death, which remains a mystery, and which this film attempts to reveal.
House of Cardin
D: P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes
House of Cardin is a rare peek into the mind of a genius, an authorized feature documentary chronicling the life and design of Pierre Cardin. A true original, Mr. Cardin has granted the directors exclusive access to his archives and his empire, and unprecedented interviews at the sunset of a glorious career.
Julia Scotti: Funny That Way
D: Susan Sandler
Decades ago, Julia Scotti performed as Rick Scotti, and appeared on bills with Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock. Now, the trans comedian returns to the stage as “the crazy old lady of comedy,” in this tender, funny, and triumphant comeback story.
Making Sweet Tea
D: John L. Jackson, Jr. and Nora Gross
Making Sweet Tea is a documentary film that chronicles the journey of southern-born, black, gay researcher and performer, E. Patrick Johnson, as he travels home to North Carolina to come to terms with his past, and to Georgia, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C. to reconnect with six black gay men he interviewed for the book, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South — An Oral History.
No Box for Me: An Intersex Story
D: Floriane Devigne
Often intersex is still dealt with as a pathology that must be treated and repaired. The film reflects on the way intersex people seek to appropriate their bodies and construct their identities. It questions what our societies are ready to do in the name of social norms and what it means to be a man, a woman or a little of both…
D: Gail Willumsen
Out Loud chronicles the ups and downs of the first season of the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles — the largest group of transgender and gender non-conforming people anywhere in the world who come together regularly to sing.
* indicates film is in the short jury competition
"1-1" D: Naures Sager, Southwest Premiere
Ayman’s sex date with Jonas gets crashed by friends Amirah and Samir, which takes a positive turn.
"Acuitzeramo" D: Miguel Angel Caballero, Southwest Premiere*
Salvador, a gay Mexican elder who has lost his partner of 15 years, calls his partner’s estranged son, Anthony, to tell him of his father’s passing.
"Are We Here Yet" D: S. Chidi Amadiume, Southwest Premiere*
A couple discover they don’t know as much about each other as they thought while they move into their new apartment.
"Babydyke" D: Tone Ottilie Frederiksen, North American Premiere*
Frede goes with her big sister to a queer techno party to win back her ex. When this goes wrong, she tries to follow her sister’s less romantic advice on how to get over your ex and not be a babydyke.
"Birds of a Feather" D: Varad Bhamburdekar, U.S. Premiere*
In the courtyard of an Indian Palace a male peacock named Kana fails to get his feathers up for a female named Ami until he meets another peacock named Madan with the same problem.
"Buck" D: Elegance Bratton and Jovan James, Texas Premiere*
Caught in the midst of a depressive fugue Lynn turns to debauchery to ease his troubled soul only to discover that happiness is a complicated goal.
"Buffalo" D: Freddie Paull, World Premiere
A blocked writer deals with loss and mid-life sexual awakening.
"CC Dances the Go Go" D: Erin C. Buckley, Southwest Premiere
A little love story + go-go dancing.
"Content" D: Chris Coats, Texas Premiere
When Kevin is asked to model for a professional photographer, he gets more than he bargained for.
"Driving Louise" D: Isaac Knopf, Southwest Premiere*
On the road, Ezra’s newfound insecurity with sexual identity builds while Louise silently recalls a hidden relationship with a woman fifty years prior.
"The Family Album" D: Anthony Chapman, Texas Premiere*
A teenage home health care worker in deep south forms a special bond with her first client, a trans man in the final months of his life.
"Last Summer with Uncle Ira" D: Gary Jaffe and Katie Ennis | World Premiere*
Before he leaves for his last year at summer camp, closeted teenager Daniel is nudged by his mother Rachel to share a moment and a glass of lemonade with his Uncle Ira, who is dying of complications from HIV/AIDS.
"The Lonely Prince" D: Sohail Grover and Shivin, Texas Premiere
A lonely Prince, drowning in melancholy, invites a Sculptor to his court to create a piece of art just for him. As the Sculptor spends his days chiseling away on a block of marble, the Prince too discovers a new side of himself, for a brief moment forgetting the world of solitude that surrounds him.
"Mankind" D: Layke Anderson, Texas Premiere
Will is a restless young man yearning to leave love and the Earth behind. When his partner Evan discovers he has submitted himself to be part of a controversial experiment to colonize Mars, he tries in vain to talk him out of it.
"A Month of Single Frames" D: Lynne Sachs, Texas Premiere
In 2018, Barbara Hammer began her own process of dying by revisiting her personal archive. She gave all of her images, sounds and writing from the residency to filmmaker Lynne Sachs and invited her to make a film with the material.
"Motta" D: Nish Gera, World Premiere
"Motta" follows “hard to classify” Brazilian artist Fabio da Motta as he questions the boundaries between fantasy, power, provocation, and art.
"Naomi Replansky at 100" D: Megan Rossman, World Premiere
This short documentary shares wisdom from the renowned poet as she celebrates her 100th year.
"Old Hen" D: Todd I. Gordon, Southwest Premiere
Henry, a septuagenarian cross-dresser, finds his life abruptly changed when Dolores, his long-time co-worker and closest friend, suddenly dies, forcing him to come to terms with losing the only person who truly accepts his cross-dressing.
"Orin & Anto" D: Michael Achtman, Southwest Premiere
A young, non-binary visitor to London returns to their Airbnb to find an older gay man has moved in while they were out. In a small studio flat over one turbulent night, Orin and Anto confront the queer generation gap and decide to make space for each other.
"Our Service, Our Stories: The Evolution of the LGBT Military Experience" D: Bill Anderson, Neil Beecher, Bill Duckworth, Belita Edwards, Ed Imparato, Michael La Borde, and Warren Tymony, Southwest Premiere*
Featuring LGBT veterans who served between 1951 and 2017, this short documentary was made by a small group of senior veterans at the Los Angeles LGBT Center to ensure that the history of those who served is preserved and shared.
"The Paint Wizzard" D: Jessica Wolfson and Jessie Auritt, Austin Premiere*
Millie The Paint Wizzard, is a transgender housepainter who lives and works out of her bright yellow RV in Austin, TX. Just a few years ago at the age of 58, Millie finally gained the courage to come out into the world as her true self.
"Pete Can’t Play Basketball" D: Nick Borenstein, Southwest Premiere
In a world where all that matters is basketball, Pete can’t play basketball.
"Porn Yesterday" D: Dave Quantic, Texas Premiere
A film about how terrible adults were at hiding porn and how good we were at finding it.
"Query" D: Sophie Kargman, Texas Premiere*
Over the course of a day, Jay and Alex, roommates, and best friends, spend their time verbally jousting over whether it’s instinct or social norms that drives their heterosexual proclivities. Co-starring Justice Smith and Armie Hammer.
"Ritornare" D: Joelle Graham, Southwest Premiere*
A lesbian nun in Sicily decides to follow her own moral compass, beyond the restraints of a conservative church and society.
"Screenshots for a Goodbye" D: Ruth Caudeli, World Premiere
Andrea and Maca are facing the day after a break-up and they are going to struggle with all the difficulties that come after a goodbye.
"The Shawl" D: Sara Kiener, Austin Premiere
After years of long distance, a pair of big and beautiful boyfriends celebrate their reunion at a Stevie Nicks concert, where they share a brush with Magic.
"Shéár Avory: To Be Continued" D: Abram Cerda, Texas Premiere
"Shéár Avory: To Be Continued" is the coming of age story of Shéár Avory, a 17-year-old aspiring social justice advocate in Los Angeles who navigates housing instability and familial dependency on their journey to adulthood.
"Sparks" D: Netta Shalev, North American Premiere*
Set in 1994, homophobic Amit returns home; a year after the death of his twin brother, Yoni, who died of AIDS. Amit is surprised to find that his family and Yoni’s former partner are going to a drag show in Yoni’s memory.
"Take Me to Prom" D:Andrew Moir, Texas Premiere*
Featuring intimate, charming interviews with queer Canadians ranging in age from 88 to 17, Take Me to Prom invites audiences to revisit an adolescent milestone while telling a story of social change that spans more than 70 years.
"Tall Tales with True Queens" D: Kristina Budelis and Leandro Badalotti, Texas Premiere*
Drag Queen Story Hour is just what it sounds like—an event series of drag queens reading stories to kids in bookstores, libraries, schools, and beyond. This film is about that event series, focusing on the kids experience of drag queen story hour—showing footage of the event and kid’s reactions, as well as several interviews with kids on their impressions of the event.
"This Is the Walk" D: Raymond Samame and Syra McCarthy, Texas Premiere
On the journey to self-autonomy we must shed layers of attachment.
"Thrive" D: Jamie Di Spirito, Texas Premiere
A hook-up between two young men—they make a connection, but it quickly becomes apparent they’re looking for different things.
"Vincy" D: Hugo Kenzo and Sophia Shek, Southwest Premiere
Music. Love. Queerness. Asian identity. The meaning of those terms in the words of non-binary singer-songwriter Vincy.
"Vote Neil" D: Honora Talbott, Texas Premiere*
Two gay Marines in Birmingham, Alabama battle their hardest missing: Election Week 2018. Neil is a first-time politician running for State House. Mike is his fiancé and campaign manager searching for purpose. An intimate portrait about politics, the Southern LGBTQ experience, and one incredible love story.