aGLIFF Gets in the Ring With New Wrestling Documentary
Queer film fest announces first six films
By Richard Whittaker,
1:00AM, Sat. Jul. 23, 2022
Iconic queer grappler Effy has a t-shirt that says "Make Wrestling Gayer." aGLIFF, Austin's All Genders, Lifestyles and Identities Film Festival, is making its 2022 lineup more wrestling-y with the announcement that LGBTQ wrestling documentary Out in the Ring will be part of this year's lineup.
aGLIFF Prism 35 (the 35th iteration of the festival, running Aug. 24-28 at the Highland Galaxy) has released the titles of the first six films on this year's schedule, and Ryan Bruce Levey's documentary is one of those first through the curtain. Wrestling has often been seen as homoerotic, but the documentary goes beyond that muscles and baby oil stereotyping to look at the space that wrestlers like AEW stars Sonny Kiss and Nyla Rose have created in pop culture, as well as how grapplers from earlier generations like Pat Patterson and Chris Kanyon had to stay closeted - and the deep psychological wounds that left.
Of course, Austin filmmakers have a presence, starting with former KVUE reporter Peter Jones, writer/producer of All Man: The International Male Story, this year's opening night film. Artistic Director Bears Rebecca Fonté said, “Thirty-five years ago, when aGLIFF started at the Dobie Theater as four films about the AIDS crisis, the gayest thing in wide circulation was the International Male Catalog - full of well-dressed men doing manly things - so the documentary All Man: The International Male Story is the perfect opener for PRISM 35."
The Austin presence continues courtesy of Tribeca selection Three Headed Beast, Fernando Andrés and Tyler Rugh's experimental depiction of the pleasures and perils of open relationships. Meanwhile, our neighbor to the South sends the story of Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe and her campaign to be San Antonio District 8 council member and Texas' first openly transgender elected official in A Run for More, executive produced by Austin film scene fixture PJ Raval.
Talk about old friends of aGLIFF, New Queer pioneer Bruce La Bruce (The Misandrists, Otto, Or, Up With Dead People, Hustler White) is back with his latest, The Many Loves of Lidia. And rounding out the sextet is the Southwest premiere of Nana's Boys, an intimate drama about two men confronted by the shortcomings of their relationship on what should be a landmark day.
AGLIFF runs Aug. 24-28 at Galaxy Highland, 6700 Middle Fiskville. Tickets and info at agliff.org. Here's the lineup so far:
All Man: The International Male Story
D: Bryan Darling, Jesse Finley Reed
USA, 83 mins Southwest Premiere. Peter Jones in attendance
All Man: The International Male Story journeys across three decades of the catalog’s unlikely but lasting impact on fashion, masculinity, and sexuality in America. Gene Burkard, a once-closeted Midwesterner and GI, found freedom in San Diego, where he transformed men’s fashion into something cosmopolitan, carefree, and trendsetting. International Male reached gay and straight customers alike as it redefined images of masculinity in America culture, generating revenue and circulation in the millions. This character-driven documentary crafts a portrait of a band of outsiders who changed the way men would look – at themselves, at each other and how the world would look at them. This is their story – a modern day fairy tale about a dream that really did come true. Narrated by Matt Bomer and featuring and all-star cast of celebrity stylists, fashion influencers, and comedic actors, All Man: The International Male Story celebrates International Male in an appropriately colorful ‘80s throwback style.
Wed., Aug. 24, 6pm. Reserve tickets here.
Three Headed Beast
D: Fernando Andrés, Tyler Rugh
USA, 84 min., Austin Premiere. Fernando Andrés, Tyler Rugh, and cast in attendance
In the quiet of a hot Texas day, Peter goes to bed with his lover. Across town, Nina wakes up with hers. Without a word, each couple bids a fond, lingering farewell, and Peter and Nina return to their cozy shared home. They operate comfortably in smiles and silence, moving about their day in percussive rhythms and worn-in grooves of a long-term, healthy relationship; but something in the way they communicate is noticeably lacking. Though they are on the verge of closing their open relationship, something, and someone, is missing.
Thu., Aug. 25, 7pm. Reserve tickets here.
Nana’s BoysD: Ashton Pina
US, 78 min., Southwest Premiere. Ashton Pina in attendance
When an explosion rattles NYC into a lockdown and without power, Amari and Q are forced to confront the fragility of their partnership. Nana’s Boys is an intimate peek into the relationship of two Black gay men. On the morning of his 30th Birthday, Amari struggles to make decisions on what’s next and defining his purpose. Q is on track to become the youngest partner at his law firm and plans an elaborate soiree to celebrate this milestone of his long-term partner. The day takes a rattling turn when an explosion cuts off utilities across New York City and forces the city into mandatory lockdown. Their relationship is tested as the couple grapples with memories that could shatter their plans altogether.
Sat., Aug 27, 2pm. Reserve tickets here.
Out in the Ring
D: Ryan Bruce Levey
Canada, 105 mins, Southwest Premiere. Ryan Bruce Levey in attendance
Out in the Ring explores the rise and history of LGBTQ+ professional wrestlers and representation in the sport. Featuring interviews from past legends, veteran journeymen, rising and current independent stars and important wrestling experts, Out in the Ring is the first documentary to take a deeper look at queer representation in wrestling. Through a combination of these interviews and incredible archival footage, this ground-breaking film looks at the effects of homophobia, racism, and gender equality on wrestling stars of the past and present and looks ahead to the future of queer and trans stars in the sport. This directorial debut by Ryan Bruce Levy uncovers the unique history of the industry and the rise of visibility for performers and fans around the world.
Sat., Aug 27, 7:15pm. Reserve tickets here.
The Affairs of Lidia
D: Bruce LaBruce
Canada, Spain, 95 min., US Premiere. Bruce LaBruce in attendance.
Lidia, a fashion model, discovers her husband Michelangelo, a boxer, is having an affair with Sandro, a fashion photographer. She deviously plots her revenge in this erotic comedy set against the backdrop of the fashion world written and directed by Bruce LaBruce.
Sat., Aug 27, 9:30pm. Reserve tickets here.
A Run for More
D: Ray Whitehouse
USA, 81 min., Austin Premiere. Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe, Ray Whitehouse, PJ Raval in attendance
Growing up, Frankie Gonzales-Wolfe learned to be a fighter, but never imagined having a chance to make history as the first openly elected transgender official in Texas. Unfolding amidst an onslaught of trans legal attacks, A Run for More immerses viewers on Frankie’s journey as she finds her voice, questions her relationship to community, and tries to win an election. Shot over four years, A Run for More immerses viewers into Frankie’s unique campaign and the impact it has on her, the city, and the LGBTQ+ community in San Antonio.
Sun., Aug 28, noon. Reserve tickets here.