Queer-themed films that were scheduled to premiere at SXSW Film Festival this year
Like many events and festivals around the world, SXSW had to cancel their iconic programming of music, film, and symposiums due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With so many organizations now scrambling to secure some sort of online distribution arrangement, SXSW and Amazon Prime Video have collaborated to bring 39 films, composed of narrative and documentary features, short films, and episodic titles to home screens. The only catch for us here in Canada, is that viewing is limited to residents of the United States (or those who make themselves appear to be there).
Below are five queer flicks that were to have had their premiere screenings at the festival, that will now be shown online for free. Once this pandemic passes, and we begin resume some of the regular programming again, let’s hope these films will have their due support with a proper theatrical screening somewhere, sometime.
Be sure to check individual websites for update screenings and streaming services available here in Canada, and if you are reading from within the US or have a way to access programming, the films are available online at Amazon Prime until May 6th.
I’m Gonna Make You Love Me is a full-length documentary about the life of Brian Belovitch, who in the 1980s, as a trans woman named Tish, was one of New York’s most famous downtown divas. “Tish was a glamorous busty lusty Fellini-esque beauty, cabaret chanteuse, party and good time girl,” says journalist Michael Musto, in the film. Then, after more than a decade as Tish, she transitioned back to Brian. Now in his sixties, Brian’s iterations include army wife and loving husband; sex worker; club performer; actor; author; AIDS survivor and playwright. Today, he’s a substance abuse counselor for the LGBTQ community. His unique odyssey is a moving and thought-provoking look at gender identity.
Claudia and Maria, roam the streets of the city of Guatemala. Claudia works at a call center and is uninterested in the world around her. She lives with her activist grandfather, who tries to persuade her to join his cause. Maria unlike Claudia, is more spontaneous and lives with her mother in the outskirts of the city. The chaotic streets are filled with common stories of abuse, unforgiving police officers, and charming secret corners. Everything changes one night when they are attacked by three men. Although they manage to escape, Claudia is faced with the dilemma of choosing revenge or listening to her grandfather’s advice.
Father of the Bride
The best man attempts to keep face and deliver his speech at his brother’s wedding, following an encounter in the hotel bathroom with the father of the bride.
The first half of the film takes place in darkness. Only a lighter and a flickering fluorescent light pierce the black. In these phases of light, we see that we are in a martial arts studio bathroom with Sam (16), his younger brother Leo (13), Sam’s secret crush Rafa (15), and their martial arts coach Novik (27). As the boys smoke, we unravel that Sam has been sexually abused by Coach Novik (a fact which is unbeknownst to Leo and Rafa). As Sam pursues Rafa, he can’t seem to untangle himself from Coach Novik.
Dirty is a tender, honest portrait of two queer teenagers as they navigate intimacy together for the first time.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.