Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival through Thursday

Fri. November 7, 2003 12:00 AM

Reeling 2003 - November 6-13

Chicago, IL - Chicago Filmmakers and Presenting Sponsor Subaru are proud to announce Reeling 2003: The 22nd Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival, to take place November 6-13th, 2003. The second oldest festival of its kind, Reeling has brought the best in international independent queer cinema to Chicago audiences for twenty-two years. This year, Reeling will screen 114 films and videos, in 46 programs of features, shorts, and special presentations, from 17 countries. Reeling's main venues are Landmark Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St., and Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark St.

Opening Night, Closing Night, and Special Events

Opening Night Gala, Thursday, November 6th Gala Reception & Latter Days Screening Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport After-screening Party at High Risk Gallery, 1113 W. Belmont

Reeling's Opening Night Gala begins with a festival kick-off reception, hosted by Chicago Free Press, in the historic Music Box Theatre lobby at 6:00 pm.

At 7:30 pm, the festival screens its opening night selection, Latter Days, the directorial debut of screenwriter C. Jay Cox (Sweet Home Alabama). Latter Days is a romantic drama about the relationship between an urbane Los Angeles waiter and a Mormon Missionary. Starring Wes Ramsey and Steve Sandvoss, Latter Days also features a stellar supporting cast including Jacqueline Bisset, Mary Kay Place, and Amberson Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). C. Jay Cox will be on hand for a Q&A following the screening.

The festivities will continue with an after-screening party at High Risk Gallery at 10 pm. $25 includes Gala Reception, Opening Night film and High Risk Gallery After-Screening Party.

Tipping the Velvet Screening and Burlesque Reception, Friday, November 7th Landmark Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark Street

English Victorian society comes alive in all its erotic glory in this BBC produced version of Sarah Waters' popular novel, Tipping the Velvet. The 19th century music hall provides the backdrop for male impersonators Nan King and her lover Miss Kitty Butler as they begin a delightful and decidedly queer journey through sea shores, bawdy theaters, and boudoirs.

Sissy Butch Brothers burlesque dancers and the Chicago Kings drag troupe bring us into the modern era of drag with performances at Reeling¹s Tipping the Velvet Burlesque Reception across the street from the theatre at Curl Up and Dye Salon, directly following the screening. Admission is $20 and includes the film screening and catered reception with open bar.

The Undergrad World Premiere Screening and Party, Saturday, November 8th Landmark Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark Street Party at Spin Nightclub, 800 W. Belmont Ave.

The world premiere of the much anticipated super-8 send-up, The Undergrad, takes place in a late-night screening. This sexy, gender-twisting parody of the 1967 classic, The Graduate, features internationally acclaimed drag pioneer Diane Torr and the Chicago Kings. All of the main roles are depicted by women and drag kings.

Director Michele Mahoney and cast and crew members will be present at the screening and the world premiere party at Spin Nightclub, following the screening. Admission is $9 for the screening and $5 for the party after.

Blue Citrus Hearts Closing Night Party, Thursday, November 13th Landmark Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark Street Party at Hydrate Nightclub, 3641 N. Halsted Street

Reeling is proud to close this year¹s festival with Blue Citrus Hearts, an unassuming film of extraordinary power that captures the unfolding love between two working class high school boys. Set in Memphis, with an alarming realism, the film¹s ensemble, non­professional cast expertly gives us a multi-layered story of first love, enduring friendship and survival of "outsiders" in the south. A moody soundtrack by indie-rockers Loggia adds to the beauty of the story of adolescent angst, sexual exploration, and true love. This film debut by twenty-three year old writer/director Morgan Jon Fox will remind even the most jaded why we come to film festivals and love film.

Meet Morgan Jon Fox and cast members at the Closing Night Party at Hydrate Nightclub after the screening. Complimentary hors d'ouevres and open bar will take place from 10 pm-12 midnight. DJ Terri Bristol spins at Midnight. Admission is $20 for the screening and after-party.

International Highlights

The festival offers diverse international perspectives, with selections from 17 countries: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Ireland, Italy, UK, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, and the United States.

France has two selections in this year¹s festival, Close to Leo, a dramatic feature that follows 21 year-old Leo and his close-knit family after he shares with them that he has AIDS; and You¹ll Get Over It, a high-school coming of age tale.

Goldfish Memory is a stylish and witty import from Ireland that offers a light-hearted look at the dangers and delights of dating in contemporary Dublin where relationships (gay, straight and everything in between) come together and fall apart.

India is well represented in this year's festival with a complete evening of shorts, entitled India Pink, as well as a documentary, Miss Manju Truck Driver, a unique portrait of an unforgettable character that doesn't so much defy gender stereotypes so much as disregard them.

From the Middle East comes the Israeli film Yossie & Jagger, about two soldiers stationed at a remote outpost; and Almost There, about two lesbians who leave Tel Aviv and move to Greece.

Spanish director Eloi de la Iglesia's Bulgarian Lovers is a darkly comic Eastern vs. Western European tale about a wealthy Spanish lawyer who gets involved with a Bulgarian immigrant, The Spanish Mafia, and the chemical weapons trade. Immigration also is an important theme in Kiki & Tiger, a German film about two unlikely best friends, a Serb and an illegal Albanian refugee, whose friendship is threatened when the Albanian is deported.

Other foreign features in the festival include A World of Love (Italy), a dramatic realization of a controversial episode in the life of Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini; All About My Father (Norway), a stimulating discourse between the filmmaker and his father about his father's transvestitism; and the Canadian camp film Secondary High.

American Features

Among the American feature films in the festival are Blind Spot, featuring an intense performance by Golden Globe winner James Franco (James Dean, Spider Man); Totally Sexy Loser, directed by Jason Schafer, writer of Trick and episodes of Queer as Folk; Robin's Hood, about a "philanthropic" lesbian love affair between a social worker and a French crook; Gone, But Not Forgotten, in which a man with amnesia also forgets he's straight; Sex, Politics & Cocktails, about a Cuban-American who is assigned to make a documentary on gay relationships and develops one of his own; and two "period" films, Eden's Curve, set in the '70s and Alma Mater, set in the '60s.

Shorts Programs

Reeling's always popular shorts programs range from the super camp to the super serious and everything in between. Programs include the picaresque gay adventures of We Know What Boys Like to the more serious encounters in Boys Coming Together. Dyke Delicious shorts includes the sure-to-please D.E.B.S., which is currently being made into a feature film; and I Like Dyke Shorts includes an array of irreverent pieces serving up everything from partying Barbies to bouncing bosoms. Other shorts programs include: Supercamp Shorts, Queers in Uniform, and Alternaqueer Shorts.


From reclaiming lesbian and gay history to surveying contemporary conditions around HIV and AIDS, the documentaries in Reeling play an important role in bringing to public attention the most compelling issues of our times.

Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin uncovers the history of one of the greatest figures in the Black civil rights movement. Targeted by Hoover¹s FBI as a "suspected communist and known homosexual subversive," and increasingly exiled by the civil rights movement he championed and forged, Bayard Rustin's visionary and enduring contributions to human rights come alive in this riveting documentary.

No Secret Anymore: The Times of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon is a momentous tribute to two other human rights champions, credited with founding the modern lesbian civil rights movement. This long-overdue documentary poignantly illustrates the struggle, courage, and love of this passionate couple and their tireless activism.

From the hey day of the 1970s to the early days of the Michigan Womyn¹s Music Festival, to contemporary girl punk bands, the multi-award winning Radical Harmonies captures a bold, brilliant history of women¹s music, and includes remarkable archival footage of an amazing array of performances, interviews and festivals with everyone from Holly Near and Meg Christian to Bitch and Animal and Ani Difranco.

AIDS & HIV issues are explored this year in a provocative and controversial documentary, The Gift, which examines the new phenomenon of "bug chasers" and "gift givers," terms used for individuals either seeking to get infected with the HIV virus, or to pass on the HIV virus to a willing HIV-negative person. The Gift, both passionately acclaimed and vigorously challenged, has sold out film festivals around the world, and fostered lively debate wherever it plays. Reeling will convene a panel discussion following the screening.

Pandemic: Facing AIDS, documents the lives of individuals with AIDS from five different countries, and has been called one of the most moving and important documentaries of our times.

Other documentaries in the festival include THIS obedience, a deeply emotional account of the controversy within the Luther Evangelical Church around the ordination of a partnered lesbian minister; School's Out: The Life of a Gay High School in Texas, about the lives and struggles of gay teens in a flailing high school for GLBT students; Hooked, a fascinating exposé of gay online cruising and its contribution to sexual addiction; I Exist: Voices from the Lesbian and Gay Middle Eastern Community in the U.S., which offers a unique cultural perspective on homosexuality; and Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World, which focuses on a group of men arrested, tortured, and imprisoned for simply gathering at a discotheque on the river Nile. On the lighter side, Laughing Matters is an hilarious docu-comedy starring comics Kate Clinton, Marga Gomez, Suzanne Westenhoefer and Karen Williams.

Chicago-based Filmmakers

Reeling is always especially proud to present the work of local filmmakers. This year, we are honored to present the World Premieres of two local films: The Undergrad, Michele Mahoney's gender-twisting remake of The Graduate, with a cast entirely made up of women and drag kings; and Sharon Zurek and Lora Branch's Kevin's Room: Part 2 ­ Trust, the much-anticipated follow-up to the first Kevin's Room, a dramatic narrative centered on the leader of a support group, whose characters grapple with issues of barebacking, fidelity, honesty, and living with HIV. Tadeo Garcia's On the Down Low, set in Little Village, is the explosive story of the relationship between two young Latinos involved in a south side Chicago gang; and Ronit Bezalel, Laurie Little, and Sree Nallamothu's A Day on the Force: Women's Professional Tackle Football chronicles the challenges and triumphs of Chicago's first professional women's tackle football team.

Local filmmakers with short films in Reeling include Zack Stiglicz, Posthumously Yours; Katrina Fullman and Denise Conca, Refuse and Refashion; Allison Sweeney, A Cow Walks into a Bar; Keith Ransfer, The Brother We Keep; Thomas Gustafson, Fairies; and Tess Ernst, The Drive North.

Visiting Artists

Through the generous sponsorship of the Chicago-based, this year's festival will include an unprecedented number of visiting filmmakers, screenwriters and actors who will appear at screenings, special panels, and receptions. "It is these cultural exchanges that are at the heart of a film festival," notes Chicago Filmmakers' Executive Director Brenda Webb. "Hearing artists talk about the creative process, examining queer themes, and participating in important dialogues with a community of film lovers, activists, artists, and cultural critics is the essence of the film festival experience."

Post-screening and panel discussions will be hosted by Days Inn (around the corner from the Landmark) and Borders - Lincoln Park (across the street from the Landmark).


The Presenting Sponsor for Reeling 2003 is Subaru. Festival Sponsors are Absolut Vodka, Steamworks and Orbitz; Supporting Sponsors are Chicago Department of Public Health, Korbel California Champagne, Fetzer Vineyards, Altavista Graphics, Olivia Cruises, Mighty Bytes, and I-Cubed. Community Sponsors this year include Kodak, British Tourist Authority, Hydrate, Whole Foods, Coup de Gras, High Risk Gallery, and Om A Spa for Your Spirit. The festival's Official Host Hotel is The Palmer House Hilton; other hotel sponsors include W Chicago Lakeshore, Chicago's Essex Inn, Days Inn Lincoln Park North, and Inn of Chicago. Media sponsors include Windy City Media Group, Pink Pages, Chicago Free Press, and New City.

Reeling is presented by Chicago Filmmakers, a non-profit organization that has served the media arts community and film-going audiences for 30 years. Chicago Filmmakers' funders include: The Illinois Arts Council, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation, and A CityArts 3 Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.

Public Information

For more information, the public can contact the festival hotline: 312.458.9117 or consult our website:

Ticket Information n October 24th. Tickets and passes may be purchased in person (Mon.-Fri. 10 am ­ 6 pm, Sat. Noon ­ 5 pm), by phone (773-293-1447) or online at

Ticket prices for regular programs are $9/show at the Landmark; $7/show at Chicago Filmmakers; and $6 for matinee screenings (starting prior to 5 pm) at both venues. Special admissions are: Opening Night Film, Reception and After-Party, $25; Tipping the Velvet Screening & Party, $20; and Closing Night Film and Party, $20.

Passes are available at $40 for 5 screenings, $75 for 10 tickets; and $100 for a full festival pass good for all regular screenings.