Reeling tees up list for 39th annual LGBTQ film festival; masks required

Tue. August 24, 2021 9:14 AM by Gerald Farinas

opening night movie is firebird by peeter rebane

photo credit // reeling

Movies will run September 23 to October 7 in-theater and streaming at home

Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ International Film Festival announced its 39th year lineup of movies and shorts to be played from September 23 to October 7. The films will be shown at Landmark Theatres Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St.

The opening night film will be screened at Music Box Theater, 3733 N. Southport Ave.; $18 for general admission, $15 for members. A pre-party and film ticket can be purchased for $40.

Due to City of Chicago pandemic mitigation, masks are required at the Music Box Theater and Century Centre Cinema, regardless of vaccination status.

Firebird, headlines the festival on opening night. The British-Estonian thriller-romance stars Oleg Zagorodnii and Tom Prior.

The story begins during the Cold War in Soviet-occupied Estonia in 1977. On a Soviet air base, Private Sergey (Prior) is counting the days until his military service ends. He visits his friend Luisa, played by Diana Pozharskaya, secretary to the base commander. Everything changes when the dashing young fighter pilot Roman (Zagorodnii) arrives at the base.

All is complicated, or rather lives are at stake, with Soviet criminalization of homosexuality and the KGB following around.

There are 22 other narrative feature films, 10 documentary feature films, and nine shorts programs.

A full list of feature films and shorts can be found at

All the features and shorts touch on diverse themes and are from around the world.

The centerpiece of the documentaries is North by Current by Angelo Madsen Minax.

"After the inconclusive death of his young niece, filmmaker Minax returns to his rural Michigan hometown prepared to make a film about a broken criminal justice system. Instead, he pivots to excavate the depths of generational addiction, Christian fervor, and trans embodiment," Reeling explains.

"Minax's film is a visual rumination on the understated relationships between mothers and children, truths and myths, losses and gains."

General admission tickets will be $13/screening. Reeling members pay $10/screening. Membership, which helps fund bringing the movies to Chicago, can be purchased at

Reeling has taken into consideration that many do not want to venture into a movie theater as the pandemic rages on. It is offering virtual screening passes for at-home viewing. A single streaming ticket is $12/film. An all access streaming pass is available for one person to access all virtual screenings, good for one view per film. It is $125.

Virtual screenings will be geo-blocked, meaning they will only be viewable within Illinois or the U.S., depending on the film license.

Since April 1981, Reeling has been featuring LGBTQ filmmakers and films that investigate queer themes and history.