This year’s Long Beach film festival, Sept 10 – 13, is going online, like most the festivals worldwide, by streaming a plethora of indie gay content into our locked down casas.
The Center (Long Beach’s LGBTQ community center) has hosted the annual festival since 1993 and uses the historic Art Theatre right next door as their screening venue. Last year’s festival was a blast with Long Beach and the other Southern California Imperial Courts attending opening night’s screening of Nelly Queen, directed by yours truly. It was a regal affair with all those rhinestone crowns glistening in the 90-degree heat as court members lined up to see a documentary about their founder, Empress I, Jose Sarria, the first openly gay man to run for public office in the United States. And he ran in heels.
There will be no standing in long, hot lines or flashing red carpet selfies this year, as Q-Films will be using the Eventive platform to present its films. By going virtual, people can watch films on “cast,” “airplay,” Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, or Firestick. Additionally, through Apple TV or Roku, participants can download the Eventive App to watch films on their phone or similar devices. Ticket prices are about $10 per film.
One advantage of going online, aside from avoiding a deadly disease, is that ticket holders can watch their selected films within the privacy of their quarantined quarters, via cell phone, ipad, computer or smart TV.
Nearly 40 films have been selected and the line up promises to be a good one. The festival’s founder, Robert Cano, and the selection committee have great taste in curating some of the best queer cinema indie filmmaking has to offer. Below are descriptions of a couple exceptional films not to be missed.
One Taxi Ride
From Mexico, this film has been in 36 festivals and has won five jury awards for best film or documentary. In One Taxi Ride, Erick is the family recluse, and no one is sure why. Ten years prior, on his 17th birthday, Erick’s life was changed forever when he got into that taxi from hell. The driver and two accomplices sexually assaulted him. Erick never went to the police, saw a doctor and never told his family or friends. After a decade of feeling broken, Erik goes on a journey to reclaim his life – changing the world around him along the way. Does he find his perpetrators? Is he prepared to face the judgment of Mexico’s hypermasculine society?
Chinese award-winning filmmaker Mak CK explains the reason he made the film. “Erick haunts me,” writes CK. “Not only because he was sexually assaulted, but it is also that we live in a world where he didn’t feel like he had any options available to deal with the violent attack. His decision to keep it a secret for 10 years reflects how society has failed countless individuals like him.”
Before and After Detention
From Los Angeles filmmaker, Armando Ibanez, is a short film about three undocumented transgender women who leave their countries to pursue a better life. According to the filmmaker, who is also undocumented, he felt compelled to capture these women’s lives, which is unfortunately typical of many transgenders fleeing violence, poverty and transphobia.
Those fortunate enough to make it to the U.S. sometimes spend months or even years in immigration detention centers while their political asylum cases are processed. We follow three women: Angela, Fernanda, and Gladys.
Once released, they face the harsh recurring realities of transphobia and discrimination all over again. The filmmaker’s goal with this project is to demonstrate the women’s resiliency, passion and joy that transgender undocumented immigrants possess despite all the social and cultural challenges they face everyday.
Ibanez is an undocumented Latinx queer filmmaker and activist from Acapulco. He’s been living in the United States for 20 years. Armando is involved in the LGBTQ and immigrant rights movement and is an active member with Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement.
The Latinx Women’s Short Films program includes the 25-minute documentary, Marielle and Mona. While coming to terms with the death of her partner, Monica continues the fight to give a voice to those who are deemed disposable in Brazil: women, the poor, the LGBT community, and black Brazilians. Marielle Franco, a Brazilian politician and LGBT and human-rights activist, was killed in March 2018.
Marielle’s murder has still not been solved and, as the police investigation drifts, Monica is plunged into a new crisis because of the right-wing anti-LGBT politician Jair Bolsonaro’s campaign to become Brazilian president.
Marielle and Monica tells a personal story of loss, bringing into focus the challenges that lie ahead for LGBT rights and progressive politics in Brazil.
Filmgoers should also be on the look out for other festival favorites, which include, Acuitzeramo, a short film by Miguel Angel Cabarello, that’s beautifully shot in Mexico; Breaking Fast, a Weho romantic comedy; and Changing the Game, a poignant documentary about three teenage transgenders.
For more information on Q Films festival, visit https://www.qfilmslongbeach.com