Full Lineup Announced for the 28th Annual Seattle Queer Film Festival
READ TIME: 17 MIN.
(The following is a press release from Seattle Queer Film Festival:
Three Dollar Bill Cinema is proud to announce the full lineup of film screenings and special events for the 28th Seattle Queer Film Festival (SQFF), taking place October 12-22 at venues on Capitol Hill and in Columbia City. The festival will be followed by a week of select films streaming online from October 22-29. The diverse slate of queer cinema hails from across the globe and includes narrative features, documentaries, and short films totaling 53 programs comprised of 119 films.
In-person screenings take place at SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Northwest Film Forum, Broadway Performance Hall, Ark Lodge Cinema, and Queer/Bar, and virtual screenings are available in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. Tickets go on sale September 15, 2023. Passes are on sale now.
The 2023 festival theme is "Queer Joy Is Cinematic." Festival screenings and events will explore what "queer joy" means to members of the LGBTQ+ community.
"For our theme of Queer Joy is...cinematic, we wanted to reflect the duality of queerness at this moment in time, the hardship and the joy we all feel," said Kathleen Mullen, Artistic Director of Three Dollar Bill Cinema and Seattle Queer Film Festival Director. "The idea is Queer Joy in action - as resistance, as happiness, as love, as cinema–with all the spectrum of queer voices and experiences. We have films that dive deep and many that are also funny and joyful, and we hope you will find something that speaks to you and brings you joy."
The Seattle Queer Film Festival will open on Thursday, October 12, at Capitol Hill's Egyptian Theatre with the Seattle premiere of "All of Us Strangers" from Searchlight Pictures. Fresh from its premieres at the Telluride and Venice International Film Festivals, Andrew Haigh's ("Weekend," "Looking") supernatural gay romance stars Andrew Scott ("Black Mirror," "Fleabag") as a screenwriter who, after an encounter with his neighbor (Oscar nominee Paul Mescal, "Aftersun"), is pulled back to his childhood home where he discovers that his long-dead parents, played by Claire Foy ("The Crown") and Jamie Bell ("Rocketman," "Billy Elliot"), are alive and look exactly the same as they did the day they died. The film will screen at 7:30 PM, followed by an Opening Night party at Century Ballroom.
Closing night, "Queer Joy is... Comedy" will feature a curated selection of short films highlighting various comedic takes on queer joy and laughter. Screening at Broadway Performance Hall on Sunday, October 22, this film program will also feature sets by local queer comedians and will be followed by the Closing Night party and awards reception at Broadway Performance Hall.
The festival has four centerpiece films showcasing the diverse spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community and the multifaceted stories that make up the fabric of our community. The Trans Centerpiece, "Runs in the Family," is a South African feature about a reformed con artist, Varun, and his transmasculine son, River, on a road trip across South Africa to break River's estranged mother out of rehab. When injury befalls River's drag partner, his mother urges father and son to partner up for a drag competition that could win River his gender-affirming surgery.
The Sapphic Centerpiece, "Healed," is a psychological thriller that follows former pop icon Jazz and her pregnant wife, Olivia, as they embark on a remote holistic retreat hosted by renowned mindfulness expert Georgia, played by celebrated actress, screenwriter, and director Guinevere Turner ("Go Fish," "Watermelon Woman"). The Documentary Centerpiece, "1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted Culture," details the origins of the rabid homophobia of the conservative church through the shocking discovery that in 1946, an erroneous translation used the term "homosexual," a choice that has spread into most popular versions of the Bible, and has been weaponized against the LGBTQ+ community ever since. Filmed partially in Seattle, "1946" brings incredible insight into how the misuse and misinterpretation of a single word has changed the course of modern history.
The Comedy Centerpiece, "Cora Bora," stars breakout comedy queen Megan Stalter ("Hacks") as Cora, a struggling and somewhat delusional musician struggling to find her path while her long-distance open relationship with her girlfriend is seemingly on life support. Suspecting her girlfriend of starting a new romance without telling her, Cora leaves LA and returns to Portland to save (or hold hostage) her flailing relationship.
Additional highlights screening at the festival include the US Spotlight screening of the family drama "Our Son" starring Billy Porter ("Pose"), "Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovani Project," winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Sundance Film Festival and Outstanding Documentary Feature at Frameline: San Francisco LGBTQ Festival, the West Coast premiere of the winner of the Queer Lion Award at the Venice International Film Festival, "Housekeeping for Beginners," and the Friday the 13th double feature screening of "Departing Seniors" and "Scream, Queen!" shorts program.
Several special programs are a part of this year's film festival, including an informative panel for teens, in conjunction with NFFTY, featuring a variety of local teen filmmakers and industry professionals, an in-depth discussion on breaking into the TV industry through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion with Grace Moss, VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Warner Bros. Discovery, a special debut clip presentation and storytelling event, "Movie Musicals Made Me Gay," with the Fruitbowl Podcast followed by a screening of "Cabaret," a virtual live recording of the Screen Drafts podcast, and a live recording of the Gal Pals Watch podcast at the W Hotel's Sound Suite.
In 2021, SQFF began hosting a series of community-centric meetups in partnership with local queer-owned businesses to foster connections amidst the COVID epidemic. The beloved series continues this year with gatherings at the Wild Rose, Pony, and Lottie's.
Screening venues include SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Northwest Film Forum, Broadway Performance Hall, Ark Lodge Cinemas, and queer/bar. Hybrid passes, which include access to all film festival programs (in-person & virtual), range in price from $200 - $275. In Person passes are $150, Virtual-only passes are $125, and weekend passes are $75 (Fri to Sun). Discounts on passes are available for Three Dollar Bill Cinema members. Single tickets are available on a sliding scale from $13-$30, and single Opening and Closing Night tickets are $25-$50 and include the post-screening parties. Mix and match (virtual and in-person screenings) six and ten ticket packs are available for $70 and $115, respectively. TeenTix tickets are available for the "Big Boys," "LGBTQ: Gen Alpha to Z Shorts Program," "Hummingbirds," and "Summer Qamp" programs.
"At a time when COVID funding has dried up for non-profits across the country, and members of the queer community find themselves under daily attack by the 'powers that pretend to be,' it's more important than ever to elevate queer artists and stories, and celebrate the joy that binds us together," said Billy Ray Brewton, managing director of Three Dollar Bill Cinema. "Our program represents a lot of hard work over the past several months and a commitment to representing the incredible diaspora of queer lives all around the globe."
Three Dollar Bill Cinema would like to thank Gilead, Warner Media, BECU, Alaska Airlines, W Seattle, Cascade Public Media, and EDGE Media Network for sponsoring the 28th Seattle Queer Film Festival. For the film lineup, film descriptions, tickets, passes, and more, visit threedollarbillcinema.org/sqff2023
28th Seattle Queer Film Festival
October 12-22 (in-person)
October 22-29 (virtual)
Venues: SIFF Cinema Egyptian, Northwest Film Forum, Broadway Performance Hall, Ark Lodge Cinemas,and queer/bar
Tickets and info: threedollarbillcinema.org/sqff2023
"All of Us Strangers"
Andrew Haigh; 2023; United Kingdom; 105 min.
Starring Andrew Scott ("Fleabag") as a screenwriter who, after an encounter with his neighbor (Paul Mescal from "Aftersun"), is pulled back to his childhood home where he discovers that his long-dead
parents (Claire Foy from The Crown and Jamie Bell from Billy Elliot) are living and look exactly the same as they did the day they died. This supernatural love story about acceptance and regret has received rave reviews and is the contemporary gay romance we've been waiting for. Though the premise might be somewhat fantastical, its universal themes and truths will resonate with our audiences long after they've left the darkened theater.
"Queer Joy is... Comedy"
This closing night shorts program brings the festival to a close on a hopeful and positive note. Full of humor, joy, and a bit of bite, these short films are sure to spur unabashed queer joy and laughter.
Meghan Weinstein; 2021; USA; 92 min
"Healed" is a psychological thriller that follows former pop icon Jazz (Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera, actor and writer of "Healed") and her pregnant wife, Olivia (Emily Goss), as they embark on a holistic retreat at a remote location. The loving couple plans to disconnect and unwind. Upon arrival, Georgia (Guinevere Turner, "Go Fish," "Watermelon Woman"), their host and renowned mindfulness expert, outlines the rules for their stay and a strict schedule they must follow. This includes offbeat therapy sessions, yoga, and meditation through a wellness app created by Georgia. Georgia extracts vulnerable information about the other woman at one-on-one sessions with Jazz and Olivia. She suggests outings and orchestrates mildly dangerous situations, compromising the couple's security in themselves and one another. At Georgia's hand, meditation turns to hypnotization using a new "app," which turns to separation, and we discover who and what is behind all of this. Find out in this edgy, visceral, and thrilling film.
"1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted Culture"
Sharon Roggio; 2022; USA; 92 min.
Seeking to uncover the origins of the rabid homophobia of the conservative church, a gay seminary scholar (Ed Oxford) and a straight activist (Kathy Baldock) make a shocking discovery. In 1946, an erroneous translation used the term homosexual, a choice that has spread into most popular versions of the Bible and has been weaponized against the LGBTQ+ community ever since. Featuring commentary from prominent scholars as well as opposing pastors and including the personal story of the film's director, Sharon "Rocky," "1946" is challenging and enlightening (and even fun). While other documentaries have addressed the symptom of homophobia in the church, "1946" is working to diagnose and treat the cause. Executive Produced by Daniel Karslake ("For They Know Not What They Do," SQFF 2019) and filmed partially in Seattle, 1946 brings incredible insight into how the misuse and misinterpretation of a single word has changed the course of modern history and asks many questions about by whom and how language is interpreted.
"Runs in the Family"
Ian Gabriel; South Africa; 2023; 107 min.
Varun (Ace Bhatti), a former con artist, and his trans masculine drag performer son River (Gabe Gabriel) embark on a road trip across South Africa to break River's estranged mother out of rehab. They are racing to get her before the drag competition that River hopes to win so that he can get his gender-affirming surgery. When River finds himself without a drag partner, River's mother suggests that father and son should partner up for it. Desperate to get the money, River agrees! All hands are on board to get Varun ready, and it's not an easy task! Wild road-trip escapades, intimate friendships, and an unconventional mother with secrets make "Runs in the Family" a wonderful feel-good comedy with a sweet father and son relationship at its heart.
Hannah Pearl Utt; 2023; USA; 92 min.
Bisexual Cora (Megan Stalter from "Hacks" in a role made just for her) is working with limited success to make a living as a singer-songwriter in Los Angeles. She's supposed to be living the dream, but really, she's a ticking time bomb, ready and waiting to self-destruct. As her open relationship with her girlfriend Justine (Fresh's Jojo T. Gibbs) is on the rocks, Cora heads home to Portland to see if she can save it. She soon discovers just how messed up it really is and spirals out of control, facing her parents' impending visit, a lost dog, and a new friend whom she rejects at every turn. With a delightful cast of characters, including Margaret Cho, Darrell Hammond, Manny Jacinto, and Heather Morris, "Cora Bora" is a hilarious and touching comedy with unexpected twists and turns.
Bill Oliver; 2023; USA; 104 minutes
Gabriel (Billy Porter) and Nicky (Luke Evans) are a married couple living in New York City with their 8-year-old son, Owen. When Gabriel's affair with another man unearths evidence of their failing relationship, they begin a formal divorce process. By far, the most challenging decision they must make is who will serve as Owen's primary guardian – and who, between the two of them, is more deserving of that responsibility. In the modern world, where the definition of "family" has widely expanded, and a higher number of LGBTQ+ people are choosing to become parents, "Our Son" addresses the ways in which gay couples fit into this changing definition of family and how becoming a queer parent can permanently alter family dynamics and relationships.
"Glitter and Doom"
Tom Gustafson; 2023; USA; 113 min.
Glitter (Alex Diaz) is a free-spirited kid who dreams of joining the circus. Doom (Alan Cammish) is an aspiring musician with a dark past. When their paths cross, the world becomes a fantastical musical with the glitz of Broadway and the emotional depth of the music of the Indigo Girls that creates the soundtrack to their romance. The two enchanting leads charm their way into audiences' hearts as they help each other achieve their dreams. Directed by award-winning director Tom Gustafson ("Were the World Mine," SQFF 2008), "Glitter and Doom" is a feast for the senses, featuring high production values, colorful cinematography, powerhouse vocals, and larger-than-life musical numbers. The highly talented cast features appearances from Missi Pyle, Lea DeLaria, Ming-Na Wen, Peppermint, Kate Pierson of the B-52's, and the Indigo Girls themselves.
Erica Tremblay; 2023; USA; 90 min.
Hard-working queer Jax (Lily Gladstone, "Reservation Dogs," "Killers of the Flower Moon") takes care of her teenage niece Roki (Isabel Deroy-Olson) on the Seneca-Cayuga Reservation in Oklahoma. When Jax's sister goes missing, she goes in search of answers, hitting many roadblocks from local law enforcement and their disinterest in finding her. As she tries to protect Roki from the truth, she helps her prepare to dance at the powwow, but instead, all hell breaks loose, and the two end up on the run. As the mystery unfolds, Jax fights for custody of Roki and faces the difficult realities of a broken colonized system that is not on Jax's side.
About the Seattle Queer Film Festival
Started as the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival in October 1996, the Seattle Queer Film Festival has grown into the largest event of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, gaining industry and audience recognition for showcasing the latest and greatest in queer film, from major motion picture premieres to emerging talent. An important venue in the Seattle film scene, the festival provides unique opportunities for visiting and local filmmakers to engage and entertain the Greater Seattle region's LGBTQ and allied community. For more information, visit threedollarbillcinema.org/sqff2023
About Three Dollar Bill Cinema
Three Dollar Bill Cinema fosters deeper community engagement by showcasing queer film programming, educational experiences, and social dialogue. We provide access to films by, for, and about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people and their families and a forum for LGBTQ+ filmmakers to share and discuss their work with audiences. We curate themed screenings throughout the year and produce programs in partnership with other arts, cultural, and service delivery organizations in the Greater Seattle area. Programs include Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival, Three Dollar Bill OUTdoor Cinema, Reel Queer Youth, and the Seattle Queer Film Festival. For more information, visit threedollarbillcinema.org and @threedollarbillcinema on Instagram and Facebook.