Preview: Five Films to Watch at the 29th Annual Boston LGBT Film Festival
April in Boston boasts film fests galore, as both the the Boston International Film Festival and the Boston Independent Film Festival come to town. But the celebration continues on into May, when the 29th Annual Boston LGBT Film Festival will grace screens across the city. From May 2-12, the festival’s events will take place at various venues around Boston and Cambridge, including the ICA, MFA, and Coolidge Corner and Brattle Theatres.
The festival’s program boasts an impressive, expansive repertoire of more than 50 films that include comedies, dramas, shorts, and feature-length movies. Opening night will be split between multiple events at different theaters. The Women’s Opening Night event will be held at the ICA, with a screening of Virginie Despentes’s French lesbian love story, “Bye Bye Birdie.” For the Men’s Opening Night, “Gay Best Friend,” a comedy from director Darren Stein, is on the program at the MFA. “Stud Life” will kick off the Cambridge portion of the festivities at Brattle Theatre.
The festival’s extensive schedule is a lot to take in at once, but we have a few recommendations for where to start:
I Am Gay and Muslim
This Dutch film, directed by Chris Belloni, explores the personal stories of several Moroccan gay men as they seek to balance the tension between their religious values and their sexuality. (Dutch and Arabic with English subtitles.)
$11, Saturday, May 4, 3 p.m. Brattle Theatre
I Am Divine
I Am Divine is the documentary centerpiece of this year’s festival. The film chronicles the journey of a drag queen celebrity, Divine, who’s both incredibly sassy and unabashedly provocative. She’s described as being “simultaneously sexy, and monstrous, and terrifying.” The film aims to challenge societal standards of beauty and body image, as Divine tears down the walls of social expectations. This will be the film’s New England premiere.
$15, Saturday, May 4, 7 p.m., MFA
This film takes a peek into the lives of a diverse group of high schoolers as they wrestle with accepting their sexual identities. Russell, one of the many teens in the group, is hooking up with the quarterback on the football team while still forcing himself through dates with girls. Two of the girls, Min and Therese, don’t let on to anyone that they’re more than friends. Along with several of their peers, these students form a Gay Straight Alliance chapter under the guise of a geography club, aiming to support each other while handling the everyday stresses of fitting in at their high school.
$11, Sunday, May 5, 6:30 p.m., ICA
Born This Way
This courageous film explores the forbidden love lives of young gays and lesbians in Cameroon. In a nation where homosexuality is an offense punishable by imprisonment, the protagonists experience serious oppression and discrimination. (French and English with English subtitles.)
$11, Tuesday, May 7, 8:15 p.m. Brattle Theatre
Ian Harvie Superhero
Ian Harvie was born a girl, and lives today as a man who is both bold and hysterically funny. His debut stand-up comedy film, Ian Harvie Superhero, celebrates his lifelong journey to discovering his own manhood. Any audience can appreciate his hilarious observations and anecdotes about everyday life, which range from his fear of public restrooms to his simple desire to pee his name into the snow.
$11, Saturday, May 11, 10 p.m. Brattle Theatre
In addition to the full-length films listed below, the festival will also showcase short films from the YoungCuts Emerging Talent Program, as well as a series of shorts in the following categories: international, men’s, women’s, and trans. For more information, check out bostonlgbtfilmfest.net.