ReelingChicago's film festival dedicated to illuminating the diverse facets of the LGBT communitykicks off its 2018 edition on Thursday, Sept. 20, and festival organizers are promising a wide range of entries this year.
Festival founder Brenda Webb, who's also executive director of Chicago Filmmakers, which produces the event, said in a statement that, "This year's programming has a strong historical bent, with films ranging from portrayals of literary figures from the 1800s to reflections on LGBTQ culture of the 1970s and '80s; but the festival also embraces the 'now' as we present diverse contemporary stories and introduce the work of new and emerging artists who may be sharing their first films with our audience."
Among the locally produced festival entries will by Freelancers Anonymous, a lesbian-centric screwball comedy that opens the festival the evening of Sept. 20 and includes Alexandra Billings ( Transparent ) in its cast. The film, which focuses on a woman who quits her dead-end job and tries to refocus her life while at the same time managing her relationship with her demanding fiancé, stars Lisa Cordileone and Natasha Negovanlis and was directed by Sonia Sebastion.
A locally produced documentary, The Queens, charts the production of the 2011 Miss Continental beauty pageant and stemmed from an initial attempt at producing a reality series based on the show, which has long been associated with Chicago's Baton Show Lounge. In this issue of Windy City Times, entertainment writer Jerry Nunn discusses with filmmaker Mark Saxenmeyer how the project came to fruition.
Actor Rupert Everett ( Another Country; My Best Friend's Wedding ) is scheduled to visit the festival Sept. 27 in support of his directorial debut, The Happy Prince, a biographical drama about the life of Oscar Wilde. The film stars Everett as well as Colin Firth and Emily Watson. Other high-profile Reeling titles include Mapplethorpe, a drama about the controversial but groundbreaking artist that stars Matt Smith ( The Crown; Dr. Who ), and Studio 54, a documentary that features that nightclub's co-owner Ian Schrager in conversation about what really went on behind the scenes behind one of the most infamous velvet ropes in history.
The festival will also present a restored version of the 1985 drama Buddies, long unavailable for viewing, which was the first full-length motion picture to address the AIDS crisis.
Festival organizers have as usual included a number of international films, with entries from locales as varied as Hong Kong, South Africa, Netherlands and Finland, and will present a number of short film programs as well. Film critic Steve Warren weighs in on a number of Reeling's films in this week's Windy City Times.
Principal festival venues include Landmark's Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St.; Davis Theater, 4614 N. Lincoln Ave; and Chicago Filmmakers' headquarters, 5720 N. Ridge Ave. For a complete schedule and ticket information, visit reelingfilmfestival.org/2018/.