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MOVIES Reeling festival rolls out new LGBT films
by Matt Simonette
2019-09-04

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Reeling 2019, the 37th annual edition of Chicago's LGBT film festival, kicks off Sept. 19, and lasts through Sept. 29 in various venues throughout the city.

Founded in 1982, Reeling is the second oldest LGBT film festival in the nation.

The opening night film on Sept. 19 will be the French comedy The Shiny Shrimps, about a down-on-their-luck gay water polo team coached by a surly retired athlete. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. at Music Box Theatre, and will be preceded by a party 6 p.m.

Aspiring filmmakers won't want to miss two panel discussions the afternoon of Sept. 21. The first looks at Work in Progress, an upcoming Showtime series co-executive produced by Lilly Wachowski; the first episode will also be screened. The second focuses on the myriad web series that are produced in Chicago.

More Beautiful for Having Been Broken, the latest film from Nicole Conn, who helmed, among other films, 1992's Claire of the Moon, shows on Sept. 21 as well. It focuses on the relationship between a former FBI agent and a former dancer and her son.

Also on Sept. 21, Darryl Stephens of Noah's Arc co-stars in the romantic drama From Zero to I Love You, about a commitment-phobic gay man who falls for a straight man with a wife and kids.

The documentary Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America ( Sept. 22 ) follows the challenges four LGBT persons from Africa and the Middle East face—among them poverty, homelessness, homophobia and a federal government perpetuating xenophobia—as they go through the rigors of applying for asylum in the United States.

Immigration is also a key theme in the Brazil/U.S.-drama The Garden Left Behind ( Sept. 23 ), centering on a transgender girl who has come to the United States with her grandmother.

Making Sweet Tea ( Sept. 23 ), a documentary adapted from Northwestern University professor E. Patrick Johnson's chronicle of Black gay men in the south, revisits six of those men and follows Johnson as he returns to his hometown.

The comedy Pageant Material ( Sept. 24 ) follows a teenage boy who enters a drag pageant to pay tribute to his recently deceased mother, who had been a beauty queen.

The festival will close Sept. 29 with a showing and party for Scream Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street Film, which focuses on how gay actor Mark Patton came to terms with appearing in 1985's A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, named at the time by the Advocate as one of the gayest horror films ever. Such an association could kill movie careers in the '80s, and it effectively killed Patton's. He also played a transgender character in Robert Altman's 1982 film of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.

These are just a few highlights from the Reeling 2019 schedule. The festival features a number of other narrative and documentary features, as well as short-film programs, throughout its run. Windy City Times will have additional coverage, as well as reviews, both online and in its Sept. 18 issue.

For more information, see reelingfilmfestival.org .


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