40th Edition of Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival Announced
BROS, SHINY SHRIMPS STRIKE BACK, PLEASE BABY PLEASE, and More Highlights as the Second-Longest Running LGBTQ Film Festival in the World Celebrates 40th Anniversary
CHICAGO, Illinois – Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival today announced its full slate of programming for the 40th Anniversary edition of the second-longest running LGBTQ+ film festival in the world. Opening September 22, 2022 at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.) and running through October 2 in person, and virtually from September 30 - October 6, this year’s festival boasts 51 programs, including 37 feature films, 1 web series, and 13 short film programs, with films coming from 26 different countries. Reeling’s slate is presented September 23 - 29 at Landmark Century Centre Cinemas (2828 N. Clark St.) and September 30 - October 2 at Chicago Filmmakers (1326 W. Hollywood Ave.)
“Little did I imagine in 1981 that 40 years later our festival would still be going strong,” said Brenda Webb, founder of Reeling and Executive Director of Chicago Filmmakers. “Though much has changed over four decades, much has not, reminding us that progress by no means follows a ‘straight’ line and festivals like Reeling still play an important role in ensuring a wide range of LGBTQ+ stories are seen and heard.”
“Over the past 40 years, the most gratifying and fascinating thing to me is to see queer cinema move past just the coming-out films,” said Reeling Features Programmer Richard Knight, Jr., who has programmed the last ten editions of the Festival. “There is still, of course, a welcome place for that, but queer stories can now play out in any film genre you can imagine. The diversity we’ve all talked about and yearned for in the queer movement is increasingly reflected in queer cinema, which is truly exhilarating.”
September 22’s Opening Night presentation features the U.S. Premiere of THE SHINY SHRIMPS STRIKE BACK, French directors Cédric Le Gallo and Maxime Govare’s delightful follow-up to their 2019 comedy which opened Reeling that year. Three years after France’s ragtag gay water polo team won the hearts of the Reeling audiences, we dive dive back into the pool with this waterlogged, though endearing, crew. In the sequel, the Shrimps are heading to the Gay Games in Tokyo when they find themselves stranded deep in a homophobic region of Russia. A crazy series of adventures culminates with the Shrimps breaking several of their teammates out of a gay conversion camp. The film was shot in Ukraine just before the recent invasion.
DYKE DELICIOUS, the lesbian film series that ran for several years at Chicago Filmmakers, makes a return with four shorts programs curated by series founder Sharon Zurek, including the Closing Night program “I See You,” which includes five short fiction films from the U.S., Estonia, and Norway. The closing screening and three other Dyke Delicious programs will be screened in the second weekend of the festival at Chicago Filmmakers.
Reeling’s Narrative Centerpiece screening is writer-director Travis Fine’s critically acclaimed epic TWO EYES (U.S.), a cinematic triptych that follows three characters through three distinct time periods and co-stars trans non-binary trailblazer Kate Bornstein. The Documentary Centerpiece is JIMMY IN SAIGON (U.S.), filmmaker Peter McDowell’s personal journey to uncover secrets related to his brother Jimmy’s death in Vietnam during the height of the war.
ERIN’S GUIDE TO KISSING GIRLS, the tender story of a lesbian in middle school who struggles with unrequited first love from Canadian director Julianna Notten, will hold its World Premiere at this year’s Reeling, while two of Hong Kong filmmaker Scud’s final films, APOSTLES, the story of a self-proclaimed apostle of Socrates and his 12 male disciples, and BODYSHOP, focusing on the restless ghost of a soldier who travels the world inhabiting a series of bodies join THE SHINY SHRIMPS STRIKE BACK in celebrating their U.S. Premieres.
International highlights include Antonia Campbell-Hughes’ acclaimed debut feature IT IS IN US ALL (Ireland), the story of a mysterious connection between a slick businessman and a young man he meets following a tragic car accident on the windswept coast of Ireland. The film was singled out for special recognition for Extraordinary Cinematic Vision at this year’s SXSW. IN FROM THE SIDE (U.K.) is director Matt Carter’s intimate focus on an illicit affair between two men vying for the starring placement in their gay ruby team; Elene Naveriani’s WET SAND (Georgia) relates the story of a young woman who encounters a web of deceit surrounding the suicide of her grandfather when she returns to the small, conservative village where he resided to settle his affairs; and writer-director Kamil Krawczycki’s ELEPHANT (Poland), the story of a romance between a young horse farmer and a recently returned male neighbor, which was partly shot in one of Poland’s notoriously conservative “LGBT-free zones.”
Reeling platforms a number of films made closer to home with U.S. highlights including Nicholas Stoller’s BROS, starring and co-written by Billy Eichner, the first romantic comedy about two gay men ever released by a major film studio and featuring an entirely LGBTQ+ principal cast; director Amanda Kramer’s outrageously flamboyant, hyper-stylized, 1950s-set PLEASE BABY PLEASE, featuring a sensational Demi Moore and starring Andrea Risborough (The Grudge), Harry Melling (the Harry Potter film series) and Karl Glusman (Nocturnal Animals); a special sneak peek at three episodes of UNCONVENTIONAL, the forthcoming new series from Emmy award-winning Kit Williamson (Netflix’s Eastsiders), featuring Kathy Griffin and starring Williamson and Aubrey Peeples (Nashville) as queer siblings facing a series of personal challenges set in the heat and sensuality of Palm Springs; writer-director Connie Cocchia’s WHEN TIME GOT LOUDER, with Willow Shields (The Hunger Games), Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost), and Lochlyn Munro (Riverdale), which is the story of a young woman discovering her lesbian sexuality while torn between pursuing her creative dreams and taking care of her autistic teenage brother; and VULVEETA, director-actor Maria Breux’s hilarious mockumentary about the 20 year reunion of a not quite famous riot grrrl band.
Reeling presents the best in nonfiction queer cinema, featuring highlights including Magnus Gertten’s NELLY & NADINE (Sweden / Belgium / Norway), which reveals the long hidden story of two women whose love began in a Nazi concentration camp and flourished for decades afterwards. CELEBRATING LAUGHTER: THE LIFE AND FILMS OF COLIN HIGGINS (U.S.) is a warm, star-studded tribute (interviews with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton) to the career and personal life of the gay man behind the classic comedy juggernaut 9 to 5, as well as Harold & Maude, Silver Streak, and other Hollywood hits, directed by Higgins’ close friend Nicholas Eliopoulos. Bryan Darling and Jesse Finley Reed’s ALL MAN: THE INTERNATIONAL MALE STORY is a deep dive into the jaw-dropping story of the 1980s fashion catalog sensation that changed male fashion (both good and tacky) forever.
Narrative films centering on transgender stories include the delightful HOMEBODY (U.S.), Joseph Sacket’s variation on Freaky Friday in which a 9 year-old boy switches bodies with his beloved nanny; DEATH AND BOWLING (U.S.), Lyle Kash’s innovative, playful yet surreal film (complete with musical numbers) about a budding trans romance. In Horacio Alcala’s FINLANDIA(Mexico/Spain), a closely-knit community of Muxes – third gender, non-binary people – fight for the recognition of their gender in their tiny community outside of Oaxaca, Mexico. THE FIRST FALLEN (Brazil) focuses on three friends – a trans woman and two gay men – contending with the beginnings of the AIDS crisis in the early 80s in a small town in Brazil in Rodrigo de Oliveira’s powerfully moving drama.
Reeling’s 40th edition presents 71 short films arranged in 13 programs, including LOOKING FOR CHANGE, featuring a budding tween romance, a stagnant opera career, an unfortunate answer on a psychological test, time machine do-overs, Japanese dance, and a reluctant fascination with leather; LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER / LOVE WILL TEAR US APART, where relationships become complicated by lost loves, past loves, new loves, and potential loves; and REDISCOVERING THE MAGIC OF NORM BRUNS, showcasing ten recently rediscovered short films from Chicago queer experimental filmmaker Norm Bruns.
In-Person Screenings: Tickets may be purchased online in advance at www.reelingfilmfest.org or at the theater’s box office on the day of the screening.
Tickets for in-person screenings are $12 for regular screenings at the Landmark Theater and Chicago Filmmakers. Special admission programs include the Opening Night film THE SHINY SHRIMPS STRIKE BACK at the Music Box Theatre, $15 for the film only and $40 for the film and after-party in the Music Box lounge and garden; $15 for the special screening of BROS at the Landmark; and for the Closing Night event DYKE DELICIOUS REUNION: I SEE YOU at Chicago Filmmakers’ firehouse cinema, admission is $15 for the film only and $30 for the film and after-party.
Virtual Screenings: For virtual screenings, Single Streaming Tickets are available at $10 and an All-Access Streaming Pass is available for $125.
Reeling40: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival is presented by AARP and produced by Chicago Filmmakers. Premier sponsors include Gilead, Chicago Pride, and Here TV; Grand sponsors include Nexus Radio, Edge Media Network, and Best Western Plus Hawthorne Terrace.
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