This is a great time to be gay in America — and if you’re not, it’s an even greater time to sit back and learn about your queer friends and neighbors. Film is the great equalizer, and tomorrow through Sunday, the Denver Film Society’s annual Cinema Q Film Festival at the Sie FilmCenter will share seventeen films and events from around the world, each highlighting a special voice or idea from the diverse spectrum of the LGBTQI rainbow.
With so much good stuff on tap we asked the three individuals behind the Cinema Q programming selections – Ernie Quiroz, Matthew Campbell and Patrick O’Brien – for their top picks from this bountiful, queer crop of cinema.
Back On Board: Greg Louganis
7 p.m. Thursday, July 23 (with Greg Louganis in person)
The opening-night film is particularly noteworthy, as the Olympic-medal-winning star will appear in person, alongside director Cheryl Furjanic, to share more of his life story with the audience. “He battled homophobia, he was HIV-positive, and he never got mainstream recognition. He won four gold medals but never got a Wheaties box!” says Quiroz. “His is a story of hope and triumph, of a struggle to find your identity, of proof that life begins at fifty!” That’s a plot line anyone can relate to.
Portrait Of A Serial Monogamist
7:30 p.m. Friday, July 24 (with the filmmaker in person)
This bouncy and sassy comedy focuses on a woman who might as well be a lesbian Mary Tyler Moore, exploring life and its many foibles. “A fun and light rom-com where the lead happens to be a lesbian,” says Quiroz. “The main character isn't defined by her sexuality; she's someone who's simply looking for love and her sexuality isn't played for laughs or shock.”
Cinema Q Shorts Program
4 p.m. Saturday, July 25
Seven short films offer some bite-size slices of the gay rainbow, including the hilarious Madonna-lovin' short If We Took a Holiday (above). “There's something for everyone!” says Campbell “Drama, lots of comedy, a thriller, heartbreak and animation. Short films are hard to come by outside the festival setting, so be sure to check out this impressive filmmaking.”
7 p.m. Saturday, July 25
“Mix one part Metropolitan, one part The Dreamers, add a dash of Gossip Girl and shake. At the heart of it all is the idea of what friends and first loves do to us, no matter what life gives or takes away from you,” says O’Brien.
Queerbots: The Movie!
8 p.m. Saturday, July 25
Westword’s Best of Denver winner for Best Gay Improv Group hits the big screen…sort of. Chris Parente and Co. bring their off-the-cuff skills to the Sie to skewer a century of film and bust open that celluloid closet. “Every year we get to do something fun with CinemaQ,” says Quiroz. “Something outside the box. Last year it was Top Gun Bingo, this year it’s a movie-themed improv show put on by the Queerbots. The show will go beyond a normal improv show, as it'll take full advantage of being held in a theater with a big screen and killer sound.”
Eat With Me
2 p.m. Sunday, July 26
“This quirky little film is a hoot to watch with all the awkwardness as a gay son and his mom's relationship goes to a new level — and then it’s peppered with the one-liners and observations of the sassy next-door neighbor,” says O’Brien.
The Royal Road with short Washakie and The Boy With the Wet Hands
2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 26
Two films – one set in the East and one set in the West – meet in the middle with their own unique look at our gay past. “The two films complement each other seamlessly,” says Campbell. “Both poetic and personal in nature, yet at the same time diving into history, folklore and classic cinema for a thought-provoking experience.”
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4:15 p.m. Sunday, July 26 (filmmaker in person)
“A gorgeously shot documentary treating the desert landscape with as much emphasis as the subjects,” says Campbell. “I especially respect the even, balanced approach of those who view Palm Springs as both Eden and a wasteland.”
Cinema Q runs from Thursday, July 23 through Sunday, July 26 at the Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue; tickets range from $10 to $25, or get a full festival badge for $85 ($70 for DFS members). Visit denverfilm.org for more information.