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Cinema Q kicks off a weekend of queer films tonight at Denver FilmCenter

Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas in Gayby.
Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas in Gayby.

Now in its fourth year, the Cinema Q Festival at the Denver FilmCenter showcases the many sides of GLBTQ film, with movies that capture everything from social-justice issues to stunningly accurate portrayals of everyday queer life. More than a dozen films, handpicked by programming director Keith Garcia, will be shown between tonight and the end of the day Sunday, July 22; special guests involved with some of the projects will also be on hand. Keep reading for a look at just a few of the films featured this weekend.

See Also:

- Paul Soileau talks about more-punk-than-drag persona Christeene Vale

- Queer and here: Cinema Q expands into a festival

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Gayby (2012)

Thursday, July, 7 p.m.

The inaugural film of this year's Cinema Q, Gayby is a humorous but real look at pregnancy, friendships and social milestones. Two best friends, Jenn and Matt, decide to have a baby together -- but their mismatched orientations seem to have everyone around them concerned. A raw and honest dialogue carries Gayby, which attempts to answer the modern question of what it actually takes to be a parent.

Cinema Q kicks off a weekend of queer films tonight at Denver FilmCenter

Vito (2010)

Friday, July 20, 7 p.m.

One of a handful of documentaries woven through Cinema Q's programming, Vito is a look at the life of GLBTQ activist Vito Russo. Present during the pivotal Stonewall Riots of 1969 in New York City, Russo went on to be a driving force behind some of the most influential gay rights groups of the last four decades, GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) among them. The film traces Russo's rise from film student to globally recognized voice of the movement, as well as author of the seminal exposé on Hollywood's homophobic agenda, The Celluloid Closet. He died from AIDS in 1990.

CHRISTEENE "Tears From My Pussy" from PJ Raval on Vimeo.

Spend the Night With Christeene

Friday, July 20 10 p.m.

As Christeene Vale, Paul Soileau can be as nasty as he wants to be -- the singer-songwriter/audience terrorizer finds that the more raw he gets on stage, the more his fans want. Tonight, Vale will be at the FilmCenter to show her music videos on the big screen, and perform some of those hits live. The anti-queen's two main collaborators -- videographer PJ Raval and music producer and touring DJ JJ Booya -- will also be on hand for a Q&A with the audience. For more, check out Westword's interview with the performance artist.

I Want Your Love (2012)

Saturday, July 21, 7:30 p.m.

Groundbreaking for utilizing explicit sexual content within the realm of real-life intimacy, I Want Your Love is an expanded version of director Travis Mathews' original 2012 short film by the same title. Mathews taps into the confusion, awkwardness, trepidation and magic of relationships, and has been praised injecting an overdue emotional intimacy into queer cinema.

"I felt pretty largely disappointed in gay movies, in that (they) didn't reflect my own life or the lives of my friends," says Mathews. "At a certain point, I started telling and documenting stories that felt important to me because they were honest."

To do so, he adds, it was crucial to stay away from the familiar tropes of gay cinema -- coming-out stories, stories of struggles with AIDS and homophobia. Not that those aren't important stories to tell, but Mathews does an excellent job of being raw and honest about the everyday trials of human intimacy. The intimacy shared in I Want Your Love is definitely explicit, but shouldn't deter audiences.

You may recognize I Want Your Love's Brontez Purnell, as the multi-faceted performance artist who was a member of Bay Area queer party band Gravy Train!!!! and is currently in the Younger Lovers. Purnell came through Denver in April with the Sister Spit dramatic reading troupe, and is captivating in this film -- so much so that Mathews has begun work on another movie based around Brontez.

Cloudburst (2011)

Sunday, July 22, 7 p.m.

Closing out Cinema Q, Cloudburst is a romantic comedy starring Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker. A wonderful, humorous end to four days of films, the story follows two women as they break free from a nursing home and set off on a journey to legally acknowledge their three decade-long love story. It is a familiar story, but one not often told from a GLBTQ perspective on such a mainstream scale.

Cinema Q begins tonight and runs through Sunday, July 22 at the Denver FilmCenter. For a full schedule, visit the Denver FilmCenter's website. Tickets may be purchased through the website or by calling -303-595-3456; individual film tickets are $10 to $12, and a full festival pass runs $50 to $60.



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