Keith Garcia's top five picks for the Cinema Q Film Festival

Last Summer, one of more than a dozen films playing at this year's Cinema Q Film Festival.
Last Summer, one of more than a dozen films playing at this year's Cinema Q Film Festival.

Over the past five years, the Cinema Q Film Festival has grown from a handful of queer-centric films to a full-on weekend showcase of up-and-coming GLBTQ cinema. Keith Garcia, program director for the Sie FilmCenter, which will host the festival this weekend, says the 2013 season has a more diverse range of films -- and a much greater representation of African-American and lesbian work -- than prior years.

During the festival -- which kicks off this Thursday, July 18, and runs through through Sunday, July 21 -- a total of twenty films will be shown. Keep reading for Garcia's profiles of five of his favorites. And for a full lineup of films and ticket information, visit the Sie FilmCenter's website.

See also: - 100 Colorado Creatives: Keith Garcia, Denver Film Society - Best of Denver - Best GLBTQ-Spotlighting film festival: Cinema Q - Don't call him queen: Paul Soileau talks about more-punk-than-drag persona Christeene Vale

Before You Know It Screens: Festival opener, 7 p.m. Thursday, July 18 Director PJ Raval and subjects Dennis Creamer and Ty Martin will be on hand for a post-screening Question & Answer session.

We spend a lot of time within the GLBTQ rainbow figuring out who we are, and what angle of that rainbow we represent. We can forget something really important: we're all going to be a part of the same group in a few years, and that is the senior group. That group has no real concern about, are you gay, are you lesbian, are you bi -- it's more, what are you doing at this age? How are you going to figure out the rest of your life?

Before You Know It really introduces you three people who are in the midst of that question and does it in such a smart, fascinating and heartbreaking way. If you want to see a movie at Cinema Q that will make you cry, this is the one.

Interior. Leather Bar. and Cruising (double feature) Screens: 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday, July 19 Director Travis Mathews will be on hand for a post-screening Question & Answer session.

Travis Mathews is a filmmaker that I've had eye on for the last few years -- I'm fascinated with his direction in trying to explore something that doesn't really get pin-pointed (in film), and that's gay male intimacy. Porn is incredibly prevalent -- that's everywhere. You can find porn whenever you want it on the Internet. But there's a difference in finding actual, realistic, honest intimacy between men and what happens with that.

It's almost as if it's not marketable, as much as, say, porn is. The fact that he (Mathews) keeps an eye on that and keeps exploring that in different ways is really great. And how he fell into this project with James Franco, based on that leaning is also fascinating -- what does James Franco kind of bring to this as a celebrity, who everyone is always playing the guessing game with about whether or not he's gay or straight.

Then you have a film here that is essentially about the kind of scariness of not knowing what you may be. Adding on to that -- there's a dark element to that, and it is explored in Cruising. At the time, it was really controversial because it presented a dark side of the gay community, and that being sort of the first mainstream exposure of the gay community to the world, the gay community was not very happy about that.

But so many years later, what does that say about how far we've come, or how far we've gone back and come back around again? The pairing of these two films is really fantastic.

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