The Alexander Report offers its top picks for Atlanta’s Out on Film LGBTQ film festival
September 26-October 6
by Andrew Alexander
September 25, 2019
Featured image: Song Lang screens September 28 as part of Out on Film.
Another fall, another big year for Out on Film, Atlanta’s sprawling LGBTQ film festival, now in its 32nd year. Stretching a full two weeks from September 26 through October 6, the festival screens a huge line-up of features, independents, foreign films, shorts, documentaries, and more.
For the first eight days, films run at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, and then the festival hosts second weekend screenings at Out Front Theatre and the Plaza Theatre. There’s a lot to dive into this year, and the full schedule is worth a look, but here are the films The Alexander Report is looking forward to most.
For They Know Not What They Do
Out on Film opens with a new documentary from Daniel Karslake. Following up on his acclaimed For the Bible Tells Me So, the director’s new film charts the story of four religious families with LGBTQ children – including Pulse survivor Vico Baez Fabo and transgender activist Sarah McBride – amidst the backlash from the religious right that followed the Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage. Thursday, September 26, at 7 p.m. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
You Don’t Nomi
What, and why, is Showgirls? The camp disaster from 1995 has occupied a surprisingly large and persistent spot in our culture. The new documentary from director Jeffery McHale considers the cult phenomenon. Monday, September 30, at 9 p.m. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
Scream Queen: My Nightmare on Elm Street
In 1985, young actor Mark Patton landed what he thought was his dream role, a starring role in the first sequel to the hit horror film Nightmare on Elm Street. But Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge turned out to be a true nightmare for Patton. The closeted young gay actor found himself acting in what would be labeled “the gayest horror film ever made,” full of homophobic cliches and jokes at Patton’s expense. Patton along with filmmakers Tyler Jensen Roman Chimenti takes a look back at the experience and what it meant for him as an actor and for our culture at the time. Tyler Jensen, Roman Chimenti and Robert Patton are slated to attend the screening. Tuesday, October 1, at 7 p.m. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
HAM: A Musical Memoir
Sam Harris made a splash singing his version of Over the Rainbow on Star Search, the 1980s talent competition program. In his musical performance, Ham, Harris brings to life his journey from growing up gay in Oklahoma’s Bible Belt to fame, television, Broadway and records. Clearly, it’s an 80s thing this year at Out on Film. Saturday, October 5, at 7 p.m. Plaza Theater.
Making Sweet Tea
E. Patrick Johnson retraces his journey as a gay black man from the South. In the film, Johnson the author of the seminal book Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South, An Oral History. Travels home to North Carolina to reconnect with home and to catch up with some of the subjects from the book (and later stage plays). Duncan Teague, Shean Atkins, E. Patrick Johnson, and Stephen Lewis. Sunday, October 6, at 4:15 p.m. Out Front Theatre Company.
In a small town in Mexico, once a year, men transform into women and become “Las Chuntá.” Director Genevieve Roudané’s documentary film gets up close and personal with two rival dance groups as they prepare for the annual tradition. One group is made up of strict traditionalists who believe that only straight men should wear the gowns and makeup, and the other welcomes dancers of all identities– especially those who face violence for being openly gay. Monday, September 30, at 5:30 p.m. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
Paul Haggis and Don Krauss’ emotional documentary takes a look at the ward of the fifth floor of San Francisco’s General Hospital, the first in the country designated specifically to treat AIDS patients. The documentary follows the stories of innovative and dedicated nurses and caregivers as they sought new ways to care for those with the disease during the height of AIDS epidemic. Wednesday, October 2, at 7 p.m. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
Preserving gay and lesbian history is central to Deborah Edel and Joan Nestle, co-founders of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, the world’s largest collection of materials by and about lesbian women. For more than 40 years, the all-volunteer organization has fought invisibility and the erasure of history. Director Megan Rossman’s documentary looks at the group and the challenges they’ve faced. Friday, September 27, at 5:30 p.m. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
Vietnamese filmmaker Leon Le’s new feature is set against the backdrop of 1990s Saigon, following the unlikely love story between an underground debt collector and an opera performer. Saturday, September 28, at 11:05 a.m. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema.
Changing the Game
Trans athletes are changing the game. Michael Barnett’s new documentary takes a look at three athletes who face, not just the challenges of their sport, but the challenges of facing a unique path as a transgender athlete. The film centers on Mack Beggs, who made headlines last year when he became Texas State Champion in wrestling. Saturday, October 5, at 2 p.m. Out Front Theatre Company.
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