This year, the Kansas City Gay & Lesbian Film Festival is all about expansion. Not only did the festival step up to continue the popular Castro Movie Nights throughout the year, its annual seven-day event at the Tivoli Cinemas in Westport, coming up June 21-28, will feature added screenings, community partnerships and the launch of a Kansas City LGBT Film Project.
The fun starts early this year, too, with a preview night party and an anniversary screening of the side-splitting comedy classic Sordid Lives on Thursday, June 21. This Castro Movie Night presentation will benefit the Good Samaritan Project and will feature special guests, prizes and plenty of big-screen entertainment.
Next month’s issue of Camp will feature the complete festival schedule and additional information about the films, events and projects scheduled for this year. Here are some of the highlights as of press time:
Opening Night: Profiles in LGBT Courage
Two films profiling LGBT courage from the past and present-day have been chosen as the official 2012 Opening Night Selections and will be co-presented by the Kansas City Human Rights Commission on Friday, June 22.
Opening Night begins with the heartland premiere of Vito an empowering film about Vito Russo, one of the most articulate, charismatic voices for gay rights and the founding father of the gay liberation movement. This new film profiling this inspirational activist is co-presented by the Gay & Lesbian Archives of Mid-America (GLAMA).
During the festival, GLAMA will be issuing an invitation to the Kansas City community to look through their personal collections in search of artifacts and documents that can be brought to the theater to be donated to the archive’s collections.
The other Opening Night film is an encore screening of Wish Me Away, the poignant story of Chely Wright, the first country music star to ever come out as openly gay. This film had its area premiere in last year’s festival, and was sold out again during the opening weekend of the LIKEME® Lighthouse, founded by Wright. The two organizations are partnering for this community screening.
The opening weekend also includes a screening hosted by KKFI-FM (90.1) and its LGBT programs WomanSong, The Tenth Voice and This Way Out. Also, new this year, are the LatteLand Coffeehouse Matinees, where audiences can enjoy Sunday’s shows over coffee drinks and sweet treats.
Kansas City LGBT Film Project
For the last 13 years, the KC Gay Film Fest has been bringing the world’s best LGBT stories to Kansas City. This year, the festival is launching a project to share Kansas City’s LGBT stories with the world. A community initiative through Kickstarter.org will enable people to help fund the production of the first of these films — which will have its premiere in the 2013 festival.
Other festival honorees include:
2012 Critics’ Pick
Keep the Lights On: Award-winning director Ira Sachs returns with an emotionally and sexually charged journey of two men in New York City through love, friendship, and addiction.
2012 Jury Prize
Morgan: An inspiring story of redemption and finding one’s way after all seems lost, wrapped in a powerful film of perseverance, determination and love.
2012 Closing Night Selection
Cloudburst: Starring Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker.
Two Oscar-winners, a beautiful love story, a daring road trip, laugh-out-loud humor, and an unforgettable journey of the heart for both the characters and the audience.
To watch film previews, get film descriptions and download the festival schedule, visit www.KCGayFilmFest.com.
Tickets go on sale Friday, June 1. A limited number of All Access Passes will be available online through Friday, June 15.