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New Direction for LGBT Film/Video Festival

Yearly celebration turns to monthly offerings

Oct. 20, 2010
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Lovers of noncommercial cinema dealing with LGBT themes can rejoice. This week's 23rd annual Milwaukee LGBTFilm/Video Festival marks a new start, as the yearly fete becomes a monthly event.

The festival's turn intoless intensive, more frequent monthlyscreenings doesn't meanthe usual, longer visual feasthas been scrapped.What has become one of the nation's longest-running LGBT celebrations continues Thursday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct.24, with all but one screening atthe UWM Union Theatre (2200 E.Kenwood Blvd.).

The festival kicks off elsewhere on the East Sideas theOriental Theatre (2230 N. Farwell Ave.) hosts the fest's opening salvo. And a cheery opening it is, as thedocumentary Topp Twins: Untouchable Girlschronicles theriseof two New Zealand sisters who have become major TV comedy stars in their country while simultaneously involving themselves in sociopolitical causes such asthe fight for LGBT rights, the struggles of the nation's indigenous Maori people and the effort to keep New Zealand a nukes-free zone.

Festival director Carl Bogner cites Out in the Silence as another of his favorites on this year's schedule. Out in the Silence is a bracing documentary about being lesbian and gay in a small town. This documentary, unfortunately, is most timely as it presents “the case of this remarkable teenage boy who is a victim of bullying in his high school," Bogner says of the film that plays as part of the fest's Documentary Salon.

Plenty of dramatic films make their Milwaukee premiere this year as well. Among those that caught Bogner's eye is Undertow. "This beautiful film from Peru is about a man in a small fishingvillage who dares to declare hislove," he explains.

The festival is one of the city’s only showcases for LGBT-oriented films and videos. But Bogner says that scarcity actually eases the challenge of running the festival.

"I think, in some ways, Milwaukee makes it easier. There are not that many competing venues for these films, so the films we'd like to show are still in need of a Milwaukee venue," he explains. “And the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival has the best audience imaginable: loyal, independent, savvy, good-looking."

The expansion of the festival to a monthly exploration of LGBT themes wasborn of asimple premise: “A desire to bring more LGBT films to Milwaukeeyear-round,” Bogner says. “The new format will allow us to bring even more queer film to the city, aswell as to showcase more variety of LGBT film—not just the newfestival fare, necessarily, but maybe more revival screenings."

The full schedule can be found at www4.uwm.edu/psoa/programs/film/lgbtfilm.


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