Telling Our Story on Film
Milwaukee’s annual LGBT film and video festival returns
“We’re proud to be opening our festival with Kiki,” announces the director of Milwaukee’s 31st annual LGBT Film/Video Festival, Carl Bogner. “It’s a film both moving and exhilarating—one that celebrates what a community provides and how a community can be.” Indeed, Kiki is one of the brightest stars of the event, screening on opening night. Among other plaudits, it won the Teddy Award for Best LGBT Documentary at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Kiki revisits the scene documented in the rightly legendary film Paris is Burning (1990), profiling LGBT youth of color making their way through the modern performance arts scene.
Another highlight is the dark comedy Women Who Kill. Described by Bogner as “the funniest film of the festival,” it follows Morgan and Jean, exes who share a fascination with female serial killers. Women Who Kill is the feature film debut of Ingrid Jungermann and has already proven to be an award-winner, claiming the Best Screenwriting Award at OUTFEST 2016.
“An LGBT film festival always showcases films depicting young people bravely risking declarations about themselves,” Bogner says. The 2016 event offers two such coming-of-age and sexual self-discovery films that took home prizes at the Sundance Film Festival: Spa Night depicts the not-so-smooth emergence of a college-aged Korean American, and First Girl I Loved takes a more humorous approach to teenage crushes and love triangles. In addition, romance blooms and, perhaps, blooms again in Lazy Eye, and Real Boy is a heartfelt documentary about Bennett Wallace, a teenager struggling with gender transition and a none-too-supportive mother.
It is precisely those documentaries that continue to reveal our evolving saga and, rightfully so, they fairly abound at the festival. The ongoing fight for LGBT rights is thoroughly examined in films like Out Run, Political Animals and Major! Lest you feel rather blasé about our current lot, a film like Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America should jolt you back to a sometimes-painful reality. Forbidden follows Moises Serrano as he fights for the right to go to college in North Carolina; Moises, you see, is both gay and undocumented. So many of us have to fight on multiple fronts simultaneously.
Milwaukee’s LGBT Film/Video Festival’s many narrative, documentary and short film offerings show at several East Side theaters from Oct. 12-23. For tickets and full schedule information, please visit uwm.edu/lgbtfilmfestival.