“Queen Bitch” “Queen Bitch”
Thursday, September 29 2011 12:04

Reel Affirmations Reaches 20th Year. LGBT film fest offers independent films & shorts

By  Rose D'Longcroi

Reel Affirmations, a Washington, D.C. based, all-volunteer LGBT film festival, is one of the strongest community-created efforts to come out of the 1990s. The firstborn of One in Ten, a LGBT non-profits arts organization, Reel Affirmations is now one of the top three films festivals for the entire LGBT community.

In its infancy, co-founders Barry Becker, Mark Betchkal, Matthew Cibellis, and Keith Clark, proud Washington, D.C. residents, desired to fill the lack of artistic expression that highlighted the multifaceted aspects of LGBT individuals. In their initial meeting, Reel Affirmations was born.

Much in the style of film festivals, organizers begin scouting ideal locations capable of housing multiple screens. The selection team invites up-and-coming directors to submit their pieces as well as scour the film dailies for interesting silver screen poetry. Reel Affirmations begins this process shortly after the clean-up of their closing party for the preceding festival, which involves a lot of friendly carousing and enthusiasm.

Now in its 20th year, this venue will provide over 100 independent LGBT films and shorts across several locations surrounding Dupont Circle. With nearly 200 hours of cinema to choose from, several offerings should sell out before the end of the month.
With a nod to the worldwide reach of the LGBT community, our local jet setters will be provided with a unique treat this year. A collection of foreign films will be viewed within the originating filmmakers’ embassies, giving the audience an almost home atmosphere to heighten their senses. One embassy opening its doors is France with the film “Sister Smile,” a true story of the Singing Nun, Debbie Reynolds, and her life after the one-hit wonder that made her famous. (Embassy of France, 4101 Reservoir Rd. NW, Washington, D.C.)

This festival will not sweep through October without paying respect to All Hallow’s Eve. In honor of our current craving for the sensual bloodsucker, Reel Affirmations is offering two dripping selections in the form of “We Are the Night” by German Director Dennis Gansel and Mark Bessenger‘s “Bite Marks.” Prescreen viewings suggest that the plots of each are worth sinking your teeth into.

If the kiss of Dracula does not offer enough thrill, allow Directors Gauillaume Nicloux and Emmanuelle Bercot to terrify you in their respective films, “Queen Bitch” and “Recipe for a Killing.” With their adaptations of two macabre French crime novels involving a hired cook and a disgruntled wife on one hand and a desperate transgender daughter in the other, you will never look at your neighbors the same way.

If the darkness of the night is not your speed, check out the ample selection of dramas and documentaries including "We Were Here," the powerful documentary on the early days of AIDS; “Into the Lion’s Den,” a world premiere with an appearance from the film’s star Ronnie Kroell; or “Jitters,” a delightful coming-of-age story.

DETAILS: Reel Affirmations LGBT Film Festival. Oct. 13-22. Various times and ticket prices. Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. ReelAffirmations.org


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