The Connecticut Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, which was founded in 1988, changed its name in 2014 to the Connecticut LGBT Film Festival. This year the festival, which runs May 31 to June 8, in Hartford, has changed its name to the Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival.
“It’s one of those ever-evolving things. There’s always been a kind of a push-and-pull regarding the term queer. Has it been reclaimed? Are people still offended by the word queer?” says festival director Shane Engstrom.
“It seems especially in youth culture kids are quicker to label themselves as queer in order to avoid being given other labels. They embrace the label queer. We wanted to reflect that in the name.”
Another move to attract young people to the 32nd annual movie festival of movies is the addition of a program of short films that tell stories about LGBTQ youths.
All but three of the festival screenings will be at Cinestudio at Trinity College. Spotlight Theaters, 39 Front St., Wadsworth Atheneum, 600 Main St., and Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor St. will each host one screening.
Admission per film is $10, $8 students and seniors, $20 opening- and closing-night movie and party, $15 opening- and closing-night movie and party for students and seniors, $25 for three-show pass, $75 for all-film pass. outfilmct.org.
Here’s the lineup of films. Almost all of the features will be accompanied by shorts. A closing-night party will be June 8 at Wadsworth Atheneum, following the two closing-night films.
Oscar winner Anna Paquin stars in “Tell It to the Bees,” a British drama set in the 1950s. She portrays a doctor who moves back to her hometown, which she left years ago after a scandalous incident with another girl. She treats an injured boy and befriends his mother, whose husband has left her for another woman. The screening is followed by an opening-night party.
June 1 at 2 p.m. at Cinestudio
“Small World: International Shorts” is a collection of short films telling LGBT stories from around the world. The films are “From Mars and Venus” from the Netherlands; “The Nest,” “Manivald” and “The Things You Think I’m Thinking” from Canada; “Infinite While it Lasts” from Brazil; “Down” from England; “Under Tension” from Germany.
June 1 at 4:30 p.m. at Real Art Ways
“Fresh Faces: Youth Shorts" is a program of short films geared toward teenagers with stories of coming out, transgenderism, bisexuality and “gender creative” youths. “Listen” features trans actors in trans roles. Other films are “My Grandson, Charlotte,” “Beauty,” “Dario,” “I Put the Bi in Bitter,” “Brothers,” “OUT on the Streets” and “Welcome to the Ball.”
June 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Cinestudio
The biopic “Mapplethorpe” follows the legendary photographer from his early days in New York, dating Patti Smith, coming out and their breaking up, dating Sam Wagstaff (a former curator at Wadsworth Atheneum), delving into the S&M subculture for artistic inspiration, achieving fame as a photographer and contracting AIDS.
June 1 at 9:30 p.m. at Cinestudio
The the most sexually explicit film in the festival, the French-language character study “Wild” is about a 22-year-old man who works as a prostitute. Despite his self-destructive lifestyle of drugs and fistfights, he wants someone to love him but doesn’t know how to find that person, so he drifts from relationship to relationship.
June 2 at 2 p.m. at Cinestudio
The lead character in “Socrates” is a gay youth whose tolerant mother dies in the first scene, devastating him both emotionally and financially. With her gone, his life become unstable as he tries to find a place for himself in poverty-stricken Sao Paolo, Brazil while overcoming his grief and avoiding the authorities, who want to place him with his father.
‘Erik & Erika’
June 2 at 4:30 p.m. at Cinestudio
The biopic “Erik & Erika” tells the true story of Erika/Erik Schinegger, the Austrian downhill skier who won the women’s world championship in 1966. While undergoing a medical examination in preparation for the 1968 Winter Olympics, Schinegger discovered to her shock that she had XY chromosomes and internal male sex organs. The drama is in German with subtitles.
‘I’ve Got to Be Me’
June 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Cinestudio
“I’ve Got to Be Me: Transgender Shorts” is a compilation of stories of trans boys, girls, men and women. Titles are “The Things That Make Us” and “Tell-by Date” from England; “Silvia in the Waves” from Canada; “Briella” from Australia; “Texas Strong” and “Guarding Santos” from the U.S.; “Something About Alex” from the Netherlands; “Paperock” from Israel; and “Princess” from Germany.
‘Boys Will Be Boys'
June 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Cinestudio
“Boys Will Be Boys” is a collection of short films telling comic and dramatic stories of men who love men. The films are “The Handyman,” “ruok,” “Come at Me Bro” and “The Curse” from the U.S.; “Malik” from France; “Clothes & Blow” from England; “Guillermo on the Roof” from Spain; “Vertical Lines” from Canada; and “Uninvited” from South Korea.
June 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Cinestudio
“Wonder Women” is a program of comic and dramatic short films about women who love women. Titles are “Time & Again,” “Hidden” and “Home Girl” from England; “Heather Has Four Moms,” “Bucket List” and “F**k” from the U.S.; “Mother’s Day” from Hungary; “Adeline” from France; “Tamagotchi” from Brazil.
‘Gay Chorus Deep South’
June 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Cinestudio
“Gay Chorus Deep South” is a doc about the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, which after the 2016 election goes on a tour of the southern states to dispel stereotypes about gay people. The film was produced by Airbnb. “Airbnb is in the space of telling stories of belonging and acceptance,” spokesman James Goode told Daily Variety. A reception will precede the film at 6 p.m.
June 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Cinestudio
“Canary” straddles an unusual line between military drama, social commentary, coming of age story and a musical. It is about Johan, a Boy George-loving gay youth who is drafted in 1980s South Africa. In desperation, he auditions for the Defense Force Church Choir, or “Canaries.” In that group, he meets both fellow gays and bullies.
‘Dykes, Camera, Action!’
and ‘Mom + Mom’
June 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Cinestudio
A double feature: The documentary “Dykes, Camera, Action!” is about pioneering lesbian filmmakers, who made their films to tell non-tragic stories of lesbianism and to add lesbian stories to the growing, but male-dominated, canon of LGBT cinema. The Italian-language drama “Mom + Mom” is about two women who are in love and want to have a child.
“The Shiny Shrimps” tells the seriocomic story of a star athlete who says a homophobic slur on TV. He is told he can never compete again unless he coaches The Shiny Shrimps, an amateur gay water polo team all the way to the Gay Games in Croatia, where they want to compete with the hottest LGBT athletes in the world. The movie is in French with subtitles and followed by a closing-night party at the Wadsworth Atheneum.
‘Vita & Virginia’
June 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Wadsworth Atheneum
A female-centric biopic, “Vita & Virginia” tells of the legendary affair between “To the Lighthouse” novelist Virginia Woolf and socialite Vita Sackville-West. “Vita & Virginia” stars Gemma Arterton, Elizabeth Debicki and Isabella Rossellini. Followed a closing-night party.