After going on hiatus last year, Reeling: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival is back, "recharged and ready"poised to bring yet another slate of winning queer themed movies to the city. The second-oldest LGBT film festival in the world and a beloved Chicago cultural institution will screen more than 50 separate screening events during its eight days, which will take place Nov. 7-14.
The 31st edition of Reeling once again kicks off with a splashy, red carpet screening event at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. G.B.F., this year's opening night selection, is director Darren Stein's ( Jawbreaker ) latest teen comedy. Clueless and Mean Girls mix it up with elements of Camp and Glee when the most popular girls in high school duke it out to acquire fashion's newest Must Have accessory: a gay best friend. Michael J. Willett, Paul Iacono and Sasha Pieterse star.
G.B.F. features memorable performances by Megan Mullally, SNL's Horatio Sanz, Jonathan Silverman, Rebecca Gayheart, and Natasha Lyonne. The 7:30 p.m. screening of this delightful comedy will be preceded by a red carpet event that will feature several of the film's young starsPaul Iacono ( The Hard Times of RJ Berger ), Molly Tarlov ( Awkward ), and "Desperate Housewives" Andrea Bowen as well as a bevy of stars from other Reeling movies. The lineup includes Trent Ford ( The Vampire Diaries ) and Rob Mayes ( The Client List ) from Burning Blue, porn star turned actor Sean Paul Lockhart and Rob Moretti from the gay crime thriller Truth, and LeRoy McClain ( star of The Happy Sad ).
The screening will be followed by a reception at the nearby Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway. There, the fun continues with a hilarious selection of specially chosen comedy shorts and a performance by stand up local LGBT stand-up comics.
The festival then moves to its primary location, the historic Logan Theatre, 408 N. Kedzie Ave., in Logan Square. ( Satellite screenings will also take place at various venues around the city. ) Brenda Webb, founder and executive director of Reeling, had this to say about the new location: "We have felt a very warm welcome from the Logan Square community and this year's festival will be more festive than ever. In addition to our terrific lineup, we have lots of after parties at Logan establishments."
The theater location also offers patrons easy access to parking and public transportation ( both are less than a block away ) while the recently restored venue itself has a lounge and a bar. A closing-night reception will be held at the Stan Mansion, 2408 N. Kedzie Ave. The movies being shown Nov. 14 are Ludwig II, Reaching for the Moon and Ian Harvie Superhero starring Ian Harvie, the world's first FTM transgender standup comic ( who will attend the screening ).
Other highlights include Black Box, writer-director Stephen Cone's follow-up to The Wise Kids; Cory Krueckeberg's Getting Go: The Go Doc Project ( the fest's spotlight screening with stars and filmmakers in attendance ), Interior.Leather.Bar, a collaboration between James Franco and Travis Mathews that ruminates on the missing footage from director William Friedkin's Cruising; An Abominable Crime, which looks at the violence that gays and lesbians experience in Jamaica, Two: The Story of Roman & Nyro, a documentary portrait of hit songwriter Desmond Child, his film producing partner Curtis Shaw and their twin sons ( all who will be attending Reeling ), Del Shores' Southern Baptist Sissies ( Shores, the film's star Emerson Collins and Levi Kreis, who performs the end credit song, will also be attending ), and Sing-a-Long Victor/Victoria with live commentary by gay icon Bruce Vilanch in celebration of the 31st edition of the movie, the festival, and Sidetrack, where the screening is taking place.
"We're very happy to have so many filmmakers and actors in attendance this year," Webb said. "Their presence always helps make Reeling that much more exciting for the audiencesand for us!"
The complete festival lineup, advance tickets and updates are at www.reelingfilmfestival.org .