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Reeling: Chicago LGBTA+ Int'l Film Fest lineup includes Hurricane Bianca, King Cobra

This article shared 705 times since Mon Aug 22, 2016
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( August 22, 2016 - Chicago, IL ) Chicago Filmmakers and Showtime Networks are pleased to present the 34th edition of Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival. The second-oldest LGBTQ film festival in the world and a beloved Chicago cultural institution for more than 30 years, Reeling returns September 22-29, 2016 with an exciting slate of movies that showcases the diversity of the queer experience. From the hilarious Bianca Del Rio drag queen comedy HURRICANE BIANCA on opening night through to the hotly anticipated James Franco real-life gay porn murder drama KING COBRA on closing night, this year's edition of Reeling has something to satisfy every film fan. Over eight days, the varied titles include: writer-director John G. Young's sultry thriller bwoy ( starring Anthony Rapp ), about the consequences of online cruising; the heart-wrenching, true-crime documentaries UPSTAIRS INFERNO and SOUTHWEST OF SALEM: THE STORY OF THE SAN ANTONIO FOUR; THE SLIPPERS, the fascinating, entrancing story of the fate of Judy Garland's ruby slippers; and the sexually adventurous SPA NIGHT, SHARED ROOMS, RETAKE and AWOL starring Lola Kirke ( Mistress America, Mozart in the Jungle ). Advance tickets go on sale September 1.

There's so much variety in the 2016 lineup that the festival programmers promise audiences they'll be entertained, inspired, amused, outraged, and moved to tears. And an LGBTQ festival would not be complete without sex. Co-programming Director Richard Knight, Jr. says, "This year's festival is one of the sexiest in years, with an even larger slate of those provocative movies that audiences really love."

A bevy of special guests and parties is also part of the schedule. A complete list of visiting talent will be revealed in coming weeks.

Reeling 2016 presents nearly 40 features and numerous shorts from around the world, most of them Chicago premieres, some U.S. and/or World premieres. The festival presents its opening night selection on Thursday, September 22 at Music Box Theatre ( 3733 N. Southport Ave. ) and then moves to the Landmark Century Centre Cinema ( 2828 N. Clark St. ) for the bulk of the festival. The fest's home base, Chicago Filmmakers ( 5243 N. Clark St. ), will also host screenings.

Reeling launches its eight-day festival with the Opening Night Gala presentation of HURRICANE BIANCA. The hilarious dragtastic comedy — former Chicagoan writer-director Matt Kugelman's uproarious debut feature — stars red hot stand-up comedian Roy Haylock and his alter ego, the outrageous drag diva Bianca Del Rio. When demure Richard gets hounded out of his teaching job for being gay in a small Texas town, his other half, the sassy and profane Bianca Del Rio, exacts a riotous revenge. Kugelman, a Columbia College graduate, has crafted a laugh-out-loud John Waters/Tootsie hybrid, offering a divine showcase for Haylock's massive talents. Haylock's cyclonic life force Bianca Del Rio, fan favorite and season six champion of RuPaul's Drag Race, is joined on screen by SNL's Rachel Dratch and a host of queer icons: Alan Cumming, Margaret Cho, Bianca Leigh, Shangela, and RuPaul himself. A pre-screening party in the Music Box Lounge will precede the 7:30 pm Music Box Theatre ( 3733 N. Southport Ave. ) screening. Bianca Del Rio, Matt Kugelman and producer Ash Christian are expected to attend the opening night festivities.


Reeling closes on Thursday, September 29 with an advance screening of KING COBRA, writer-director Justin Kelly's ( I Am Michael ) eagerly anticipated crime thriller based on a true story. A greedy porn producer and his escort boyfriend ( James Franco and Keegan Allen ) plan to murder a competing porn producer ( Christian Slater ) in order to make a film with his gay twink superstar ( former Disney Channel star Garrett Clayton ). Alicia Silverstone and Molly Ringwald co-star. Kelly and Clayton are expected to attend the screening at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema.

Other highlights of the festival include: CLOSET MONSTER, Canadian writer-director Stephen Dunn's emotionally charged portrait of a teen's ( American Crime's Connor Jessup ) troubled coming out ( Isabella Rossellini provides the voice for his pet hamster ); Handl Klaus' Teddy Award-winning Best Feature TOMCAT, a steamy and shocking relationship drama from Austria; Clay Liford's SLASH, a delightfully droll story of a pair of teenage friends with a talent for writing erotic sci-fi fan fiction, starring Wet Hot American Summer'sMichael Ian Black; Maura Anderson's passionate and moving lesbian drama HEARTLAND, about a woman who finds herself attracted to her brother's fiancée; Tim Kirkman's ( Loggerheads, The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me ) complex relationship drama LAZY EYE; Andrew Steggel's DEPARTURE, a bittersweet, drama of a gay son's coming out and a mother's moving on after a divorce, with rising star Alex Lawther ( The Imitation Game and the forthcoming Freak Show ) and Truly, Madly, Deeply's Juliet Stevenson; Doug Langway's delightful and playfully sexy guilty pleasure BEAR CITY 3; Argentinean director Marco Berger's latest homoerotic slow burnTAEKWONDO ( having its US premiere at Reeling ); Sarah Rotella's sunny lesbian college comedy ALMOST ADULTS; Joshua Tunick's marriage drama DO YOU TAKE THIS MAN starring Anthony Rapp ( bwoy, Rent ) and Jonathan Bennett ( Mean Girls, MTV's Awkward. ); Kerstin Karlhuber's FAIR HAVEN, the study of a young man recently returned to the family farm after a conversion therapy program and struggling with his attraction to an old boyfriend, featuring Tom Wopat and Gregory Harrison; RETAKE, the darkly sexy road thriller from director Nick Corporon, starring Tuc Watkins ( Desperate Housewives ); and J. C. Falcon's PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW about a longtime trio of friends dealing with new realities in their relationships when one of them unexpectedly becomes pregnant. Out actors Sean Maher ( Serenity, Firefly ) and Mark Cirillo ( Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, Day Drunk Gays ) co-star along with Lauren Mayhew ( Raise Your Voice, 90's girl group P.Y.T. ) and Andrea Grano ( Hulu Original Series Casual, Planet of the Apes ) in this story of complicated relationships.

Documentaries, as always, are part of the exciting Reeling lineup. This year's Documentary Centerpiece is UPSTAIRS INFERNO, Robert L. Camina's heart-wrenching examination of an arsonist's 1973 killing of 32 men in a gay bar in a New Orleans bar, which was, until the recent tragedy in Orlando, the worst documented mass murder of LGBTQ individuals in US history. Other documentary highlights include: SOUTHWEST OF SALEM, Deborah S. Esquenazi's riveting exposé of a real-life miscarriage of justice that forever changed the lives of four young Latina lesbians unjustly tried and convicted after being accused of satanic ritual abuse; Shaleece Haas' coming-of-age depiction of the journey of Bennett, an FTM teen and talented musician in REAL BOY; Canadian filmmaker Morgan White's fascinating and unbelievable story of what happened to the multiple pairs of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz in THE SLIPPERS; MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART, filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo's compelling exploration of the life of her uncle who died from AIDS; and Andrea Capranico's immersive film THE LANDSCAPE WITHIN, a visually dazzling portrait of Filipino bodypainting artist Eric Nuis Cabales.

Reeling is supported by many local and national businesses and corporations without whom the festival would not be possible. Reeling thanks Presenting sponsor Showtime Networks; Premier sponsors Gilead, HereTV, Time Out Chicago, XFINITY; Grand sponsors AARP, Gay Ad Network, Nexus Radio and Best Western Plus Hawthorne Terrace; and Major sponsors Coat of Arms and Yes! Press for their generous and essential support.

Visit for the full festival lineup beginning Thursday, August 25 .

For more information, the public can call ( 773 ) 293-1447, consult the festival website at, or follow @reelingfilmfest on twitter for the latest Reeling news and ticket promotions.

Ticket Information

Tickets may be purchased online ( ) beginning September 1 or in person at Chicago Filmmakers ( 5243 N. Clark St. ) starting September 8.

This article shared 705 times since Mon Aug 22, 2016
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