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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Fest announces 41st edition program
--From a press release

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Chicago, Illinois (August 18, 2023) — Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival today announced its full slate of programming for the 41st edition of the second-longest running LGBTQ+ film festival in the world, unspooling September 21 - October 8, 2023 with in-person and virtual streaming presentations. This year's festival boasts 54 programs including 42 feature films and 12 short film programs, representing work from 25 different countries worldwide. Opening night will be held at the Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.), with screenings presented at hub theater Landmark's Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark St.), and at Chicago Filmmakers Firehouse Cinema (1326 W. Hollywood Ave.).

This year's edition of Reeling, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of producing organization Chicago Filmmakers, is programmed by award-winning filmmaker Morgan Jon Fox (narrative features); filmmaker, editor, and former Columbia College Chicago professor Sharon Zurek (shorts); and film critic, filmmaker, and DePaul University professor Dan Pal (documentary features); with the QuE3R FrAm3s series co-programmed by recent Loyola University graduate Levi Sierra and long-time film programmer and Columbia College Chicago instructor Patrick Friel.

Opening Night on September 21 sees Reeling returning to the Music Box Theatre with Andy Vallentine's THE MATTACHINE FAMILY, featuring Wilmette native Nico Tortorella as one half of a couple whose first foster child returns to his birth mother, forcing them to reconcile their differing ideas about what makes a family.

This year's Narrative Centerpiece is Tom Gustafson's GLITTER & DOOM, a vibrant musical romance set to the tunes of the Indigo Girls which follows the summer love story of a serious musician and a free-spirited circus performer, starring a phenomenal cast including Missi Pyle, Ming-Na Wen, Lea DeLaria, Tig Notaro, and more.

Additional highlights of this year's narrative features program include the U.S. Premiere of Emily Railsback's AMERICAN PARENT, in which the everyday chaos of raising a toddler is intensified for a Chicago lesbian couple maneuvering through the pandemic and professional uncertainty; the World Premiere of GANYMEDE, Colby Holt and Sam Probst's Southern gothic tale in which the son of a small-town politician falls in love with an openly gay classmate; Erica Tremblay's directorial debut FANCY DANCE, a gripping crime thriller that explores family bonds and Native identity amidst a search for a missing woman; Jac Cron's CHESTNUT, starring Natalia Dyer as an aspiring writer who becomes entangled in a relationship with a man and a woman; and the Berlin Film Festival Teddy award-winning Nigerian film, directed by Babatunde Apalowo, ALL THE COLOURS OF THE WORLD ARE BETWEEN BLACK & WHITE, about a truck driver in Lagos whose life is transformed when he meets a charismatic photographer.

Also making their World Premieres are THE JUDGMENT, Marwan Mokbel Elessawi's tale of an Egyptian American gay man and his boyfriend who visit his family in Egypt and are threatened with witchcraft; and QUEEN TUT, starring Alexandra Billings as a drag mother to a shy young Egyptian immigrant who desperately wants to learn the ways of the glittery drag world, directed by Reem Morsi.

The documentary program explores the world we live in with features spanning topics from politics to parties, films to cooking, and beyond. Highlights include Timothy Harris's KENYATTA: DO NOT WAIT YOUR TURN, the inspirational story of Malcolm Kenyatta, a Black gay man who grew up in North Philly and makes a historic run for the U.S. Senate; CHASING CHASING AMY, an illuminating look at the history and impact of Kevin Smith's 1997 film CHASING AMY, from director Sav Rodgers; Marc Saltarelli's dive into the story of a historic West Hollywood gay disco in STUDIO ONE FOREVER; and the World Premiere of SUSAN FENIGER. FORKED, about the celebrity chef who got her start working in the kitchen of Chicago's Le Perroquet as she opens her first solo restaurant in Los Angeles, documented by her partner, Emmy-award winning filmmaker Liz Lachman.

Transgender stories command a central focus in this year's program, with highlights including Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren's heartwarming, visually stunning journey of an eight-year-old girl exploring her gender identity in 20,000 SPECIES OF BEES; BREAK THE GAME, Jane M. Wagner's look at a live-streaming gamer who attempts to become the world's fastest "Legend of Zelda" player; Trevor Anderson's BEFORE I CHANGE MY MIND, about a gender nonconforming adolescent who forms a complex bond with the school bully; and, showing as part of the edgy QuE3R FrAm3s Series, creature-feature T BLOCKERS, 17-year-old director Alice Maio Mackay's third feature, about ancient parasites taking over a small town; and a revival screening of Stephen Winter's 1997 classic political satire CHOCOLATE BABIES, following a band of HIV-positive Black drag queens, trans and queer urban activists, and a gay Filipino-American government employee as they expose political corruption surrounding the AIDS epidemic, showing in a brand-new HD restoration.

Nominees for the AARP Silver Image Award, which recognizes excellence in the representation of LGBTQIA documentary subjects or fictional characters over age 55, include the feature films FEBRERO, in which a widowed Cuban-American woman celebrates her 64th birthday alone when she gets a surprise visit; MOE, about the going away party for a dying theater director; A BIG HAIRY HIT! WHERE THE BEARS ARE: THE DOCUMENTARY, about three middle-aged show business veterans who, fed up with the ageist Hollywood film industry, create a hit campy web series; and the documentaries STUDIO ONE FOREVER and SUSAN FENIGER. FORKED, as well as short films ALMOST FALL, THE END, CAMPFIRE, MAKING UP, NOW, DAPHNE, and TRIPPING.

Ticketing Information

Tickets are available online at in advance, or at the theater's box office on the day of the screening. Tickets for in-person screenings are $12 for regular screenings at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema and Chicago Filmmakers Firehouse Cinema, with the opening night film $15 for the film only or $40 for the film and pre-party in the Music Box Lounge. Virtual screenings: A limited number of programs will be available for streaming. Single Streaming Tickets are available at $10 and a Streaming Pass is available for $100. Various in-theater and hybrid in-theater/streaming passes are also available for purchase.


Presenting Sponsor for Reeling: The 41st Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival is AARP. Reeling is produced by the not-for-profit media arts organization Chicago Filmmakers.

Additional sponsors include Premiere Sponsors Best Western Plus, Hawthorne Plaza, and; Grand Sponsor Nexus Radio; Major Sponsor DKP Image + Media; Supporting Sponsor Steamworks; and Contributing Media Sponsors Chicago Reader, Windy City Times, and Boi Magazine.

Tickets at .


Chicago Filmmakers is a 50 year-old not-for-profit media arts center that supports independent filmmakers through education, funding, workforce training, equipment access and other services and resources, and serves Chicago film audiences through a regular screening series and two film festivals: Onion City Experimental Film Festival and Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival.

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