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Ten films for Ten Percent
Ah, it that time of year again, when the first budding shorts begin to peek up from the darkness of the wintry internet, when a young (or old) person’s mind turns to thoughts of fitting as many films into an 11-day schedule as possible.
It is time once again for the Cleveland International Film Festival, celebrating its 39th iteration with a week and a half of films across Cleveland and Akron.
As is their wont and custom, the festival, held this year from March 18 to 29, will again feature the Ten Percent Cinema, a collection of films curated to delight, entertain and educate the LGBT community. There appears to be ten films in the sidebar this year, which seems little low compared to the last few years.
Of course, while this preview will be, of necessity and design, rather insular, your viewing need not be. Check out the full schedule of films at www.clevelandfilm.org and decide what appeals to you!
So, here are descriptions in alphabetical order of the Ten Percent Cinema feature films for 39th annual Cleveland International Film Festival. In addition, there are also the Ten Percent Shorts, which will be shown at 8:50 pm on March 20.
The first is Canadian film The Amina Profile, about a Montréal woman’s search for love online, and how it led to Syrian blogger Amina Arraf. After conversing over the internet every day, Sandra Bagaria is told that Amina has been kidnapped after her “A Gay Girl in Damascus” blog has garnered international attention. The documentary follows journalists, activists and Sandra as they tell Amina’s story.
The film will be shown on Sunday and Monday, March 22 and 23 at 8:40 pm and 4:15 pm, respectively.
Next up is Cheryl Furjanic’s Back on Board: Greg Louganis, a profile of out, HIV-positive Olympic champion diver. In 2011, after being one of the most famous divers in recent memory, he found himself with a bleak financial outlook, struggling to keep his house. He decided to counsel Olympic athletes on preparation for post-competition life, and gives Furjanic a deep and truthful view of how he reached that point in his life.
Screenings will be on Wednesday, March 25 at 7:25 pm and Thursday, March 26 at 2:40 pm.
The next exciting offering is Der Kreis, a Swiss docudrama about Ernst and Robi, a couple who met in 1961 and are still together half a century later. Robi was a drag queen, Ernst a schoolteacher, and in the early years of their relationship, they were involved in publishing Der Kreis, a revolutionary pro-gay journal that engendered a witch hunt against its publishers. The film uses interviews with the actual couple today, as well as reenactments of episodes early in their love, to tell their story.
Der Kreis will be shown on Thursday, March 19 at 7 pm and Sunday, March 22 at 11:30 am at Tower City Cinemas, but will also have screenings on Saturday, March 21 at 1:45 and 6 pm at the Nightlight, 30 North High St, Akron.
Colin Healey’s post-apocalyptic punk-rock Pittsburgh portrait Homemaker is next up, about Irene, a punk singer whose girlfriend (and bandmate) is cheating on her. In front of a packed house, \Irene accuses her of infidelity and destroys her accordion. As the band contemplates their next step the day after, Irene gets a call telling her that her grandfather died, and she has inherited his house in Pittsburgh, which is a total dump. She enlists her cousin’s aid in fixing it up, and the journey begins.
It will be shown on Thursday and Friday, March 19 and 20 at 9:35 pm and 5:15 pm, respectively.
Seven years after winning the Roxanne T. Mueller Award at the 32nd annual Cleveland International Film Festival, director Thomas G. Miller gives us Limited Partnership, the tale of one of the first legally-married same-sex couples in Colorado back in 1975. Richard Adams and Tony Sullivan met and fell in love. However, without the Immigration and Nationalization Service recognizing their marriage, Sullivan would be deported to his native Australia. The INS, for their part, sent the couple an incredibly homophobic letter, leading the couple to sue the U.S. government.
Limited Partnership will be shown on Friday, March 20 at 6:45 pm and Saturday, March 21 at 11:30 am.
In 2006, four young, African American lesbians were accosted by a man who threatened them when they rebuffed his sexual advances. A fight ensued and the man was stabbed, although the wound was not life-threatening. Instead of hailing the women as heroes for defending themselves, however, they were brought up on charges, viewed as a gang of killer lesbians by news outlets and the New Jersey 4 by LGBT advocates. The film Out in the Night documents the story of Renata, Patreese, Venice and Terrain, one of a thousand miscarriages of justice perpetrated against minorities in this country.
Out in the Night will be shown on Monday, March 23 at 9 pm and Tuesday, March 24 at 4:30 pm. The second screening will include a FilmForum, a post-screening discussion. A neighborhood screening at the Shaker Square Cinemas will be held on Sunday, March 22 at 7 pm.
Jeffrey Schwarz’ endearing profile of Hollywood heartthrob, and erstwhile closeted star, Tab Hunter hits this year’s festival. Tab Hunter Confidential interviews the star and other celebrities, combines the interviews with footage from his films, and tells the whole story, from struggling stable boy to closeted icon to dashing octogenarian.
Tab Hunter Confidential has screenings at Tower City Cinemas on Thursday, March 19 at 8:35 pm, and Saturday, March 21 at 2:40 pm. There will be an additional neighborhood screening at the Cinemark Valley View at 6 pm on Saturday, March 28.
Wade Gasque’s Tiger Orange follows brothers Chet and Todd, both gay, as they move apart and come back together again. Chet stays in his small California town and helps his father run the family hardware store, while Todd explodes out of the closet and moves to L.A. After their father’s death, Todd returns, down on his luck, leading to an examination of the joys and miseries carried by both openness and secrecy, as well as the quiet homophobia of home.
Tiger Orange shows at 4:45 pm on Wednesday, March 25, 11:50 am on Friday, March 27, and 8:15 pm on Saturday, March 28.
Brazilian love quadrangle The Way He Looks (Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho) is next up, with a Byzantine plot sure to delight! Leo is a blind teenager whose best friend Giovana wants his body, unknown to Leo. Giovana also digs Gabriel, the new student. Karina, a local beauty with a bad reputation, also wants Gabriel. However, both Giovana and Karina might be out of luck since Leo and Gabriel might have crushes on each other, if they can ever figure it out.
The film screens on Friday, March 27 at 7:10 pm and Saturday, March 28 at 1:45 pm.
Finally, we have Xenia, a get-rich scheme film with a few problems in the plan. Danny and Odysseus, two brothers, have just lost their mother to drugs and drink. Danny, who is 16 and gay, convinces his brother to come with him to find their biological father and… well, “convince” him to pay a child abandonment fee. Danny also plans to have Odysseus win the “Greek Star” talent competition, which might be problematic, since the two are actually Albanian in country where anti-Albanian violence is on the rise. Whether or not things end well, they’re certainly going to be interesting!
Xenia screens on Thursday, March 26 at 8:40 pm and Friday, March 27 at 3:50 pm.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to www.clevelandfilm.org or call 877-304‑3456 (FILM).