The 17th Out in Africa Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, which runs in Johannesburg from 14 to 31 October and in Cape Town from 21 October to 7 November, features a large variety of films that deal with themes such as betrayal, living duplicitously, homophobia, making choices, celebration and enjoyment. Films come from all over the world and includes thrillers, dramas, suspense, documentaries and comedies.
All the South African films are World Premieres and include documentaries and narratives. Last year’s hit team of Jacque Oldfield and Adelheid Reinecke, who made Dykeumentary, are back with The Cutter, a story about possession, obsession and control.
Two thought provoking documentaries look at how South Africa’s liberal constitution relates to religious practices. There Comes a Time is the story of Reverend Ecclesia De Lange and how her desire to marry her partner Amanda results in her being removed from her ministry in the Methodist Church. Joan & Verne’s wedding proves that if we have really moved on from the idea of “Separate but Equal’ then it is fitting for two Jewish lesbians to get married by a Rabbi.
Moffies in the Boland get their own airing in The Sisterhood. Hazendal farmhands Pietie, Hope and Rollie are not your typical Western Cape wine workers – Hope aspires to winning the local drag queen pageant, Rollie dreams of a husband and Pietie seriously considers retiring as the reigning queen of drag to look after his roses, chickens and doves.
When Maggie and Lindi decided to take the Road to Pride they interviewed people on the way from Cape Town to Jozi.
From America comes The Big Gay Musical. Set in New York’s West Village, the film is a case of life imitating art. Ribald, fun and very American, the one-liners are plentiful.
Commissioned as part of Stonewall’s Education For All initiative aimed at rooting out prejudice and bullying in schools, Fit is a comedy drama that follows a group of older kids as they explore issues of coming out, racism, homophobia and the ubiquitous word “gay’.
The Festival opens with Loose Cannons (Mine Vaganti), directed by Ferzan Ozpetek (Italian with English subtitles). In this sensitive comedy, stylish characters negotiate family secrets, eccentric personalities, old-fashioned views, and opportunities missed.
Gay Muslims are very rarely given a platform to express themselves but with Faith (Shahada) the veil is lifted on this most marginalized community. The film’s title refers to the first pillar of Islam: Shahada – the Muslim profession of faith. The protagonists struggle, each in their own way. This episodic film revolves around Maryam, Samir and Ismail, three young Muslims living in Germany. During the course of their stories, their faith, and their value systems are tested. (Sponsored by the Goethe Institut).
Brotherhood is an intense drama which provides a glimpse into the xenophobic world of neo-Nazis in Denmark. This film won Best Picture at the 2009 Rome Film Festival.
One of the most highly anticipated films of the Festival is I Killed my Mother (J’ai tue ma mere) – Canada’s Oscar® nomination for Best Foreign Film and winner of three prestigious awards in Cannes in 2009. Dolan at age 21 wrote, directed and starred in this subtle, layered film about the relationship between a teenage gay boy and the mother he loves and hates.
For all those who love the TV series The L Word, Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids are Alright is sure to be a highlight of the Festival. The film stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as the lesbian couple with kids. (Berlinale 2010 – Teddy Best Feature)
One for the history buffs is The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, who was of the Yorkshire landed gentry of the 1800s. The film is based on her secret code diaries which reveal her passion for women.
An Englishman in New York picks up on the story of Quentin Crisp, played by John Hurt, in the latter years of his life. Following the success of his television biography The Naked Civil Servant, Quentin Crisp is invited to America to lecture on How To Be Happy, and falls in love with New York and its more tolerant lifestyle.
Johannesburg venues are Nu Metro Hyde Park and The Bioscope Main Street Life, 286 Fox Street.
Cape Town venues are Nu Metro V&A Waterfront and The Foxy On Broadway, 44 Long Street.