At its first international screening, South African documentary Glitterboys & Ganglands won Best GLBT Film at The San Diego Black Film Festival, considered “the black and warm’ Sundance.
As one of the largest black film festivals in America, San Diego screened over 100 African American and African diaspora films.
Directed by Lauren Beukes, Glitterboys & Ganglands is the behind-the-pink-veil story of the preparations of three hopefuls for the Miss Gay Western Cape competition, South Africa’s biggest female impersonator pageant. Deep in the heart of the Cape’s most violent ganglands, sequins are being sewn, hair arranged, tiaras polished, stilettos worn in, lashes glued and shimmies perfected: all for a night of glamour and the honour of being Miss Gay Western Cape. Funny, tender and moving, Glitterboys & Ganglands is about stilettos and alter-egos, tucking and tiaras, glitz and ganglands.
Beukes said, “Winning in San Diego is fantastic because it means an international audience identified with our story. The Miss Gay Western Cape contestants often struggle with a society that does not accept them, so it’s important that one of the oldest film festivals in America has come out in support.”
Glitterboys & Ganglands had sold out screening at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival and Out in Africa Gay and Lesbian Film Festival last year, receiving rave reviews. As South African newspaper Mail & Guardian wrote, “Glitterboys & Ganglands is possibly one of the most striking commentaries, not on beauty, as you would expect, or even on gay rights, but rather on femininity, identity and vulnerability in South Africa right now.”
Although Beukes is an experienced TV screenwriter and directed episodes of Urbo: The Adventures of Pax Afrika, Glitterboys & Ganglands was her debut documentary. It was produced by Okuhle Media and Clockwork Zoo (now SeaMonster).
Beukes won the Arthur C Clarke Award last year for her science fiction novel, Zoo City, set in an alternative Johannesburg. Zoo City was also a finalist at The British Science Fiction Association Awards, The World Fantasy Awards and The John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer, as well as being long-listed for The IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Beukes is currently writing the screenplay for the feature film version for South African producer Helena Spring, who’s behind the upcoming Leon Schuster and Kenneth Nkosi blockbuster Mad Buddies, and she is writing her third novel and a graphic novel for Vertigo, but has plans to direct another documentary in the near future.