A message of inclusion

Welcome to the Eighth Annual Dayton LGBT Film Festival

By T.T. Stern-Enzi


Photo: [l to r] Michael J. Willett and Sasha Pieterse star in “G.B.F.,” which will be featured at the Dayton LGBT Film Festival at The Neon Oct. 11-13

 After eight years, the Dayton LGBT Film Festival has moved beyond the fevered and giddy novelty that drives upstarts in the festival arena. There is stability that comes from knowing you no longer have to prove yourself, to establish that there is a market, a community seeking the stories you want to curate, the message you intend to spread. The task at hand is nothing less, now, than the business of giving the people what they want and, more importantly, need.There is a hunger for connections, the links and networks that emerge once the lights come up and audiences prepare to walk out of the theater amongst friends, family and the greater community. That is what the festival experience can provide, that kind of open door, which, if fostered, never closes.

Once again, The Neon serves as host and home base for The Dayton LGBT Film Festival, which runs Oct. 11-13, kicking things off with a 7:30 p.m. screening of “G.B.F.”, the latest film from Darren Stein, director of the 1999 release “Jawbreaker” with Rose McGowan, Rebecca Gayheart, Julie Benz and Judy Greer – a personal favorite of mine lost in the supporting player ranks. “G.B.F.” –  “gay best friend ” – details the comedic misadventures of an accidentally outed high school student (Michael J. Willett) who winds up becoming the GBF of three rival divas. Imagine “Queer Eye” hooking up with “Mean Girls.” Not only is Stein scheduled to present the film, but attendees are invited to the Opening Night Party at CADC (45 S. St. Clair St.) featuring complimentary appetizers from Roost Modern Italian and live music by Sandy and Michael Bashaw, all sponsored by Sue Spiegel and Lisa Hanauer.

In terms of special filmmaker appearances, Guy Shalem, director of the short “Something Real” (part of the festival-favorite Top Drawer Shorts program), is also confirmed to attend. This festival staple will, as always, spotlight the best of the best short films from around the world and graces screens thanks to the support of The Human Race Theatre Company’s production of “Torch Song Trilogy.”

Jonathan McNeal, Dayton LGBT Film Festival programmer, points out how community input impacted this year’s program.

“It’s rare for us to get requests/suggestions for films at the festival,” he said. “Usually, people ask about higher-profile films that will certainly get releases (“Dallas Buyers Club,” etc.). This year was different. We had numerous people reach out and ask about “Bridegroom” (The Saturday afternoon title sponsored by PFLAG Dayton). They had been made aware of the film due to the YouTube video that went viral. So, we’re glad that people are so interested in a documentary, which is usually harder to sell.” (“Bridegroom” captured the Audience Award at both the Toronto Inside Out LGBT Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival for Best Documentary.)

For audiences seeking a regional presence, look no further than the documentary, “The New Black,” which McNeal said was booked “because we thought it was so strong and important. It wasn’t until we had it booked that Steve Bognar asked us if we were aware of it … none of us had watched the credits all the way to know that he was involved in the production of the film.” Bognar, celebrated local filmmaker and Wright State professor, shot a portion of the film. McNeal wondered, “Will people come to see a documentary about how gay issues are affecting the black community? We’ll see. We’re doing a lot of outreach … so we hope so!” Bognar’s presence certainly increases the attraction.

The Eighth Annual Dayton LGBT Music Festival takes place Friday, Oct. 11 through Sunday, Oct. 13 at The Neon, 130 E. Fifth St. Festival passes ($50 each) as well as single tickets ($8 each) are available. For more information about the festival, including full descriptions, links to official sites, trailers and ticketing details, please visit daytonlgbt.com.

 Reach DCP film critic T.T. Stern-Enzi at Film@DaytonCityPaper.com.


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Reach DCP Film Critic T.T. Stern-Enzi at Film@DaytonCityPaper.com and visit his blog for additional film reviews at TerrenceTodd.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @ttsternenzi.

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