QFest, Philadelphia's 16th annual LGBTQ film festival, takes place during 12 days this summer, from July 8 to 19, with QFest Artistic Director and President of TLA Entertainment Group Raymond Murray leading a legion of programmers. For your delectation, they have chosen 125 films, ranging from shorts to full-length features, to documentaries and narratives. The Ritz Theater, one of Old City's art-house favorites, at 125 South Second Street, will be the venue for the celebration.
Highlights of the festival, according to Murray, include the opening night bill of "Elena Undone," the story of two quite dissimilar women, who wind up in a torrid affair, and "Is It Just Me?" a comedy about on-line dating and mistaken identity; "Howl," the Allen Ginsberg biopic, featuring the dashing James Franco; and "Oy Vey! My Son is Gay!" starring Lainie Kazan as Jewish mother Shirley Hirsch. There is even a "Barbra-Palooza" event this year, at the Gershman Y, 401 South Broad Street at Pine Street, in Center City, Philadelphia, looking the work and inspiration of Barbra Streisand, and including a screening of "Funny Girl," Steven Brinberg contributing his tribute "Simply Barbra," and a Streisand-themed karaoke night.
Major awards to be given during this festival include the Gittings Award, honoring late activist Barbara Gittings, who was one of the LGBTQ pioneers who protested at City Hall in Philadelphia in the pre-Stonewall 1960s; and the Artistic Achievement, Gay Icon, and Rising Star awards.
Danger After Dark is celebrating with QFest and lends a hand with a mini-festival of everything from Japanese science fiction parodies to Eastern European art films at 10 p.m. on 10 of the days of QFest.
Philadelphia is a vital destination and is as much on the forefront of art and cinema as New York. Whether you are going for the day, or plan to make a weekend of it, build your trip around the offerings of QFest. Watch these pages as well, as QonStage will partner with QFest to fête the films you want to see.