The 17th Out in Africa Film Festival is rolling into town! Johannesburg and Cape Town will be painted pink this October with a selection of films chosen not only because they’re queer but because they’re good!

Johannesburg – Thursday 14 – Sunday 31 October 2010 (17 days)
Venues: Nu Metro Hyde Park & The Bioscope Main Street Life, 286 Fox Street

Cape Town – Thursday 21st October to Sunday 7th November (17 days)
Venues: Nu Metro V&A Waterfront & The Foxy On Broadway, 44 Long Street

With Oscar nominees and multiple award winners, this year’s Festival has a tremendous variety of films that deal with themes including: betrayal, living duplicitously, homophobia, making choices, celebration and enjoyment. The films come from all over the world and include thrillers, dramas, suspense, documentaries and comedies. You may cry but you will also laugh!

Like in The Big Gay Musical. It’s a case of life imitating art in this very camp, very buff, totally cruisy musical set in New York’s West Village. Ribald, fun and very American, the one-liners plentiful and the cast, to a person, gorgeous. You’ll be humming the tunes in the shower.

Another film with great lines is Fit. Commissioned as part of Stonewall’s Education For All initiative aimed at rooting out prejudice and bullying in schools, this comedy drama follows a group of older kids as they explore issues of coming out, racism, homophobia and the ubiquitous word ‘gay’. There are strong elements of last year’s hit film Shank, with du jour elements of contemporary Brit street culture – in all its glory – front and foremost.

The Festival opens with Loose Cannons (Mine Vaganti), directed by Ferzan Ozpetek (Italian with English subtitles). Award-winning Ozpetek is the director of Festival favourites Turkish Bath (1998) and Saturn Returns (2008) and the popular Ignorant Fairies. In this, his latest film, stylish characters negotiate family secrets, eccentric personalities, old-fashioned views, and opportunities missed in a delightfully queer, sophisticated, and sensitive comedy.

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.

The Big Gay Musical

Brotherhood (Rome Film Festival 2009 – Best Picture) is an intense drama which provides a glimpse into the xenophobic world of neo-Nazis in Denmark. The unexpected and taut romance between an ex-army sergeant and a member of the gang explores the inability to deny sexual attraction, even among the ranks of gay-bashing thugs.

One of the most highly anticipated films of the Festival is I Killed my Mother (J’ai tué ma Mère, French with English subtitles), 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.

All those who love The L Word, Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids are Alright (Berlinale 2010 – Teddy Best Feature) is sure to be a highlight of the Festival. Cholodenko, director of the lesbian classic High Art, Laurel Canyon and a regular director of the series Six Feet Under and The L Word, has hit the big time with her award winning crowd pleaser, starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as the lesbian couple with kids.

One for the history buffs is The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister. Anne Lister was of Yorkshire landed gentry in the 1800s. The film is based on her secret code diaries which reveal her passion for women, and one woman in particular. It’s an eye opener to realise that even 100 years ago lesbians salaciously and unabashedly planned their seductions.

The Kids are Alright

An Englishman in New York picks up on the story of Quentin Crisp, played by the always delightful 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. John Hurt is superb as the fey Crisp and won a Special Teddy in 2009 for his outstanding performance. This movie will leave you thinking how far we have come and how important it is to just be yourself.

If you’ve heard of “The Common”, as in George Michael and Kevin Spacey, then you must see Clapham Junction. Written by acclaimed playwright Kevin Elyot (My Night with Reg), this film looks at the intimate lives of a selection of characters that inhabit the suburban homes, council estates, clubs and parks of this South West London neighbourhood.

Local is always Lekker

All the South African films are world premières and include documentaries and narratives. Last year’s hit team of Jacque Oldfield and Adelheid Reinecke, who brought us Dykeumentary are back with The Cutter, a story about possession, obsession and control.

It is all very well having the most liberal constitution on planet earth, but how does relate to religious practices. Two thought provoking documentaries look at this highly contentious topic: There Comes a Time and Joan & Verne’s Wedding. 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. As Ecclesia says: I would rather be rejected for what I am, than be accepted for what I am not.”

Loose Cannons (Mine Vaganti)

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. We join Joan and Verne on their wedding day and celebrate in front of God and the community their blessed union. Less Oy Veys and more Mazaltov!

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. Kaapse plaas moffies confront prejudice at every turn – from their own

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