This year’s 18th Out In Africa (OIA) Lesbian and Gay Film Festival has been divided into three events. The third and final edition for 2011 comes to Nu Metro Hyde Park, Joburg, and the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, from 21 to 30 October.
Oscar-nominated rising star James Franco (Milk, 127 Hours, Rise of Planet of the Apes) stars as Beat Generation poet Allan Ginsberg in Howl, the opening night film of the festival – which will be the film’s African premiÃ¨re.
Franco’s career-defining role focuses on the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Ginsberg during the infamous public indecency trial of his work. Weeds’ Mary Louise Parker and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm also feature alongside a host of familiar faces like Jeff Daniels (Squid and The Whale) and David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck).
Howl is directed by legendary documentary filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, who have two Oscars, three Peabodies and multiple Emmy Awards between them.
The African premiÃ¨res of a number of other high-profile films have also been confirmed. These include:
Pariah, an unusual and accomplished African American lesbian coming-of-age story which won Best Cinematography at Sundance 2011, where it was also nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.
Heartbeats, directed by and starring Canadian wizzkid Xavier Dolan (I Killed My Mother). This love triangle twist, which won the Youth Prize at Cannes International Film Festival, is about a fag, his hag and the boy they both want.
Room in Rome, a steamy lesbian one-night stand romance from acclaimed Spanish director Julio Medem (Sex and Lucia, Lovers of the Arctic Circle).
Gun Hill Road, a Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee about an ex-con who returns home to the Bronx and a really queer son. The San Francisco Chronicle called it “gritty, delicate, in your face and nuanced at the same time”.
The Adonis Factor
The Adonis Factor, a candid documentary about Marys, martyrs to their muscles, and the gay fashion-facisti.
Going Down in La-La Land, a riveting look at how to get ahead in Hollywood, based on Andy Zeffer’s novel. It’s directed by OIA favourite Caspar Andreas (The Big Gay Musical, A Four Letter World, Slutty Summer).
Heart Breaks Open, directed by Billie Rain, tells the heartbreaking story of Jesus, a queer activist whose world implodes after discovering that he is HIV positive.
The local documentaries Breaking Out of the Box, about successful black lesbians in South Africa, and Whisper Not, about triumphing over HIV.
Keep an eye on www.oia.co.za for the final programme and news of international guest filmmakers. Tickets are R47 in Jozi and R45 in CT – but there are lots of concessions available – Clicks, Metropolitan, OAPs and Woza Wednesdays for Fanatics.
Book at www.numetro.co.za.
OVERVIEW OF THE FILMS
|THE ADONIS FACTOR
â€¢ Dir: Christopher Hines
â€¢ USA â€¢ 2010 â€¢ 70min
A muscle-laden look at the world of gay beefcake and why we love (and hate) it. A cast of hundreds discuss, dissect and diss the world of buff boys, chic thin, bears and all they hold dear… and the roots, stress, addiction and consequences of body obsession.
|BREAKING OUT OF THE BOX
â€¢ Dirs: Busi Kheswa & Zethu Matebeni
â€¢ South Africa â€¢ 2011 â€¢ 80min
Buhli Msibi’s poem I Break the Boxes provides the title for this wide-ranging, touching, often funny documentary highlighting the lives of black lesbians in SA. The title is appropriate; by telling the tales of six high profile women, the sheer breadth of experience in the black lesbian community is revealed.
|GOING DOWN IN LA-LA LAND
â€¢ Dir: Casper Andreas
â€¢ USA â€¢ 2011 â€¢ 107min
Hot, talented Adam heads to Hollywood to act, it’s hard and the porn industry beckons. It’s a fun, campy journey through the underworld of gay Hollywood, closeted producers, sleazy directors, has-been femme fatales and, gorgeous buff boys, and love…
|GUN HILL ROAD
â€¢ Dir: Rashaad Ernesto Green
â€¢ USA â€¢ 2011 â€¢ 88min
Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival this film is a powerhouse of extraordinary performances and well-wrought scenarios, stirring up a cauldron of sensitivities – masculinity, manhood, compromise, hypocrisies – and the discovery of self and holding true to that whatever the cost. Unmissable.
|HEART BREAKS OPEN
â€¢ Dir: Billie Rain
â€¢ USA â€¢ 2011 â€¢ 81min
We know there’s “AIDS fatigue”, but this gritty ‘reality-check’ flick refocuses attention on the consequences of casual, unprotected sex in an era where HIV is no longer as visible as it once was. Los Angeles Pacific Film Festival 2011 – Grand Jury Prize Nominee