SPECTRUM (LGBTQ+S) Film Festival — April 27 to 30, 2017
Vineyard’s first LGBTQ+S film festival opens April 27
The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society announces its newest, four-day film festival presenting a world perspective on LGBTQ stories, people and issues with a variety of films, guest speakers, discussions, and a special event focused on LGBTQ youth. The SPECTRUM Film Festival will be held at the MV Film Center in Vineyard Haven from Thursday, April 27 to Sunday, April 30 with nine different programs over the course of the festival.
The first festival of its kind on the Vineyard, The SPECTRUM Film Festival adds to the MV Film Society’s growing outreach to shine light on subject matters not usually covered by major Hollywood motion pictures and expects to draw moviegoers from around the island as well as from the Cape and beyond.
In keeping with the meaning of the word “spectrum” (or “a wide range”), films shown at the SPECTRUM Film Festival are, indeed, wide-ranging. They originate from India, Chile, Kenya, Canada and the US; cover gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender storylines; combine comedy, drama, romance, documentary genres in both short and full-length formats; and focus on a variety of topics including legal matters, aging, parent-child relationships, religion, cultural changes, illness and suicide.
Guests speakers participating in live Skype interviews currently include lawyer Mary Bonauto (who pled the same-sex marriage case before the Supreme Court), Peggy Rajski (Academy Award-winning director and co-founder of The Trevor Project), Matt Wolf (director of the short film BAYARD & ME) and Bennett Wallace (a transgender young adult whose story is told in the documentary REAL BOY).
Post-show panel discussions will include topics regarding “The Shifting Tides of the LGBTQ Landscape on Martha’s Vineyard,” “Homosexuality and the Bible,” “Growing Up with Same-Sex Parents,” and “Navigating High School.” Participants/moderators appearing live on the Film Center stage currently include Mary Breslauer, Tom Dunlop, Susanna Sturgis, Tony Lombardi, Laurel Redington Whitaker, Ev Wilson as well as Rev. Cathlin Baker and Rev. Bill Clark.
In keeping with the MV Film Society’s Free Youth Screenings (which are offered periodically throughout the school year), there will be a SPECTRUM Youth Event on Saturday, April 29 from 9:30am to 3:00pm focused entirely on LGBTQ Youth programming. Any local student aged 13 to 21 will be provided free admission to this event. Students coming from the Cape will also be provided with free round-trip transportation by ferry (courtesy of the Steamship Authority).
Opening the festival will be the new documentary THE FREEDOM TO MARRY which relates the pursuit of same-sex marriage as a legal right — from Evan Wolfson’s 1983 senior thesis at Harvard to the U.S. Supreme Court decision [Obergefell v. Hodges] in 2015. Following the film, local resident Mary Breslauer will conduct a live Skype interview with her friend and former co-worker Mary Bonauto. Before the film, a “Wedding Album” of local same-sex couples will be shown on-screen to showcase how the right to marry has affected the culture of the Vineyard which prides itself on being LGBTQ-friendly. Participating couples may attend free of charge and can celebrate their legal victory during a dessert/wine reception in the lobby following the conversation with Mary Bonauto.
Tickets for SPECTRUM events range from $12/$9 for MVFS members to $25 for special events and can be purchased on the MV Film Society website (mvfilmsociety.com) or at the door (pending availability).
Schedule for The SPECTRUM Film Festival as of April 10th:
THURSDAY, APRIL 27 ————————————————-
7:30pm * THE FREEDOM TO MARRY
Going behind the scenes to reveal the inner workings and key players of this historic civil rights struggle, this documentary follows Evan Wolfson, the man known as architect of the same-sex marriage movement, civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto, and their key colleagues as they wage their climactic battle before the United States Supreme Court, providing fresh perspective on the movement’s history along the way.
Post-show: Mary Breslauer conducts a Skype conversation with Mary Bonauto.
Dessert & wine reception in the lobby follows.
FRIDAY, APRIL 28 ——————————————————-
4:00pm * CLOUDBURST
Oscar-winners Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker star in this Canadian comedy-drama as a lesbian couple, together for thirty years, who embark on a Thelma and Louise-style road trip to Nova Scotia to get married after one is moved into a nursing home by her granddaughter.
Post-show: Tom Dunlop leads a conversation about how the LGBTQ culture has changed on the island over the last 30 years. Panelists include Tony Lombardi, Susanna Sturgis, Ev Wilson (President of the MVRHS Gay-Straight Alliance) and others.
7:30pm * SPECTRUM SHORTS (in a Variety of Colors)
** BAYARD & ME
Bayard Rustin was chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington and a confidante to Martin Luther King, Jr., but because he was gay, was pushed aside by other members of King’s circle of advisers. This short documentary tells the story of how Rustin, unable to marry his younger partner Walter Naegle, legally adopted him instead.
Post-show: Skype Q&A with director Matt Wolf.
A lesbian teenager unsuccessfully juggles multiple identities to avoid rejection from her friends and family. Mounting pressure from home, school, and within wears the line between her personas thin with explosive consequences.
The indigenous Zapotec culture of Oaxaca is not divided by the usual dichotomies: gay or straight, male or female. There’s a commonly accepted third category of mixed gender — people called “muxes.” This documentary offers a glimpse of them in Mexico today.
** STORIES OF OUR LIVES
Rarely seen in the United States, this award-winning film is an anthology of five true-to-life short films about LGBTQ life in Kenya. Made by members of The Nest Collective, all participants remained anonymous in the credits of this film for fear of being arrested due to their being gay or lesbian. This film has never been publicly shown in the country in which it was made.
SATURDAY, APRIL 29 —————————————————
9:30am * SPECTRUM YOUTH EVENT
This comedy won the Oscar for Best Live-Action Short Film and led to the creation of The Trevor Project, the national non-profit organization focused on the suicide-prevention of LGBTQ youth. It tells the story of a thirteen-year-old boy whose life falls apart when his fellow middle schoolers learns of his crush on another boy.
Post-show: Skype Q&A with Oscar-winning producer/director Peggy Rajski.
** REAL BOY
A documentary following nineteen-year-old Bennett Wallace’s journey as a transgendered young adult — from finding community in the online world to connecting to a mentor who took the same journey years earlier but without the support he needed. Along the way, Ben’s mother, losing her “little girl,” takes her own journey from Denial to Acceptance.
Post-show: Skype Q&A with the film’s subject, Bennett Wallace.
** UN BACIO (ONE KISS)
An Italian drama set in a conventional suburban high school where the three students referred to as “the faggot,” “the slut” and “the retard” each find their individual loneliness slipping away as they begin to rely on each other.
Post-show: Tony Lombardi leads a conversation with the audience about being LGBTQ in high school.
4:00pm * MARGARITA WITH A STRAW
Undeterred by her cerebral palsy, charming college student Laila leaves India to study in New York and embarks on a journey of sexual discovery. Her exhilarating adventures cause a rift both within herself and with those she is closest to.
Post-show: Skype Q&A with Alexander Freeman, director of THE LAST TABOO (which focuses on the love lives of the physically-challenged). Mr. Freeman, who has cerebral palsy, is also a former camper from Camp Jabberwocky.
7:30pm * 3 GENERATIONS
SUNDAY, APRIL 29 —————————————————
12:30pm * I AM MICHAEL
James Franco stars in the true story of Michael Glatze, a high-profile gay activist who created a national controversy when he claimed to no longer be gay and became a straight Christian pastor.
Post-show: Rev. Cathlin Baker leads a conversation about the relationship between Religion and the LGBTQ community. Rev. Bill Clark and another local clergy join her.
4:00pm * RARA
Rarely seen in the USA, this film was inspired by the real-life case of a Chilean judge who was stripped of custody of her daughters for being a lesbian. Told from the point of view of thirteen-year-old Sarah, we see the tension of adult drama through the confused and disillusioned eyes of a young girl coming of age.
Post-show: Laurel Redington Whitaker leads a conversation/Q&A with local youth who have same-sex parents to discuss growing up in families unlike those of other kids.
7:30pm * THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN
Jennifer Kroot’s documentary about the creator of “Tales of the City” examines the life and work of the beloved storyteller, following his evolution from a conservative son of the Old South into a gay rights pioneer whose novels have inspired millions to claim their own truth. Moving between playful and poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, Maupin offers a disarmingly frank look at the journey that took him from the jungles of Vietnam to the bathhouses of 70’s San Francisco to the front line of the American culture war.