Come get your Q on! The Ninth Annual QFest St. Louis, presented by Cinema St. Louis, runs April 24-28 at the Hi-Pointe Backlot Theatre. The St. Louis-based LGBTQ film festival, QFest will present an eclectic slate of 28 films – 13 features (seven narratives and six documentaries) and 15 short subjects. The participating filmmakers represent a wide variety of voices in contemporary queer world cinema. The mission of the film festival is to use the art of contemporary gay cinema to spotlight the lives of LGBTQ people and to celebrate queer culture.

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The 2016 QFest St. Louis begins on Sunday, April 24, and runs through Thursday, April 28. Tickets are on sale now for all shows. Cost is $12 each or $10 for students and Cinema St. Louis members with valid and current IDs. All screenings will be held at the Hi-Pointe Backlot Theatre, located at 1002 Hi Pointe Place, directly behind the Hi-Pointe Theatre. Advance sales are available through the Hi-Pointe website at www.hi-pointetheatre.com.


For a full schedule of screenings and events visit the interactive festival website at www.cinemastlouis.org/qfest.


QFest St. Louis, a presentation of Cinema St. Louis, is sponsored by Jeffrey T. Fort, AARP in St. Louis, Whitaker Foundation, Regional Arts Commission, Missouri Arts Council, Arts & Education Council, #Boom Magazine, PROMO, Coffee Cartel, Just John Nightclub, Dennis Gorg, Cindy Walker, Mark Utterback, Michael Reiser, and Metro Trans Umbrella Group.


Chemsex
Monday, April 25, 5 p.m.
William Fairman & Max Gogarty, 2015, U.K., 83 min.


Venturing into hidden basements, bedrooms, and bars across London, this bold documentary frankly and intimately exposes a dark side to modern gay life — enhanced sexual experiences through a variety of club drugs. Traversing an underworld of intravenous drug use and weekend long sex parties, “Chemsex” tells the story of several men struggling to make it out of “the scene” alive and one health worker who has made it his mission to save them. While society looks the other way, this powerful and unflinching film uncovers a group of men battling with HIV and drug addiction and trying to find acceptance in a changing world.



Closet Monster
Thursday, April 28, 7 p.m.
Stephen Dunn, 2015, Canada, 90 min.


Treading a daring line between the comic, the horrific, and the surreal, Stephen Dunn’s first feature is a fresh, imaginative take on the traditional coming out/coming of age tale. Oscar (Connor Jessup, “American Crime Story” and “Falling Skies”) is a cute, conflicted teenager who, at the age of 8, witnessed a horrific hate crime that has scarred him deeply. Filled with fear and self loathing as he struggles with his dawning sexuality — and not helped by living with his bitter, homophobic father — he turns for advice to his “spirit animal,” his pet hamster Buffy, who talks to him in the voice of Isabella Rossellini! But when he becomes obsessed with Wilder, his hot coworker at the hardware store, Oscar can’t deny his urges any longer.



Desert Migration
Wednesday, April 27, 7 p.m.
Daniel F. Cardone, 2015, U.S., 80 min.


Saved by the introduction of protease inhibitors in the mid1990s, many HIV positive men needed to rebuild their lives, which they thought were hopelessly lost. Now, more than half the people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States are more than 50 years of age. Those whose lives were saved by antiretroviral therapies are dealing with a barrage of new problems as their aging bodies struggle to maintain the upper hand against the virus and to cope with the side effects of the treatment itself. Many also struggle with the symptoms of posttraumatic stress, having lived through a period of decimation and debilitation. The film focuses on gay men living long term with HIV who sought out an oasis in Southern California's Palm Springs, where both their homosexuality and their health condition are not just tolerated but also understood. Sponsored by AARP in St. Louis.



Ekaj
Thursday, April 28, 5 p.m.
Cati Gonzalez, 2015, U.S., 80 min.


This unique love story between two drifters — “Kids” meets “Midnight Cowboy” — captures a runaway’s journey to New York City. When teenager Ekaj arrives in the city, he’s taken under the wing of hustler Mecca, but the older man has AIDS and multiple problems of his own. Naive Ekaj hopes to become the lover of a rich man who will support him, but his dreams are quickly shattered: Although he makes some money as a prostitute, the teen finds he is disposable and lacks what it takes to survive in the city. Although high all day, Mecca manages to be the only voice of reason in Ekaj’s hopeless world. Leaning on each other for survival, the pair looks for money and places to stay, and their relationship develops into a true friendship and love.



I Love You Both
Sunday, April 24, 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Doug Archibald, 2016, U.S., 90 min.


In this charming first feature from St. Louis native Doug Archibald, twins Krystal and Donny (real life siblings Kristin and Doug Archibald) are codependent, still living together in their late 20s in a converted one bedroom house. When they both meet and start dating the same guy, however, the twins confront the fact that they can no longer live the same life — a choice needs to be made. With nowhere to turn for advice except their only two friends — a former Tae Bo teacher and their mother — the twins are finally forced to look for answers from within. With director/writer/costar Archibald and writer/costar Kristin Archibald.



Kiss Me, Kill Me
Thursday, April 28, 9 p.m.
Casper Andreas, 2016, U.S., 101 min.


In the latest film from QFest veteran Casper Andreas (“The Big Gay Musical,” “Violet Tendencies”), Dusty (Van Hansis of “As the World Turns”) leads a charmed life. An aspiring actor, he's just been promised the hosting role on a brand new reality show produced by his TV mogul boyfriend, Stephen (Gale Harold of “Queer as Folk”). At a lavish party celebrating his birthday, Stephen proposes to Dusty. But when Stephen's ex shows up uninvited and desperately attempts to win back his former lover, the couple argue and Dusty storms off. Waking up in a hospital the next day, an amnesiac Dusty learns Stephen was killed in a violent attack, and police detectives (Jai Rodriguez of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and Yolanda Ross of “Treme”) have targeted him as the prime suspect. Now Dusty must either prove his innocence or accept the fact that he just might be a cold blooded killer.



Major!
Tuesday, April 26, 5 p.m.
Annalise Ophelian, 2015, U.S., 95 min.


This documentary explores the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin Gracy, a black transgender elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for more than 40 years. Miss Major is a veteran of the Stonewall uprising, a survivor of Attica State Prison, a former sex worker, a community leader, and a human rights activist, but she’s simply “Mama” to many in her community. Miss Major’s personal story and activism for transgender civil rights intersects LGBTQ struggles for justice and equality from the 1960s to today. At the center of her activism is a fierce advocacy for “her girls”: trans women of color who have survived police brutality and incarceration in men’s jails and prisons. An invaluable resource for the generations who follow, Miss Major serves as a living embodiment of the queer rights movement.


The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen
Tuesday, April 26, 7 p.m.
Jennifer Abod, 2016, U.S., 73 min.


This empowering biography provides a window into the life of black lesbian feminist Angela Bowen, who grew up in inner city Boston during the Jim Crow era and went on to become a classical ballerina, legendary dance teacher, and inspirational activist, organizer, writer, and professor. For six decades, Bowen has influenced untold numbers, speaking out strongly not just for LGBTQ issues but also for the arts and for the rights of African Americans and women. Candid and compelling, the film depicts Bowen's life across the decades, using archival footage, musical selections, photographs, and interviews to reveal how race, class, gender, age, and sexuality played into her decisions and strategies for survival. Sponsored by Lilly’s — Music & Social House.



Portrait of a Serial Monogamist
Monday, April 25, 7 p.m.
John Mitchell & Christina Zeidler, 2015, Canada, 84 min.


Smart, successful, and charming, Elsie is the perfect girlfriend; she also happens to be a serial monogamist, with a long history of broken hearts. When Elsie breaks up with her longstanding girlfriend to pursue another woman, she faces her mother’s disapproval, conflicting advice from friends, and the nagging suspicion that she may have made a big mistake. Set in the Parkdale neighborhood of Toronto, “Portrait of a Serial Monogamist” invites audiences to peek behind the curtain on a world of smart, funny, and relatable queer characters, dealing with the universal complications of modern relationships. Not another coming out story, this is a fresh coming of middle age romantic comedy.



Queer Voices Shorts
Wednesday, April 27, 9 p.m., 104 min.
A collection of queer shorts from around the world.


“Equal Justice Under Law” (Dan Goldes, 2015, U.S., 3 min.): A combination of President Barack Obama’s speech about the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on marriage equality with video of the reaction in San Francisco. “Escape Hatch” (David Willing, 2016, Australia, 10 min.): In this feel good film about love and courage, a girl walks into a restaurant dressed as Wonder Woman. “How to Be Alone” (Erez Eisenstein, 2015, Israel, 23 min.): A woman grapples with her lonely existence as a singleton. “My Refugee Story” (Mohamed Nour & Eldin Metwally, 2015, Lebanon, 17 min.): A documentary film about the challenges and legal issues confronting LGBTQ Syrian refugees when they arrive in Lebanon. “The Orchid” ( Ferran Navarro Beltrán, 2016, Spain, 3 min.): A man has something important to tell his son but can only get through to his voicemail. “Pool” (Leandro Goddinho, Brazil, 2016, 30 min.): Claudia investigates her recently deceased grandmother's past and discovers an old German woman who lives in Brazil. “Ribbons” (Brandon Cordeiro, 2015, U.S., 9 min.): A mother brings her 8 year old son to a public AIDS memorial on a beach in Provincetown, Mass. “Trigger” (Christopher Folkens, 2015, U.S., 10 min.): After being rejected by his family, a shy young man battles the warring thoughts in his head.


The Same Difference
Wednesday, April 27, 5 p.m.
Nneka Onuorah, 2015, U.S., 78 min.


Director Nneka Onuorah takes an in depth look at the internalized heteronormative gender roles that have become all too familiar within the African American lesbian and bisexual community. The film explores the troubling phenomenon of lesbians discriminating against other lesbians based on gender roles and shows how these behaviors reproduce the homophobic oppression and masculine privilege of the straight world. Self identified studs — and the women who love them — discuss hypocrisy in terms of gender roles, performative expectations, and the silent disciplining that occurs between community members. The film features such queer celebrities as Felicia “Snoop” Pearson (HBO’s “The Wire”) and Lea DeLaria (“Orange Is the New Black”).



Summertime (La belle saison)
Sunday, April 24, 3 p.m.
Catherine Corsini, 2015, France, 101 min.


There was little chance that Carole, a Spanish teacher and feminist militant in Paris circa 1971, would ever meet Delphine, the daughter of Limousin farmers. But they do meet — and fall passionately in love. Unfortunately, when Delphine's father has a stroke, the young woman has no choice but to go back home to help her mother run the family farm. Smitten by Delphine, Carole can't stand the estrangement and decides to join her lover at the farm. But can feminism and lesbianism easily be transferred to the countryside, especially given the attitudes of rural France at the time?



Trans Lives Shorts
Tuesday, April 26, 9 p.m., 120 min.
Shorts about the emotional and societal pressures on those living out loud as transgender in the modern world.


“Alexa to Exa” (Exa Zim, 2016, U.S., 19 min.): Exa uses more than a decade of short films, skits, and video diary entries to explore his own life. “Alison and Jeremy” (Alyxandra Press, 2014, U.S., 28 min.): 25yearold artist Alison is reunited with her childhood love and best friend, Jeremy, whom she hasn't seen for 10 years. “Mazy” (Yuting Jiang, 2016, U.S., 6 min.): Growing up in an interracial family in mid Missouri, transgender 10 year old Mazy Gilleylen struggles with her racial and gender identities. “Roxanne” (Paul Frankl, 2014, U.K., 14 min.): An isolated transgender sex worker takes in a young girl who has been abandoned by her mother. “Stealth” (Bennett Lasseter, 2014, U.S., 22 min.): Born a boy, Sammy lives in stealth as a girl with the support of her mother and a doctor, but when the threat of a betrayal arises, she must decide whether to run or to live as her whole self. “Vessels” (Arkasha Stevenson, 2015, U.S., 15 min.): A young transgender woman considers a dangerous black market surgery that may be her only option in gaining a more feminine body. “Whittier Boulevard” (Michael Patrick Spillers, 2015, U.S., 17 min.): A rock ’n’ roll fable about André, a transgender teen runaway who falls in love with a rockabilly princess on the streets of East Los Angeles.


Upstairs Inferno
Monday, April 25, 9 p.m.
Robert L. Camina, 2015, U.S., 96 min.


On June, 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire to a gay bar in New Orleans called the Up Stairs Lounge. The result was the largest gay mass murder in U.S. history. Despite the staggering historical significance, few people know about the tragedy, and the prime suspect was never charged with the crime. Thirty two people were killed, and some bodies were never identified because families were ashamed that the victims were gay. Those who escaped the fire also suffered, with their lives permanently altered by resultant struggles. This chilling documentary features heart wrenching interviews by survivors and witnesses, many of whom haven't discussed the fire until now, plus never before seen photographs, news footage, and evidence. The film is narrated by famed New Orleanian Christopher Rice, a New York Times bestselling author.


The Watermelon Woman
Sunday, April 24, 1:15 p.m.
Cheryl Dunye, 1996, U.S., 90 min.


In this newly restored 20th anniversary edition of the indie classic by acclaimed queer director Cheryl Dunye, young black lesbian Cheryl (played by Dunye) works in Philadelphia with best friend Tamara. She is consumed by a film project: the making of a video about her search for the so called Watermelon Woman, a black actress from Philly who appeared in films in the ’30s. Following various leads, Cheryl discovers the Watermelon Woman's real name and surmises that the actress had a long affair with Martha Page (Guinevere Turner), a white woman who was one of Hollywood's few female directors. While engaged in her investigation, Cheryl becomes involved with Diana, who's also white, and the relationship strains her friendship with Tamara.


 

 

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