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Reeling 2011: Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival

October 26, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Festival Dates November 3 – 12

REELING 2011: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary as the second-oldest LGBT film festival in the world, showcasing innovative gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender films from around the world. This year, films are featured at six different Chicago area theaters. The festival runs Thursday, November 3 through Saturday, November 12, 2011.

Reeling is proud to kick off ten days of exceptional filmmaking with our Opening Night selection, The Wise Kids by Stephen Cone, marking the first time the festival opens with a film directed by a Chicago-based filmmaker. This critically acclaimed, coming-of-age drama follows three teenagers from a religious community in South Carolina who are in the transitional space between high school and college, when life seems to be all questions and no answers, and the future is scarily wide open. Featuring a “brilliant cast of young actors” (Variety), the film won Outfest’s Grand Jury Awards for Best US Dramatic Feature and Outstanding Screenwriting; Newfest’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Film; and Sidewalk/Shout Birmingham’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. The Wise Kids screens on November 3 at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Avenue.

Closing the festival is the wildly funny satire, Going Down in La-La Land, by award-winning director/writer and festival favorite, Casper Andreas (Violet Tendencies, The Big Gay Musical). A sexy and uncensored depiction of what an aspiring actor can – and will – do to make it in Hollywood, Going Down in La-La Land screens on Saturday, November 12, at the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Reeling is also proud to present three Documentary Centerpiece films: We Were Here, Wish Me Away, and Vito.

Congruent with Reeling’s 30th anniversary, 2011 also marks 30 years since AIDS was first reported. In the documentary We Were Here, filmmaker David Weissman revisits the generation whose lives were affected in unimaginable ways when their beloved city of San Francisco changed from a hotbed of sexual freedom to the epicenter of the “gay plague.”

In the intimate and moving Wish Me Away, filmmakers Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf follow country music superstar Chely Wright’s journey as she finds the strength to reveal she is gay to friends, family, and eventually, the public. The film won the Los Angeles Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature and Frameline’s Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary.

Vito is Jeffrey Schwarz’s heartfelt portrait of Vito Russo, well-known cinephile and author of The Celluloid Closet, and one of the earliest and important voices in the struggle for gay rights.

Screenings for the festival take place at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark St.), Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.), Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark St.), Instituto Cervantes (31 W. Ohio St.), the Block Cinema at the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art (40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston), and the Portage Theater (4050 N. Milwaukee Avenue).

The mission of Reeling is to recognize the important artistic and socially relevant contributions LGBT filmmakers have made to our culture and to counteract stereotyping with valid, meaningful, and diverse portrayals of LGBT people.

Reeling sponsors confirmed at this time include Premiere Sponsors Comcast and Southwest Airlines; Major Sponsors Lifetime, Gay Ad Network, and Yelp!; Participating Sponsors Hotel Indigo Chicago, Belden Stratford & Seneca, Zeus Magazine; and Community Sponsors Entertaining Company and Male Image Photography.

Reeling’s complete line-up of films will be announced shortly.  Tickets for Reeling will be available for purchase at the beginning of October.  For more information visit: www.reelingfilmfestival.org.

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