Marina is happy in her work as a singer, but when her older lover Orlando (Gonzalo Maza) suddenly dies, she is not only left with no legal claims, she is harassed and somehow blamed for his death. Daniela Vega is incredible in the rare role of a trans person who is neither just funny or exotic: she is the face of defiance in an unjust world.
Out Film CT 2nd Thursday series presents a gem of an independent film that is part Once and part Blue Is the Warmest Color! The talented Lena Hall (who won a Tony Award for Hedwig and the Angry Inch) plays a singer/musician whose dreams of making it big in L.A. disappear when she is dealt a stomach punch of a breakup with her girlfriend.
From a screenplay by Sebastián Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz, and based on Naomi Alderman’s book, the film follows a woman (Rachel Weisz) as she returns to the community that shunned her decades earlier for an attraction to a childhood friend (Rachel McAdams). Once back, their passions reignite as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality.
Out Film CT’s 2nd Thursdays series presents a delightfully breezy homage to the art of filmmaking, set in a stunning, if remote, village on the Normandy coast. Géraud is a Parisian director who shows up for the screening of his arty, explicitly homoerotic movie in the village’s only cinema – one that usually sticks to American action flicks. Géraud ends up finding inspiration in this unlikely town at the end of the earth.
Vasudha, a conservative mother in a small town in Southern India, is totally shattered when her son Kartik tells her he is gay and that he has been living with his lover for the past four years. Even as she grapples with her own fears and self doubts, she has to deal with her intolerant husband and the traditional society around her.
From writer/director Desiree Akhavan and based on the celebrated novel by Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) as she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center after getting caught with another girl in the back seat of a car on prom night. In the face of intolerance and denial, Cameron meets a group of fellow sinners. Together, this group of teenagers form an unlikely family as they fight to survive.
For November’s Second Thursdays screening, we bring you a special BENEFIT screening for the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective – we’re bringing back the BEST SHORTS from the 2018 Film Festival! Based on a combination of audience responses and Jury votes, we’ve assembled a wonderful mix of short films that will appeal to the entire LGBT community. We welcome you join us for this special event!
The transformation of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette from a shy but unconventional small town girl, into a free-thinking Parisian writer is the very best kind of feminist movie. It is intensely personal, political, and (let’s admit it) full of beautiful people dressed up in stunning costumes. Keira Knightley (Atonement, Never Let Me Go) gives what may be her best performance to date as the French icon and Nobel Prize-nominated author.
OUTFilm’s Queer Thursdays series opens 2019 with a special, one night only screening of Boy Erased. Australian actors Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe are entirely believable as a Baptist minister and his wife in Arkansas, who send their teenage son (Lucas Hedges of Manchester-by-the-Sea) to a gay conversion camp.
It’s a safe bet that at least half of sports fans who sing along with We Will Rock You know less than nil about the extravagant creative force behind Queen, Freddie Mercury. This long-awaited movie allows Mercury to fly his freak flag – and that’s a good thing for the story of rock music.
Rupert Everett (Shakespeare In Love, An Ideal Husband) is never less than entertaining in the role he was born to play: the Irish literary giant, Oscar Wilde. The title refers to Wilde’s children’s story, that he recounts to Parisian street kids, about a statue who learns that suffering is the greatest mystery.
Out Film CT Queer Thursdays presents a new movie startling in its honesty about a young gay man infected with the HIV virus, that neither wraps its drama with gauzy melodrama, or as an educational primer for clueless family members.
Coming out as gay – or straight – is a lot more complicated than it used to be… as binary self-identity for gender and sexuality is being rejected by Millennials (and younger). Franky Winter (Josh Wiggins) and Ballas Kohl (Darren Mann) are best buddies who are high school athletes, and popular with girls. But at Franky’s 17th birthday party, their bromance unexpectedly turns hot and heavy.
Newly restored for the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall! In 1969 the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village, leading to three nights of rioting spearheaded by the city’s drag community. With this outpouring of courage and unity the gay liberation movement had begun.
Queer Thursdays invites you (and a friend?) to a light-hearted Dutch coming-of-age story for two gobsmackingly adorable young men, in the mostly gay-friendly country they call home. Joris (Josha Stradowski) returns to his provincial home town to come to terms with his father’s too-early death. Yad (Majd Mardo) has left Amsterdam to get away from his Syrian family’s expectations, and is working as a handyman for Joris’ grandmother. As Joris and Yad hang out, surf, and flirt, staying “just friends” becomes ever more unlikely –especially when Joris’ romance-loving grandmother gets involved.
Elton John’s the third most successful artist in the history of the American charts, behind Elvis Presley and The Beatles. In Rocketman, his spirit of gritty toughness brings an authentic truth behind all the outrageous fun, glitzy clothes and over-the-top concerts. Taron Egerton throws down the gauntlet in the competition for best bio-pic performance as the musical genius who – with the help of lyricist Bernie Taupin – combined pop, blues, rock n’ roll, and the pure British ballad to create the soundtrack to so many lives.
September’s Queer Thursdays pick is an unconventional lesbian romance, set against warring families on either side of the death penalty debate. Ellen Page (Juno, Inception) belongs to a Midwestern clan; her father is on Death Row for (supposedly) killing her mother. The remaining relatives protest outside the prison every time an execution looms. And it is here that Page meets a flirty young woman (Kate Mara of Fantastic Four), whose family is there to cheer on the Biblical punishment about to take place. In spite of everything, their chemistry is palpable, as they negotiate love in the time of corrosive division.
Not since cult classic Harold and Maude has there been such a life-affirming film about the friendship between a vulnerable young person and a seen-it-all octogenarian. TUCKED is about love, loss and friendship; a feel good film with a great charm and sense of humor.
Awkward, self-conscious Adam Freeman has just finished his junior year of high school when his cool older sister Casey suggests he visit her in New York for the Summer, Adam has visions of meeting a girl and finally gaining some actual life experience. The fantasy doesn’t materialize exactly as expected. Casey has enthusiastically embraced life amidst Brooklyn’s young LGBTQ community and invites Adam to tag along with her to queer bars, marriage equality rallies and other happenings. When Adam falls for Gillian, a young woman in this new crowd, she mistakenly assumes he is trans. Flummoxed and enamored, he haplessly goes along with her assumption, resulting in an increasingly complex comedy – and tragedy – of errors he’s ill-equipped to navigate.
It may have not been Berlin, but Mexico City in the mid-1980s was clearly the place to be. Especially for two best friends, Carlos and Gera. Following the lead of Gera’s hip sister and her hunky boyfriend, they discover a new world, where same sex couples, New Wave music (Joy Division!), and freedom of ideas flourish without constraint.
Anyone who’s caught an episode of Pose (with Billy Porter), and wants to know more about the ball scene in 1980s NYC, you are in for an unforgettable night! Queer Thursdays presents the documentary that made voguing – and to large extent, New York’s brown and black gay underground – a cultural force.
The statistics are real: African-American transgender females are five times more likely to be murdered, and 40 % of transgender transgender athletes in high school have attempted suicide. Changing the Game follows three students (Mack Beggs, a champion wrestler, Andraya Yearwood, a sprinter from Connecticut, and New Hampshire skier Sarah Rose Huckman) in their courageous fight to change the game, one family member, teammate, journalist and legislator at a time.
Queer Thursday’s March selection about young dancers was filmed guerilla-style in Georgia, where it was condemned by the Orthodox church and the far right. This tender and gorgeously filmed movie tells the story of Merab (Levan Gelbakhiani), a talented (and gay) member of a traditional dance troupe in the deeply conservative former Soviet republic.
It feels right to re-open Cinestudio with a Queer Thursdays screening, and one that stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Haitian director Raul Peck’s passionate film about author, Black activist and gay icon James Baldwin is a revelation. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, I Am Not Your Negro is a powerful collage of words and images.
Naz (Kerwin Johnson Jr) and Maalik (Curtiss Cook Jr.), are Black high school kids from Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy, trying to earn college money by selling lottery tickets on the street. Fresh and funny, their friendship turns to stolen moments of romance – in spite of their conservative Muslim families and the undercover surveillance of the FBI.
Queer Thursdays, presented by OutFilm CT, returns for its first live screening of 2021 at Cinestudio! Steve Zahn (Reality Bites, Rescue Dawn, and HBO’s Treme) stars as Troy, a troubled but well-intentioned father who has recently separated from his wife Sally (Jillian Bell). Aghast at Sally’s refusal to let their trans son Joe (Sasha Knight) live as his authentic self, Troy runs off with Joe through Montana’s pristine wilderness for Canada – with a police detective (Ann Dowd) in close pursuit.
It’s always a thrill when one of Cinestudio’s former student volunteers is inspired to work in film. And it’s even better when it’s author, cineaste and friend Jim Shepard, who has written a screenplay based on of his stories. It is set in rural upstate New York in 1856, where two young women – the shy Abigail and the irrepressible Tallie – cannot connect with their husbands, but discover an unexpected passion for each other.
Five years after Girlhood, Céline Sciamma returns with a poignant revision of the classic historical romance. In the late 18th century, a painter named Marianne (Noémie Merlant) travels to an island off the coast of Brittany to paint a portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), an aristocrat. Héloïse, who must marry an Italian nobleman whom she has never met, refuses to sit for the painting. Marianne memorizes Héloïse’s face as they walk on the beach, and we watch as her dispassionate gaze turns to the yearning look of desire.
OUTFILM CT presents May’s Queer Thursdays electrifying selection: a neon fantasia of erotic discovery set in the rustic (and conservative) Catalan countryside warmed by an insinuating dry wind. Filmmaker Daniel Nolasco follows the yearnings of Sandro (Leandro Faria Lelo), a shy, hunky bear who spices up his life as a factory manager with explicit sexual encounters—both real and imagined.
Morgan Ingari’s first film is a bittersweet comedy that lives in the sweet spot of the zeitgeist. Molly Bernard (Younger) plays a 20-something Brooklynite who feels less successful with each friend’s marriage or step up the career ladder. Drowning her insecurity at a local bar, she becomes friendly with an older gay man who desperately want to be a father. And while surrogacy seems to be the solution, misunderstandings threaten their beautiful dream.
Just released in cinemas, Moffie is a devastating look back at the apartheid nation of South Africa in 1981. Soft-spoken 16-year-old Nicholas Van der Swart (Kai Luke Brummer) is serving two years of compulsory military service on the Angolan border. For Nicholas, the experience is life-changing, as he explores his sexuality with a fellow soldier. But challenging the strict status quo makes it clear – that racism, toxic masculinity and homophobia go hand in hand.
Since we had to cancel (sorry!) our October screening of Firebird, this hotly anticipated true story of passion and Cold War paranoia is now the choice for November’s Queer Thursdays. Sergey Fetisov (Tom Prior, The Theory of Everything) is stationed at a Soviet-occupied Air Force base in Estonia, where his attraction to fighter pilot Roman Medveyev brings desire and fear. As a KGB investigation looms, their new love is complicated by Sergey’s entanglement with Luisa, a military secretary. As director Prior makes clear, the risks of being gay under Russian rule have not gone away.
OutFilm CT’s Queer Thursdays presents the 25th Anniversary of Bound – one of the first movies to feature two lesbian characters who are gorgeous, smart, and embrace their sexuality! It is also the first film of the Wachowski brothers, who transitioned while creating a series of incredible movies including the Matrix series, Cloud Atlas and V For Vendetta. Gina Gershon thrills as Corky, a film-noir ex-con who falls hard for Violet, a seductive femme fatale played by Jennifer Tilly. Their passion is thwarted by Violet’s jealous ex, a gangster gleefully inhabited by Joe Pantoliano of The Sopranos. The women’s plan to outsmart the mob may be risky, but there is enough chemistry going on to make for a wild ride.
Minyan is set in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach in the 1980s. Sam Levine brings restless eroticism as David, a 17-year-old at war with his religious father. Which explains why he agrees to move into a new apartment with his grandfather (Ron Rifkin) on one condition: he’ll be the tenth man to make up a minyan – the minimum for Jewish communal prayer. David explores the pleasures NYC has to offer, including a very sexy (and available) bartender, in the brief moment between liberation and the coming devastation of AIDS.
When André Leon Talley died on January 18th, the word most used to describe the 6’6″ fashion journalist known for dressing in capes and dishing with Tyra Banks was ‘fabulous’. Though fabulous he was, Kate Novak’s documentary reveals his hardscrabble childhood in North Carolina, his days at Brown University, and the racism and homophobia he encountered along the way. Vogue’s first African American creative editor, Talley was an advocate for diversity of color and sexual preference at every level of the fashion industry. And when you count among your personal clients everyone from to Mariah Carey to Michelle Obama, it’s a given that your inside stories and impeccable style will not be forgotten.
Shocking when it was first released, Shortbus still remains galaxies of propriety away from writer/director John Cameron Mitchell’s own Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Sofia Lin (Sook-Yin Lee) is a couples counsellor in New York City with a problem: she has never had an orgasm. Looking to free herself, she takes two patients – former child star James and former sex worker Jamie -to Shortbus, a weekly underground erotic salon. By connecting with the trans master of ceremonies, a compassionate dominatrix, and then joining in a (very) un-simulated orgy, James and Jamie approach the humor and connection in sex. But Sofia’s growing frustration has the power to darken every light in the city…
The historic first film to win Oscar nominations for Best Documentary, International, and Animated Feature changes the way we think of each genre. In a Danish high school, director Jonas Poher Rasmussen befriended Amin Nawabi, suspecting that the gay Afghan refugee had many secrets locked away. Nervous about repercussions from the Taliban, Amin agrees to reveal his story beginning in the 1980s, with war only increasing his feeling of being an outsider. Experiencing all the ills of a young refugee – fear, exploitation, and hunger – Amin flees from Kabul to Moscow to Denmark. Reinventing himself as an academic in a loving relationship, Amir struggles to keep the past from hijacking his present. Presented by OutFilm CT Queer Thursdays.
Queer Thursday’s August selection has been a favorite of LGBTQ+ film festival audiences from Toronto to Los Angeles. Now Connecticut filmgoers have the chance to watch the first film of Columbian immigrant director Juan Felipe Zuleta, a comedy/drama about a surreal road trip like no other. A curmudgeonly gay Little Person (Jeffers) joins his blithely happy neighbor (Hay) on journey from New York City to rural Canada, looking for the site of what she believes to be an upcoming alien visitation. Along the way, their quest for connection is tested by shroom-addled survivalists, overzealous cosplayers, and the painful realization that we possibly may be alone in the universe.
It’s September, it’s nominally cooler, and it’s the perfect time for getting buff – or at least, looking at men who are. This month’s Queer Thursday selection is an affectionate look back at the iconic men’s clothing catalogue that 1) gave gay men permission to ogle hot models 2) influenced 70s and 80s fashion with wildly clashing shirts to leopard skin thongs, and 3) inspired women to get their partners to up their fashion game. Gene Burkard launched International Male in 1976, struggled through the AIDS/HIV epidemic, but found the inspiration to keep publishing until 2007. All Man buzzes with interviews with Burkard’s colleagues, models, social commentators, and men who found in its pages a promise of a more accepting world.
OUT FILM CT presents November’s Queer Thursdays selection, fresh from its premiere at the 2022 Toronto Film Festival! A modern romantic comedy with wide appeal, Bros has a distinctly different vibe than straight Hollywood rom coms from Bridesmaids to Knocked Up –produced, along with Bros, by Judd Apatow. Bros is also the first big studio movie to have almost all of its characters – straight or gay – played by LGBTQ actors. Billy Eichner stars as a podcaster/curator of a museum of LGBTQ history in NYC, who finds that grindr is less stressful than making a relationship last. But will his aversion to coupledom last when he gets to know a hot trusts and estates lawyer who has doubts of his own? (Luke MacFarlane)
In Elegance Bratton’s deeply moving film inspired by his own story, a young, gay Black man, rejected by his mother and with few options for his future, decides to join the Marines, doing whatever it takes to succeed in a system that would cast him aside. But even as he battles deep-seated prejudice and the grueling routines of basic training, he finds unexpected camaraderie, strength, and support in this new community, giving him a hard-earned sense of belonging that will shape his identity and forever change his life.
Did you know…Queer Thursday Cinema’s excellent selection of films on the LGBTQ community is the brainchild of OUT FILM CT, and sponsored by Cigna? And the films – like this month’s Close – are open to all! Two 13-year-old boys, Rémi and Léo, live an almost idyll existence in the picturesque countryside, as best friends whose mutual affection is seen as normal by their families. But when they enter high school, their close relationship is immediately mocked. In an act of self-preservation, Léo takes up ice hockey and hangs out with the popular crowd, rejecting Rémi. After they are painfully separated, Léo looks back at their innocent love, and finally allows himself to feel the emotions he – and so many men – keep locked inside. Winner, Grand Prix 2020 Cannes Film Festival. “It’s a treasure you’ll never forget” – Randy Myers, The Mercury News.
Out Film CT Queer Thursdays and Cinestudio present a swoon-worthy love story set in a suburb north of Melbourne on the eve of the year 2000. Things are in crisis mode for Kol (Elias Anton): it’s the day of the local dance competition, and his partner (Hattie Hook) wakes up on the beach after a bender, not knowing where she is. Her brother Adam, on his last day at home before heading to Argentina for graduate study, tracks her down and drives the nervous duo to the contest in time. Over the 24 hours that they spend together, Kol is drawn to the casually out-and-proud Adam, who is equally captivated by the shy, still-innocent Kol. It’s a brief encounter for sure, but one with the potential of transforming their lives. “A profoundly moving film about the beauty and the horror of what it means to be seen for the first time, to love for the first time.” Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times.
Director Lisa Cortés’ LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING tells the story of the Black queer origins of rock n’ roll, exploding the whitewashed canon of American pop music to reveal the innovator – the originator – Richard Penniman. Through a wealth of archive and performance that brings us into Richard’s complicated inner world, the film unspools the icon’s life story with all its switchbacks and contradictions. In interviews with family, musicians, and cutting-edge Black and queer scholars, the film reveals how Richard created an art form for ultimate self-expression, yet what he gave to the world he was never able to give to himself. Throughout his life, Richard careened like a shiny cracked pinball between God, sex and rock n’ roll. The world tried to put him in a box, but Richard was an omni being who contained multitudes – he was unabashedly everything.
June’s Queer Thursdays selection features a breakthrough performance by Trace Lysette, a trans actor and activist who got her start in the New York underground ball culture scene. Monica is an intimate portrait of a woman who, for the first time in 20 years, returns home to the Midwest to take care of her ailing mother. Through the themes of abandonment, aging, rejection, acceptance and forgiveness, we get to know Monica and her world made of pain, fear but also courage. A journey through the needs and desires of a woman who opens a cognitive look at the human condition. “ a beautifully nuanced drama that feels unique and universal, featuring what will surely go down as one of the best performances of 2023.” – Peter Sobczinsky, RobertEbert.com
Out Film’s Queer Thursday selection is always a fantastic opportunity to enjoy movies with an LGBTQ+ theme in Cinestudio’s elegant cinema – gold Austrian curtain, balcony and all! Halim and Mina run a traditional caftan store in Salé, one of Morocco’s oldest medinas. In order to keep up with the commands of the demanding customers, they hire a young man named Yousef. Youssef. While Mina has lived for many years with her husband’s sexual preference under wraps, she cannot help but notice his growing attraction to Yousef – one that cannot be kept under wraps. Making her second film was a dangerous act for director Maryam Touzani, who said in an interview at Cannes Film Festival, “In Morocco, homosexuality is illegal and I don’t have words to describe how it makes me feel. As a human being, that’s something I cannot accept.” Winner of the FIPRESCI PRIZE at 2022 Cannes Film Festival, that honors emerging filmmakers, with previous winners including Claire Denis, Ingmar Bergman, Terrence Malick and Wong Kar-wai . “A nuanced portrait of unconditional love and acceptance at its most radical.” Chris Shields, Sight and Sound.
EVERY BODY is a revelatory investigation of the lives of intersex people. The film tells the stories of three individuals who have moved from childhoods marked by shame, secrecy, and non-consensual surgeries to thriving adulthoods after each decided to set aside medical advice to keep their bodies a secret and instead came out as their authentic selves. Actor and screenwriter River Gallo (they/them), political consultant Alicia Roth Weigel (she/they), and Ph.D. student Sean Saifa Wall (he/him) are now leaders in a fast-growing global movement advocating for greater understanding of the intersex community and an end to unnecessary surgeries. Woven into the story is a stranger-than-fiction case of medical abuse, featuring exclusive footage from the NBC News archives, which helps explain the modern-day treatment of intersex people.
Alex Claremont-Diaz (Taylor Zakhar Perez), the son of the President of the United States (Uma Thurman), and Britain’s Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) have a lot in common: Stunning good looks, undeniable charisma, international popularity… and a total disdain for each other. Separated by an ocean, their long-running feud hasn’t really been an issue, until a disastrous–and very public–altercation at a royal event becomes tabloid fodder, driving a potential wedge in U.S./British relations at the worst possible time. Going into damage-control mode, their families and handlers force the two rivals into a staged “truce.” But as Alex and Henry’s icy relationship unexpectedly begins to thaw into a tentative friendship, the friction that existed between them sparks something deeper than they ever expected. Based on Casey McQuiston’s critically acclaimed New York Times best seller, Red, White & Royal Blue marks the feature film writing and directing debut of Tony Award-winning playwright Matthew López (The Inheritance).
If you’re in the mood for a refreshingly unique & raunchy comedy, – and who isn’t? – Queer Thursdays and Cinestudio hear you loud and clear. At a high school in a football-or-die town, best friends PJ and Josie get the idea that the best way to lose their virginity to the shiny happy girls known as cheerleaders is to…start a fight club. Somehow the fight club gains traction and soon the most popular girls in school are beating each other up in the name of self-defense. Questions remain: Can PJ and Josie keep their dreams of lust a secret? Can they prevent the murder-by-pineapple-juice of an allergic football player? Most importantly, can they find, if not true love, then a hot teenage dream come true? “An incredibly silly, sapphic, gloriously weird high-school satire — it’s hilariously rewarding.’ Sophie Butcher, Empire Magazine.