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“OUT at the Movies” series expands to full film festival

by Mark Burger

The ongoing series of OUT at the Movies screenings in Winston-Salem for the last decade has proven so successful with the area’s film fans that the event has been expanded into a full, three-day festival that opens Friday and continues through Sunday.

The selection of acclaimed films being screened is, not surprisingly, a diverse and varied one, including writer/director Daniel Ribeiro’s award-winning Brazilian drama The Way He Looks (Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho). Director Macky Alston’s 2012 documentary feature Love Free or Die, which won the Human Rights award at that year’s ’12 RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem and chronicles the life of openly gay Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson, will be screened, and Robinson himself is scheduled to attend and participate in a question-and-answer discussion afterward.

Triple-threat J.C. Calciano (writer/producer/director) and actor Jack Turner are scheduled to be on hand for the screening of their award-winning romantic comedy, The 10 Year Plan. Producer/director Shiv Paul and Chip Hines are scheduled to attend two screenings of the documentary Queens at Court. Rodeo star Char Duran is scheduled to attend Queens and Cowboys: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo Circuit, producer/director Matt Livadary’s documentary feature that follows a complete season of the International Gay Rodeo Association. Other guests scheduled to attend are Pastors Brenda and David Poteat, who appeared in the 2007 documentary For the Bible Tells Me So (as did Gene Robinson), who will participate in a panel discussion following a screening of Yoruba Richen’s 2013 documentary The New Black, which examines specifically how the black community is dealing with the ongoing debate over gay rights.

There will also be additional guests, a selection of short films and a celebrity reception and awards ceremony at Jeffrey Adams located at 321 W. Fourth St. on Sunday night to cap off the weekend’s festivities.

“I am thrilled with the selection of films and the filmmakers/actors/documentary subjects that will be joining us in Winston-Salem,” said Rex Welton, the founder and lead programmer of the Out at the Movies series and now the festival. “Obviously, I think that all of the films are perfect for our festival, but if I had to pick a few favorites they would be The Way He Looks, The 10 Year Plan and Lilting.” (The latter is writer/director Hong Khaou’s award-winning drama starring Ben Whishaw, Andrew Leung and Pei-pei Cheng.)

Adds Welton: “This is our first festival, but OUT at the Movies has a 10-year track record of monthly screenings. This history has definitely helped to attract film submissions and interest from filmmakers, actors and subjects in joining us in Winston-Salem for our inaugural festival. We have promoted the festival throughout the states of North and South Carolina and Virginia, and we’ve even sold tickets to someone who lives in Pennsylvania.”

Screenings will be held at a/perture Cinemas, Wake Forest University and the UNCSA School of Filmmaking. Proceeds from the festival will benefit the North Star LGBT Center, the OUT at the Movies series, and the OUT at the Movies Film Fest ’15, plans for which are already underway.

The OUT of the Movies screenings have not just attracted gay, lesbian and transgender audiences, but also area film buffs interested in seeing independent and award-winning films from around the world. Providing a venue for those films has long been a major component of the success of a/perture Cinemas, according to curator Lawren Desai.

“a/perture is very excited to be a part of the OUT at the Movies inaugural festival,” she says. “We think it is a great opportunity for a yearly festival to celebrate these films, filmmakers, and the entire LGBTQ community across the Piedmont Triad. OUT at the Movies has been quite successful at their regular monthly screenings and I think expanding into a festival is just a natural step after 10 years.”

Wanna Go?

Screenings will be held at A/perture Cinemas (311 W. Fourth St.), at the UNCSA School of Filmmaking (1533 S. Main St.), and at Wake Forest University (1834 Wake Forest Road). Individual tickets are $8. A limited number of “All-Access Festival Passes” are available for $60. For tickets, a complete schedule of screenings and events, or more information, call 336.918.0902, e-mail OUTatthemovies@triad.rr.com, or visit outatthemovieswinston.org.

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