CinemaQ Movie Pageant Celebrates Fifteen Years of LGBTQ+ Movies

Summer time is at all times a busy, thrilling season for Denver Movie’s Keith Garcia. It is the time of 12 months when the nonprofit runs a few of its greatest packages and customarily welcomes a few of the greatest openings at its house theater, the Sie FilmCenter, the place Garcia is creative director. However for him, there isn’t any occasion extra significant than celebrating the August birthday of CinemaQ, the LGBTQ+ movie pageant that he based as a month-to-month collection practically twenty years in the past.

The pageant turns fifteen this 12 months with a run from Thursday, August 10, by means of Sunday, August 13. It was born in 2006 when Garcia, then programming supervisor, discovered himself with a rising stockpile of noteworthy queer movies from world wide and no devoted platform for them. He took the initiative to do one thing about it.

“It really began about three years earlier than our full-fledged pageant as a month-to-month movie collection,” he remembers. “On the time, I used to be discovering a lot new queer content material that I promised to play at the least one queer movie a month till I ran out.” Not surprisingly, that by no means occurred, main him to create the pageant model in 2009.

Underneath Garcia’s stewardship, CinemaQ has turn out to be elementary to Denver Movie and one of many excessive factors on its busy calendar of mini-fests and targeted movie collection. The pageant lives the place the LGBTQ+ rainbow and the cinematic palette meet, and it totally embraces the vibrancy and variety radiating from that intersection. At each annual celebration, film-goers can see extremely anticipated work from thrilling new voices, considerate documentaries that discover id from all kinds of views, and basic movies that convey the artwork and wrestle of earlier generations.

Garcia has curated one other sturdy lineup this 12 months, characterised by notably juicy horror choices (and one of many greatest friends the fest has ever nabbed: Udo Kier) in addition to some equally nice intimate documentaries. This version of the pageant additionally welcomes many administrators in individual, together with Sav Rodgers, Sharon “Rocky” Roggio and the Saint Drogo artistic workforce. Non-film actions embrace two themed panels with filmmakers and a “Hangover Ice Cream Social and Market” with treats from Little Man Ice Cream and items from native queer distributors.
As a lot as it’s a joyous celebration of group, CinemaQ additionally shines a lightweight on modern LGBTQ+ battles and points. Most of the group’s struggles acquired an additional flip of the screw through the Trump years, and the occasion’s subjects then and now continuously align with present headlines, which give additional context to the movies. And that backdrop, thought-about over the pageant’s fifteen-year historical past, can typically be dispiriting for its creator.

“Sadly, issues really really feel worse for our group, like we stepped right into a time machine again to some portion of the Bush period,” Garcia says. “Regardless, visibility of our group by means of these movies is vital, and that hasn’t modified since we began. That visibility is required now greater than ever.”

He additionally sees hope within the present crop of queer filmmakers who share his personal ardour and dedication. “That is the one place the place development has occurred,” he notes. “There are extra lively queer voices telling their tales and placing out an array of fantastic stuff. We’re very fortunate in that regard.”

It is definitely arduous to consider a extra superb current plot than that of CinemaQ’s opening-night movie, Bottoms, which will get the pageant rolling at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 10, with the misadventures of two highschool misfits (Rachel Sennot and Ayo Edebiri) who’re searching for to lose their virginity to cheerleaders by beginning an all-girl battle membership. It is a raunchy journey into topics typically left to “boy films” — teen horniness, sexual hijinks and violence — from director Emma Seligman. Seligman co-wrote the film with Sennot, who was the star of Seligman’s debut characteristic, Shiva Child, and one of the likable presences in final 12 months’s pleasant neo-slasher Our bodies Our bodies Our bodies.

The opposite would-be pugilist is Edebiri, a multi-talented performer who’s on one thing of a tear this 12 months, popping up everywhere in the comedic, tv and movie landscapes. Bottoms is only one of her twelve credit to date in 2023, together with The Bear, Spider-Man: Throughout the Spider-Verse, Black Mirror and Mel Brooks’s Historical past of the World Half II. She’s additionally a comedy scribe, having penned an episode for What We Do within the Shadows’ fourth season final 12 months.

On Friday, August 11, there is a contrasting match-up between a bittersweet nonfiction movie and a low-key simmering thriller. Final Dance, by Coline Abert, which showcases legendary New Orleans drag queen Girl Vinsantos, asks: What occurs when a queen decides to hold up her heels? The French-produced documentary, which screens at 6:30 p.m., poses piercing questions concerning the boundaries between the highlight and the backstage, as Vinsantos decides to say farewell to her widespread persona with a closing efficiency in Paris.

Saint Drogo, however, evokes comparisons to suspense classics from the ’60s and ’70s. The movie, which screens at 9:30 p.m., follows homosexual couple Adrian and Caleb (Michael J. Ahern and Brandon Perras, who additionally co-wrote and directed the movie), who’re trying to restore their relationship with a keep in Provincetown, Massachusetts, however discover an ever-deepening (and darkening) thriller surrounding Caleb’s ex, Isaac.
Saint Drogo is one among a number of sturdy horror-tinged (okay, perhaps all-out splashed) titles screening at this 12 months’s fest, alongside the Saturday, August 12, screenings of Jennifer Reeder’s teen-horror Perpetrator (1:30 p.m.) and a retrospective of Paul Morrissey’s Andy Warhol-produced reimaginings of Dracula and Frankenstein from the Seventies (6 p.m.). LGBTQ+ representations inside that style are additionally the theme of a panel titled “The Deep Roots and Darkish Branches of Queer Horror,” which takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, with the Saint Drogo directorial workforce discussing the movie in addition to the style’s previous and future.

The double characteristic of Morrissey’s unconventional classics Flesh for Frankenstein (1973) and Blood for Dracula (1974) will probably be hosted by Theresa Mercado as a crossover between CinemaQ and her horror collection, Scream Display. In between the screenings, Mercado will probably be joined for a dialog by the star of each movies: prolific queer/cult icon Udo Kier. The actor is understood for his lengthy checklist of credit and collaborations with such filmmakers as Dario Argento, John Carpenter, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Lars von Trier. “He’s a real legend of the silver display,” says Mercado, who was first captivated by his piercing blue eyes in 1977’s landmark Suspiria.

Becoming a member of the sturdy horror choice is an equally sturdy set of documentaries, together with Final Dance. There’s additionally Break the Recreation (3 p.m. on Saturday), which follows Narcissa Wright when her identities as a world-record “speedrunner” — a participant who completes video video games as shortly as attainable — and a trans lady collide, derailing her profession however setting the stage for a triumphant comeback. On Sunday, August 13, Chasing Chasing Amy (2:30 p.m.) explores the intimate relationship between director/topic Sav Rodgers and Kevin Smith’s well-known comedy Chasing Amy, which has been each criticized and championed for its representations. Additionally on Sunday is 1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted Tradition (12 p.m.), which stuns audiences by exposing a biblical translation error on the coronary heart of the decades-long efforts by Christian conservatives to restrict homosexual rights.

That movie additionally ties right into a panel titled “Your Personal Private Jesus – Discovering Religion within the LGBTQIA+ Neighborhood,” which incorporates 1946 director Sharon “Rocky” Roggio, native drag performer Kai Lee Michaels and religion leaders from inclusive Denver-area church buildings. The panel will focus on the complexities and challenges of holding on to your religion as a member of the queer group. The 2 panels appear particularly well-chosen enhances to the strengths of this 12 months’s programming.
“Queer horror is simply an evolving style, and I believed it was time to replicate and speak about what is going on on,” says Garcia. “In regard to the faith panel, I am not non secular, however I believe it was time to have a dialog about that topic, particularly in mild of the main target within the movie 1946.”

There are many different cinematic jewels screening all through the weekend, together with the closing-night movie, Problemista (Sunday at 5 p.m.), which tells the story of an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador who seeks to stay within the U.S. by persuading an erratic art-world determine (Tilda Swinton at her most aggressively kooky) to co-sign his visa. It is each humorous and incredible, a topical comedy with a beneficiant sprint of magical realism, and the right ending to a different numerous 12 months, Garcia attests.

“I really feel like culling by means of one of the best queer movies on the market that we ended up with the magical stability of simply the correct mix of flicks for everybody,” he says.

CinemaQ Movie Pageant, Thursday, August 10, by means of Sunday, August 13, Sie FilmCenter, 2510 East Colfax Avenue. Get the total schedule, tickets and passes at