#INSIDEOUTTO: 2019 INSIDE OUT LGBTQ FILM FESTIVAL PREVIEW
Now in its 29th year, the 2019 INSIDE OUT LGBTQ FILM FESTIVAL is set to take place May 23 to June 2, 2019 in Toronto with a variety of Special Presentations, Galas, Short Films and Special Events to celebrate the LGBTQ Community on an international scale. The Festival is comprised this year of 27 Narrative, 13 Documentary Features and 94 Short Films spanning 11 days. INSIDE OUT ranks third behind TIFF and HOT DOCS as the biggest Film Festival in Toronto.
The Festival is flashier than ever this year with Elton John Biopic ROCKETMAN opening the Festival and Sundance price-topper LATE NIGHT, written by and starring Mindy Kaling closing things out. Netflix also will present eagerly-awaited Armistead Maupin‘s TALES OF THE CITY. It was just announced yesterday that Netflix has agreed to a four-year partnership to support LGBTQ Filmmakers, starting with the Festival. YOU DON’T NOMI, which chronicles the rise of critically-panned SHOWGIRLS to its cult status also looks to delight fans, among options to be highlighted below.
We’ve had a chance to preview some of the Festival’s offerings. Here’s a bit more!
TALES OF THE CITY
Fans of the beloved 1993 PBS Series will be thrilled that TALES OF THE CITY soon will stream on Netflix. This Sequelae Mini-Series sees original characters Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) and Anna Madrigal (Olympia Dukakis) return as the Adaptation of Armistead Maupin’s Book Series. The Series is set some 20 years later as Mary Ann returns back to 28 Barbary Lane to mixed reactions after leaving behind Brian Hawkins (Paul Gross who also returns) to focus on her career and she meets her estranged daughter Shawna (Ellen Page), forced to confront the aftermath of her exit head-on. Anna Madrigal, a free-spirited, pot-growing landlord still is a magnetic force and we meet all sorts of characters from different walks of life and sexual orientations, including new characters in the mix like Mouse (Murray Bartlett), Margot (May Hong) and Ben (Charlie Barnett). Molly Ringwald and our v. own Victor Garber also have recurring roles. Author Michael Cunningham (The Hours) serves as Producer.
Like its Predecessor, the Mini-Series in 2019 still is pushing boundaries, examining characters as complete, sexual beings. San Francisco and the Music are just as central to the story as its characters.
Tuesday, May 28, 9:00 pm
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YOU DON’T NOMI
As a young boy in the 1990s who knew how to watch scrambled Pay-Per-View, I was a big fan of Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls. I did not initially realize how critically-derided the Film was, but nearly 25 years later the Film has become a certified Cult Classic. With this in mind, Director Jeffrey McHale has crafted the Documentary You Don’t Nomi as a means of exploring the Film’s enduring fandom and notoriety.
And for Showgirls fans, the end result is captivatingly-flawed. You Don’t Nomi is basically a Video Essay comprised of extensive clips from Showgirls, news reports, behind-the-scenes footage, archived interviews, voiceover from multiple interview subjects (including Drag royalty Peaches Christ) and clips from about 60 other movies/shows that vaguely tie into their readings of the Film. But no matter how they feel about Showgirls, the majority of McHale’s interviewees seem to just contradict each other. The Film has no clear thesis, and as a result, feels disjointed and all over the place. Which is a real shame, because the discussions comparing recurring motifs and blatant misogyny in Verhoeven’s other works, the Media’s unfair treatment of Lead Actress Elizabeth Berkley, and how a rape victim found peace playing Berkley-inspired characters in Off-Broadway musicals, are all pretty compelling to watch and listen to – but none of them receive the depth they deserve.
You Don’t Nomi sets-out from the start to be a deep exploration about a so-called “masterpiece of shit”. But in the end, it throws in too many topics and never seems to know what to properly examine.
Friday, May 31, 9:15 pm
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Taking its opening cue from Lady Bird, CUBBY opens with a contentious car ride between Mark and his mother Peggy as she drives him from Indiana to his new job in New York City. As portrayed by the Movie’s Writer/Producer/Co-Director Mark Blane, our hero is a mass of contradictions…on medications, not always honest and a talented artist. The opening credit states that this movie is “Based on a lie” and we quickly learn that the job his mother thinks he has at an art gallery really turns into a babysitting job for precocious six year old Milo. Mark also fantasizes about, and graphically sketches, Leather-Man, an iconic image straight from Tom of Finland.
CUBBY is pure joy, due to the addictive performance and screen presence of Mark Blane and wonderfully supportive by a Cast of interesting secondary characters. Special notice must be given to Patricia Richardson (best known for her multiple Emmy nominated turn in Tim Allen’s Home Improvement). CUBBY tackles a variety of topics with humour, insight and sensitivity. It is a lovely mix of photographing Brooklyn at its height and clever animation. It is an impressive feature debut and I look forward to Mark Blane’s next project.
Sunday, May 26, 4:30 PM
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Year ago, I went nowhere without a spritz or 2 or 7 of Halston’s 1-12 cologne from its Elsa Peretti’s designed bottle. It was decadent, unique and expensive – much like Halston’s couture dresses for women. Before Versace came to prominence, the American born designer celebrated women with sexy classy clothes that moved on their bodies with unbridled sensuality. HALSTON is a fascinating documentary that takes us from his beginning to working the women’s hat counter at Bergdorf Goodman to a multi-million dollar conglomerate. Highlighted by interviews with Liza Minnelli (his Hollywood muse and bestie), director Joel Schumacher, jewelry designer Elsa Peretti and Marisa Berenson to name just a few, HALSTON offers many exciting tidbits – he designed the Olympic athlete’s outfits for the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics and was responsible for the hot pants craze that circumnavigated the globe. The primary focus of this documentary is the business end of the Halston empire. Whereas it touches often on his personal life – the raucous weekends in Fire island, his friendships with the Warhol crowd and Studio 54, the cocaine abuse plus his long-term toxic relationship with Victor Hugo (NOT the author of “Les Miserables”!), these are glossed over and not fully explored. HALSTON tells us the story of the decline of the man’s business. He went from designing clothes for the moneyed elite to making clothes to be sold at JC Penney; or, as described in this movie, going “from class to mass”.
HALSTON never fails to fascinate. Whereas the tabloid part of me would have liked to hear and see more of the prurient side of this flamboyant and self-centered fashion genius, there is a wealth of stories about his work ethics and business acumen that had me totally engrossed. It is a must-see.
Wednesday, May 29, 9:15 pm
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FROM ZERO TO I LOVE YOU
Kennedy-esque looking Jack (Scott Bailey) is happily married to a voluptuous wife with two young daughters. He also has a history of trysts with cater waiters at a friend’s birthday party and hooking up with men at local gay bars, which he discusses in-depth with his shrink, hoping to find a cure to stop these assignations. Then one day he meets Pete (Darryl Stephens), a handsome young man who has a long history of having failed relationships with married men, much to his parents’ chagrin that only want him to meet a nice, single gay man. The first 45 minutes of FROM ZERO TO I LOVE YOU perfectly mirrors the beginnings of a new, exciting relationship; art galleries, antique shops and dinners at high end restaurants to witty discussions over the merits of the books by Jacqueline Susann. Even the Philadelphia landscapes are filmed with a sensual glow. Then it starts…promises made and broken, trust issues leading to infidelities. Even Pete’s father tells him, “It’s not love. It’s chaos”.
The second half of FROM ZERO TO I LOVE YOU turns into a mockish soap opera with four too many eye rolling coincidences. Despite earnest and believable performances by the 2 lead actors plus a spirited job from Adam Klask as a new boyfriend, this beautifully-filmed movie turns into a cliché-ridden misstep.
Sunday, May 26, 9:15 pm
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More here on INSIDE OUT‘s lineup.
(Photo credit: Netflix/Inside Out)