qFlix is back in Philly more indie than ever
The LGBT film festival qFLIX is back in Philadelphia July 7 - 12 with almost 30 films from around the globe and more indie than ever.
“Over the last decade there has been an enormous interest in independent films all over the world,” said Thom Cardwell, co-founder and producer of qFlix. “This year not only do we have LGBT films from the United States, Europe and Asia but also from Saudi Arabia and Uganda, two countries among many others that sadly don’t have LGBT rights.”
The festival opens with the East Coast premiere of “Beautiful Something,” in which local filmmaker Joseph Graham tells the story of four men on their intertwining quests for sex, love and identity in the place they call home — and which was shot entirely in the City of Brotherly Love.
The closing night brings the East Coast premiere of “Those People,” in which filmmaker Joey Kuhn tells the story of a young gay painter torn between an obsession with his best friend and a promising new romance.
In between there are many other highly anticipated indie movies on this season’s LGBT film circuit, including many by first time directors.
“With the development of digital equipment you don't need a million dollars to make an independent film,” Cardwell said. “A lot of them are made with $10,000 dollars or less… not everyone gets paid but nevertheless they’re able to put out a product.”
In times of high speed internet and video streaming one may wonder why even bother having a film festival.
“A lot of the movies, because they are LGBT independent films, may not reach any kind of distribution or become available on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, so you might never have a chance to see them,” Cardwell said.
He added that qFlix is about much more than watching films, “It’s an experience that affords you the chance to talk about the films with other viewers and, in many cases as possible, with directors, producers, screenwriters and actors who have been involved in the making of the film.”
And finally, he said, the festival is a great way to give access to young and independent filmmakers and to show their films beyond their friends and family, their city and their country.
The lineup this year includes productions from Puerto Rico, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Argentina and Chile.
Among them “Mala Mala” — which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival — from filmmaker Antonio Santini and Philadelphia native director Dan Sickles which portrays the fight for acceptance of a new transgender liberation movement in Puerto Rico.
Then there’s “Sand Dollars” — which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival — and was directed by Israel Cárdenas and Laura Amelia Guzmán, in which renowned actress Geraldine Chaplin returns to the screen in a critically-acclaimed story about an unconventional relationship between an older European women and a young Dominican girl.
Also “In the Grayscale,” in which Chilean director Claudio Marcone tells the story of Bruno, an architect who has a perfect life but decides to leave his wife to be alone and have time to find himself, and starts an unexpected romance with a young history teacher named Fer.
When Cardwell decided to include these films in the lineup, only two of them had distributors, but earlier this month “Mala Mala” was also signed for distribution.
According to him, this is just proof that “there’s an emerging market for LGBT Latino films.”