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Reeling 2008 Chicago G&L Fest highlights

Reeling 2008:
The 27th Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival
November 6 - 16, 2008


Chicago Filmmakers and Presenting Sponsors Showtime and Comcast are pleased to announce the 27th year of Reeling, the second-oldest lesbian and gay film festival in the world, and a premier cultural event for the city's LGBT community and film-appreciating audiences.

Reeling's mission is to recognize the important artistic contributions LGBT filmmakers have made to our culture and to counteract stereotyping with valid, meaningful, and diverse portrayals of LGBT people. Reeling continues to push boundaries and keep its programming fresh by presenting genres ranging from insightful experimental to romantic comedy.

Reeling 2008: The 27th Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival will launch November 6th and run through the 16th. Reeling will present 66 programs, with a total of 54 feature films and 12 programs of shorts. Screenings will be held at Piper's Alley (1608 N. Wells St.), Landmark's Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark St.), Film Row Cinema (Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave.), Lakeshore Theater (3175 N. Broadway), and Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted St.), in addition to the festival's home base at Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark St.).

Through the generosity of travel sponsorship provided by Orbitz and hotel sponsors Hotel Sax Chicago, Inn of Lincoln Park, Seneca, and The Belden-Stratford, the Festival will host several visiting filmmakers, producers, and actors who will appear at screenings and special events. Just a few of this year's expected guests are Ally Sheedy (High Art, The Breakfast Club), Project Runway winner Jay McCarroll, and the full cast of 3Way-including Maeve Quinlan and The L Word's Elizabeth Keener.

The Festival has always prided itself on being an international event, and each year Reeling programmers scour the world for the best lesbian and gay films available. This year, however, we found a treasure trove of films right in our own backyard. Perhaps more than any year in the festival's history, the lineup is predominantly American. This explosion in the production of American gay independent feature films has inspired this year's Festival theme: "All American Queer."

OPENING NIGHT GALA: Reeling will once again roll out the pink carpet as we open our 27th festival on Thursday, November 6th at Piper's Alley with a film that is sure to be a gay festival favorite. Breakfast with Scot (directed by Laurie Lynd) is the tale of sports commentator Eric (Tom Cavanagh of NBC's Ed and Scrubs) and his lawyer boyfriend Sam (Ben Shenkman of Angels in America), who happily live a gay-but discreet-lifestyle. That is, until Scot, Sam's brother's dead girlfriend's abandoned kid (stay with us, here), flaunting purple boas and full makeup, flamboyantly turns their world upside down. Eric and Sam are given custody of Scot while they try to track down his legal guardian. As they draw the line on personal expression and try to teach the abundantly self-assured Scot how to be a "proper" boy, the cautious couple is forced to confront their own deep-rooted insecurities and fears. As 11-year-old Scot, Noah Bernett clearly steals the show, as he is everything a young, budding queen should be: vibrant, confident, and ever so fashionable.

The screening will take place at 7:30 pm at Piper's Alley, with the Opening Night Party at Salon 1800 (157 W. North Ave.), including live entertainment, hors d'oeuvres, and an open bar courtesy of Blue Moon and Three Olives Vodka.
Admission: Film & Gala: $40 ($38 members). Film Only: $15 ($13 members).

CLOSING NIGHT EXTRAVAGANZA!: Reeling will close on Sunday, November 16th at Piper's Alley with the 7:00 PM screening of Eleven Minutes, with Jay McCarroll in person! With his 15 minutes of fame two years behind him, Jay McCarroll, winner of the first season of Project Runway, has just one opportunity to cash in on the launching pad the hit Bravo show provided. The no-holds-barred documentary, Eleven Minutes (directed by Michael Selditch & Robert Tate), follows the designer as he embarks on a yearlong attempt to jump from the small screen to the fashion world in an 11-minute Bryant Park runway show. From production to sales to accessories, Jay has to manage all of it-this time without the resources, experience, and knowledge of the Project Runway machine working on his behalf. We follow this enigmatic figure on an emotional roller coaster as he struggles to break into the most elite, elusive, and bitchy business in the world.

After watching Jay make it work in Eleven Minutes, the audience will be invited to join the Project Runway winner at our Closing Night Party at Salon 1800 (157 W. North Ave.), with Blue Moon and Three Olives Vodka cocktails, appetizers, and a silent auction, as well as a display of McCarroll's fashion collection.
Admission: Film & Gala: $40 ($38 members). Film Only: $15 ($13 members).

GREEN CENTERPIECE FILMS: Reeling will focus attention on the issue of global warming for the first time with two very different films showcased as our "Green Centerpiece Films," being presented on Wednesday, November 12th at the Landmark Theater. Sizzle is a satirical mocumentary directed by and starring marine biologist turned filmmaker, Dr. Randy Olson (Flock of Dodos). To fund his documentary on global warming, Olson is forced to turn to gay celebrity-obsessed Hollywood financiers Brian and Mitch, whose insistence on trying to secure Tom Cruise for the film conflicts with Olson's serious scientific intentions. On a completely different note, the festival will present Half-Life, first-time director Jennifer Phang's innovative Sundance hit about an Asian-American family struggling with personal and existential issues against a futuristic backdrop of global chaos. The film has been widely acclaimed by critics as "beautifully audacious...stunning...formally inventive...emotionally compelling...sublime...poetic."

GAYS IN THE MILITARY: An emerging theme in this year's festival is the topic of gays in the military. We will be screening three military-themed films on Veteran's Day (November 11th): Ask Not, an incisive and compelling documentary on the contentious issue of the U.S. military's infamous "don't ask, don't tell" policy; Dog Tags, which explores the broken lives of two seemingly very different people, challenging in the most provocative and daring way any notion of conventional "gay" relationships; and Seeds of Summer, about women in the Israeli military.

AMERICAN FEATURES: American narrative features take center stage with films by both first time directors and directors returning to Reeling for the second or third time.

Watercolors, winner of the Audience Award at Outfest, is the story of two star-crossed lovers-a sensitive, artistic outcast and a sultry athlete. Gabriel Fleming's The Lost Coast, winner of the Best Feature Award at Newfest, is the tale of a trio of high school friends reuniting on Halloween night for adventures in the Castro of San Francisco. In Steam, three women of different generations (including Academy Award nominee Ruby Dee and Ally Sheedy, of High Art fame), share intimacies about their lives and loves in the steam room of their local gym. Here! TV brings us two detective mysteries, Ice Blues and On the Other Hand, Death, featuring our favorite private eye, Donald Strachey ('80s TV dreamboat, Chad Allen).

Many of this year's U.S. films feature strong, Asian and Asian-American female characters. The New Twenty explores the lives of a group of friends as they apprehensively enter a monumental decade in their lives: their thirties. Korean actress Nicole Bilderback (Bring It On) plays the female lead. The Sensei-a brave film about racial, religious, and sexist intolerance-opens the door to the queer martial arts film genre. Writer, director and star of the film, Diana Lee Inosanto, is the daughter of a martial arts legend (Dan Inosanto) and was named after her honorary uncle and close friend of her father, Bruce Lee. On a lighter front, South Korean actress Cathy Shim (Reno 911! and Mad TV) plays the hilarious, tactless character of Roxie Lautzenheiser in the "hottest lesbian comedy NOT on TV," the web-based 3Way. Bollywood meets Hollywood in When Kiran Met Karen. Directed by Manan Singh Katophora, a paparazzi-hounded Bollywood actress finds herself attracted to the enemy, an American journalist named Karen.

Another prominent trend this year are ensemble films that focus on the dynamics of groups of friends. Two examples are 3-Day Weekend, in which a long-term couple and their group of friends decide to spice up their yearly trip to Bear Lake by including a special twist: everyone must bring a single friend along; and Whirlwind, in which a sexy and intriguing stranger exploits a circle of tight-knit New York City friends. The more experimental OMG/Hahaha structures the personal stories of several MySpace generation youth with the device of a blog.

African American films in this year's festival include Dirty Laundry director Maurice Jamal's Friends & Lovers: The Ski Trip 2, the anticipated sequel to his romantic comedy exploring the ups and downs of the relationships of a group of African American men in Los Angeles. Documentary offerings include U People, in which we listen in on thirty gay and straight women and trans folks speaking candidly to each other about their lives as queer people of color; The Polymath, or the Life and Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman, a visually stunning portrayal of the famous science fiction author; and Ebony Chunky Love: Bitch Can't Get a Date, featuring stand up comic Keith Price's super-queeny, over-the-top schtick, intercut with serious interviews with African American men talking about media representations and stereotypes of gay black men in America.

Other American documentaries include the fascinating Trinidad, about the small Colorado town known as the "sex change capital of the world" and its controversial transsexual surgeon Dr. Marci Bowers. In the better-late-than-never category, the documentary Out Late follow the tales of beautiful, older people who were in the closet for most of their adult lives. And Sex Positive-labeled a "taut and fascinating look at a true unsung hero" by John Cameron Mitchell-chronicles the controversial life of Richard Berkowitz, a gay hustler turned AIDS activist in the '80s who wrote the first documented booklet on safe sex practices.

Other American-made features in Reeling include: The Art of Being Straight; Changing Spots; Choose Connor; Ciao; Dream Boy; Lost Everything; Ready? OK!; Tru Loved; and The Way I See Things. Other compelling American documentaries in this year's festival include: Just as We Are; Out in India: A Family's Journey; Pageant; Pansy Division: Life in a Gay Rock Band; and Squeezebox!

INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS: International filmmakers tell profound and personal stories that are culturally specific, yet universal. From the UK, the gripping drama Clapham Junction follows the sexually interconnected lives of a group of gay men in London. From a civil partnership ceremony for two upper-crust gay men to married men cavorting in public restrooms to glory holes and gay bashing, the film paints a gritty picture of contemporary urban gay life. In the sardonic and sweet British TV series, Sugar Rush, lesbian teenager Kim is adjusting to her family's move to Brighton. Desperately in love with her straight best friend, Sugar, she tries to navigate through sexual self-discovery, while dealing with her unhinged family. And Ruby Blue stars Bob Hoskins as a widower who finds out that the French woman he has been dating is a transsexual.

More gay films seem to be emerging from Israel than ever before, possibly due to Eytan Fox's international hit, The Bubble, paving the way. Antarctica combines raw sexuality with intense emotion to tell the interconnecting love stories of twenty-somethings in Israel. Director Lior Shamriz's Japan Japan borrows the loose production styles of the French New Wave-including the use of split screens, handheld cameras, jump cuts, long takes, stills and fast motion-to tell the story of Imri, a nineteen-year-old Israeli gay man who dreams of moving from Tel Aviv to Japan. And two women begin a risky journey into forbidden realms, both religiously and sexually, as they begin to treat an ailing foreigner through mysterious kabbalistic rituals in The Secrets.

In addition to the opening night selection, Breakfast with Scot, Canadian films in Reeling include Chip Hale's Mulligans, a stirring drama about a college age man attracted to his best friend's father; and To Each Her Own, about a young lesbian slacker who falls in love with a newly wed woman. Controversial queer writer/director Bruce LaBruce strikes again with Otto; or, Up With Dead People-a sex-laden, gory, and hilarious film about a gay homeless zombie with an identity crisis, who doesn't have a taste for brains like a typical zombie should.

First-time director Shamim Sarif brings her own critically acclaimed novel, The World Unseen, to the big screen and paints a vivid picture of 1950s South Africa as she portrays the relationship between a married white woman and an Indian lesbian, set against the backdrop of apartheid.

Other International features include two films from Germany, Simple People and Straight; the delightful Spanish film Spinnin'; and Irish documentary Fairytale of Kathmandu.

SHORTS PROGRAMS: We are pleased to present an outstanding collection of shorts programs this year. For the lady lovers out there, our "Lesbian Potpourri" program includes two compelling shorts, Late and Quiet Please, written and directed by L Word writer and dykon, Guinevere Turner. From Princess Alisanne, a new-age fairytale about two princesses, to a foray into the world of male impersonators in Me As He, gender roles and identity are transformed, challenged, and put to bed in our "Tomboys, Princesses, & Drag Kings...Oh, My!" program. And dykes from Norwegian mountain fjords to Australian oncology offices face some of the same issues in the foreign shorts program, "A Lesbisk By Any Other Name." For the fellas, our "Growing Out of Their Shorts" program gives us the trials and tribulations of teens and young boys, as in Benny's Gym, where a boy and his former bully bond when spending time alone. In "Hello...You've Got Male," one never really knows who is on the other end of the computer-which can be a bad thing, like in Henry, where an overweight Asian man masquerades as a beautiful woman; or a great thing, as in Sucker, where a young bear cub has a remarkable talent for making strangers happy.

In our "Passport to Gayland" program, the wide world of gay comes to Chicago with films from Europe to the Middle East, with themes as diverse as their countries of origin. The in-your-face "Pushing the Gay Envelope" program is sure to offend some, amuse others, and shock us all with shorts like the 'Smack Dem Christians Down' Music Video. And back by popular demand is the laugh-out-loud "Funnyboner" category, with hilarious shorts like Babysitting Andy, the tale of a 9-year-old tomboy who pesters her uncle and his boyfriend about the meaning of fellatio.

Additional shorts programs include: "After the Morning After," "He & He & Baby Make Three," "Reel Life," and "When She First Knew."

ROCK REELING: In addition to our features and short films, this year we are exploring new terrain with "Rock Reeling," a music video category to give recognition to the indie queer music frontier. Music videos will be shown at several of our special events, including:

Rock Reeling: Women's Music Showcase
Nov. 12th - 9:00 PM
Spyners Pub, 4623 N. Western
Rock Reeling will screen women's music videos between live sets at Spyners. Admission includes appetizers and two drink tickets, good for Blue Moon Beer or Three Olives Vodka cocktails. Admission: $10 ($8 members).

Rock Reeling: Men's Music Showcase
Nov. 13th - 9:00 PM
Hamburger Mary's, 5400 N. Clark
Rock Reeling will screen gay music videos between live sets at Hamburger Mary's. Admission includes appetizers and two drink tickets, good for Blue Moon Beer or Three Olives Vodka cocktails. Admission: $10 ($8 members).

ADDITIONAL SPECIAL FESTIVAL EVENTS
C'mon Get Happy Party
Saturday, Nov. 8th - 11:00 PM
The Velvet Rope, 728 W. Lake St., Oak Park, IL
Mark Payne, world-renowned female impersonator and make-up artist, will be performing at the chic ultra lounge, The Velvet Rope. We will also be screening Payne's colorful, coming-of-age musical short, Get Happy, as well as music videos. Admission includes appetizers and two drink tickets for Blue Moon Beer and Three Olives Vodka cocktails. Admission: $15 ($13 members), $10 ($8 members) with the purchase of any Saturday Reeling movie ticket.

Eat Your Brains Gay Zombie Night!
Sunday, Nov. 9th - 8:00 PM
Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N. Broadway
The screening of Bruce LaBruce's Otto; or, Up With Dead People will be emceed by Chicago-area drag queens, who will host a gay zombie costume contest.
Admission: $12 ($10 members).

Steamy Friends & Lovers After-Party
Friday, Nov. 14th - 11:00 PM
The Velvet Rope, 728 W. Lake St., Oak Park, IL
An after-party with the directors (and some cast) of Steam and Friends & Lovers. Admission includes appetizers and two drink tickets good for Blue Moon Beer and Three Olives Vodka cocktails, plus live music, karaoke and Rock Reeling music videos on the screen. Admission: $15 ($13 members); $10 ($8 members) with Steam or Friends & Lovers movie ticket.

Have a 3Way with The L Word
Nov. 15 - 9:30 PM (following the 7:00 PM screening of 3Way at Piper's Alley)
Evil Olive, 1551 W. Division
The audience is invited to mingle with the sexy cast of 3Way, including, among others, star Maeve Quinlan and The L Word's Dawn Denbo (Elizabeth Keener). There will be live music and tons of cool giveaways at our 3Way after-party. Admission includes a drink ticket, good for Blue Moon Beer or Three Olives Vodka cocktails, along with drink specials throughout the evening.
Admission: Film & Gala: $28 ($26 members). Film Only: $10 ($8 members). Party Only: $20 ($18 members).

REELING SPONSORS
Presenting Sponsors: Showtime, Comcast and The L Word
Premiere Sponsors: Tylenol PM and Blue Moon Beer
Premiere Media Sponsor: Gay.com
Major Sponsors: Orbitz and here!
Supporting Sponsors: Columbia College, The Illinois Film Office, The Nielsen Company, Black Cat Productions
Supporting Hotel Sponsor: Hotel Sax
Supporting Media Sponsors: Chicago Reader, Gay Chicago Magazine
Participating Sponsors: Landmark Theater, Steamworks, Pinata Graphics, Three Olives Vodka
Participating Hotel Sponsors: Inn of Lincoln Park, The Belden-Stratford Hotel, The Seneca
Community Sponsors: Kilo Kai Rum, Acuvue, Spa & Salon of Saks 5th Avenue, Male Image, Pettersen, Center on Halsted, Lakeshore Theater
Special Event Sponsors: Salon 1800, Evil Olive, The Velvet Rope, Hamburger Mary's, Spyners
Community Media Sponsors: Windy City Media, Chicagopride.com, TimeOut Chicago, Dykediva.com, Tellofilms.com, Chicago Free Press, Feast of Fools
Screening Sponsor: French Cultural Services

Public Information
For more information, the public can call (773) 293-1447, or consult the Festival website at www.reelingfilmfestival.org.

Ticket Information and Prices
Tickets will be available for purchase beginning October 20th via phone (members only) at (773) 293-1447, fax at (773) 293-0575, online at www.reelingfilmfestival.org, or in person at Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark St. (Monday - Friday, 10:00 am - 6:00pm; with weekend dates of Saturday, October 25, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm; Saturday, November 1, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm; and Sunday, November 2, 12:00 pm - 5 pm).

Ticket Prices
Regular Screenings: $10.00 ($8.00 members)
Matinee Screenings: $8.00 ($6.00 members) for screenings until 4:00 pm at Landmark and Chicago Filmmakers, only

Special Admission Program Ticket Prices
Opening Night Gala!
Film Only: $15 ($13 members)
Film & Gala: $40 ($38 members)

Eat Your Brains Gay Zombie Night!
$12 ($10 members)

Have a 3Way with the L Word
Film Only: $10 ($8 members)
Film & Gala: $28 ($26 members)
Party Only: $20 ($18 members)

C'Mon Get Happy Party
$15 ($13 members)
With purchase of any Saturday Reeling movie ticket: $10 ($8 members).

Rock Reeling: Women's Music Showcase
$10 ($8 members)

Rock Reeling: Men's Music Showcase
$10 ($8 members)

Steamy Friends & Lovers After-Party
$15 ($13 members)
With Steam or Friends & Lovers movie ticket: $10 ($8 members)

Closing Night Extravaganza!
Film Only: $15 ($13 members)
Film & Gala: $40 ($38 members)


Full Festival Schedule, Screeners, and Photo Discs Availability
A complete Word document listing all screenings, as well as photo discs and screeners for most programs will be available starting October 9th. Please contact us as early as possible to reserve your preview copies.

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