This Business Serves Everyone -- or rather, this film festival does.
Regardless of the letter that represents you, if you’re an adult who enjoys independent films, there will be something to entertain you at this year’s Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival, which kicks off this evening, (Friday, Nov. 13), at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Toby Theater.
“No matter what letters we include in our logo, we include and celebrate everyone, and really, in the world of film festivals, there is something here for everyone,” says Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival Director Kevin Kelly.
Kelly says a few years ago, a man came up to him to admonish the organization for its “LGBT” (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) logo. “Well, at least you’ve got some of the letters,” the man complained in a snarky tone.
“Yes, there are other letters now [Q, I and A for Queer, Intersex and Asexual] in the designation, but we’re good with what we have, and our brand is well-known in this national film festival,” says Kelly. “And the point is, we include everyone and have something for all tastes.”
As a perfect example, this evening’s selected film to open the event is That’s Not Us. It’s a romantic comedy about six friends who end up together at a beach house. Kelly says they’re in their twenties and one couple is gay, one is lesbian and the other is straight.
“I’m happy that we found something that will appeal to a lot of people, and it’s really a good movie,” he adds.
It’s one of 39 LGBT-themed films that will be screened between now and Sunday evening. They will include everything from short films and documentaries to full-length features. Detailed program guides are available, and the full schedule and ticket prices can be found at www.indylgbtfilmfest.com.
A couple of must-see flicks in the mix, according to Kelly, include Tab Hunter Confidential and the short film The Cream. He admits to having suffered through “a lot of boring, bad movies” to help curate the sweet selection that made the cut for this year’s event.
“Among my favorites, Tab Hunter Confidential is great. I love everything about it and have watched it a couple of times now,” he says.
But The Cream will be the one people will be talking about long after the festival ends, Kelly predicts.
“It’s definitely the WTF movie of this year; it gets my Director’s Award,” he says, trying to describe a film short that “makes you think, ‘what did I just see?’ – it’s beyond weird.”
Kelly won’t spill the beans about its plot, but he says it more than makes up for all the yawners he sat through in the selection process.
“This one is the opposite of boring. It’s quirky and bizarre and … I’ll just say there are jogging men involved,” he adds laughing.
Another local favorite will likely be Sequins Required, a documentary slated for a 2016 release. It chronicles the remarkable work accomplished by The Bag Ladies of Indianapolis. With hearts bigger than their teased and towering hair, these bold and beautiful men (and a few women) have dolled up in drag to perform and raise major money for the past 34 years to help in the fight against HIV and AIDS. A special 10-minute preview for this film will be shown tonight in The Toby.
Kelly hopes at least some of its fans and members will attend dressed in character for its screening. Don’t be surprised if Cadillac Barbie, Gary Brackett, makes it to this movie night. (No, not the former Indianapolis Colts linebacker, but the Brackett who has provided leadership to The Bag Ladies since 2005.) He remains one of the most loyal supporters of Indy's LGBT Film Fest and one of the best diva drag performers among the bunch.
This film festival brings a lot of other familiar faces year after year. Kelly says many of its followers view the event as a tradition.
“We have some people who come back each year and are always so happy, because to them it marks the beginning of the winter holiday season; it’s always on the second weekend of November, a perfect introduction to the holidays,” he says.
In its 15th year, the Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival is a fund-raiser for Indiana Youth Group, a nonprofit organization that provides development programs and support for LGBT youth throughout the state. Kelly says aside from growing with more participants each year, much the event’s activities will be as in years’ past.
“It’s sort of that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ model. So we continue with the best of what works, and it seems to work great,” he says.