The Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (PIGLFF), the largest of its kind in the eastern United States, will return for a seventh year, showcasing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender films from around the world. The twelve-day festival will open on Thursday, July 5, with the world premiere of Circuit, and continue through Monday, July 16, with the Philadelphia premiere of the much-anticipated Hedwig and the Angry Inch, both at the Prince Music Theater. In between, PIGLFF will present a total of 66 feature films and 72 shorts from 24 different nations at 116 individual screenings.
Highlights of the Festival include: a survey of new lesbian filmmaking; a tribute to documentarian Barbara Hammer; the world premiere of a film from Elvira, Mistress of the Dark; the East Coast premiere of the British mini-series Metrosexuality; comedy showcases with Georgia Ragsdale and Jason Stuart, the large-screen return of Kiss of the Spider Woman; and the restoration of the long-lost 1972 gay erotic classic, The Back Row, accompanied by a preview of Chi Chi Larue’s 2001 remake/homage.
Presented by TLA Entertainment Group since its founding in 1995, the Festival will hold screenings in three venues: the Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street; the Wilma Theater, 265 South Broad Street, and the Ritz East, Second Street between Chestnut and Walnut Streets. The 2001 PIGLFF will also feature a record number of parties, director receptions and filmmaker panels in locations throughout Center City Philadelphia.
The 2001 PIGLFF offers an eclectic and varied choice of dramas, comedies, romances, documentaries, erotica and films that defy description. In particular, the Festival has two distinct characteristics that run throughout its programming as well as a number of specific highlights.
The World’s Eye: The Festival has a particularly strong international flair in 2001; of this year’s 66 feature films, 35 are from outside the United States. The majority are from France (six), followed by Canada (four) and then Great Britain, Japan and Spain (three each).
Among the more surprising nations represented in the Festival are Argentina (with the intense crime drama Burnt Money), Portugal (with the surreal gay film Phantom), Russia (with the lesbian drama His Wife’s Diary), Slovakia (with the quirky part-musical Hannah and Her Brothers), and South Africa (with two documentaries about gender identity: Metamorphosis and A Normal Daughter). Finally, the PIGLFF will show what may be the first gay/lesbian-themed films ever to come from Zimbabwe – the two shorts Rainmakers II and Forbidden Fruit.
Lesbian Filmmaking Today: The 2001 PIGLFF programming is also noteworthy for the strong presence of a new breed of lesbian films; in them, production standards are higher, and traditional film genres are used in new ways, making the films visually more sophisticated and emotionally more complex. Films from this lesbian “next wave” include the sensual Australian murder-mystery A Monkey’s Mask, starring Kelly McGillis (Witness); the American existentialist film noir romance, The Girl; the passionate Canadian boarding-school film from Léa Pool, Lost and Delirious, starring Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly) and a surreal Tarantino-esque road movie from Japan, The Story of PuPu.
Especially intriguing are the presence of two leaders of the previous “wave” of lesbian filmmaking in these new works: Cheryl Dunye (Watermelon Woman), who uses the women-in-prison genre to explore mother-daughter relationships in Stranger Inside (which won the 2001 Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema Audience Award for Fest Feature Film); and Guinevere Turner (Go Fish) who stars in the Southern Gothic potboiler Stray Dogs.
Individual Highlights: Beyond these two festival “motifs” is a richly diverse offering of notable films, led by the Opening and Closing Night Films and three “Centerpiece” films, representing the Festival’s “best of the best.”
World Premiere of Circuit: The 2001 PIGLFF will open July 5 with the world premiere of Circuit, the first dramatic film to explore the world of Circuit Parties. The Festival ends July 16 with the eagerly-anticipated film adaptation of John Cameron Mitchell’s Off-Broadway sensation, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The Closing Night festivities will begin with the presentation of PIGLFF Jury and Audience Awards by FOX “Good Day Philadelphia” co-anchors Donya Archer and Mike Jerrick, NBC 10 reporter Don Lemon and Greater Philadelphia Film Office Executive Director Sharon Pinkenson. They will end with a party at Sisters.
For more info including how to get tickets, a full schedule of screenings and events, call 215-735-7887 or visit the PIGLFF official web site.
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