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17 Sep 2013

LGBT Movie Goodness: Three Films at Cinema Diverse You Shouldn’t Miss

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Michelle Ehlen and Jen McPherson in Heterosexual Jill. Michelle Ehlen and Jen McPherson in Heterosexual Jill.

The Camelot Theatres are the home of one helluva LGBT film festival this weekend.

Cinema Diverse, the annual Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, takes place at the Camelot this Thursday through Sunday, and it’s packed with compelling independent films, all of which have a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered theme.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Compelling independent film” is often code for “well-meaning but mediocre.” However, those of us at Independent World Headquarters can personally vouch for these three films, because we’ve watched them, or at least know enough about them to know they’re worthy. (Unfortunately, unless you’ve managed to clone yourself, you’ll only be able to catch two of these three films this weekend—because two of them overlap.)

Cinema Diverse, featuring a wide variety of LGBT features and shorts from the morning through night, takes place Thursday, Sept. 19, through Sunday, Sept. 22, with all screenings at the Camelot Theatres, 2300 E. Baristo Road, Palm Springs. All-access passes including the opening night reception are $169; all-access passes sans the reception are $149. Individual tickets for most screenings are $13, although the Southern Baptist Sissies opening screening is $15; or $35 for both the film and the opening-night reception. (More on that in a minute.)

Get a complete schedule and ticket info at cinemadiverse.org. Summaries of the three films we recommend are below; scroll down to view trailers for each.

Southern Baptist Sissies

5:30 p.m. reception; 7 p.m. screening, Thursday, Sept. 19

OK, this is the one we have not seen, but the trailer is so compelling, and the cast is so incredible (Leslie Jordan!) that we’re recommending it. This is a filmed theatrical performance of Del Shores’ renowned play about four gay boys who grow up in the Southern Baptist Church. Each of the young men deals with his sexuality—and his religion, which strictly forbids it—in a different way. At turns hilarious and poignant, this is a play/film you’ll want to see. As a special treat, Shores and some of the cast members will appear at a pre-film reception to kick off the festival.

Hot Guys With Guns

7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20

Danny Lohman (Marc Anthony Samuel) is a struggling actor who is taking private-investigator lessons to help him get a gig. However, when his slacker ex-boyfriend, Pip (Brian McArdle), becomes a victim of a robbery at a sex party, he and Pip—with the help of Danny’s crusty PI teacher (Alan Blumenfeld)—decide they should investigate. The film is touching, implausible, hilarious and downright enjoyable—with a fair amount of male eye candy.

Heterosexual Jill

7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20

Michelle Ehlen writes, directs and stars in this amusing and quirky film—it’s sort of a sequel to Ehlen’s Butch Jamie—centering on Jamie, an actress (Ehlen) who is in the cast of an odd film starring a cat. (Ehlen’s costumes are hilarious.) Her ex-girlfriend, Jill (Jen McPherson), is part of an ex-lesbian support group—and Jill then decides, somewhat neurotically, to date Jamie to prove she is no longer attracted to women. A subplot follows two of Jamie’s cast members—a gay man and a straight woman—who are lusting over the same man. And then something weird happens when Jamie accidentally sees a penis. I know this description doesn’t make sense at all, but trust me: It works. Go see it.

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