Outflix on its way, On Location is imminent and Baobab is here
The Outflix Film Festival — Memphis’ annual event devoted to new LGBT cinema — has set its 2016 screening lineup.
Scheduled to take place Sept. 7-11 at its usual home base, the Malco Ridgeway Cinema Grill, the 19th annual Outflix festival will host 12 narrative feature films, six documentary features and 14 short films from such countries as Australia, Argentina, India, Thailand, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada and, of course, the United States.
Outflix typically is a very smartly programmed festival that offers a mix of quality indie drama, boldly imaginative cult-type discoveries and audiencefriendly rom-coms. (The success of the festival’s programming is evidenced by the durability of its selections. Netflix, for example, currently offers such former Outflix choices as India’s “Margarita with a Straw,” Switzerland’s “The Circle,” Brazil’s “The Way He Looks” and the documentary “Tab Hunter Confidential.”)
This year’s openingnight film is Sweden’s “Girls Lost,” about three bullied teenage girls who discover a magical plant that temporarily transforms them into boys. Some of the other promising movies include “Patong Girl,” about a young German tourist who falls for a beautiful and mysterious Thai woman who may be a prostitute; “The Passionate Pursuits of Angela Bowen,” a documentary about the black lesbian feminist professor and classical dancer who for six decades has been an outspoken advocate of artistic integrity and social justice; “The Girl King,” a Finnish same-sex romance about the real-life 17th century Swedish queen, Christina (famously played by Greta Garbo in a 1933 film); and “Check It,” a documentary about a gay and transgender street gang in innercity Washington whose members carry “knives, brass knuckles and mace” along with “lipstick and mascara” in their Louis Vuitton bags.
Festival tickets are $10 per screening (or $8 for students), while passes are $100 ($75 for students). The event is a fundraiser for the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, 826 Cooper. A full festival schedule and more information can be found at outflixfestival.org. Advance tickets and passes also can be purchased (and printed out) directly from the website.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The On Location: Memphis International Film & Music Fest begins its 17th year Thursday with a 7 p.m. “mix and mingle” preview party (with live music by Black Rock Revival) at the Hard Rock Cafe, 126 Beale.
The fest proper begins the next day and continues through Aug. 14 with close to two dozen feature films, a slate of live music, and a variety of panels about filmmaking and the film industry (“Faith in Hollywood” and “Tennessee Women in Film and Media” are among the topics). Screenings will be at the Malco Studio on the Square.
A likely highlight will be a 25th anniversary presentation of writer-directorstar Robert Townsend’s “The Five Heartbeats,” a drama about the up-anddown careers of the members of a Motown-style vocal group in the 1960s. Townsend and fellow actor Leon, who co-stars as the most successful Romeo among the Heartbeats, are scheduled to attend and host the 7 p.m. Aug. 13 event.
A new movie garnering favorable buzz and festival acclaim (including a Special Jury Award at SXSW) is director Matthew Ornstein’s “Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America” (9:30 p.m., Aug. 12), a documentary — partly filmed in Memphis — about a black musician whose “hobby” is befriending and reforming members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Also screening during the fest will be the ten finalists in the inaugural “Memphis Film Prize” competition, which might be described as a franchise of the successful “Louisiana Film Prize,” established sarah gadon and malin Buska star in “the girl King,” which screens in september during the outflix film festival.
in 2012. As determined by the votes of festivalgoers, the winning short film — which earns a $10,000 cash prize — will be announced during an Aug. 14 awards luncheon in The Atrium at Overton Square.
Another On Location innovation is the commissioning of an original work of art to represent the festival. This year’s “Reel Art” painting, by Sir Walt and Marino
Joyner-wilson, will hang at Art Village Gallery, 410 S. Main. Meanwhile, the winning films from this summer’s On Location: Memphis Shorts Festival — Memphian Tracy Facelli’s “How I Got Made” (live action), German artist Marc Zimmermann’s “Natural Attraction” (animation), and Dutch filmmaker Gideon Elings’ “Floatin’ Down South” (documentary) — will screen on a loop in the gallery.
Festival passes are $30 each, while admission to most individual screenings is $8. To purchase tickets and passes or for more information, visit www.onlocation.memphis.org.
A bold experiment in local film exhibition, the Baobab Filmhouse opens today at 652 Marshall (just down the street from Sun Studio), in the so-called Edge district.
The brainchild of Hattiloo Theatre founder Ekundayo Bandele, the Baobab — named for the “tree of life” that is a gathering place and source of food and shelter in the African savanna — has been designed as a cinematic complement to the live theater of Hattiloo. Both venues focus on what the Baobab website defines as “the true reality of Black people around the world.”
A sort of “shoe box” theater, the Baobab will be open weekends only. Eventually, two movies will alternate screenings on its 42-seat auditorium, but this opening weekend is devoted to one film: “Cru,” a Los Angeles drama about old high school friends reunited 18 years after a fateful accident. The cast includes Jermaine Crawford, Alison Eastwood (daughter of Clint), Melissa De Sousa and Harry Lennix (“General Swanwick” in the new DC Comics movies).
“Cru” screens at 7 p.m. Friday, 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12.50 at the door ($10 for matinees), or $10 in advance ($8 for matinees), via the website baobabfilmhouse.com. Tickets for students and seniors are $8 each.
An in-depth story about the Baobab Filmhouse ran this past Sunday in The Commercial Appeal. Find it at commercialappeal.com/entertainment/movies.
“Patong girl,” starring Aisawanya Areyawattana, is among the features scheduled for the upcoming outflix film festival.
the swedish film “girls lost” will be shown on opening night at the outflix film festival.