It's a Family Affair Reel Affirmations 13: Washington DC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Date: Wednesday, 10/22/2003
Time: 9:00 pm

Venue: DCJCC
Tickets: $9

Type: Collection of short films

Metro Weekly Rating: (3 out of 5)

by Will Doig

NO-BUDGET INDIE shorts can take on a bizarre home-movie sensibility. Dad, the Super-8, the Magic Kingdom castle -- this is not what you want your film-fest entry to resemble. Acting prowess and a clever script are what keep it feeling like film rather than VHS. Play Date () relies on these, as well as a natural chemistry between the actors. They may be passed over by the Academy (those elitists!), but the relaxed, playful tone of the women on screen -- not to mention the tots hamming it up for the lens -- makes the film feel charming and real. The very unexpected, very steamy lesbian make-out scene on the kitchen counter doesn't hurt either.

Donor (), on the other hand, feels overly-scripted. By the end of the first scene, you can't bring yourself to believe that anyone would have a baby with any of these impossibly unlikable characters. Filled with made-for-reality-TV arguments separated by capital-T Touching Brady moments, the film is saved only by the last couple of scenes, which are funny in a highly uncomfortable, gross-out sort of way.

Worse is Teaching Teo (). If I'm missing something here, I apologize in advance, but this seems to have been conceptualized, written, filmed and edited while Teo was between naps by some bored gay parents and their friends.

When did Amanda Bearse enter the indie film circuit? Married, With Children's lesbianesque (and actually lesbian, in real life) Marci Darci takes a turn as a white bread southern lesbian coping with her sister's decision to go male in Give or Take an Inch (). Strangely high-budget with sweeping crane-shots and some minor special effects, the story is a little meager, but good acting, clever one-liners and Bearse's neuroses save the day.

Backseat Detour () closes things out with a squirmy coming-out story that takes place in car stopped (forever) at a railroad crossing and an ever-present Thanksgiving turkey waiting expectantly on the back seat. Simple, funny, and a psychotic mother to rival Parker Posey's Best in Show character make you glad that that part of your life is over and done with.

More information

Film Links:
· Reel Affirmations details

Festival Venue:
Cecile Goldman Theater at the DCJCC
1529 16th Street, NW; Washington, DC 20009. (202) 518-9400. (map)
3 blocks east of Red Line Metro / Dupont Circle station.

You may buy your tickets or passes in advance: Online at or by phone at (800) 494-TIXS (494-8497). Or you may visit the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U Street, NW, WDC); the DCJCC (1529 16th Street, NW, WDC); Lambda Rising (1625 Connecticut Avenue, NW, WDC); or Universal Gear (1601 17th Street, NW, WDC).

For more info visit the official Reel Affirmations website.