Metro Weekly

Bethesda Film Fest offers free screening access to seven documentaries

Films by area filmmakers include GayBash doc "Lipstick and Leather."

Bethesda Film Fest
Lipstick and Leather is one of seven free documentaries screening at Bethesda Film Fest

Last October, Reel Affirmations included Amy Oden’s documentary Lipstick and Leather in one of its virtual shorts programs.

A look at the iconic alt-drag party GayBash along with its drag founder Donna Slash and regular performers Jane Saw and Ana Latour, the 20-minute short features poignant, pre-pandemic footage of the queens giving their all on stage for a boisterous crowd at home venue Trade — back when all that was possible and routine. Oden’s film has now returned to the virtual festival realm with its selection in the 9th annual Bethesda Film Fest.

A total of seven short documentaries made by area filmmakers are currently screening online for free as part of the festival, produced by the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, and selected by a panel of award-winning documentary filmmakers, including Sara Barger of Women in Film & Video, Dana Flor, and local TV host Robin Hamilton.

In addition to the Baltimore-based Oden’s Lipstick and Leather, the lineup includes A Mirror of the Earth, which looks at capitalism’s cumulative effects on an environment over time, set in a small mining town in southern Spain, and made by Isabelle Carbonell of Rockville; The Good Candidate, which focuses on the old “big tent” ideal of the Republican party in light of a 2020 Congressional Republican primary in Virginia where the incumbent officiated a same-sex wedding, made by 5Doc Productions, a D.C.-based collective of filmmakers; Squeegee, Khalid Ali’s look at the young men who’ve become known for their guerrilla tactics of making money by washing car windshields at intersections around Baltimore; and West Virginia — Covid and Hunger Collide, a look at one state’s crisis of hunger, exacerbated by the pandemic, by Brian Boenau of Fairfax.

The lineup also includes two shorts made by area highschoolers: Shi Fu Paul, a profile of Maryland-based kung fu instructor Paul Jakubowski by Pearl Sweeney from the Baltimore suburb of Timonium, and You Think You Know Me, a music video that aims to visualize messages of equality, empowerment, and unity from Sammy Rabinowitz’s song and made by Mikayah Lee of D.C.’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

All films screen through Friday, April 16, ending with an online discussion with the filmmakers and subjects, moderated by Docs In Progress co-founder Erica Ginsberg, set for that evening at 7 p.m. Free, with donations welcome. Registration required for the filmmaker Q&A. Visit www.bethesda.org.

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