The 28th Annual Reel Affirmations LGBTQ Film Festival is currently in full swing through Sunday night, Oct. 24!
As has been our custom since 1994, Metro Weekly reviewed every feature and short film playing in the festival in its latest issue, which you can access here.
It’s one of the best-reviewed festivals in the magazine’s history, with not a single one of the 23 programs getting anything less than 3 Triangles (or stars, if you’re accessing the reviews at our online article), and it exhibits both the selective acumen of a terrific programming committee (which includes Metro Weekly film and theater critic Andre Hereford), as well as a bumper crop of superior works by LGBTQ filmmakers.
Of the 23 programs (which include shorts compilations), four were awarded 5 Triangles, eleven were awarded 4 Triangles, and eight were awarded 3 Triangles. Of those, ten programs were awarded a coveted Critic’s Pick.
While all of the features and shorts are available through online viewing through Sunday night, a handful are also showing live at the GALA Hispanic Theatre at 3333 14th Street NW in Washington, D.C.
Admittedly, there are few experiences as wonderful and enriching as watching a motion picture with a like-minded audience — and with COVID parameters securely in place, as long as you’re vaccinated and wear a mask — and if you feel comfortable — you should consider abandoning the couch for a more socialized viewing of one of the following films in the schedule below.
GOSSAMER FOLDS (★★★☆☆) plays at GALA tonight, Friday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. In his review, Sean Maunier called the film “a heartwarming story of two people inspiring each other to grow and flourish, and ultimately leave each other better off than they were when they met.”
BOY MEETS BOY (★★★☆☆) follows at 9 p.m. Rudy Malcom called the intimate drama “real, refreshing, and resonant,” noting that “moments of depth and passion, the actors’ incredible chemistry, and the backdrop of picturesque parks and the summer sun make the film worth a watch.”
FIREBIRD (★★★★☆) plays at 10:30 p.m. The Critic’s Pick is “lavishly shot, beautifully costumed, and rich in detail,” wrote Rhuaridh Marr, adding that “it exudes an ‘awards season’ quality.”
THE GREENHOUSE (★★★★☆) opens the Saturday, Oct. 23, GALA roster at 1 p.m. Kate Wingfield awarded the drama a Critic’s Pick, calling it “a stunning study in family grief… fully in the tradition of quality independent and well-acted Australian filmmaking.”
TWO (★★★☆☆) shows at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The movie “shows director Astar Elkayam is ready for prime time,” wrote Wingfield. “Skillfully shot, well-casted, and, at times paced with real finesse.”
JUMP, DARLING (★★★☆☆) screens at 8 p.m. on Saturday. The film is “overflowing with gorgeous production values,” noted Randy Shulman, adding that a stunning performance by the late Cloris Leachman is “worth its weight in gold.”
POPPY FIELD (★★★★★) follows at 10 p.m. The Critic’s Pick is “one of the undisputed triumphs of this year’s festival,” wrote Shulman of the Romanian film. “It encompasses the whole of the human experience — lust, passion, shame, rage, fear, anguish, paranoia, regret, resignation — within its stark, gripping 89 minutes.”
RAW! UNCUT! VIDEO! (★★★★☆) closes the evening at 11:30 p.m. Maunier awarded the film a Critic’s Pick, calling the documentary “a love letter not just to Palm Drive Video or even the history and cultural significance of adult filmmaking, but also to the ways sexuality thrives in an uncomprehending and hostile world.”
FIRST DEATH OF JOANA (★★★☆☆) plays GALA on Sunday, Oct. 24, at 4 p.m., closing out the in-person screenings. Cary Wong noted that the “mood and atmosphere [director Christiane Oliveira] creates with cinematographer Bruno Polidoro is so impressive and hypnotic, that the movie is always an enjoyable ride.”
To purchase tickets to the in-person screenings — or festival passes for online viewings — of Reel Affirmations 28, or for more information, please visit https://reelaffirmations.eventive.org/welcome.
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