Fascinating flicks from around the world at TLVFest

The festival features official competitions in narrative and documentary cinema, films by young filmmakers, international short films and other categories.

‘REBBETZIN FALSCH’ (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
TLVFest, the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival, which runs from June 5-15 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, is celebrating its 14th year. Now that it’s firmly in its teenage years, audiences can expect films that combine moving drama with irreverent comedy, as well as workshops, master classes, performances and other special events and of course, a party or two. It’s no surprise that MovieMaker magazine named TLVFest as one of the 25 coolest film festivals in the world.
The opening-night film this year is Yuval Hadadi’s first feature-length film, 15 Years, an offbeat look at the LGBT bourgeoisie, which tells the story of a successful gay architect who finds his world spiraling out of control when he starts feeling pressure to start a family.
The closing-night event will be Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts, a documentary by Nick Zeig-Owens, which is a portrait of one of the most successful drag performers in the world.
The TLVFest Honorary Award will be given to US-born Thom Fitzgerald, who for decades has lived and worked in Canada. He won worldwide acclaim with the 1997 film, The Hanging Garden, about a young gay man who moved to the city and came out of the closet, only to face a daunting challenge when he moves home. His 2011 film, Cloudburst, stars Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as a lesbian couple who flee their nursing home to get married. Both of these films will be screened at the festival, as well as his movies, The Event and Splinters. Recently, he made the television series Forgive Me and Sex & Violence.
Madeleine Olnek, a playwright who has started making movies, is the other winner of this year’s TLVFest Honorary Award. There will be a master class with her, and two of her films will be shown, Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same, and Wild Nights with Emily.
The festival features official competitions in narrative and documentary cinema, films by young filmmakers, international short films and other categories.
The Narrative Feature competition includes Jose, Li Cheng’s look at a young gay man in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in Guatemala. Santiago Loza’s Brief Story from the Green Planet is about an unconventional road trip a young woman and her friends take to learn the truth about her grandmother.
In the Israeli LGBT cinema section, Tomer Heymann’s Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life will be screened. The award-winning film, which is a portrait of a young Israeli man who had a career in the porn industry, has been seen by more than 50,000 viewers in Israel since it was completed. Both the director and star will attend the screening. Hadas Ayalon’s We Were the Others looks at older gay Israeli men and the discrimination they faced when they were growing up.
The Panorama Section will feature the best of recent LGBT cinema from all over the world. Among these will be the Italian comedy, An Almost Ordinary Summer. Directed by Simone Godano, it’s about two very different families who find that everyone is thrown out of his or her comfort zone when they share a beach house. Samantha Lee’s Billie and Emma is a movie from the Philippines about the friendship between a pregnant teen and another girl at a Catholic school. Flávio Alves’s The Garden Left Behind is a portrait of a young trans woman from Mexico living in New York. Ed Asner, the beloved star of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, plays her therapist. Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post looks at teens in a Christian camp that attempts to “cure” its campers of homosexuality, and stars Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, Let Me In).
The Documentary Competition includes Making Montgomery Clift, directed by his nephew, Robert Anderson Clift, and Hillary Demmon, that attempts to challenge the image of Clift as a tortured gay man and present a fuller picture of this brilliant screen actor who died far too young. David Charles Rodrigues’s film, Gay Chorus Deep South, follows the San Francisco’s Gay Men’s Chorus on a journey to southern states.
Many of the events sell out at this festival, so it’s best to order tickets in advance when possible.
For information on schedules and to order tickets, go to the festival website at http://tlvfest.com/tlv/he/en/