Of the five feature films I previewed, three documentaries stand out. Jeffrey Schwarz's "I Am Divine" chronicles talented Harris Glenn Milstead, known as Divine. Baltimore-based director John Waters, who first championed Divine, speaks eloquently about him, as do Divine's mother, friends, and co-stars. Divine emerges as an even more insightful, fascinating talent than casual fans realized.
James Brandon's "Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption" documents the development and protests that greeted Terrence McNally's retelling the Passion play with a gay Jesus. Its 1998 off-Broadway premiere sparked protests, but "Corpus Christi" would become a life-changing event touring internationally. McNally, cast and crew as well as those who bravely presented "Corpus Christi" revisit their experiences.
"Interior: Leather Bar" is James Franco and Travis Mathews' reimagining the 40 minutes censored from director William Friedkin's film "Cruising" in 1980. They cast and shoot some graphic content, but also interrogate artistic freedom, noting the inclusion of violence in films while sexuality remains fetishized and repressed.
Glenn Gaylord's engaging fiction film "I Do" dramatizes the dilemma of photographer's assistant Jack whose work visa will expire but who has a commitment to his dead brother's wife and child in New York. Less sophisticated by far, Darren Stein's "GBF" is a frivolous but sweet high school story of three popular girls who need to find and befriend a closeted gay guy for the prom. Often silly, it does teach about friendship and looking beyond the superficial.
There's plenty more to choose from as the Q-Fest screens at Webster University's Winifred Moore auditorium from Thursday, June 6th through Sunday, June 9th. For more information, you may call Cinema St. Louis at 314-289-4152 or the QFest Web page: cinemastlouis.org/qfest.