To date, my LGBT festival?going has consisted mainly of the biggies, but this year I hope to hit some offbeat fests like Fresno, Calif.?s Reel Pride festival, the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and the Pikes Peak Lavender Film Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the natural beauty and crowd enthusiasm more than compensate for the fact that Ted Haggard could be sitting right next to you. There are also a lot of niche fests popping up that sound intriguing, like the Vermont Bear Film Festival (?and the lifetime achievement award goes to?Sean Connery!?), Tranny Fest in San Francisco, and Austin?s OUTer Gay and Lesbian Science Fiction/Fantasy Film Festival, billing itself as ?a journey into the imaginations of your fellow queer space cadets.? Beam me up, Scotty, and pass the Milky Way.
Three Hot Gay Fests for 2009
Frameline: The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival
The world?s oldest queer film festival makes a great vacation stop as its headquarters is the Castro Theatre, right in the bustling heart of gayville. With a sexier and friskier vibe than most fests -- I love to suck?soda in the dark read one of last year?s T-shirts -- Frameline?s massive audiences are nothing if not passionate. When the crowd at the Castro goes nuts for a movie, it?s a glorious place to be. (Frameline.org)
Outfest: The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
Like homecoming week for gay Los Angeles, Outfest makes the most of its Hollywood setting with lots of celebrity cameos, industry panels, and one-off events like the outrageous Home Video Gong Show. Make sure to catch an outdoor screening at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. If the stars on-screen aren?t doing it for you, just look up in the sky. (Outfest.org)
The Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival may have a punchy new name and website, but it still offers the largest LGBT film event on the East Coast. The City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection) makes it easy for gay travelers, as all screenings are held within walking distance of the city?s queer bars and restaurants. (QFest.com)
Part One | Part Two