A Guide to Essential Viewing at the 2019 Q Films Long Beach Film Festival

Making Montgomery Clift. Photo courtesy the Film Collaborative

This weekend, Q Films Long Beach celebrates 26 years of bringing quality LGBTQ-centric entertainment and art to the city, as well as giving independent filmmakers a chance to share their stories and express their voices. The 2019 program offers a slate of amazing documentaries and narrative features that would pique any cinema buff’s interest. 

Thursday’s opening-night festivities kick off the festival, then films screen Friday through Sunday, with some short-film blocks and brunch breaks in between. Audiences are even encouraged to engage with filmmakers through Q&A sessions after certain showings and exclusive parties taking place throughout the weekend. 

Here’s a look at the excellent programming to check out:

Dykes, Camera, Action. Photo courtesy the Film Collaborative

DOCUMENTARIES
Nelly Queen—The Life and Times of Jose Sarria. Joseph R. Castel’s enlightening documentary focuses on Jose Sarria, the first openly gay person to run for political office in the early 1960s. From San Francisco, Sarria served in World War II on the front lines, and after, he performed in drag at gay nightclub the Black Cat. Exhausted by the frequent police raids targeting gay bars, Sarria decided to run for a postion on the Board of Supervisors, using his platform as a drag queen to mobilize the gay community. Although Sarria didn’t win, his legacy as a political activist has inspired many since. Thurs., Sept. 5, 7 p.m.

Dykes, Camera, Action. For decades, lesbian filmmakers have used cinema to awaken audiences to understand their particular worldview. In Dykes, Camera, Action, Sapphic directors, artists and writers from Cheryl Dunye to Barbara Hammer (RIP) to Su Friedrich share what seeing lesbians onscreen means to them, as well as the challenges to making their art. Director Caroline Berner’s doc serves as both a celebration of lesbian films—narrative, experimental and otherwise—and a discussion of representation in media. (The film is preceded by a short documentary on Chinese American activist, poet and bodybuilder Kitty Tsui, Nice Chinese Girls Don’t!) Fri., 6:45 p.m.

Making Montgomery Clift. Hollywood heartthrob Montgomery Clift is probably one of the most enigmatic actors to ever exist, drawing likenesses to James Dean for his darkly dramatic talent, fluid sexuality and vibrant life cut short. Directors Robert Clift (Monty’s nephew) and Hillary Demmon explore the man behind the persistent “tormented” and “self-destructive” narrative through interviews with family members, friends and loved ones who knew him best. Drawing from family archives, this film is an irresistible investigation into a legendary actor and queer icon. Fri., 9:15 p.m.

Gaytino! Made In America. Actor/singer/performer Dan Guerrero is well-versed in a plethora of musical influences and styles, all of which he has displayed throughout his lengthy stage career. This one-man show tells his story of growing up as a gay Chicano kid in New York during the mid-’50s and the challenges of bringing the multiple facets of his identity together. Gaytino! is part storytelling escape, part history lesson and part standup-comedy special. Sat., 10:35 a.m.

I’m Moshanty. Do You Love Me? Tim Wolff’s doc profiles the late transgender activist and singer Moses Moshanty Tau, who lived and performed openly in her home country of Papua New Guinea despite the high murder rate, abuse and discrimination toward transgender women. Filmed in 2017, before the singer’s death the next year, the film honors a hero among the South Pacific trans community. Sun., 3:30 p.m.

The Garden Left Behind. Photo courtesy the Film Collaborative

NARRATIVE FEATURES
The Garden Left Behind. An undocumented trans woman named Tina and her grandmother struggle to connect as they work to maintain normal lives in New York City. Sat., 2:45 p.m.

Good Kisser. A young woman named Jenna decides to spend a sexy weekend with her girlfriend and a good friend, but the love triangle brings about unexpected developments. Sat., 7:30 p.m.

From Zero to I Love You. A closeted family man begins exploring his sexuality through a series of one-night stands. Sat., 9:30 p.m.

Water In a Broken Glass. An artist finds love with both a man and a woman as she works to figure out her career and artistic ambitions. Sun., 5 p.m.

Where We Go From Here. Three stories showcase the aftermath of different acts of brutal violence. Sun., 7:45 p.m.

Good Kisser. Photo courtesy the Film Collaborative

Q Films Long Beach screens at the Art Theatre, 2025 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, (562) 438-5435. Opens Thurs., Sept. 5. Through Sun. For a full schedule, including more information on screenings, parties and tickets, visit qfilmslongbeach.com.  

Aimee Murillo

Aimee Murillo is calendar editor and frequently covers film and previously contributed to the OCW’s long-running fashion column, Trendzilla. Don’t ask her what her favorite movie is unless you want to hear her lengthy defense of Showgirls.

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