Maine LGBT Film Festival celebrates ‘Sharing the Stories’ this weekend

“Pariah” is playing this Saturday at the Maine LGBT Film Festival at The Grand in Ellsworth.

While the theme for the second annual Maine LGBT Film Festival is “Sharing the Stories,” last year’s theme also rings true for the quality and scope of this year’s festival: “It Gets Better.”

While the inaugural LGBT film fest took a cue from Dan Savage’s popular YouTube videos, this year’s will have local LGBT community members standing up and sharing their stories with the audience at The Grand in Ellsworth.

“As much as people liked watching, say, Jane Lynch and her partner talk about it getting better for them, the people at the annual Maine LGBT Film Festival really enjoy seeing the people from Maine talking about how it gets better,” said Robin Jones, director of film programming for The Grand.

The theme and local testimonials are two of the three major changes from last year. The third is a performance from a Portland-based burlesque troupe called The Dirty Dishes Burlesque Revue at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20. “They’re sex positive, queer positive, but ultimately fun positive,” Jones said of the troupe.

While the festival has seen some growth and change, the emphasis on quality films and telling stories from the LGBT community remains the same.

“When I first started working for art-house movie theaters, it was astonishing how few and paltry the films made by and for the LGBT community were,” Jones said. “Bringing it up to now, that is not the case at all. We had a ton of titles that had to be sifted through before we were able to pick the ones that we ended up picking.”

This year’s lineup includes “Pariah,” an indie favorite from first-time filmmaker Dee Rees about a Brooklyn teenager trying to find her identity; “Weekend,” a critically acclaimed British import which Jones likens to a “gay, British ‘Before Sunrise’; “3,” from “Run Lola Run” and “Cloud Atlas” director Tom Tykwer; and “Becoming Chaz,” a documentary chronicling Chaz Bono’s very public journey to getting where he is today.

“Weekend” is playing this Sunday at the Maine LGBT Film Festival at The Grand in Ellsworth.

“This is everyone’s opportunity to come see stories from different parts of this universe, and to see how much alike they are, and maybe how specific to that character or that country they may be,” Jones said.

You can either buy passes for the whole festival, which runs Oct. 19-21, for individual days, or just to see the Dirty Dishes Burlesque Revue. A whole festival pass, Jones says, is the best way to ensure you’ll get in to whichever shows or events you’re interested in. For a complete schedule for this year’s Maine LGBT Film Festival, and for festival pass information, visit www.grandonline.org.

This year’s Maine LGBT Film Festival is sponsored by The Maine Community Foundation, Down East AIDS Network and Make Beautiful Tribe, and Mainers United for Marriage will be at The Grand for the entirety of the festival.

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