This weekend, the LGBT Film Festival celebrates its third year at The Grand in Ellsworth with a new theme to inspire hope, building on the previous years when the festival highlighted the “It Gets Better” movement and “Sharing the Stories.”
“This year we come to another theme that could be applied to almost any year ‘Celebrating Diversity,’ said Robin Jones, director of film programming at The Grand. “The hope in each film is being celebrated as much as the LGBT community and that celebration has been there from the first year.”
This year, the festival will screen three movies all in one day, beginning at 4 p.m. Oct. 19 with Ira Sachs’ “Keep the Lights On,” which premiered at 2012’s Sundance Film Festival, and as Jones explained, has parallels to last year’s film “Weekend.”
“Instead of a weekend in London, this takes place over a 10-year period in New York, from the late nineties to the late 2000’s, covering a number of hot-button issues that one particular male couple faces,” he said.
“Keep the Lights On” will be followed at 7 p.m. by Jeffrey Schwarz’s “I Am Divine,” a documentary that looks into the life of transexual pop icon Harris Glenn Milstead aka “Divine.”
The festival closes with “Camp Beaverton: Meet the Beavers,” a documentary by Ana Grillo and Beth Nelsen about the only all women, trans-inclusive, sex positive theme camp set within Burning Man, and week-long annual festival held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The film is for mature audiences and begins at 9 p.m.
“We had such a great success last year with the combination of the great 2011 American contemporary drama film ‘Pariah,’ about a 17-year old African-American teenager embracing her identity as a lesbian, and the late-night ‘mature audiences only’ show from Portland’s sex-positive, queer-positive troupe The Dirty Dishes Burlesque Review,” Jones said, “why not screen a film that somehow combines these experiences?”
So how will this year’s festival stack up to previous years?
“We always aim for doing better than the year before, but, seriously the real aim reflects The Grand’s mission statement: ‘To enrich the lives of people in Downeast and Eastern Maine by presenting diverse, unique, high-quality programs that provide entertaining, artistic, educational and social experiences,'” Jones said. “If one person sees the LGBT community as a group of people with similar hopes, dreams or sees something in this world they’ve never seen before, or if one member of the local LGBT community sees that someone in another country has a similar story they can relate to, or basically if anyone walking through The Grand’s doors during the festival has a great time, that’s success.”
This year’s festival, Jones said, would not exist without the support of the theater’s board, the LGBT community, and Grand staff member Kristie Billings, who found two of the films, “I Am Divine” and “Camp Beaverton.”
Tickets for individual showings are $7, $6 for seniors and students, and $5 for Grand members. For more information, visit grandonline.org.