Find Your Friends
Treasured film festival highlights the spectrum of Austin's LGBTQ+ community
Austin’s longest-running LGBTQ+ film festival returns this August 23-27 with Prism 36, featuring the best in queer cinema. This year, aGLIFF (All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival) promises to entertain, enlighten, and bring the community together through more than 50 films.
Moviegoers can look forward to an entertaining, thought-provoking, and insightful lineup of films at the upcoming festival. With topics ranging from pursuing dreams, to confronting injustice, to getting away with murder, the diverse films showcased this year offer something for every taste. There's lots on the menu, from features to shorts: music, cultural examination, suspenseful intrigue, and more.
The theme "Find Your Friends at Prism 36" wraps all these ideas up in one package. Beyond inspiring individuals, the festival aims to foster a sense of connection among attendees. The LGBTQ+ community is vast, and there's no excuse to spend more time together like watching movies.
"I think we find community through the stories," explains Todd Hogan-Sanchez, aGLIFF's Board of Directors President.
This year's festival will honor Hollywood director Darren Stein as the Legacy Honoree. To celebrate his career in LGBTQ+ filmmaking, aGLIFF will showcase special retrospective screenings of two of his most beloved and iconic films: the dark comedy Jawbreaker and offbeat road trip movie Sparkler. It will also host a special 10th anniversary screening of Stein's G.B.F., a witty high school satire that pushed boundaries with its portrayal of gay teenagers.
"It’s an honor to have my films recognized by aGLIFF,” said Stein in a release. “The fact that they're screening ... Jawbreaker and Sparkler on 35mm film is a testament to how important the film-going experience is to them. It’s increasingly rare for festivals to screen actual film prints, and I’m grateful that was a priority for them."
A few significant films provide a backbone to the festival:
- Opening Film: Glitter & Doom
Directed by Tom Gustafson and written by Cory Krueckberg. It stars Alex Diaz, Alan Cammish, Ming-Na Wen, Missi Pyle, Tig Notaro, Peppermint, Beth Malone, and Kate Pierson.
This whirlwind jukebox musical follows a young emo singer-songwriter and an impulsive circus performer as they pursue stardom and romance amidst the backdrop of a surreal, Baz Luhrmann-esque Mexico City. With cameos by the Indigo Girls, whose music serves as the soundtrack, this colorful opening night movie promises an explosion of music, dance, and love.
- New To Texas: The Mattachine Family recently had its Texas premiere
Directed by Andy Vallentine and written by Danny Vallentine. It stars Nico Tortorella, Juan Pablo Di Pace, and Emily Hampshire.
The story follows a married gay couple, Thomas and Oscar, whose relationship is tested after their first foster child goes back to his biological mother. This leads Thomas and Oscar to realize they have very different views on what it means to create a family together.
- Narrative Centerpiece: Our Son
The movie is directed and written by Bill Oliver along with writer Peter Nickowitz. It stars Luke Evans, Billy Porter, Robin Weigert, Andrew Rannells, Kate Burton, and Phylicia Rashad.
The story follows a gay couple, Nicky and Gabriel, who are going through a divorce. Nicky fights for custody of their 8-year-old adopted son, Owen, as he struggles to understand what it truly means to love someone unconditionally and be a father. This personal story examines the complexities of marriage, parenthood, and divorce.
According to Hogan-Sanchez, films like Our Son and The Mattachine Family provide important representation of diverse family structures and relationships. He explains that since aGLIFF is all about community, it has to highlight common ground, but also celebrating differences.
Attendees, he hopes, will "learn about how we evolved, and learn about the past" while also "work[ing] towards the future." To fortify that opportunity beyond passive watching, aGLIFF facilitates Q&A sessions with filmmakers and actors.
"For me being a queer man, it's important to have that connection," says Hogan-Sanchez. "What we hope at aGLIFF is that people can come together, and they can find people like them."
More information, including a full festival schedule, is available at agliff.org. Tickets can be purchased for each film individually ($15), and badges are available for the Darren Stein films and party ($45), or for the entire festival ($125).