shine on

Austin's oldest film festival celebrates queer cinema with virtual screenings and restaurant specials

Austin's oldest film fest celebrates queer cinema with virtual event

Truman Capote
The Capote Tapes, a portrait of the famed American writer, is the festival's opening night film. Photo courtesy of aGLIFF

It's 100 degrees in the middle of a pandemic — what is there to do? Lucky for movie fans, Austin's oldest film festival is going digital, with a 10-day virtual experience that kicks off August 6 and runs through August 16. 

The All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival, now in its 33rd year, celebrates the best in queer cinema, with films, Masterclasses, panel discussions, online social activities like Bingo Bonanza hosted by Miss Richfield 1981, and even restaurant specials across the city.

“We may not physically be together this year to share in these stories and conversations in person, but we worked hard to offer events and panels that will still create that community online," said aGLIFF Artistic Director Jim Brunzell. "For our first virtual endeavor, having star power added to the mix that spans our audience interests was a bonus in these times." 

That star power includes Rachel Mason and Farihah Zaman, both of whom will lead a Masterclass, and Q&As with Nobert Leo Butz (Bloodline, FOSSE/VERDON); Cheri Oteri (Saturday Night Live, Bad Parents); director and producer Paul Riccio (Give or Take); and actress Molly Bernard (Chicago Med, Younger), among others.

The fest is also hosting 1-1 Conversations with actress and transgender activist Nicole Maines (Bit, Supergirl) and director Sam Feder (Disclosure). 

But, of course, a film festival is about the films, and aGLIFF's lineup includes more than 50 narrative features, documentaries, and shorts. It also includes three "secret screening" films, described as "sneak peeks at unreleased movies that filmmakers allow us to show, but not promote." Though organizers can't name them, they did provide the following hints:

"[An] American narrative film based in the south from an aGLIFF favorite director, a French narrative film with a major breakout actor from a huge LGBTQ+ film in 2019, and a Canadian narrative film with a wacky premise and wild concept."

Kicking the festival off as the Opening Night Film is The Capote Tapes, directed by Ebs Burnough, a portrait of the famed American writer. Attendees can also sign up for The Capote Taste: Bourbon and Chocolate Tasting Class on Thursday, August 6, at 8 pm where they will join Marsha Milam, founder of Ben Milam and Milam & Greene Whiskies, and Intero owner/chocolatier Krystal Craig for a special bourbon-chocolate pairing.

Closing the 10-day event is a screening of Ahead of the Curve directed by Jen Rainin, which tells the story of one of the most influential women in lesbian history. Find a full list of all the films, plus descriptions, here.

Throughout aGLIFF, take part in special events such as the Movie Bears Mid-Day Movie Babble Break, where the hosts of Movie Bears Podcast will screen and discuss festival shorts, or Dirty Queer Story Time, which shares provocative tales performed by up-and-coming queer actors.

Those looking to make a true evening of it can order curbside from restaurants such as El Chile, Intero, and Flores Mexican Restaurant. Some local eateries are offering special meal and drink packages, like the popcorn and margarita kits from El Chile, while others like Gusto are donating portions of the meal's proceeds to aGLIFF. Menu options and details can be found here.

Badges are on sale now and priced at $35 per weekend or $65 for both. Badges include screening access to the festival's lineup, as well as most events, panels, discussions, and classes. Special events like the bourbon and chocolate tasting are available for additional charges.