aGLIFF Announces Opening-Night Film, Is Crowdfunding Too


aGLIFF logoFirst of all, in case you hadn't heard, it's called aGLIFF again. Polari is still the name of the nonprofit that organizes the annual Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, but the film festival's traditional name has prevailed.

Now that I've established that, here's the news. aGLIFF has announced its opening-night film for this year's fest -- and the dates of the fest are news too, since they've changed. aGLIFF will run from September 10-14, 2014, at the newly-renovated Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. (So now you know the theater has to be at least sort of ready by then.)

Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine will open the fest on Wednesday, September 10. The documentary focuses on the late Matthew Shepard's personal life, from friends' and family's point of view. Director Michele Josue and Shepard's parents will be there for a post-screening discussion. aGLIFF also announced three other films in the lineup -- I've included the descriptions at the end of this article.

In addition, the film festival is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to enhance this year's festival experience. The funds raised will help bring in more filmmakers and special guests. The goal is $7,500 but it's a "flexible funding" campaign, so aGLIFF can keep what's raised even if it's short of the goal. Perks include tickets to films and parties during the fest, all-access badges, and ads in the program. Give enough money and you can be on the shorts jury.

Here are the other films announced last week, with descriptions from the aGLIFF email announcement.

  • Out in the Night (Austin premiere, special guests present) -- In 2006, seven African-American lesbians were enjoying an evening in Manhattan's West Village when one of them was sexually harassed by a young man. The women defended their friend and left the man hospitalized with a minor injury. Quickly, the women were labeled "lesbian gang members" and eventually given severe prison sentences. Out in the Night takes on this nightmarish case, teeming with racial and sexual prejudice. The result is both harrowing and inspirational.
  • The Rugby Player (Texas premiere, director Scott Gracheff present) -- Winner of multiple festival awards, The Rugby Player is an uplifting and stereotype-shattering documentary that tells the story of a mother, a son, and what it takes to be a hero. The film explores the lives of Mark Bingham, one of the passengers on United Flight 93 on 9/11, and his mother, Alice Hoagland, a former United Airlines flight attendant. Utilizing footage shot by Bingham himself, this timely film provides keen insights for the national debates on LGBT rights, marriage equality and gay athletes in sports.
  • 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg (20 Leugens, 4 ouders en een scharrelei) (Texas premiere) -- In this screwball Dutch comedy, after fighting with his mothers, lesbian couple Emma and Ilse, 15-year-old Dylan reestablishes a relationship with his biological father, Sjors. Sjors has since married Bert, a conservative businessman, who is enraged to find out about Dylan. Dylan temporarily moves in with Sjors and Bert and continues his rebellious behavior. Torn between his four parent figures and the secrets they hide from one another, Dylan eventually uncovers the truth behind his conception.

Here's the trailer from Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine: