“But how can I choose what to see amidst a vast, towering assortment of quality queer cinema?” you may be asking. Fear not, brave queer film fans, as I’ve curated a list of what I feel are the most fascinating films catering to different interests among theatre-goers.
Secret Life of the Human Pups
10/16, 9:15pm, Northwest Film Forum
This UK-based documentary gained a ton of attention for a fairly mainstream portrayal of the human pup community. If you’ve seen folks out and about wearing puppy hoods, harnesses and maybe a tail, now’s your chance to learn more about this popular role-play fetish. Special guests from the local pups at SEA-PAH will offer additional perspectives on this documentary’s local premiere.
10/22, 9:45pm, AMC Pacific Place
The furry community is a popular kinky subset in Seattle, and while their local convention RainFurrest is currently inactive, the scene remains extremely active. Learn what drives people to want to wear fursuits or participate in the furry community, whether as sexual fetish or as a non-sexual identity.
The Virtual Reality Fan
Machine to Be Another
10/21 – 10/23, Multiple Showtimes, Erickson Theatre
Whether you want to participate or watch (tickets are available to do both), this experiment on experiencing the world through another person’s body sounds thought-provoking and a way to build empathy for the other through new technology.
VR Headset Gallery
10/14 – 10/16, Multiple Showtimes, Northwest Film Forum
These short films are among the first in this new form of storytelling. Experience the lives of drag queens, queer musicians and other perspectives in an immersive setting.
10/15, 10am, 12th Ave Arts
Looking to learn how to tell queer stories in 360º? This two-hour workshop is a great starting point, with support from Oculus.
The Queer Geek
10/15, 12:15pm, Northwest Film Forum
It’s unclear from the description exactly how queer intersects with this cosplay documentary (aside from some attractive cosplay images), but it definitely looks provocative on how cosplay has become a way to interact less passively with media.
In the Dark
10/21, 9:15pm, AMC Pacific Place
Queer intersects with horror in these short films, including a zombie bathhouse scenario and some hot shower action with a spider.
10/22, 5:15pm, AMC Pacific Place
A popular film from SIFF and co-presented by Crypticon Seattle, this is possibly the first film exploration I’ve seen of slash fiction (fan-written relationship/sexual scenarios between popular fictional characters)
Live Performance Fans
10/18, 9:15pm, Northwest Film Forum (with 7:30pm prefunc at Babeland)
Vienna’s Club Burlesque troupe brings an edge to their highly charged political striptease. An exploration of sexual identity as well as showcasing raw queer feminist performances, this film is one not to miss.
The Long Haul Live
10/18, 9:30pm, SIFF Cinema Egyptian
A mix of documentary and live performance, this film showcases the Buckaroos, a sexy male revue, with the performers in attendance. Hard to go wrong with scantily-clad cowboys! There’s also an after party at Purr.
Strike a Pose
10/15, 9:15pm, SIFF Cinema Egyptian
I’m a huge fan of behind-the-scenes documentaries like 20 Feet from Stardom, exploring the lives of the people who aren’t traditionally center stage. Strike a Pose does something similar with the backup dancers on Madonna’s Truth or Dare tour.
Support Your Local Artists
10/13, 7:15pm, SIFF Cinema Egyptian
This film sounds fascinating. Stop motion animation, a unique coming-of-age story by Seattle artist Clyde Petersen, and a live score performance on opening night, Twist’s opening night gala looks to be a clear highlight.
10/15, 2:15pm, Northwest Film Forum
I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this documentary, which was also a hit of SIFF. Follow Kim’s transition from female to male with special guests from Buck Angel to Dan Savage.
Three Dollar Bill Cinema Showcase
10/19, 7:30pm, Calamus Auditorium at Gay City
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the FREE offering from Three Dollar Bill and Camp Ten Trees. Check out the future of cinema from up-and-coming local queer teen talent!
10/22, 7:30pm, AMC Pacific Place
I’m intrigued by the description, highlighting the ballroom scene 25 years after Paris is Burning, but this film also has great cachet, appearing at Sundance and the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and winner of the Berlinale Teddy Award for Best Documentary. Certainly worth a look!
10/18, 7pm, Northwest Film Forum
There are more and more trans stories set to film, but not many portraits of seniors in the community. Pearl was filmed in the Pacific Northwest and feature four transgender women’s stories. It also won the Best Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Dallas International Film Festival this year.
10/21, 7:15pm, AMC Pacific Place
The Northwest Premiere of this documentary features trans teen and musician Bennett Wallace, looking at her struggles at transitioning, with sobriety, and featuring her original music in the soundtrack.
Our Real World
10/18, 5pm, Northwest Film Forum
If you want a slice of life of a number of different stories, this short film series features gay country music, lesbian life in Taiwan, Seattle queer comedians and the life of Peaches Christ, among other features.
Women of the World
10/20, 7:30pm, Northwest Film Forum
It’s hard to know which of these short film presentations to recommend – they are all by their nature going to be somewhat hit or miss based on your interests. But this one has a pretty wide range of subjects, from transwomen from Honduras to burgeoning young lesbian romance, from Denmark to Germany to Mexico.
10/16, 2:45pm, SIFF Cinema Egyptian
This is one series I’ve attended a number of times and rarely disappoints. I will say that this time around, I found so many more thematic sets of short films (particularly about gay men) that this one stood out less, but regardless, it’ll be a well-curated set of films. (And it’s always popular if you want to do some cruising in the theatre.)
Turn Me On
10/16, 4:30pm, Northwest Film Forum
I’m a big nerd and so this particular set of short films caught my eye the most this year – an exploration of how queerness intersects with technology. It’s like a gay Black Mirror!
People You May Know
10/17, 7pm, Northwest Film Forum
It’s got Sean Maher (Firefly, Serenity, Arrow)! It also won an Artistic Achievement Award at the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Festival.
10/22, 9:15pm, AMC Pacific Place
Probably the biggest name film in the fest, with huge stars like James Franco, Christian Slater and Molly Ringwald. It’s an adult film-based thriller, so properly salacious. I’m hoping it’ll be good, or at least sexy.
10/23, 6:30pm, Cinerama
Hot British actor Russell Tovey (Looking, Quantico and Being Human) stars in this film based on the stage play. He’s shirtless in the promotional pictures. Need I say more? More importantly (possibly), the film has some great early buzz, particularly over the performances.
10/16, 8:15pm, Pacific Place
This is an AIDS comedy. Not a typical subject for a comedy, but I’ve seen unconventional subjects tackled well in film, and this stars Danny Glover as well as TV actors James Roday and Robin Weigert.
10/18, 7pm, SIFF Cinema Egyptian
I’m a fan of Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon Prime and I find Lola Kirke a relatable and appealing actress. So I’m curious to see her in a very different role in this portrayal of queer army romance.
First Girl I Loved
10/19, 7:30pm, Northwest Film Forum
A film with great cachet as the winner of the Sundance Film Festival’s Next Audience Award, this teen coming-of-age romance film stars Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead in Deadpool) and Dylan Gelula (from Unbreakable Kimmay Schmidt).
10/16, 7pm, Northwest Film Forum
An all-female cast highlights what sounds like a unique film – trying to decipher a coded note leads to revelations about relationships and friendships. Suicide Kale won the Audience Award for Best US Narrative First Feature at Outfest.