The weather has finally cooled, the leaves are turning, and shit is getting spooky. I love this time of year because, as Seattleites, we turn towards those indoor activities that shelter us from the harsh weather and, at least in my case (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) the reality of the real world. Indoor activities like the queerest film festival in the PNW. Yes, you read correctly. It’s time for Twist: Seattle Queer Film Festival!

Previously the named Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the celebration is in its 22nd year and continues to serve up some outstanding selections for film enthusiasts this fall. The festival ranges from panels on comics and documentaries, to cartoons dramas, and comedies – all of which has left me with an experience of feeling happy and seen, which I think we could all use right now. I had the privilege of viewing a few of my picks before the festival kicks off this Thursday, October 12th. Here were my picks for the 2017 festival:

Saturday Church

Saturday Church is one of the centerpiece films for this year’s festival, AND YOU CANNOT MISS IT! The film follows the journey of Ulysses, a high school age boy struggling with his identity and family (biological and chosen). The film boasts rich colorful scenes that are simply breathtaking. Director Damon Cardasis created a story that will totally immerse you into a transformative moment in Ulysses’s life. Ulysses, played by Luka Cain, was all cheekbone and great acting. Oh, and did I mention it’s A MUSICAL? Oh yeah, baby, the music starts out subtle but once we get to the modern dance numbers you will be in love with the honesty and humanity portrayed through the songs. I was so delighted as QPOC to watch a film that was filled with an all of color cast but was disappointed that a bit of colorism did come into play, but I guess we all can’t be perfect. Saturday Church does come pretty damn close. My recommendation: make this film a priority this Twist Festival.

Signature Move

If you want an awkward adorable lesbian rom-com that’s going to leave you with a little more hope, Signature Move is the film for you. Directed by Jennifer Reeder, and staring Fawiza Mirza, this film had me laughing and crying. Fawiza Mirza delivered a charming and hilarious performance as Zaynab, a Pakistani lawyer living in Chicago with her traditional old-school mother who only wants Zaynab to be happily married to a man. Obviously, Zaynab has other plans, allowing hilarity and some heartbreak to ensue as she navigates love and wrestling. If are like me and missed the wrestling train, Signature Move makes a strong case for the sport to become a part of your lifestyle. In addition to the warm and fuzzy feeling the film will leave you with, the soundtrack was bangin’. Love is undeniable and so is Signature Move.

Body Electric

If you like indie-foreign films with steamy sex scenes, then this is the film for you! This Brazilian celebration of the body directed by Marcelo Caetano was honestly not my bag of potato chips but I recognize the beauty in the story it tells. The movie follows Elias, a young factory worker who is living up his 20’s and begins to develop relations that challenge how he sees himself in the world and his desire to be a designer. I don’t see how anyone could watch this film and not leave moved, aroused, bored, or in my case all three. If you got one of them flashy festival passes that lets you see all the films, or if you’re into artsy minimalist shit, I would definitely check this out. Either way, Body Electric is your Twist perfect match.

Queer Ghost Hunters

This web series is wild! I don’t really fuck with disturbing spirits, like let them do them and I will do me, however, Queer Ghost Hunters really piqued my interest in the Twist program. The web series aims to address a lack of information and representation of the Queer community in the supernatural world. It shouts: What about us? What about our ghosts? We have just as many stories to tell from beyond the grave! And there are definitely some stories that you want to hear. Not only is Queer Ghost Hunters well produced, the series cast presents a wide variety of identities as well as skepticisms and beliefs in the supernatural. Get your ghost on with this spooky web series and catch up on the first season on YouTube!

Hopefully, these short and sweet reviews give you some guidance as you decide which films to enjoy at the festival. If you agree with my mother and think that I have exceptional taste, here are the movies I did not see but I’m gonna go check out:

Freak Show (Laverne Cox is in this!)
Trans Youth
The Wound
Snapshot
QTONE
In The Dark
The Death and the Life of Marsha P. Johnson


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