photos: Sean Robinson and his boy friend and their dog + Sean alone.

by David Cohen

OUTmusic the LGBTQ Academy of Recording Arts (LARA)  has launched a Kickstarter campaign, with a goal of $200,000 to be raised by the end of September 2013. 

The  funds will help the completion of a documentary about queer music culture titled  the Academy's music documentary film “For Which WE Stand " (One Queer Music Nation In The Visible,  to be produced by Paul Warner and directed by Sean Robinson.  

These funds will also help the production of the 9th Annual OUTmusic Awards  to take place in Las Vegas, NV, on January 16th - 20th, 2014,  which will be the focus and the core of this documentary film, giving unknown LGBT artists the opportunity to shine in the  spotlight.

“I’m very excited to be directing this film, and with the success of this Kickstarter Campaign, we will produce a socially and politically pro-active feature-length documentary film, that will not only spotlight queer music culture, but will keep the torch of LARA burning, as the fight for equality moves forward into the next era,” Robinson said in a recent statement.
The LGBTQ 2013 Reeling Film Festival is the one of the world’s longest running film festivals in our community. 
Chicago is the home Reeling and to the third largest LGBTQ community in the country. Reeling, the film festival is a major cultural event that significantly make an impact on our community by communicating many LGBTQ stories, impacting the lives of many individuals and inspire all of us to make changes on personal and global level. 
Reeling represents the power of LGBTQ films by helping us to understand and accept  our lives in an undeniable way. Reeling makes us laugh, fills us with joy, motivates us to action, and angers us about the struggles we face, not just here at home and everywhere. Selections from Reeling celebrate our LGBTQ culture, document our struggles for our rights to marry those we love, and teach us about our brothers and sisters in countries such as Russia and Uganda who are suffering from homophobia in a horrifying way. Films such as Out in India: A Families Journey (India 2008), The World Unseen (South Africa, 2008), Through the Window (Israel, 2011) and No Homos in Iran (Iran, 2006) have offered us an intimate glimpses into their world, that many of us in the US rarely see. No other LGBTQ event in Chicago promises to bring such compelling and often shocking realities into sharp focus, while at the same time entertaining audiences with hilarious and heartfelt insights of the LGBTQ lifestyle. 
Reeling is funded through ticket sales, grants, corporate sponsorships, and individual donations. These donations publicly recognize and celebrate the important artistic contributions that LGBTQ filmmakers have made to this multi-faceted community. 
With your help, we can counter the dangerous and damaging stereotyping prevalent in mainstream media with valid, meaningful, and diverse portrayals of our members of the LGBTQ community all over the world. This can only further advance the fight for equality and recognition here at home and globally, as some of our  followers have resoundingly noted:
  • "The Films at Reeling offered me a slice of life, and have given me access into another community. They opened me a gateway into understanding my lesbian friend who lives in Dubai and why she chooses to remain out and in danger." by supporter Maria G. Reeling Attendee, 2011.
  • "Although I am not part of the LGBT community myself, thanks to a visit to the Festival, this year, I at least understand, on some level, what drives them in their fight for equality."  by supporter Jack S. Reeling Attendee, 2010.
  • "I thought I was alone. I didn’t even know that there were other transgendered people who could help me. Then I was invited to see ‘Tomboy” at Reeling. There were lots of other trans people there, and suddenly I realized I was part of a community. I can’t tell you how much that has done for me and my own journey to being a whole person is almost complete. Thank you! " by supporter Josh F. Reeling Attendee, 2011.

Become A Reeling Supporter.  Your role in supporting local and national filmmakers will help them finding distributors for their work during today's economical troubled time. You can help these members of the LGBT community who have found inspiration, hope and a connection through the stories shown at Reeling.
Become A Reeling Producers Circle Member by donating $1,000 or more. In return Reeling will offer individuals and business owners many opportunities for recognition and exposure. Reeling will introduce you to many filmmakers and movie stars during the duration of the festival.  
To become a Reeling Supporter or a member of the Producers Circle, and for any other questions about this year’s festival contact Reeling’s managing director, Gretchen Blickensderfer by email: or call (773) 293-1447.

 The Launch party will held at Sidetarck on  Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 6pm-10pm
VIP PARTY by invitation only from 6-7pm
General public at $10 per ticket from 7-10pm.

The Reeling Chicago LGBT International Film Festival • c/o Chicago Filmmakers • 5243 North Clark Street • Chicago, Il 60642
by Michael Lemma & Davon Woodard
photos courtesy of Michael Lemma

As an artist, I definitely feel that the pieces I make massively echo my own life and experiences. I create art as an internal reflection on something - I can extract it, I can look at it, experience it. Art has always been a type of therapy. It is a way to not only pay homage to the profound experiences in my life, but also to put conflicts to rest.

This is what Stitch is about. The story, told through animation, is a bittersweet reflection on the beauty and agony of leaving one’s childhood behind. The roughly ten minute short film follows the relationship of two young men, a poetic telling of the way love and loss forever changes who we are. These two boys sew themselves together as a testament to the profound comfort and solace they find in each. As the relationship dwindles, they become separated, forcing the main character to try to make sense of this loss. In doing so he rediscovers his aging mother, and makes amends with his own mortality. 

The story is autobiographical, and may seem sad. It is my first experience of love and dedication to a caliber he never thought was possible juxtaposed against the single most devastating thing that had ever happened to me. Stitch is my personal way of accessing and interpreting this profound pain, wonder, and odd beauty of growing up.  Particularly in the months following the breakup, as I struggled to reclaim the bits of me of who I was before, and the simplicity of my childhood when life was so painless. It was at this point that I realized that the people and relationships that we believe to be so permanent in our lives are all temporary.

Stitch is a story of the universal human experience of childhood and first love, with characters who happen to be gay.  Crafted from passion, love, and truth, Stitch depicts the multi-dimensionality of the LGBT community; it will be an honest reflection of the relationships we share, both romantic and otherwise.  

I want the film to appear as a reflection of the joy that these experiences have created within me. Aesthetically, this will be achieved through heightened, intense golden lighting, metaphorical concepts, and dreamy imagery. I want my film to capture the abstract, childlike version of the world. One of endless summer days full of wonder, exploration, and discovery which take on a quality far beyond reality.

In daring to make an animation that shows a beautiful, pure relationship between two young men, I am also helping to change perceptions in the way mainstream media perceives gay life. 

When it comes to most television shows and films, mainstream media overwhelmingly presents  one-sided,stereotyped LGBT characters as “the sassy friend,” “the hairstylist,” and “the fashionable narcissist.”  As a filmmaker, my goal is to create serious portraits of the gay lives that exist beyond the stock “gay” portrayals of offered as an accent to a pre-existing straight story-line. Gay characters have more to contribute to a story other than their sexual orientation or the exaggerated stereotypes.

I want to create works that can truly help to change these perceptions. Living in my small Italian Catholic town, I was one of very few out gay men. There was no outreach in my community to help me feel like I wasn’t completely alone. I felt like such an outcast because of my sexual orientation.  That’s when I turned to the wonderful world of film to get me through so many of the pains along my road.  However, even in my sanctuary I felt like my life existed on the fringes because of my sexual orientation.  

When I was young, I wasn’t told that being gay was wrong. I just didn’t even know who gay people were! Because I saw nothing. I want young people to be able to turn on a television and actually see positive images that reflect who they are, and they can see a love story between two men can play in a movie theater and be viewed for its story, rather than its taboo and controversial content.

I am fascinated by a filmmaker’s ability to bring such a vast array of experiences to so many people around the world. I want to make films because I have so many stories to tell. To move others in the way that films have moved me. I have so many things in my head that I want to share. I want to fill the world with my own unique brand of beauty.

For more information about this project, and how to be part of our family of  donors  visit
                          Arclight Films Announces the Cannes Market Premiere of 
                                                    DURAN DURAN UNSTAGED
                                                                              A Filmic Feast for the Senses
                                   Starring Duran Duran • Directed by David Lynch

CANNES (May 15, 2013) – Arclight Films announces the acquisition of DURAN DURAN UNSTAGED, a new experience in live concert filmmaking and a feast for the senses, directed by David Lynch and starring rock icons Duran Duran. The band will be in Cannes headlining AmfAR's 20th anniversary Cinema Against AIDS event, to be held on Thursday, May 23, 2013.

Arclight Films have taken on international sales in collaboration with Little Studio Films, and will present DURAN DURAN UNSTAGED during the upcoming Cannes Market this May.

“We’re honored to be representing this unique film, and working with such an incredible team of entertainment industry professionals, whose artistic endeavors have had such a profound effect on people all over the world,” said Gary Hamilton, Managing Director of Arclight Films. “DURAN DURANUNSTAGED is a breakthrough in movie-making. It’s an experience that marries the arts of film and music in a distinctly creative and refreshing manner that will appeal to audiences worldwide.”

Directed by award-winning film maker, David Lynch (The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive) at the Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles, featuring special guests Mark Ronson, Kelis, Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) and Beth Ditto (Gossip), DURAN DURAN UNSTAGED is a multimedia experience that takes the audience on a cinematic journey with one of the most successful music acts in the world.

“The idea was to try and create, on the fly, layers of images permeating Duran Duran on the stage,” explains director David Lynch; “A world of experimentation and some happy accidents." 

The band’s frontman Simon Le Bon adds, “We were all beyond delighted that David Lynch agreed to direct this show for us and knew that he would create something that wouldn’t look like anything you’ve ever seen before.  It was a dream come true, quite frankly.  We are all such huge fans of his work and think he has a creative vision like no other.”

Known for their epic productions, amazing visuals, ground-breaking stage sets and style, this is only the second time in their storied three-decade career that the band have filmed one of their concerts in glorious high definition sound and vision, giving fans a rare and unique opportunity to relive the experience.

Duran Duran are one of the most iconic British bands of all time boasting undeniably remarkable stats: Over 80 million records sold, 30 UK Top 30 hits, 18 American hit singles, 2 Grammy awards and no fewer than 6 prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement Awards’ from MTV, the BRITS, the Ivor Novellos, both GQ and Q Magazines and the Spanish Ondas.

The band are currently in the studio working on their 14th studio album, teaming up with producer Mark Ronson once again.

This special director’s cut of the film has never before been released to the public. The original concert film had an exclusive one-night live online stream via YouTube and Vevo.

Free film series celebrates third year with movies focused on LGBT seniors

Wednesdays, March 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2013, at 6:30 pm a the Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, and in association with the Queer Film Society, Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, and The Legacy Project present Cinema Q III, the third annual film series celebrating outstanding LGBT movies. The free screenings will take place on four Wednesdays, March 6, 13, 20, and 27, 2013 in the Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. All screenings will feature a discussion and Q&A following the film. The lineup at this year’s Cinema Q series focuses on the lives of LGBT seniors with some selections celebrating their pioneering efforts and others centered on the unique challenges faced by the LGBT elderly.  This series contains films with mature subject matter.  Viewer discretion is advised. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at 6:30 pm
Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater

A rowdy road dramedy adapted by writer-director Thom Fitzgerald from his stage play, Cloudburst follows the exploits of the hilariously profane Stella (Olympia Dukakis) and Dotty (Brenda Fricker), her sweet but equally tough partner as they head to Canada to legally wed after being together for 31 years.  The unedited version will be shown. This screening co-sponsored by Center on Halsted (Directed by Thom Fitzgerald; 2011, 94 minutes).
To Die Like a Man
Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at 6:30 pm
Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater

Writer-director João Pedro Rodrigues’s gritty, provocative drama centers on Tonia, an aging drag headliner in Lisbon torn between the demands of a new romance and coming to terms with the past.  In Portuguese with subtitles. (Directed by João Pedro Rodrigues’s; 2009, 134 minutes).

Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis @100 and 
T’Aint Nobody’s Bizness: Queer Blues Divas of the 1920s
Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at 6:30 pm
Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater

Former Chicagoan, filmmaker Yvonne Welbon’s celebratory and insightful portrait of lesbian activist Ruth Ellis is preceded by out filmmaker Robert Phillipson’s exploration of the lesbianism of legendary blues singers Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Alberta Hunter, and others. This screening co-sponsored by Affinity Community Services (Ruth Ellis directed by Yvonne Welbon; 1999, 60 minutes, T’Aint Nobody’s directed by Robert Phillipson; 2011, 30 minutes).

Gods and Monsters
Wednesday, March 27, 2013, at 6:30 pm
Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater

A 15th anniversary screening of out writer-director Bill Condon’s Oscar winning (Best Adapted Screenplay) portrait of the last days of gay Frankenstein director James Whale and his complicated friendship with his hulking, hunky gardener. Sir Ian McKellen portrays Whale in an Oscar nominated performance, Brendan Fraser is the gardener, and Lynn Redgrave (also Oscar nominated) plays Whale’s devoted, eccentric housekeeper. This screening co-sponsored by Pride Films and Plays. (Directed by Bill Condon; 1998, 106 minutes).

PRICE: Free • FOR MORE INFORMATION  Please call 773.472.6469.
In this clip Pulitzer Prize winner (and Oscar nominee this year for "Lincoln") Tony Kushner praised David France's Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague while discussing the legacy of his Angels in America: 

HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE is the story of two coalitions--ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group)—whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition. Despite having no scientific training, these self-made activists infiltrated the pharmaceutical industry and helped identify promising new drugs, moving them from experimental trials to patients in record time. With unfettered access to a treasure trove of never-before-seen archival footage from the 1980s and '90s, filmmaker David France puts the viewer smack in the middle of the controversial actions, the heated meetings, the heartbreaking failures, and the exultant breakthroughs of heroes in the making. 

Malcolm Ingram's lively new documentary CONTINENTAL takes viewers back in time to the sexually charged New York of 1968, when the notorious Continental Baths opened its doors. This groundbreaking den of debauchery (advertised as a place “for sophisticated men only”) came to transcend sexual identity and became a cultural beacon to the hip, beautiful and infamous. Not only host to newly-empowered gay men of all shapes and sizes, eager to take full advantage of their sexual freedoms at a lavish venue, the Continental brought both high and low culture to the bathhouse's stage week after week, becoming instrumental in the careers of ‘60s and ‘70s icons like Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, Patti LaBelle, Peter Allen and countless others.

With the help of its owner and proprietor, the enigmatic Steve Ostrow (along with his former staff, historians and artists who were there), CONTINENTAL tells the tale of one of the most important keystones in the sexual revolution, one that fostered an environment of tolerance and contributed to a level of mainstream gay acceptance and uncensored sexuality the likes of which have never been seen since.

“Continental” premieres at SXSW on Sunday, March 10th.
In this advance clip from next Monday's edition of "Anderson Live," AIDS and gay rights activist Peter Staley and host Anderson Cooper discuss David France's Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague as an invaluable educational tool for young LGBT people, as well as an inspiring model for activism and motivating any sort of positive change. The episode will air Monday at 12:00pm EST / 1:00pm PST.

About Peter Staley
Peter Staley has been a long-term AIDS and gay rights activist, first as a member ofACT UP New York, then as the founding director of TAG, the Treatment Action Group. He served on the board of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) for 13 years and then founded, an educational website for people living with HIV. Staley is a leading subject in the Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague

About "How to Survive a Plague" 
HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE is the story of two coalitions—ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group)—whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition. Despite having no scientific training, these self-made activists infiltrated the pharmaceutical industry and helped identify promising new drugs, moving them from experimental trials to patients in record time. With unfettered access to a treasure trove of never-before-seen archival footage from the 1980s and '90s, filmmaker David France puts the viewer smack in the middle of the controversial actions, the heated meetings, the heartbreaking failures, and the exultant breakthroughs of heroes in the making. 
Audra McDonald and Will Swenson join the Kickstarter Campaign in effort to raise $65,000.

Facing East is directed by Tony nominated Broadway actor Will Swenson (Hair, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) and is written by noted queer cinema veteran Guinevere Turner (Go Fish, American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page) from an off-Broadway play by author Carol Lynn Pearson (author of the books Goodbye I Love Youand No More Goodbyes), and produced by Duane Andersen, James Duke Mason and Emily Pearson. The Kickstarter site mentions that the production is in the process of casting but cannot release specifics at this time, but that Broadway diva Audra McDonald will play a supporting role.

The film tells the story of a prominent Mormon couple dealing with the aftermath of their gay son’s suicide. The Trevor Project, the nation’s only suicide hotline for LGBT and questioning youth, endorses Facing East and 10% of all profits go to that organization.

The campaign offers unique rewards targeted at fans of Mr. Swenson and his wife, five time Tony winner, Audra McDonald, including autographed memorabilia, the opportunity to have lunch with the couple, or the three stars from Priscilla (Will Swenson, Nick Adams, and Tony Shelton), or to have Ms. McDonald sing to you over the phone on your birthday, or to have Mr. Swenson serenade you publicly.

The Kickstarter Campaign will end on December 14, 2012, just before Christmas, so the rewards could be a unique holiday gift. For more information visit the film’s web sites: or,

FACING EAST is a film about a Mormon family who reevaluates their lives and beliefs after the suicide of their gay son.

Facing East is a feature length narrative film that sheds light on an important subject. Just as we think our society is becoming more tolerant and inclusive, our hopes are dashed as we hear about another young gay person, drowning in shame and despair, taking their own life. Nowhere is this shame and despair more acute than among LGBT youth raised in religious homes. Repeatedly told directly and subliminally that God hates them, that they can change the very person that they are, that they are sinners, many see no escape other than death.

Facing East tells the story of a family dealing with this exact tragedy, and through their journey of discovery we see hope for ourselves, our families, our community, our world. 

Facing East began as a stage play, by Carol Lynn Pearson, which premiered in Salt Lake City, later travelled to New York and San Francisco, and has since been performed at theater companies across the country.

"Some theater is good drama. Some drama is important theater. Facing East is both." --

"This compact, emotional epic doesn't bear even the slightest trace of exploitation: only truth, simply and beautifully told." --

We are all so close to this issue. We've all been tormented as we've watched good people struggle and families torn apart. We've all seen how gay children (or husbands, wives, fathers, mothers) from religious families struggle along a trail that has few reliable markers. The unique thing about the story of Facing East, is that it provides those markers, without condemning or degrading. Though about religious people, it is not a religious film, and has found support from both the LDS as well as LGBT community. Facing East has the potential to be a bridge between two very different communities.

Facing East is directed by Tony nominated Broadway actor (HairPriscilla: Queen of the Desert), and independent film director (Sons of Provo) Will Swenson. Will's personal biography as a Utah raised former Mormon and effective gay rights activist make him the perfect voice for this delicate subject. Will and his wife, Audra McDonald, were recently honored by PFLAG for their efforts to promote marriage equality with the 2012 Straight for Equality in Entertainment Award.

Guinevere Turner (Go Fish, American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page), one of the most prominent voices in LGBT cinema, has adapted Carol Lynn's stage play into a wonderful screenplay.

With this extraordinary team in place, we are now prepared to shoot Facing East in late 2013. While most of our funding is in place through equity investment, it will not be available until our preproduction period in Fall 2013. We need a bit extra to bring us to that point, so we are turning to you. The amount we are raising now is to fund some script rewrites, continue casting, pay for some legal and accounting necessities, and prep for production.

Are you excited by character driven, independent cinema? Do you long for a day when no one will feel that suicide is their only escape? Please support this amazing, important project.

An official selection of the 2011 Berlin Film Festival and the SXSW Film Festival, "YELLING TO THE SKY" stars Zoe Kravitz (X-Men: FIirst Class, the forthcoming Mad Max: Fury Road) as Sweetness O'Hara, an introspective and shy inner-city teenager who unsuccessfully tries to quietly blend into the crowded halls of her high school. But an increasingly complex home life, and a persistent, growing threat at school, soon carry her into a world of reckless ambivalence.  

A visceral coming-of-age story, Yelling To The Sky features a sobering, breakthrough performance from Kravitz, with an all-star supporting cast including Jason Clarke (Public Enemies, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty, Baz Lurhman's The Great Gatsby); Gabourey Sidibe (Best Actress nominee for Precious, Tower Heist); Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) and Antonique Smith (Abduction, Notorious). 

Yelling To The Sky is the feature directorial debut of writer-director Victoria Mahoney, who began her career as an actress in such films as Reese Witherspoon hit Legally Blonde.  She received the "Lynn Auerbach Screenwriting Fellowship" and an "Annenberg Film Fellowship" for Yelling To The Sky.  Filmmaker magazine recently named Mahoney one of its “25 New Faces of Independent Film"