Just in time for Pride month, qFLIX launches “PrideFLIX; The Virtual Pride Film Festival.”
5 weeks of LGBTQ+ Documentaries, Feature Films, Short Films, and Web Series from the comfort of your home as you celebrate PRIDE.
qFLIX Philadelphia, the region’s LARGEST LGBTQ+ film festival found itself in the position that many festivals have faced with the onset of Covid-19. Their annual festival was set to kick-off on March 22, 2020, but was postponed to the fall due to the global pandemic. Philadelphia Pride was subsequently postponed, and out of that, PrideFLIX was born. Rooted in its 26-year history,
qFLIX proudly continues its tradition of sharing the stories of LGBTQ+ people.
Festival producer, Bill Egan, says: “We felt it was our duty to fill the void created from the postponement of this year’s pride. By supporting this virtual festival, folks can support future pride events. If we all can’t be together in person, at least we can come together virtually and share our stories and create the emotions and experiences that our festival goers appreciate when they attend qFLIX each year.”
Making a move to a digital platform is common in these covid-times, but Executive Director James Duggan says that “We’ve been thinking about virtual screenings for a few years now, and the virus moved us quickly in that direction.”
The virtual film festival will launch on Monday, June 1 2020, and promises a stellar line up of LGBTQ+
documentaries, feature films, short films, and web series. One of the highlights will be a screening is that of gay writer/director Mike Mosallam’s rom-com, “Breaking Fast.” The film stars out actor Haaz Sleiman as Mo,
a heartbroken gay Muslim who meets — and eats with — Kal (Michael Cassidy) during Ramadan. Because the Holy Month forbids impure thoughts and activities, Mo is forced to practice self-control. Mosallam’s clever conceit allows Mo and Kal to fall in love as their relationship develops over numerous romantic meals and dates. Sleiman and Mosallam, who were to be honored for their work at the fest in March, have been invited to participate in a post-screening talkback via zoom on June 29 along with Seth Hauer, the film’s producer.
“Straight Up,” gay writer, director, and star James Sweeney’s funny and talky romantic comedy about a gay man (Sweeney) who re-evaluates his desires when he falls non-sexually in love with Rory (Katie Findlay), a straight woman. Sweeney and Findlay are charming as they navigate uncertain waters in this amusing spin on the gay guy/straight girl dynamic.
Gay actor-turned-writer/director Mike Doyle’s “Almost Love (aka Sell By)” a dramatic-comedy about gay and straight friends grappling with issues of trust and jealousy, intimacy, and communication. Gay actor Scott
Evans stars as Adam, a frustrated painter whose five-year relationship with Marklin (gay actor Augustus Prew), an internet influencer has hit a snag.
“Huckleberry,” a thriller about the trans title character (Daniel Fisher-Golden) whose friendship with Jolene (Sarah Ulstrup) is tested when she asks for Huckleberry’s help in dealing with her violent boyfriend (Justin Rose).
Documentaries include the crowd-pleasing “Gay Chorus Deep South,” about the week-long goodwill tour the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus took in five southern states with strong anti-LGBTQ+ laws. The film is a showcase for the power of music, which, of course, is wonderful, but it is the how the chorus changes the minds of the people they meet — and how the people change the minds of the chorus — that reverberates.
Another powerful documentary is “One Taxi Ride” about a young man in Mexico City who shares a traumatic experience from his past with his boyfriend that raises issues of truth and trust.
Webseries include “Sadulous” a timely entry about Philadelphian Alejandro (director Alejandro Morales), a gay Latino who hasn’t left his apartment in weeks. An LGBTQ+ comedy showcase featuring Morales is planned for June 23.
Late Night films being pursued include the documentaries, “Blue Flower of Novalis,” about an HIV-positive gay poet in Brazil, and “Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life” a striking portrait of the Israeli porn star, as well as two features, “Aviva” an eye-popping, genderbending drama full of sex and dance, and “Equation to an Unknown” an explicit and largely forgotten 1980 French porn film.
Several of the films will include talkbacks with filmmakers and/or talent. In addition, PrideFLIX is planning a weekly moderated discussion of specific titles on Sunday nights in June to help foster a sense of community during this period of social distancing.
Ticket prices will range from $7-$10 per viewing, with $1 of each viewing going towards local LGBTQ+ non-profits. There will also be an option to purchase a festival badge to view all the films.
Ticketing, badges, and schedule will be published shortly.
*Film reviews written by Gary Kramer for the Philadelphia Gay News and shared with permission.