Launching on Thursday, October 9, with a gala premiere at the revamped Egyptian and carrying on through October 19 all over town, the 19th Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival fills 11 days with state-of-the-art queer cinema from around the world. Here are short reviews of two SLGFF offerings—for a full schedule, go to threedollarbillcinema.org.
Out in the Night (Sat Oct 11, 4:45 pm, SIFF Cinema Egyptian)
In this bracing documentary, director Blair Dorosh-Walther takes an event that lingers half-remembered around the edges of many American brains and brings it into sharp, damning focus. The event: the 2006 street clash between a group of African American lesbians and a male bystander who allegedly harassed and attacked them on a New York City street. At the time, headlines decried the "lesbian wolf pack" roving the streets for blood, and several of the women found themselves imprisoned for "gang assault." In Out in the Night, Dorosh-Walther carefully walks us back through this human event that immediately became mythic, and it's an infuriating blast of reality. You'll gape in grim amazement at how easily two or more lesbians are deemed a diabolical coven of conspiracy, how quickly a beating is deemed "savage" if it's allegedly the work of non-Caucasian perpetrators, and how damning and valuable it is to have all this laid out so clearly, with such humanity.
Tiger Orange (Sat Oct 11, 7 pm, SIFF Cinema Egyptian)
Wade Gasque's sweet family drama tracks the reunion of two grown brothers after the death of their father. Chet (Mark Strano, in a performance that got him named best actor at Outfest) is the semi-closeted "good son" who stays rooted in the family's small town, determined to keep their dad's hardware store in business. Todd (Frankie Valenti, better known as the popular porn star Johnny Hazzard) is the aggressively gay "bad son" who fled to LA and whose failures at life have forced him back home. Perfectly enjoyable as an unassuming, almost TV-sized drama, Tiger Orange should be praised for two particular achievements: featuring attractive "gay brothers" and never putting them in anything close to an erotic situation, and proving that people who make porn also do other things, like give totally natural, lived-in performances in non-erotic films. (Good work, Frankie Valenti!)