San Francisco LGBT Film Festival Says Goodbye to Nelly Queens and Hello to the Butch Factor by Kevin M. Thomas

The 33rd annual GLBT Film Festival, which begins today,  June 18,  has a lot more variety than in the passed and feature a lot less stereotypical queens wearing pink scarves doing their nails and calling each other “girlfriend” for comic relief.

Instead, the plot points are more involved and developed and are not all stories of coming out or coming to terms with one’s sexuality.

There are films that deal with a huge array of topics including coming to terms with a parent’s Alzheimer’s  (“Not Fade Away”) to finding your real mother (“Fruit Fly”) to finding yourself (“Drool”).

"Patrik, Age 1.5"

If your time is limited and you can only see a few films, the far and away best show is the festival’s centerpiece, “Patrik, Age 1.5,” which is a bittersweet Swedish film dealing with a married gay couple who move to suburbia to raise a family after agreeing to adopt a 1 1/2 year old son who turns out to be more than they bargained for thanks to a clerical error and Patrik turns out to be 15 years old and not 1.5. See “Patrik” at 7pm on June 23 at the Castro Theatre.

"The Butch Factor"

On the documentary side, “The Butch Factor” is an extremely entertaining and informative piece that shows the masculine side of homosexuality and how some of the butcher men who love sports and hate show tunes often feel alone in their plight to enjoy gay life as a masculine male. This film breaks through many stereotypes and quite frankly could be shown in schools to prove that not all gay men are Barbra Streisand-loving, show tune singing nelly queens. Catch “The Butch Factor” at 2pm on June 20 at the Victoria Theatre.

And for a romantic adventure at the festival, “Redwoods” is a sweet little story set to a beautiful backdrop of the California Redwoods about finding your soul mate but at a time when you already committed to another. Throw in a touch of comedy and a dash of eternal love and it will make you forget your watching a movie of infidelity. “Redwoods” screens at 6:30pm on June 24 at the Victoria Theatre.



While all movies were not available for advanced screening, there is quite a lot to mull over. Two films have made quite an impression and that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s a good thing. Due to the surprisingly violent and turbulent nature of several of its characters, “Clapham Junction” is more disturbing than one might expect and then there’s “Pornography: A Thriller” which succeeds at both in being pornographic and thrilling but also spends a great deal of its time being this millennium’s answer to “Twin Peaks,” leaving you more likely to say “WTF?” than following the plot. Yet, it begs for a second viewing.

For films that made less of an impact, “Mr. Right” may be good to look at but as a film it is vacuous. It also almost seems like it was made by straight people and actors who would cringe at touching someone of the same sex as there is actually very little physical contact between characters that should be lovers. You’d almost think the actors were as straight as the men of “The Broken Hearts Club.”

And “Greek Pete,” a documentary of a London hustler who aspires to be voted Best Male Escort has a few good scenes but those all involve moments dealing with his life as an escort. Unfortunately, the film spends way too much time with Pete and his friends sitting on the couch talking and eating birthday cake, it seems more suited for YouTube than the big screen.

And perhaps one of the biggest disappointments is the documentary “Making the Boys.” While it is an interesting film, the title is very misleading. One would expect more background and insight into the making of the play and the film “The Boys in the Band.” Instead, the film focuses more on the show’s writer Mart Crowley. It was great to learn about Crowley’s friendship with Natalie Wood and his helping vamp up a Bette Davis TV pilot. But when the title says “Making the Boys” you’d expect more on the show rather than the man. Perhaps a title change to “The Man Behind the Boys” might make one feel less cheated.

For a complete listing and schedule of this year’s festival check out