Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival hosts a series of screenings Friday, July 14, through Sunday, July 23, in conjunction with the Gay Games VII Chicago sports and cultural festival. Screenings take place at the Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Filmmakers, and Columbia College Ludington Building. “Hollywood Beach Party Shorts,” a free outdoor screening of short works, takes place Sunday, July 16, 8 PM, at Osterman Beach, 5800 N. Lake Shore Dr. For a full schedule and ticket information, visit www.reelingfilmfestival.org or phone 773-293-1447.
Highly recommended, the wry, tender Canadian comedy Whole New Thing (2005, 92 min.) puts a fresh spin on the theme of adolescent sexual awakening. Its protagonist, an intellectually precocious 13-year-old, develops a crush on his middle-aged gay English teacher, whose attempts to deflect the boy’s advances without wounding his blossoming spirit lead the man to confront his own emotional isolation. Shot by director Amnon Buchbinder in snowy rural Nova Scotia, the film features subtle, honest performances by Daniel MacIvor (who also cowrote the screenplay) as the perplexed prof and engaging newcomer Aaron Webber as the sensitive student. Fri 7/14, 7 PM, Columbia College Ludington Bldg.
Bobbie Birleffi’s thoughtful video documentary Be Real: Stories From Queer America (2006, 52 min.) focuses on the intersection of the personal and the political, addressing gender identity, body image, age, religion, relationships with parents, and other issues. Among the six interviewees is Chicagoan Tara “Red” Tremmel, who will attend the screening. Fri 7/14, 9:15 PM, Columbia College Ludington Bldg.
A pair of documentaries focuses on the Gay Games: Robert N. Hunter’s video Gay Games I Opening Ceremonies (1994, 40 min.) chronicles the kickoff of the first games in San Francisco in 1982, hosted by Armistead Maupin and Rita Mae Brown. On the same bill, David Secter’s Take the Flame! Gay Games: Grace, Grit, and Glory (2005, 85 min.) charts the history of the games since their founding by the late Dr. Tom Waddell and chronicles his unsuccessful battle with the U.S. Olympic Committee over proprietorship of the word olympics. Mon 7/17, 1 PM, Chicago Cultural Center.