This year’s committee has selected five feature-length and over a dozen shorts showcasing the complex breadth of the gay experience reflecting universal themes such as aging, family, faith, friendship, identity, music, and romance. Tony Award winner Stephanie J. Block (“The Cher Show”) is featured in the short film “Last Summer with Uncle Ira,” a story of a closeted teenager who begins to come out to himself when his estranged gay uncle, dying of complications from HIV/AIDS, returns home.
“From ’Breaking Fast to ‘Shiva Baby’ to ‘Twilight’s Kiss,’ we have great narrative features, and from ‘Ahead of the Curve’ to ‘Keyboard Fantasies,’ we have terrific documentaries,” said festival coordinator Jonathan McNeal, manager of The Neon in downtown Dayton. “Ninety percent of our festival will be available virtually this year and those virtual elements will be available Ohio-wide, potentially expanding our reach.”
Each feature-length presentation will be available online for a three-day window during the festival.
“Top Drawer Shorts Vol. 1,” a collection of the best shorts from across the country and around the world, will be available during the entire week for online viewing.
A second package of short films, “Top Drawer Shorts Vol. 2,” will be available for in-person screenings at The Neon during the week of the festival. Exact showtimes are still to be determined.
Since its inception in 2006, the Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Festival has grown considerably. What began as a festival with a modest budget, one programmer and four screenings, evolved into an event with more than a dozen committee members considering over 100 films each year, visiting artists from around the world, numerous volunteers, and a lively opening night party among other attributes.
Festival patrons often see up-and-coming actors prior to their breakout roles as well. Josh O’Connor, best known for his outstanding portrayal of Prince Charles in Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning hit drama “The Crown,” starred in the marvelously visceral drama “God’s Own Country,” among the highlights of the 2017 festival.
Over the coming weeks, this year’s festival committee will unite to create introductions to films and record Q&A’s with filmmakers from around the world.
“Beyond the fact that this is our 15th anniversary, we thought it was essential for us to find a way to collectively bring fresh, new, LGBT voices and stories to the Miami Valley this year,” McNeal said. “In the past several months, many people have struggled to find a sense of community as they have sheltered in place. Because it’s not possible for us to yet have packed houses at The Neon, we pivoted to find the best scenario where we could present a quality lineup and still maintain a certain amount of Dayton flavor. We have a lot of work cut out for us over the next month but I’m confident we can make it happen.”
Single tickets to each of the seven screenings (six virtual and one in-person) will be $10 each and festival “All Access” passes will be $50. Virtual components of the festival will be accessible to residents throughout Ohio.
Sponsors for this year’s event include Ken Byers, The Human Race Theatre Company, The Greater Dayton LGBT Center, Marion’s Piazza, Kevin Moore & Scott Stoney, PLFAG Dayton, Sue Spiegel & Lisa Hanauer, Square One Salon & Spa, and Westminster Financial.
For more information, visit daytonlgbt.com.