Q Cinema's Annual Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival is a precocious little 8-year-old. Born in 1999, the slapdash weekend of gay-friendly screenings has steadily matured into a full-fledged cinema schmooze event, complete with nightly after-parties and live entertainment. Previous years have seen some hit-or-miss moments, more than likely a result of queer cinema's growing pains as it evolved from a niche market that predates La Cage Aux Folles to the noteworthy genre it has become [insert gay cowboy joke here]. Even so, low points at Q Cinema's past festivals were often outshone by finely crafted, campy satire (But I'm a Cheerleader), documentary and performance films (Notorious C.H.O.) and the occasional glam-rock opera about botched gender modification (Hedwig and the Angry Inch).
This year's festival is top-heavy with premieres of varying premise and promise. Dave Stovall's The Blue Saloon tells the story of an Italian man who is bequeathed a Texas nightclub, only to arrive stateside and discover he has actually inherited a gay bar. Lesbian Grandmothers From Mars, Keith Wilson's road trip picture about two gay grannies bicycling across the country, dissects modern American misconceptions about sexual orientation and the politics thereof, a vastly more complex and contemplative film than the intergalactic girl-on-girl sexcapade I would expect with such a title. Conversely, the documentary Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinemais exactly what it appears to be: a history of gay film. In addition to six feature-length selections, throw in some 20-odd short films and an awards ceremony capping off the festivities on Sunday night and (wait for it...wait for it...) you'll have a gay ol' time.
Q Cinema's 8th Annual Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival begins 7:30 p.m. Thursday night with the premiere of The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green at the Rose Marine Theater, 1440 N. Main St. in Fort Worth. Individual screenings and event prices range from $8 to $10, or an all-access Q-Pass is available for $80 at boxofficetickets.com. Visit qcinema.org for schedule information.