The Wexner Center presents the fourth annual Out@Wex film festival, featuring films from around the world that explore and celebrate GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender) issues and subject matter. Slated for March 4–6, 2010 (Thursday through Saturday), the festival features eight films plus the popular Out@Wex Celebration Party and a visit by director Su Friedrich, who will introduce two of her films. Additional screenings include Word Is Out, a film widely considered the first feature-length documentary on gay and lesbian identity; The Country Teacher from the Czech Republic; and Spring Fever by Lou Ye, banned by Chinese film censors.
Notes Dave Filipi, a curator in the Wexner Center’s media arts department: “Out@Wex is an opportunity for us to showcase the rich diversity of films exploring GLBT issues and themes. From comedy to drama, and from documentaries to fictional narratives, Out@Wex offers a sampling of the vibrant—and global—queer cinema scene.”
OUT@WEX VISITOR INFORMATION:
Tickets for each screening are $7 general public, and $5 members, students, and senior citizens. More event information or to purchase tickets: http://www.wexarts.org/outatwex or (614) 292-3535. All films will be screened in the center’s Film/Video Theater, 1871 N. High St. Convenient parking is available in Ohio State’s Ohio Union Garage just south of the center. (Visitors also have the option of becoming a Wexner Center member at a 15% discount off regular membership price, along with two free tickets to an Out@Wex film or two free film passes; mention “Out@Wex” to join.)
Gin & “It,” a theater production by Reid Farrington, will be presented that same weekend in conjunction with Out@Wex.
THURSDAY, MARCH 4
7 PM: Eyes Wide Open (Haim Tabakman, 2009)
More than one taboo is broken in Eyes Wide Open. Set within Jerusalem’s extremely orthodox Jewish community, the story focuses on Aaron, a young married butcher who lives devoutly with his wife and four sons. His identity is turned inside out when he finds himself drawn to a handsome, 20-ish outsider. Tabakman’s debut feature offers a bittersweet commentary on the incompatible claims of romantic expression and religious orthodoxy. (90 mins., video)
FRIDAY, MARCH 5
7 PM: Hide and Seek (1996) and Seeing Red (short film, 2005)
INTRODUCED BY DIRECTOR SU FRIEDRICH
Followed by OUT@WEX CELEBRATION PARTY | 7 – 9:30 PM – Free and open to the public in the Wexner Café, cash bar and light hors d’oeuvres.
“Su Friedrich’s films are beautiful and moving evocations of the complexities of lesbian desire.”—Judith Mayne, Distinguished Humanities professor of French, Ohio State
Since the late 1970s, Su Friedrich has been producing remarkably personal and challenging films about being a woman born into postwar America. Tonight the filmmaker and Princeton University professor shares two of her most acclaimed shorts, Hide and Seek and Seeing Red.
Hide and Seek is a daring exploration of lesbian adolescence in the 1960s, cutting between staged sequences of a confused 12-year-old girl with documentary footage of grown women trying to figure out how they ever got from there to here. (63 mins., 16mm)
Equally engaging is Seeing Red, in which Friedrich responds to a profound professional crisis by channeling her thoughts and anxieties into a formally inventive, intensely personal video diary. The New York Times notes it is “sometimes bracingly expressive, sometimes serenely beautiful.” (27 mins., video)
9:15 PM: The Country Teacher (Bohdan Slama, 2008)
From the Czech Republic, The Country Teacher follows Petr, a quiet, studious gay man who impulsively leaves cosmopolitan Prague to take a job teaching science in an unfamiliar rural village. His natural aloofness is quickly eroded when he develops a serious crush on his landlady’s teenage son. As the New York Times noted, “the sad, serious joke ... is that the tender love and care Petr lavishes can’t begin to kindle desire in a young, straight teenager who is entirely unaware of Petr’s true feelings.” (113 mins., 35mm)
SATURDAY MARCH 6
2 PM: Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives (multiple directors, 1977)
Widely considered the first feature-length documentary on gay and lesbian identity, Word Is Out presents the lives and struggles of 26 diverse individuals. Period figures including John Burnside, Sally M. Gearheart, and Harry Hay offer perspectives that challenge common stereotypes of the time. (135 mins., video)
4:30 PM: Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (Susan Muska & Gréta Ólafsdóttir, 2009)
From the codirectors of The Brandon Teena Story comes Edie & Thea, a delightful and moving documentary portrait of a lesbian couple who, after 42 years together, are about to be married. Meeting in the 1960s, the couple were tireless activists for feminist and lesbian issues. The filmmakers stress their optimism, good humor, and devotion, even while denied the basic right to wed. (61 mins., video)
7 PM: Spring Fever (Lou Ye, 2009)
A thorn in the side of China’s film censors, director Lou Ye got around the five-year ban on him by registering his latest film, Spring Fever, as a Hong Kong-French coproduction. As with Summer Palace, Lou is remarkably graphic in depicting his character’s romantic entanglements. Here he focuses on a married man having a gay affair that his wife threatens to expose. Shot clandestinely in Nanjing, it’s an evocative look at the persistence of desire. (116 mins., 35mm)
9:15 PM: Drool (Nancy Kissam, 2009)
Premiering at least year’s Outfest, first-time director Nancy Kissam’s Drool has been described as “part Thelma & Louise and part Little Miss Sunshine.” Starring Laura Herring (Mulholland Falls) and Jill Marie Jones (Girlfriends) and set in the South during hurricane season, the frenetic comedy follows the two women as they take to the road—along with two kids and a corpse—after the elimination of a particularly repulsive husband. (88 mins., video)
EVENT AND SEASON SUPPORT: Cosponsors for the Out @ Wex film festival are BRAVO, Equality Ohio, HRC Columbus Steering Committee, Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Ohio State’s GLBT Alumni Society, Ohio State’s Multicultural Center, and Stonewall Columbus. Promotional Support is provided by Outlook Magazine.