While the new documentary Out to Win offers a survey course on the topic of LGBT athletes, Game Face — which opens Q Cinema’s 17th season Thursday — is more specialized, focusing on just two. Belgian cinematographer Michiel Thomas, directing his first feature, follows lesbian transgender mixed martial arts fighter Fallon Fox and gay college basketball player Terrence Clemens as they compete for championships and face their biggest struggle: coming out.
Fox is older, having a daughter in high school. Her daughter is supportive but her own parents rejected her when she transitioned, leading her to consider suicide. Professionally, she thought she was in the clear when California and Florida licensed her after she was honest on her applications; sore losers, prejudiced fans and a general lack of understanding made things more difficult. She got support from LGBT organizations and her friend Kye Allums, who was the first transgender college basketball player.
Clemens had a rough time in high school when a gay rumor led to his close friends and teammates abandoning him. He switched schools, fell in with a bad crowd and wound up spending eight months in prison. Eventually he got into Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, a two-year college whose basketball team won the regional championship in his second year. NBA player Jason Collins came out about the time Clemens needed a role model and mentoring, and gave him good advice.
Between having cameras around and taking advantage of clips from a long list of credited sources, the filmmaker was able to assemble comprehensive stories of the two subjects. We don’t get into Clemens’ love life, but Fox finds a girlfriend in the midst of the firestorm surrounding her.
As Fallon and Terrence were helped by those who came before them, they are committed to helping those who will follow, until the whole thing becomes a non-issue. This film will reach many young people they won’t get to touch personally. (Oct. 8, 6 p.m.)
In the Grayscale. There aren’t 50 shades of gray in this Chilean drama, but it’s repeatedly made clear that not everything in life is black or white.
This is a story of one of the Qs in LGBTQ. Bruno (Francisco Celhay) is a 30-something architect who takes a break from marriage and raising a 10-year-old son, moves into his grandfather’s workshop and takes some me time. (He says “I want to be alone” more than Garbo.)
Hired to design some kind of landmark by the kind of guy who gives rich people a bad name, Bruno is paired with Fer (Emilio Edwards), a historian and tour guide in his late 20s who is openly gay. Although it takes a while, Bruno and Fer come together faster than Bruno’s projects; but Bruno’s still not sure that’s what he wants. When Fer says “I hate happy endings,” it could be an omen.
Directed by first-timer Claudio Marcone, In the Grayscale develops at a slow pace that’s sometimes appropriate, sometimes annoying. Some plot elements, such as why the Santiago native would need a full-time consultant, are strained or fuzzy; but the acting is good, the basic story plausible (if frustrating, since we’re likely to side with Fer in wishing Bruno would make up his damn mind already), and the men have a hot sex scene about halfway through. Approached with reasonable expectations, In the Grayscale will deliver. (Oct. 8, 8:30 p.m.)
— Steve Warren
All screenings at the Ridglea Theater.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 2, 2015.