Dallas Video Fest gets a little queer

The Dallas Video Festival kicked off Wednesday, but they saved the gay content for this weekend. Here are some highlights.
For a complete schedule and more information, visit VideoFest.org.

Our New Family. Dallas-based documentarians and life partners James Dowell (pictured far left) and John Kolomvakis (pictured near left) have made movies about other gay people (Sleep in a Nest of Flames about poet Charles Henri Ford, The Stages of Edward Albee about the playwright), but they turn the cameras on themselves for this memoir of their efforts to become fathers through surrogacy well past middle-age.

Through archive footage, which shows James and John as handsome young hippies at the dawn of Stonewall, the film tracks their family histories, as well as how the conventional mores of 1950s Texas shaped their understandings of family identity. Those scenes are juxtaposed against their efforts to conceive with a generous surrogate, who eventually gives birth to twin sons. Including interviews with local gay luminaries like Dennis Coleman, Our New Family is part home movie, part social document tracking “the love that dare not speak its name” up to same-sex marriage. With the repeal this week of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” it brings into relief just how far we have come.

Screens Sept. 24 at noon at the Angelika Film Center Mockingbird Station.

Fourplay: San Francisco. A trans “therapist” visits a dying heterosexual man, to give him a bi-curious experience before he passes. This unusual and occasionally sexually explicit short turns what is basically an escort call into a poignant and oddly romantic encounter, aided by a lush and soaring musical underscore and honest performances.
Screens Sept. 24 at 3:45 p.m. at Hyena’s Comedy Club at Mockingbird Station with the “Strange Ones” shorts program.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens