Promising films, local and foreign add gay appeal to film festival

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Executive Editor
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The Dallas International Film Festival begins its 13th iteration this week, with seven days of screenings of features, shorts and documentaries of all kinds … and among them, several gay-themed entries. But while the festival — by its name — is “international,” some of the most prominent queerness is highly local.

First, the Texas stuff:

One queer short (which screens as part of the Narrative Shorts 3 program) is Chicle, which deals with a teenaged Latina and the unexpected visitor on the day of her grandfather’s funeral. It is directed by DFW-based filmmaker Lizette Barrera. (It debuted last month at SXSW.)

Mack Wrestles (which screens as part of the Documentary Shorts 2 program) is about a trans boy from Euless who struggles for acceptance despite his athletic prowess.

The Queen’s New Clothes (which screens as part of the Documentary Shorts 1 program) profiles out 90-year-old costume designer Winn Morton, who prepares outrageous outfits for small-town Texas pageants. Also in that program, but from farther away, is Lasting Marks, a short about the effects of Thatcher’s Britain on her LGBT constituents.

Which leads us into some overseas features with gay content.

Diamantino is a goofy sports fantasy rom Portugal about the world’s greatest soccer player, who loses his gift only to discover the real meaning of life. (Look for a review next week.)

Sorry Angel, pictured above, is a queer romance from French filmmaker Christopher Honoré. Set in Paris in 1993 during the height of the AIDS epidemic, it profiles an HIV-positive writer who meets a spirited young man and finds hope just as his diagnosis would indicate something more dire.

Also of interest to local queer filmgoers: Running with Beto (which I saw at SXSW) profiles El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s campaign to become the first Democrat elected to state-wide office in Texas in more than a generation, when he took on Canadian-born Sen. Rafael “Ted” Cruz…. International Falls, the film adaptation of North Texas-based writer-actor Thomas Ward’s play International Falls, which debuted at WaterTower Theatre several years ago…. and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which profiles serial killer Ted Bundy (played by Zac Efron) from the perspective of his devoted girlfriend. The feature is directed by documentarian Joe Berlinger, whose nonfiction series Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes — which prominently features Dallas journalist Hugh Aynesworth — is currently streaming on Netflix.

The 13th Dallas International Film Festival runs April 11–18 at Landmark’s Magnolia Theater in the West Village. For more information and a complete lineup, visit DallasFilm.com.