A Critic's Notebook: Top 5 Picks for the Out on Film Festival

Image The 26th annual Out on Film Festival begins on Thursday, October 3, and runs through Thursday, October 10, with screenings at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. It's a pretty massive event, running for an entire week, featuring close to 50 films plus discussion panels, artist appearances, and parties, all of them celebrating the presence and contributions of LGBT people in cinema.

Everyone's bound to have their own picks for what they think will be the highlights of this year's event (for a complete schedule visit the website), but here are my own Top Five critic's picks for 'best of the fest.'

5. I Am Divine, Saturday, October 5, 7:05 pm

This year's festival won't just be fabulous, it will be Divine. This 2013 documentary traces the life of chubby misfit Harris Glenn Milstead who transforms into the outrageous drag queen Divine, star of such John Waters' cult classics as Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Hairspray, and Female Trouble. Producer Eric Weber will be in attendance.

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4. Test, Sunday, October 6, 5:00 pm

Test focuses on the lives of young dancers living in San Francisco at the height of the early days of the AIDS epidemic. The New York Times called the moody, evocative drama one of the strongest entries at this year's NewFest at Lincoln Center. An interesting note: The choreography in the film is by New York-based choreographer Sidra Bell, whose company performed at the Goat Farm Arts Center's contemporary dance season Tanz Farm last December, and will visit this year again from December 12-15.

3. I Always Said Yes: The Many Lives of Wakefield Poole Thursday, October 3, 9:15 pm ENCORE SHOWING Thursday, October 10, 2:30 pm

This 2013 documentary harks back to the 1970s and the days when legitimate film directors tried to bring a bit of artiness to porn. Wakefield Poole had enormous success with the release of his legendary film Boys in the Sand, but the director later struggled to repeat that success and found it difficult to return to his earlier work in 'legitimate' film and theater. The director of the documentary, Jim Tushinski, will be in attendance.

2. Gore Vidal, The United States of Amnesia, Sunday, October 6, 11:00 am

A thought-provoking, surprisingly funny and touching 2013 documentary focusing on the life of writer and all-around curmudgeon Gore Vidal, the "last lion of the age of American liberalism."

1.__--Harry Potter and the Beatniks of Fire Kill Your Darlings, Tuesday, October 8, 9:10 pm

Daniel Radcliffe stars in this film about that golden age in American literary history when all the writers were hunky young dreamboats (which was also the subject of Howl starring James Franco). Radcliffe plays Allen Ginsberg, Ben Foster is young William Burroughs, Dane DeHaan is Lucien Carr, and Jack Huston is Jack Kerouac. I couldn't get a DVD screener to have a look at this one, which is usually not a good sign, but just go ahead and admit you're kind of curious. Out on Film managed to snag this puppy in advance of its theatrical release October 18.--__

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