The 2017 Twist: Seattle Queer Film Festival offers a strong selection of queer films, with a mix of big names, local gems, and things decidedly off the beaten path. You have just two weeks (October 12-22) to catch as many as you can.

While it’s hard to go too wrong, here’s my own personal recommendations of what you shouldn’t miss. (I’m sure I will miss at least one amazing film, so you should definitely check out the full schedule.) I recommend you take this opportunity to not only see things you strongly relate to (don’t get me wrong, I love a good snarky drama about gay Jews in New York), but explore perspectives outside your own and catch at least one evening of short films.

Thursday, Oct 12

The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin
Thursday, Oct 12 / 7:15pm
SIFF Cinema Uptown

The Tales of the City series of books as well as the miniseries inspired many young, intrepid queer folk to venture out from their small towns and try San Francisco (or other liberal meccas). I’m interested to see where those stories come from, how much is autobiographical, and what sort of life inspired his art in this opening night documentary. (Don’t miss the opening night gala at KEXP.)

Friday, Oct 13

Something Like Summer
Friday, Oct 13 / 6:45pm
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Jetspace editor Robert Roth gave this a great review. This film goes beyond the usual coming-of-age stories, and has already won several film festival awards. Don’t miss it!

Queer Ghost Hunters
Friday, October 13 / 9:45pm
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

I’m drawn in by this one because it sounds original. I’m wondering what the queer experience brings to hunting for paranormal activity. (We got a glimpse of it with Kate McKinnon in Ghostbusters, and I want more!)

Saturday, Oct 14

The Feels
Saturday, Oct 14 / 2:15pm
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Constance Wu, from the TV show Fresh Off the Boat, stars in this film about a bachelorette weekend among a primarily lesbian group. Ever Mainard won Outfest 2017’s Best Actress award. I’m interested in the improvisational style and seeing more female buddy comedies.

Saturday, Oct 14 / 4:30pm
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

I’m featuring this one because it’s apparently the first transgender film made in Japan, which is notable. Variety had positive things to say, calling it “a nuanced, softly lit family portrait, with compassion and conflict held carefully in balance.” Worth a look!

Sunday, Oct 15

Saturday Church
Sunday, Oct 15 / 7:00pm
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

This centerpiece film is a musical that includes voguing and what looks like a fictional tale of the New York ball scene. It’s won several awards at different film festivals and looks fascinating. Also of note is Kate Bornstein’s presence in the film, a fascinating writer and individual.

Monday, Oct 16

The Haunting with BenDeLaCreme
Monday, Oct 16 / 9:15pm
Broadway Performance Hall

Our local treasure and RuPaul’s Drag Queen star BenDeLaCreme hosts a screening of classic horror film The Haunting. I’m sure DeLa won’t hold back on hilarious commentary.

Wednesday, Oct 18

Apricot Groves
Wednesday, Oct 18 / 7:00pm
SIFF Cinema Egyptian

Apricot Groves has received incredible reviews in past screenings (currently an 8.9 on IMDB). There aren’t many Middle Eastern queer films, so I’m interested in explorations of being queer from that perspective, an exploration of being trans and how that’s reflected in more traditional family and culture. It sounds like one not to miss.

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson
Wednesday, Oct 18 / 9:15pm
Northwest Film Forum

I am hesitant to recommend this film wholeheartedly, although I’ve heard great things from its appearance at SIFF and from Netflix viewers. There’s some controversy around it’s origins and appropriation. But the story is still important gay history. To their credit, Twist has acknowledged this controversy and removed the ticket price from this film.

Friday, Oct 20

Friday, Oct 20 / 6:45pm
AMC Pacific Places

Another centerpiece film and a Northwest premiere, this French film won the Grand Prix, Queer Palm and Film Critics’ Awards at the Cannes Film Festival. I’m interested to see how the film juxtaposes the music at the heart of the title with a fictional telling of gay history in the ‘90s.

Alaska is a Drag
Friday, Oct 20 / 9:45pm
AMC Pacific Place

This is based on a short film that I saw in a previous film festival, which I really enjoyed. Seeing the life of a small-town Alaska fellow in his job at a cannery and then his dual life as an aspiring boxer and drag queen, it begged to be expanded into a feature, and I expect great things. It also features a great cast including Margaret Cho and Matt Dallas.

Saturday, Oct 21

Saturgay Morning Cartoons
Saturday Oct 21 / 12:15pm
AMC Pacific Place

I love the title, and seeing queer cinema through an animation lens brings a level of creativity that’s hard to match.

Sunday, Oct 22

Freak Show
Sunday, Oct 22 / 7:00pm
AMC Pacific Place

James St. James is certainly a compelling figure as writer, personality and former club kid, probably best known as Michael Alig’s friend and for writing Disco Bloodbath. His young adult novel about an unconventional “transvisionary gender obliviator” high school student running for homecoming queen should make an interesting adaptation to say the least, particularly with a cast that includes Bette Midler and Laverne Cox. This is also the closing night of the festival.

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