Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe, Wonder Woman and James Franco are just three of the headliners at the 2013 Out Twin Cities Film Festival, ranked by the indie-film website Indiewire as one of the nation's premier gay film showcases. The five-day program features two dozen films, post-screening discussions with some of the filmmakers and cast members, and special receptions at the Graves 601 Hotel, the Gay 90's and Honey.
"This year we have different themes every night," said Chris Durant, the event's executive director. Wednesday's opening night is a celebration of Minnesota becoming the 12th state to legalize gay marriage. The evening's film, shown at the hotel at 6:30, is "Break Through," a documentary about theater students creating a play that addresses the issue of youth suicide among gays. Afterward Kluwe will speak via Skype about his support for marriage equality, and will be given an award honoring his contribution to those efforts locally.
The rest of the fest moves to St. Anthony Main Theater. Gender fluidity will be Thursday evening's theme. Friday brings a slate of female-oriented films. At 5 there's a screening of "Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines," an exploration of pop culture that isn't just for comic-book geeks. The documentary does an insightful job of showing how iconic figures like Wonder Woman have reflected the times they're crime-fighting in — and not always for the better.
Men's films are in focus Saturday. The recent Sundance entry starring James Franco, "Interior. Leather Bar." is a fictional companion piece to the 1980 Al Pacino film "Cruising." The controversial film, a police thriller set in New York City's wide-open gay bar scene, was shortened by 40 minutes to receive an R rating. The new film imaginatively re-creates those lost scenes and examines the issues their filming would have presented for gay and straight crew members three decades ago.
Gender-bending gay rocker Jobriath, sometimes called "the American Bowie," is the subject of "Jobriath AD." That screening (6:15 p.m. Sat.) will include a Q&A with director Kieran Turner.
John Waters' favorite cross-dressing actress, Divine, is the subject of "I Am Divine," showing at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. "As a young gay man in the 1960s, Harris Glenn Milstead endured a lot of bullying in school," Durant said. He created his outrageous alter ego "to express that different side of himself," achieving national celebrity before his death in 1988. Director Jeffrey Schwarz will present his film.
Also showing at 1 p.m. is "The Main," a Minnesota-made documentary celebrating the 30-year history of the first openly gay bar in the Twin Ports, the Main Club in Superior, Wis. Bar owner Bob Jansen and director Julie Casper Bluth will be on hand.
The danger of being gay in Uganda is the subject of the festival's closing film (9:30 p.m. Sun.), "Call Me Kuchu." The documentary, by Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright, reports on the dire situation in the African country where multiple attempts have been made to pass legislation allowing the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality."
For a complete listing of programs, event details, and tickets, visit www.outtwincitiesfilmfest.com.