First Published: February 2003
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.

For the second year running here at OutUK we're proud to be supporting the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank, writes OutUK Editor Mike Gray.
This year's LLGFF takes place between 2nd and the 16th April and then goes on tour, supported by OutUK, to more than 37 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland.

The OutUK team has created the official website which is packed with everything you need to know about the Festival programme together with news, information and exclusive online offers and competitions.

Yossi & Jagger paints a moving picture of gay love in the Israeli Army.
Guy Hornsby, OutUK Managing Director, says "The site we created last year was a tremendous success and we're confident that this year's website will once again provide a unique opportunity for Festival audiences and delegates to interact, as well as get continuously updated news about the Festival itself."


From star-stuffed big budget features like Laurel Canyon starring Francis McDormant, Christian Bale and Kate Beckinsale and The Laramie Project which boasts Christina Ricci, Peter Fonda and Steve Buscemi, to the vivid portrayal of political struggle in the South African documentary Simon and I, this 17th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival offers an astoundingly diverse range of queer cinema from across the world.

Co-Programmer Tricia Tuttle believes this is a result of the comparatively healthy state of gay and lesbian film-making. "Queer cinema is blossoming all over the world. There has been an explosion in Asian queer cinema in the last few years, and this year we have films from Iran, Israel and Sri Lanka...not something that happens too often!"

There were fears that after the end of the Clinton-era, US film-makers would become more wary of tackling gay and lesbian issues, but that hasn't happened.

"This year's gay and lesbian themed-films from Hollywood have actually just been so big and so successful that they've been released in time for the Awards season - The Hours, Far From Heaven, even something like Chicago has a queer appeal," says Tricia.

In You’ll Get Over It the charming, cute captain of the school swimming team seemingly has it all until a gay kiss changes everything.


The LLGFF always likes to take a historical perspective, and this year the focus is on the Queer 70s. The decade saw the release of remarkable films like Sunday Bloody Sunday and Butley together with camp classics like Myra Breckenridge, all being shown this year.

"The 1970's was an amazingly productive era and the political and social advances made by gay men and lesbians were definitely parallelled by greater visibility in the cinema. The self-loathing shame of a previous generation was still apparent but gradually became an out-dated period piece. Film-makers and audiences were both becoming more daring and the films generally do stand the test of time."

Another perspective is offered by the Club Kidz strand which examines the influence of club culture and the blurring of gender boundaries. From The Legend Of Leigh Bowery and a classic documentary featuring Isaac Julien and Jimi Somerville to contemporary club culture in action at Paraphernalia, Club Kidz charts the rebirth of a queer wonderland.

"Club Kidz had the leisure and creative will to make themselves into works of art," says LLGFF co-programmer Brian Robinson," The highpoint of the scene was the late 1980s but there seems to be a revival underway as younger lesbians and gay men grow bored of the dominant looks and want to become extraordinary again."

Go to the Festival this year and you could find yourself on film yourself. Director Marco Chiandetti, whose film A Portion of a Lady was in the LLGFF in 2000, will be filming at Festival venues. "We want a record of the people who come to the festival and their reactions, the special guests including film-makers, and the buzz and excitement of the LLGFF," says Tricia. "We'll be screening part of it at our party night at the ICA on Mon 14 Apr but there's a chance that an edited version could be screened at other international festivals around the world."


The Centrepiece Screenings focus on 21st century gay and lesbian lifestyles. "Luster is a quirky and delightful film about indie boys and girls in LA who are looking for love. They are part of a new generation of 20 something arty, bohemian queers who embrace a world beyond the mainstream. If you like boys with mohicans or contemporary indie music you'll like this one. Lisa Gornick's Do I Love You? is the first British lesbian feature in over a decade. It's got all the excitement and risk-taking of a debut feature and uses its London locations to great effect. It's refreshing to find a lesbian film that's made in Britain and Lisa Gornick is definitely a film-maker who is going places."
The Closing Gala Film should bring a warm glow to your heart. "Ma Vie is a really heartwarming film which charts a chapter in the life of Etienne. When he gets a video camera he can't stop obsessively recording his life, living in Rouen and going to a local high school. We get drawn in to every aspect of his life to such an extent that it's really quite an emotional film, which will remind anyone who's been through it what some of the traumas of adolescence are like."
Ma Vie is the Closing Night Gala film.
Tricia Tuttle also says the Opening Gala Film shouldn't be missed either. "Gasoline was a big hit at this year's Toronto Film Festival. It's sexy adult film-making that takes its cues from a film like Thelma & Louise though it's much edgier and more explicitly lesbian than this."

The 17th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival is not simply a two week celebration of queer cinema, but also offers a rare opportunity for us all to take stock, see where we've come from and where it looks like we're heading.

Full Festival information is on the official website


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