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This year's Another Hole in the Head Film Fest, the 16th edition of a splendid little horror-film fest, comes with a distinctly queer accent: a queer feature and a handful of LGBTQ-themed shorts. It runs Dec. 1-15 at San Francisco's New People Cinema, 1746 Post St. in Japantown.
"X" Director Scott J. Ramsey invites us to a masquerade party where the hostess and some of the guests are concealing more than just their faces. This one builds slowly with kinky foreplay among a collection of spoiled trust-fund babies. It seems to be aimed at what was once thought of as an upscale metrosexual crowd. If you attend, sit up close, as some of the dialogue is barely audible. Sample dialogue: "You can fuck someone silly and never really know them." "Well, my dear, I came to save you from a gluten overdose." (12/3)
LGBTQ Shorts: "Put Your Feet Up" Peter Horgan's amusing short pokes fun at a woman who answers an ad on Craigslist and starts a dialogue with a pleasant, heavyset young man. Best line: "Who's Kinsey?" (20 mins., B&W)
"Artemio's Loneliness Vol. 1" Director Juan Carlos R. Larrondo's docudrama is a perceptive tour of Mexico City porn theaters and gay cruising sites. Artemio is a 50-something cashier from Hidalgo who longs for male companionship. His life changes when he meets Octavio, a beautiful young man, on the Metro. A perfect short dip into the nightlife of the city. Great production values include the soundtrack music, "A Place to Bury Strangers."
"My Girl(s)" Olivia Dorrance puts a witty spin on the suburban lesbian dating scene with the story of Kyle (the brash Maya Alter), who ignores the real affection of her roommate Lucy (Mia Cohen) in order to play the field. "I've hooked up with a lot of people. It doesn't mean I'm inherently immoral." The piece ends with a great verbal spat on the way to the airport. Strong writing and cast mean this one has full-length feature potential.
"Strawberry Night" Chinese director Yusha Chen delivers a sensual love story between two women that is interrupted most beautifully by the sudden appearance of a mutual friend, a lonely gay man. (25 mins., subtitles)
"Clouds" Another strong argument for Ukrainian autonomy from the Trump-Putin axis of evil comes in director Anna Buryachkova's passionate six-minute music video. Inspired by the real-life story of a young trans woman from Belarus, it has prompted a Ukrainian media company to start a campaign encouraging parents not to abandon their LGBTQ kids.
"Reshaping Beauty: Round in All the Right Places" Tom Goss offers a forum for gay men normally thought of as bears.
"Stalls" What can you say about opera and men's room stalls in four minutes? Director Joao Dall'Stella's deftly shot (by cinematographer Aakash Rai) "situation comedy" nails it. With Timothy Scott and Matt Gogin as the handsome restroom models, performing to Verdi's "Semper Libera." Bravo!