Life’s a little different this year than last, or even as compared with three months ago. The film business has been disrupted as much as any, and film festivals are no exception. Fortunately, organizers are still finding ways to get films to the people who want to see them, and so now would be a good time to stop and reflect on how lucky you are to live in the age of streaming video.
In that spirit, the 13th annual QFest St. Louis is carrying on, pandemic or no pandemic, starting today. Forty films are included in this year’s festival—6 narrative features, 6 documentary features, and 28 shorts—all of which are available to stream at any time during the festival (June 19-28). During this virtual festival, you can watch the films at your convenience, armed with your favorite selection of snacks, from the comfort of your own home.
Full details are available from the festival web site, but here’s the basics:
- Individual tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for Cinema St. Louis members and students
- All-access passes are $75 for general admission, $60 for Cinema St. Louis members
- Viewing is on-demand for all programming, and once you beginning watching a program, it will be available to you for 24 hours
- Q&A’s with filmmakers will accompany many of the programs
- Access is limited to Missouri and Illinois
- Several programs will stream for free, including four shorts programs and the queer comedy series These Thems
We’ll be running reviews on this site over the course of the festival. In the meantime, here’s a few QFest 2020 films I’m especially looking forward to:
- The Capote Tapes, by first-time documentarian Ebs Burnough, which offers a new look at the life and career of Truman Capote. Central to this documentary are recently discovered interviews recorded by George Plimpton, some of which concern Capote’s infamous final novel, Answered Prayers.
- Carmilla, Emily Harris’ take on Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 vampire tale. Judging from the publicity materials, this one involves girls in nightgowns with long flowing hair in a candle-lit Gothic mansion, and also includes a repressed governess and a carriage crash—and what more could you ask for in a period lesbian story?
- Pier Kids, a documentary by Elegance Bratton focused on a group of homeless and queer and trans young people of color who hang out around Christopher Street Pier, managing to survive and even thrive in a world that is at best indifferent and at worst positively cruel to them. I’m a fan of both Paris is Burning (1991) and Kiki (2016), and am particularly interested in seeing how this community is faring given the increasing gentrification of lower Manhattan.
| Sarah Boslaugh