QFest St. Louis 2024 | Preview

The 17th Annual QFest St. Louis begins this Friday and runs from April 26-28 and May 3-5, with all screenings at the Hi-Pointe Theatre. This year’s program features 27 films from Australia, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, including 4 narrative features, 5 documentary features, 11 narrative shorts and 7 documentary shorts.

QFest kicks off on Friday, April 26 with the Midwest premiere of Jan Miller Corran’s Concerto for Abigail. This narrative film features Monica Young as Samantha Porter, a successful jazz pianist who has recently received some particularly unwelcome news: she’s losing her hearing and she soon will become completely deaf. To make things really complicated, Samantha has a new love interest in the form of Abigail (Andrea Bogart), who really loves Samantha’s music. The screening will be preceded by a reception from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, and the director and three actors from the film will be present.

Three programs will be presented on Saturday, April 27. First up at 1 pm is Claudia Ymi Sanchez’s documentary TransMexico, which looks at the lives of transwomen in Mexico. While life is not always easy—transphobia is common in Mexico, and the country has one of the highest rates of the murder of transwomen in the world—some have found ways to not only survive but to thrive. TransMexico won the audience Choice Award at the 2024 Santa Barbara International Festival and was also a popular hit at last year’s St. Louis International Film Festival. The screening will be followed by a discussion of what it means to be young and queer in St. Louis in 2024. At 4 pm, “What is Love?”, a program of narrative shorts from India and the United States (free, but you must register for tickets) explores queer love in the contemporary world. At 7 pm, Bobby Best’s documentary Tens Across the Board offers a look at ballroom culture in St. Louis. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with director Best and what promises to be a unique experience, as the Hi-Pointe will be transformed into a ballroom featuring music and dancers from the film.

QFest on Sunday, April 28 features two programs. At 1 pm the shorts program “Love on the Edge” (free, but you must register for tickets) includes films from Iran, the United Kingdom, and the United States exploring a variety of topics, from gender identity to spirituality. The second program, at 4 pm, includes two films that take a look at body image in the queer community. In the documentary Body Electric, director Nick Demos considers body dysmorphia through a personal lens, while the narrative feature Aligned, directed by Apollo Bakopoulos, explores the journey of a young dancer (Dimitris Fritzelas) and his evolving relationship with his dance partner (Panos Malakos). Bakopoulos won the Best Producer Award at the 2023 Brooklyn Film Festival for Aligned and Malakos won the Kim Renders Outstanding Performance Award at the 2024 Reelout Queer Film + Video Festival for his work in this film.

On Friday, May 3, QFest 2024 will screen the queer road movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at 7 pm. In case you’ve someone missed out on this popular (and award-winning) classic, it follows three Australian drag queens (Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, and Terence Stamp; the latter’s character is a trangender woman) as they journey from Sydney to Alice Springs to perform at a resort hotel. Hijinks and life lessons ensue. The screening will be followed by a QFest party at Platypus.

QFest offers three programs on Saturday, May 4. A 1pm, the documentary shorts program “Love & Hope & Dreams” (free, but you must register for tickets) presents short films from Australia, Tunisia, and the United States exploring everything from the Texas Gay Rodeo Association to the life of LGBTQ+ activist Urvashi Vaid. At 4 pm, QFest will screen Pariah, the feature debut of director Dee Rees (who went on to become the first Black woman to be nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay, for Mudbound). Pariah features Adepero Oduye as Alike, a teenage Brooklyn lesbian finding her way in the world while resisting the attempts of her mother (Kim Wayans) to force her to present herself in a more conventionally feminine manner. The film will be followed by a discussion moderated by Merlin Bell about being Black and queer in 2024 St. Louis.

On Sunday, May 5, Burcu Melekoglu and Vuslat Karan’s Blue ID will be screened at 4 pm. This documentary follows Rüzgar Erkoçlar, a well-known Turkish actor previously known as Nil Erkoçlar, through his gender transition/affirmation. This journey is not easy in a country where homophobia and transphobia are common, but, as the title suggests, there are also triumphs to be celebrated along the way. Blue ID won the Audience Award at the 2022 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. The final film of QFest 2024 is Markus Stein’s documentary Baldiga, Unlocked Heart (7 pm), which explores the life and work of photographer Jürgen Baldiga, best known for documenting the West Berlin queer scene of the 1980s and 1990s. Baldiga, Unlocked Heart was nominated for two prizes at the 2024 Berlin International Film Festival: the Panorama Audience Award and the Teddy for Best Documentary/Essay Film. | Sarah Boslaugh

Qfest 2024 runs April 26-28 and May 3-5 at the Hi-Pointe Theatre (1005 McCausland Ave, St Louis). Information about programming, ticket prices and passes is available from the festival web site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *