Preview: 40th Reeling Film Festival Brings LGBTQ+ Films, Filmmakers to Chicago Through October 6

The Second City finds itself home to the country’s second-longest running LGBTQ+ film festival in the form of Reeling Film Festival, celebrating its 40th iteration September 22 through October 2 (in person; October 6 virtually). Presented by Chicago Filmmakers, the local non-profit that hosts classes, screenings and events in their Andersonville headquarters, Reeling is hosted at multiple venues throughout its run, including an Opening Night Event at Music Box Theater and screenings at both the Chicago Filmmakers space and Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema. The festival opens with a U.S. premiere screening of The Shiny Shrimps Strike Back, French directors Cédric Le Gallo and Maxime Govare’s delightful follow-up to their 2019 comedy, The Shiny Shrimps (Reeling also featured that film).

According to the festival, this year’s event boasts 51 programs, including 37 feature films, 1 web series, and 13 short film programs, with films coming from 26 different countries. Screenings of note include advanced access to Bros, the new glossy gay comedy set to arrive in theaters September 30 (Reeling audiences can sneak a peek at the film on September 26); Please Baby Please, the kink-friendy, campy musical comedy from filmmaker Amanda Kramer starring Andrea Riseborough, Henry Melling and Demi Moore; and documentary Jimmy in Saigon, one filmmaker’s journey to understand the brother he lost in Vietnam. The full slate of festival screenings is available to explore online now.

One of the highlights of any film festival is often the opportunity to connect with filmmakers following their screenings, and Reeling’s 2022 edition features a number of guests scheduled to be in attendance. At Thursday’s opening night screening of The Shiny Shrimp Boys, co-director Cédric Le Gallo will attend the film, a post-screening Q&A and the festival’s opening night after party. Additional guests scheduled to attend include Ashton Pina (Director/Producer/Writer, Nana’s Boys); Nicholas Eliopoulos (Director, Celebrating Laughter: The Life and Films of Colin Higgins); Todd Flaherty and Wyatt Fenner (Director/Writer/Star and Star/Co-Lead, Chrissy Judy); Steven Kozlowski (Director, Two Eyes); Kit Williamson and Aubrey Peeples (Director/Star and Star, Unconventional); Fernando Andres and Tyler Rugh (Co-Directors/Co-Writers, Three Headed Beast); Connie Cocchia (Director/Producer/Screenwriter, When Time Got Louder); Julianna Notten (Director, Erin’s Guide to Kissing Girls); Kate Stilley Steiner (Co-Director, Prognosis: Notes on Living).

“Little did I imagine in 1981 that 40 years later our festival would still be going strong,” said Brenda Webb, founder of Reeling and Executive Director of Chicago Filmmakers, in a statement. “Though much has changed over four decades, much has not, reminding us that progress by no means follows a ‘straight’ line and festivals like Reeling still play an important role in ensuring a wide range of LGBTQ+ stories are seen and heard.”

Reeling Film Festival offers a number of ticketing options for attendance, from individual tickets for single films to ticket packages for 5- and 10-film sets or an All Access Pass to check out the bulk of the festival’s offerings. Learn more and purchase tickets in advance online.

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Lisa Trifone
Lisa Trifone
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