The sixth annual edition of Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival came to a close on Sunday night, September 22nd, 2013 with two packed houses and a new attendance record of over 5,000 people.
Cinema Diverse 2013 opened with Del Shores’ new film, Southern Baptist Sissies, in not one, but two sold out theatres at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs. “We sold out Theatre One very early,” Festival Director Michael C. Green said, “and we were getting so many requests, we asked the folks at the Camelot if we could screen the film concurrently in a second theatre. They agreed to let us, and by opening night, we’d filled that theatre as well, and still had people lined up to purchase any seats left open by pass holders that did not show up. In the end, we were able to get most of them in for the screening.”
Nor was the opening night event the only sold-out house at Cinema Diverse 2013. A number of other screenings were either sold-out, or close to sold-out, including Lewd and Lascivious, by local filmmaker Jallen Rix; OUT West, featuring Jennifer Elise Cox; Big Gay Love with local favorite Ann Walker; Official 2013 Sundance Selection, Pit Stop; I Am Divine, the new documentary by Jeffrey Schwartz; and Spanish Director, Antonio Hens’ visceral Cuban romance, The Last Match.
“We actually moved Sunday’s schedule for Theatre Two (around 225 seats) into the much larger Theatre One (over 500 seats) in order to accommodate the audiences.” Green said. “We could not be more pleased with the response to Cinema Diverse this year.
Festival Favorites abound.
Attendance was not the only record set this year at Palm Springs’ annual celebration of LGBT films and filmmakers. Audiences gave overwhelmingly high numbers to all the screenings, and chose a record number of Festival Favorites (16 Feature Films and 22 Shorts). To be a Festival Favorite, a film must score an average audience approval rating of 8.5 or higher on a scale from 1 to 10.
Feature films selected by audiences as Festival Favorites include Southern Baptist Sissies, Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land, Chicken Soup with Knives, Carl(a), Disturber of the Peace, Lewd and Lascivious, Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years: 1984-1992, Big Gay Love, Out West, What’s the “T”, Teach Your Children Well, In the Name Of (which also had the highest average among the favorites), Birthday Cake, In Harvie: Superhero, I Am Divine and The Last Match.
Audience picks as Festival Favorites among Short Films included Brighton, The Package, The Denied, Families are Forever, Dear Santa, Barbie Boy, Straight with You, Whispers of Life, Bakersfield, Earth, Way too Many Problems, Playing it Straight, Straight Talk, Cologne, Dry Dock, An Exchange, Greg's List, The Ugly Duckling, Lavender Hill, Being Stavros, Remember to Breathe, Scotty Works Out, Happy Birthday, and Born to Dance This Way.