The Eighth annual edition of Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival called it a wrap on Sunday night, September 20th, 2015, with strong attendance, a record number of screenings, and a ‘diverse’ selection of audience favorites.
“We screened thirty one feature films this year, fifty one short films, and thirty new media selections,” said Michael C. Green, Festival Director, and Managing Director of The Palm Springs Cultural Center. “That's an incredible number of screenings in just three days (plus our opening night screening)."
"Even more important to us, though, is that our audience surveys continue to indicate a very high level of audience satisfaction. Attendees gave over two thirds of our feature films an eight or higher on a scale of one to ten, and our two top scoring films, BETTER HALF and FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, both scored 9.6.
BETTER HALF, a relative newcomer to the festival circuit that focuses on gay adoption, and the loss of a partner, screened to a sold out house on Saturday afternoon and had audience members raving about it for the rest of the festival. FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, a documentary by filmmaker, Sharon Shattuck, seeks to unearth her biggest childhood mystery: how her transgender father Trisha and her straight-identified mother Marcia stayed together."
Short Films and New Media Selections had similar results when it came to audience approval ratings, with scores as high as 9.9 and 9.8 in both areas. "We knew we had some really great programs in both areas," said Shann Carr, Associate Festival Director and Director of New Media. "And our audiences really confirmed that for us."
Green agreed. "We work hard to create cohesive collections of shorts. We also work hard to pair the short films and features we decide to screen together. Audiences really enjoy being able to see a short, followed by a feature, and have been particularly complimentary of our pairings."
Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival, which one writer in San Francisco described as "the Academy Awards of Gay Movies,” has been growing consistently over the last several years, and has become a particular favorite for filmmakers and journalists alike.
“Every year, we have seen the number of filmmakers, producers, directors, writers, cinematographers, actors, and LGBTQ journalists that come out for the festival increase,” Green continued. “And now that we've added the New Media segment, the interest among creators of LGBTQ web-based content will also grow. We had over a hundred people come out to attend the New Media Program in our very first year.
Festival Favorites abound.
Of the thirty one feature films that were screened in 2015, twenty five earned the Festival Favorite moniker. They include Better Half, From This Day Forward, She's The Best Thing In It, Upstairs Inferno, Godless, Liz in September, Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story, Those People, Winning Dad, Perfect Obedience, Reel in the Closet, The Cult of JT LeRoy, The Surface, Zen and the Art of Dying, Raven's Touch, Gazelle - The Love Issue, Paternity Leave, Hush Up Sweet Charlotte, Death in Buenos Aires, The Summer of Sangaile, Eisenstein in Guanajuato, Like You Mean It and Proxy
Audiences selected thirty one shorts as Festival Favorites. These include If We Took A Holiday, Reinventing the Reel, Pretty Boy, 11 Life Lessons From an Awesome Old Dyke, If You Could Only Be You, Barrio Boy, Scotty & Josh Get Enlightened, Britney-Holics Anonymous, Tomorrow, When Mom Visits, Closets, I Do, Dive, Physical Attraction, Don't Bring Scott, Better Man, TransJourney, Chance, The Standoff, hopefulROMANTIC, Perpetual, Tits, YOU. ME. BATHROOM. SEX. NOW., Queer Knitter in the Queen City, To Mum (Love, Me), More of Last Night, My Life in Dance, The Kite, Goodbye, Charlie, Ladies and Gentlemen: Phatima Rude and The Baby Cries.
New Media Selections also made it into Cinema Diverse's Festival Favorites Program this year, with sixteen of them making it into the category. They include The Transgender Project, Where the Bears Are, Somewhere In Palm Springs, Digicom's Bullying Short, Wallflowers, The New Media Panel Discussion, Girls Like Girls, Day Drunk Gays, Producing Juliet, Proud To Love, I Like Myself, Mentor, Plus One, A Series Of Impossibilities, F to 7th, and Trailing.
Parties a Plenty.
Cinema Diverse continued its long-standing tradition of inviting audiences and filmmakers alike into “after parties” at a number of local venues. The Opening Night after party found revelers at Appetito Cal Italian Deli for delicious hors d’oeuvres and an amazing good time. Friday night, after a full day of screenings, audience members and filmmakers were treated to the sights, sounds and signature dishes of The Purple Room, where MACHIN’ kept the crowd dancing with delight. Saturday night, the crowd was off to Tropicale for great food and drink (including their ever so delectible Buttermilk Fried Chicken). Finally, after the last films of the day, guests were greeted by cocktail specials and a variety of delicious passed hors d’oeuvres at LULU California Bistro.
“Everyone looks forward to our after parties,” said Green. “Each of our sponsor venues provides over the top food, service, atmosphere and entertainment. This year every one of them was off the charts!”
Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival is a Palm Springs Cultural Center Program.
The 2015 Edition of Cinema Diverse was presented by The City of Palm Springs, HERE Media, HERE TV, Desert Regional Medical Center, and the Caliente Tropics Hotel.
See a complete list of sponsors at: http://cinemadiverse.org/page/cinema-diverse-is-proud-to