10 Best LGBTQ Films of 2016
Let’s face it, 2016 was not the best year for all of us, but before we move on to 2017, let’s take a look at some of the good things that happened. Here are some of my favorite LGBTQ films that were released in 2016. Several of these films were featured at the Reel Affirmations Film Festival held every year in Washington DC. I’ve included my 10 favorite movies & documentaries from 2016 but of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Share your favorite queer films in the comment section below.
A young man deals with his dysfunctional home life and comes of age in Miami during the “War on Drugs” era. The story of his struggle to find himself is told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love while grappling with his own sexuality.
Howard Brookner was buried on his thirty-fifth birthday in 1989. He was gay; an Ivy League graduate; broke artist; rising Hollywood star; heroin user; jet-setter; bohemian; seedy nightlife lover; director of cult docs; an honest and devoted friend – he was many things to many people. To director Aaron Brookner, he was a loving and inspirational uncle who died of AIDS when Aaron was only seven, right when Howard was on the brink of a promising filmmaking career. Uncle Howard is an intertwining tale of past and present, the story of filmmaker Howard Brookner whose work captured the late 70’ s and early 80’s cultural revolution – and his nephew’s personal journey 25 years later to discover his uncle’s films and the legacy of a life cut short by the plague of AIDS.
It’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee (newcomer Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend (James Ransone, STARLET, “Generation Kill”) hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the working girl and her best friend, Alexandra (newcomer Mya Taylor), embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles, including an Armenian family dealing with their own repercussions of infidelity. Director Sean Baker’s prior films (STARLET, PRINCE OF BROADWAY) brought rich texture and intimate detail to worlds seldom seen on film. TANGERINE follows suit, bursting off the screen with energy and style. A decidedly modern Christmas tale told on the streets of L.A., TANGERINE defies expectation at every turn.
When hot shot, Wall Street dealmaker Jai thinks of putting some pleasure into his 48 hour business trip to Mumbai, Sahil, his young, music-producer friend, drops everything, including his reckless boyfriend Alex, to help him execute the perfect getaway. Hiking the hills and canyons of Maharashtra, amidst half-attempted conversations and sudden silences, business calls and old jokes, the friends discover there is more than just time-zones keeping them apart. Things take another turn when Alex shows up with a new male-companion at his side, throwing up old conflicts and bringing unanswered questions to the fore.
On her way to the store with a group of friends, Chrishaun Reed “CeCe” McDonald was attacked. In fighting for her own life, a man was killed. After a coercive interrogation, CeCe was incarcerated in a men’s prison in Minnesota. An international campaign to free CeCe garnered significant support from media and activists, including actress and executive producer Laverne Cox. Laverne uses her platform to explore the roles race, class, and gender played in CeCe’s case.
SUITED follows its subjects—clients seeking a personalized experience—into the minimalist office space of Bindle & Keep, a bespoke tailoring company based in Brooklyn that caters to a diverse LGBTQ community and looks beyond the gender binary, creating custom-made suits for gender-nonconforming and transgender clients. Clothier duo Rae and Daniel take a holistic approach to their work, considering each client’s personal narrative, which becomes inextricable from the creation of the perfect suit.
Strike a Pose
In 1990, seven young male dancers – 6 gay, 1 straight – joined Madonna on her most controversial tour. On stage and in the iconic film Truth or Dare they showed the world how to express yourself. Now, 25 years later, they reveal the truth about life during and after the tour. Strike a Pose is a dramatic tale about overcoming shame and finding the courage to be who you are.
Women who Kill
Commitment phobic Morgan and her ex-girlfriend Jean are locally famous true crime podcasters obsessed with female serial killers. There’s a chance they may still have feelings for each other, but co-dependence takes a back seat when Morgan meets the mysterious Simone during her Food Coop shift. Blinded by infatuation, Morgan quickly signs up for the relationship, ignoring warnings from friends that her new love interest is practically a stranger. When Jean shows Morgan proof that Simone may not be who she says she is, Morgan accuses Jean of trying to ruin the best thing that’s ever happened to her. But as she and Simone move into commitment territory, Morgan starts to notice red flags — maybe Jean was right and Simone isn’t as perfect as Morgan’s made her out to be.
Pushing Dead is a warm and magnetic comedy drama from Director Tom E. Brown. The film follows a struggling poet and writer named Dan Schauble (played by James Roday), who has been HIV positive for 22 years. He splits his San Francisco flat with his dear friend Paula (Robin Weigert), who is more like a sister than a friend to Dan.
Forbidden: Undocumented and Queer in Rural America
Growing up in rural North Carolina, Moises Serrano fell in love with a country that refused to recognize his full humanity – both as an undocumented immigrant and as a gay man. The documentary project Forbidden follows Moises’ personal journey as an activist fighting for the American Dream.