welcome to chechnya

Grisha (right) and Bogdan (left) on the run in the movie "Welcome To Chechnya."

Movies lend themselves to a streaming format, so organizers of the 27th annual Long Beach QFilm Festival had no qualms about moving the event online.

The only thing missing Sept. 10-13 will be the evening parties.

"We are excited that this year, Qfilms has the potential to not only reach our local community but also reach the LGBTQ community and our allies all around the world," festival founder Robert Cano said in a release.

Headlining movies include "Gossamer Folds," produced by and featuring Yeardley Smith of "The Simpsons." In it, a lonely boy strikes up a friendship with his transgender neighbor, Gossamer. There's also "Breaking Fast," and "Tahara."

A highlight will be the screening (streaming) of "Welcome to Chechnya," from the director of the Academy Award-nominated "How to Survive A Plague." Chechnya shadows a group of activists confronting the ongoing anti-LGBTQ pogrom in Russia.

Organizer Andy Perez said more than 40 new narrative, documentary and short films will be available during the festival. All will be available through the three days of the festival to those purchasing tickets.

“We made lemonade out of lemons this year,” said Andrew Dorado, interim executive director of The LGBTQ Center Long Beach. “COVID-19 was not going to stop The Center from presenting unique queer stories and storytellers while raising funds to serve the community.”

Tickets are $10 for each feature film or short film category, or $50 for an all-access pass. The popular short film group adds two categories this year — Queer Activist and Dance Like Everyone is Watching. The other categories are Women, Men, Queer & Trans, and Universal. The Universal category includes the "Welcome to Chechnya" documentary.

Festival organizers will continue the tradition of Jury and Audience prizes in several categories. Money raised will benefit The Center, which provides myriad services to the LGBTQ community in the greater Long Beach area.

For a full list of films, and to purchase access to them, go to www.QFilmsLongBeach.com.


Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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