Chaotic artists, LGBTQ lives are the focus of DC Film Festival
A love affair between two Israeli high school girls and the career of former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank are among the gay stories explored on screen this month at the Washington Jewish Film Festival.
Running Feb. 24 to March 6, the festival will offer 69 films around the Washington area, including at the Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center, the festival’s home base.
“Rated LGBTQ” is the name of the festival’s series of narrative and documentary films on gay lives. The films “focus on Jewish identity through a LGBTQ lens,” said Ilya Tovbis, the festival’s director. “Collectively, they point to the range of LGBTQ experience.”
In Barash (Israel, 2015), director Michal Vinik tells the story of 17-year-old Naama Barash, who falls for the “wild girl” in school. Their affair plays out as Naama’s rebellious older sister goes AWOL from the army. The film underlines family dynamics in Israel, Tovbis said.
The irascible former member of Congress from Massachusetts is the subject of Compared to What? The Improbable Life of Barney Frank (USA, 2014). Directors Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler tell the story of Barney Frank, openly Jewish — but a closeted gay man for most of the Democrat’s political life, until he became one of the House’s first openly gay members. Frank, who the festival publicity material describes as “refreshingly honest,” will take part in a discussion following two showings of the documentary, with his husband, Jim Ready, and the filmmakers.
The hour-long documentary Third Person (Israel, 2015) spotlights the intersex population. At 35, the protagonist, Suzan, who was raised as a girl, learns that she was born with both male and female sex organs. In the film, “there are two story lines that are a mirror of one another,” Tovbis said.
The festival also will focus on creativity in the series “Reframing the Artist.”
Yona (Israel-Germany, 2014) is director Nir Bergman’s narrative film of the turbulent life of Hebrew poet Yona Wallach in the early 1960s.
Washington-area artist Miriam Beerman is at the center of the documentary Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos (USA, 2015), directed by Jonathan Gruber.
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