The holidays start a little early for one film-obsessed couple. "One of the most beautiful comments I've ever received was from one of our diehard fans. He said that he and his partner consider our film festival to be the opening of their holiday season each year: Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival, Thanksgiving and then Christmas."
That quote comes from Kevin Kelly, who's overseeing the 14th edition of the annual festival, which is not only the city's sole showcase for LGBT film, but also a non-profit, fundraising event for the Indiana Youth Group.
And because it's a fundraiser, Kelly tries to keep overhead low. "No, it's not a one-man show at all," he's careful to say, but the office is in his house and he puts 10 months of labor into a single weekend's worth of screenings. Still, he credits graphic designer Matt Mutchmore and social media director Annette Marino for their efforts — noting that other fests like Mutchmore's work so much they've just gone ahead and stolen it for their own marketing materials — and points to a core of volunteers.
What have audiences clamored to see over the past 13 years? "The feedback I hear the most of is 'I love the short films,'" Kelly says. "We have two short films programs: one for men, and one for women. We schedule them at different times, because we have fans that like to see all the short films, no matter who they are designed for."
Five to see, according to Kevin Kelly
Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m. Such Good People
"We have discovered that feel good comedies do well for us on opening night, and this film fits that bill." Starring Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) and Randy Harrison (Queer As Folk).
Nov. 8, 2:15 p.m. If We Took a Holiday (part of Gay Shorts)
"My favorite film of the festival. It's about a struggling actress who impersonates Madonna for the day as a birthday gift for her gay best friend. The day doesn't exactly go the way they planned it. I've watched it everyday for the past month, it makes me laugh. I love it so much I gave it my Director's Award."
Nov. 8, 2:30 p.m. BFFs
"A charming buddy comedy about two women who go to a weekend at a couple's retreat. There's a fun twist at the end that the audience won't see coming."
Nov. 8, 6 p.m. Valley of the Dolls (featuring the Indy Pride Bag Ladies)
"A lot of film festivals play cult classic films that are popular within the LGBT community and have had a lot of success with them. We've been wanting to try it for a while now. It's a great film with lots of quotable dialogue."
Nov. 9, 4:15 p.m. To Be Takei
"It's funny and moving, and is all about his incredible journey from being a science fiction star to becoming a gay icon. He's really a wonderful person, and I'm so proud that we are able to show this film."