Chattanooga Film Festival Presents Shindig

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The inaugural Shindig: A Southern Celebration of Queer Cinema, presented by the Chattanooga Film Festival and Tennessee Valley Pride, announces its line-up of LGBTQ selections for the festival to be held Oct. 5, 6 and 7 at The Palace Picture House. 

The inaugural 2017 festival, curated by Shindig Festival Director Billy Ray Brewton, features a slate of narrative features, shorts, and acclaimed documentaries from across the United States and the globe. 

In addition to his role at Shindig, Mr. Brewton curated for Birmingham Shout and was also documentary programmer for the Slamdance Film Festival. The festival is co-run by Palace Picture House co-owner, Rose Cox, and Chattanooga Film Festival founder, Chris Dortch. 

Mr. Brewton says, "We are thrilled to be bringing an LGBTQ film festival to Chattanooga. It's not something a lot of people expect when they think of Chattanooga and we want to change minds one film at a time. It’s also an amazing opportunity to partner with Tennessee Valley Pride, who are committed to raising awareness, educating and strengthening the community and improving the human condition.” 

All films will be screened at The Palace Picture House, 818 Georgia Ave. Wristbands are $35 and individual tickets are $10. Oct. 5 will consist of a special screening with Oct. 6 consisting of the opening night film Princess Cyd, with a post-screening party, followed by a full day of screenings on Oct. 7. For more information and to buy a ticket, visit

Narrative Feature Competition  

Opening Night Centerpiece:
Princess Cyd - written and directed by Stephen Cone
Eager to escape life with her depressive single father, 16-year-old athlete Cyd Loughlin visits her novelist aunt in Chicago over the summer. While there, she falls for a girl in the neighborhood, even as she and her aunt gently challenge each other in the realms of sex and spirit. Cone is best known for his features The Wise Kids and Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, both currently available to stream on Netflix. 

Alaska is a Drag - written and directed by Shaz Bennett
Writer/Director Shaz Bennett will be in attendance for a Q&A following the film
Tough, but diva fabulous, Leo, an aspiring drag superstar, is stuck working in a fish cannery in Alaska. He and his twin sister are trapped in the monotony of fist fights and fish guts. Out of necessity, Leo learned to fight back, which catches the attention of the local boxing coach. When a new boy moves to town and wants to be his sparring partner, Leo has to face the real reason he's stuck in Alaska. Based on the hit short film and co-starring Matt Dallas (Kyle XY) and Margaret Cho. 

Thelma - co-written and directed by Joachim Trier
In Trier’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Louder Than Bombs, shy college student Thelma moves away from her religious family to attend college in Oslo. After experiencing a violent seizure, she becomes powerfully attracted to Anja, another woman on campus. As her passion becomes all-consuming and her behavior increasingly reckless, her seizures—a manifestation of some inexplicable paranormal abilities—intensify. Soon, Thelma must confront the terrifying implications. 

Saturday Church - written and directed by Damon Cardasis
After the recent death of his father, Ulysses’ mother Amara is always at work. Agreeing to keep an eye on Ulysses and his little brother, his stern and conservative Aunt Rose steps in to help out. Ulysses has begun experimenting with his sexuality and gender expression; his nights are full of stolen nylons and high heels. But Aunt Rose is having none of this so Ulysses flees the Bronx, finding refuge in the West Village, at a place where voguing is more important than sermons. He finds himself enthralled by a new group of colorful, streetwise friends who introduce him to the Ball community and teach him survival skills that he will need all too soon. 

A Closer Walk with Thee - directed by John Clark & Brie Williams
Co-Director John Clark will be in attendance for a Q&A following the film
Like The Exorcist as directed by Gregg Araki, this queer erotic horror-comedy follows Jordan, a young Christian missionary who gets caught watching his handsome pastor Eli in the shower. The house church ostracizes him until Eli (who happens to be a fledgling exorcist) suggests it may be demonic possession that's giving Jordan his ungodly urges. What starts as an exorcism to save their friendship quickly descends into psychosexual madness. 

Documentary Feature Competition  

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson - directed by David France (How to Survive a Plague)
This documentary uses never-before-seen footage and rediscovered interviews in a search for the truth behind the mysterious 1992 death of black transgender activist and Stonewall veteran Marsha P. Johnson. 

Quest - directed by Jonathan Olshefski
Filmed with vérité intimacy for almost a decade, QUEST is the moving portrait of an American family living in North Philadelphia. Beginning at the dawn of the Obama presidency, parents Christopher "Quest" Rainey, and his wife, Christine'a "Ma Quest" Rainey raise a family while navigating the poverty and strife that grips their neighborhood. They nurture a community of artists in their basement home music studio, but even this creative sanctuary can't always keep them safe. Epic in scope, Quest is a vivid illumination of race and class in America, and a testament to love, commitment, healing and hope. 

Alabama Bound - directed by Lara Embry & Carolyn Sherer
Alabama Bound explores the legal roller-coaster ride of LGBTQ family rights in the South over the last decade.  The film offers an intimate view into the lives of three lesbian families in Alabama as they set precedents and fight the courts for their children during the time that federal marriage equality comes to a head. This is the story of a powerful community living with both frustration and hope in a conservative state, where the line between church and state is often blurred. 

Mansfield 66/67 - directed by Todd Hughes & P. David Ebersole (Hit So Hard)
Mansfield 66/67 is about the last two years of movie goddess Jayne Mansfield's life and the rumors swirling around her untimely death being caused by a curse after her alleged romantic dalliance with Anton LaVey, head of the Church of Satan. 

Awards will be given out to the best films from the following categories: Narrative Features, Documentary Features, and Short Films. The jury consists of filmmakers, professionals, and LGBTQ activists from across the country, including: Melanie Addington (Oxford Film Festival), Stewart Wade (director, Such Good People), Jon Matthews (documentary filmmaker), Gina Mallisham (Birmingham Shout Film Festival), Myke Kelly (Tennessee Valley Pride), Ben Hethcoat (producer, Marketplace), Dan Hass (producer, AwesomenessTV), Andrea Krauss (Here Media), and Summre Garber (Slamdance Film Festival).  

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