Reeling Announces Visiting Talent For 37th LGBTQ+ Film Festival

Reeling Announces Visiting Talent For 37th  LGBTQ+ Film Festival 1 Reeling, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ film festival, will host international, national and local actors and filmmakers at its 37th edition, unspooling September 19-29 at Music Box Theatre, Landmark Theatres’ Century Centre Cinema and Chicago Filmmakers. Just announced: actor Mark Patton, the star of 1985’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge and subject of the new documentary SCREAM, QUEEN! will be in attendance for closing night. A complete Reeling schedule of features and shorts can be found on the website

Reeling, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ film festival, will host international, national and local actors and filmmakers at its 37th edition, unspooling September 19-29 at Music Box Theatre, Landmark Theatres’ Century Centre Cinema and Chicago Filmmakers. Just announced: actor Mark Patton, the star of 1985’s A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge and subject of the new documentary SCREAM, QUEEN! will be in attendance for closing night. A complete Reeling schedule of features and shorts can be found on the website

Saturday, September 21

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Yoav’s demons start haunting him after his best friend becomes pregnant, and after his boyfriend of 15 years starts talking about children, too. His life unravels, and self-destruction seems inevitable. Yuval Hadadi has written and directed a searing, insightful drama that offers a telling portrait of the emotional darkness lurking beneath the deceptively placid surface



Born and raised in Israel, writer-director Yuval Hadadi moved to New York City in 1994 as an Actor and Director. In 1997 he became co-artistic director for Absolute Theatre, a NYC-based Off-Broadway theater company. In 2002 Hadadi developed and directed The Eyes of Babylon, a one-man play about a marine who fought in Iraq. The play ran for nine years across the US and internationally, ending its run in NYC in 2012 where it was nominated for the prestigious Drama Desk Award.



Saturday, September 21

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A young man living in rural Mexico loves in secret. In order to live truthfully, he must overcome his mother, his lover’s fiancée, and the traditional community that surrounds him.




Writer-director-star Jesús Canchola Sánchez had his first short story published at the age of 7 in his Chicago elementary school newspaper. He makes his feature length directorial debut with Agua Agridulce (Bittersweet Waters), which just had its Mexico City premiere in May.  His short film Cuban Colors was an official selection of the 6th Annual Puerto Rico Queer Filmfest and Mix Mexico 21st Sexual Diversity Film Festival.


Saturday, September 21

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He’s a gay geek hitting 30. She’s a suburban divorcée embracing 50. Together, neighbors Kev (Michael Cicetti) and Jan (Angela Atwood) confront New York’s daily disasters… with the help of a little bubbly from the bodega. The first two episodes of Cicetti’s sitcom will be shown as part of Reeling’s “Drag, Geeks and Schemers” short films program.



Creator-director-star Michael Cicetti has appeared Off-Broadway and in various regional houses: Williamstown Theatre Festival; Ravinia Festival; Lyric Opera of Chicago; Redmoon Theatre; The Neofuturists. Film credits include: Landing Up; Bowes Academy; Bro Brunches; and Working On It. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.


Sunday, September 22

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Writer-director-star James Sweeney’s a razor sharp rom-com is equal parts Classical Hollywood and distinctly 21st century, exploring just how elastic our definitions of love and sexuality can get. As Todd, he’s a hyper-articulate, obsessive compulsive gay twentysomething whose fear of dying alone leads him to a baffling conclusion: he might not be gay after all. When he meets Rory, a whip-smart struggling actress with her own set of insecurities, the two forge a relationship that’s all talk and no sex.



Bred in Alaska, James Sweeney is an actor-turned-playwright-turned-filmmaker. His short, Normal Doors, was developed as a proof-of-concept for FOX Digital Studios based on the Straight Up feature script; it was a Vimeo Staff Pick and amassed 300k+ views.



Sunday, September 22

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A documentary film that explores how the Lesbian Herstory Archives – the world’s largest collection of materials by and about lesbians – came together to combat lesbian invisibility and create “a place that says yes.” For more than 40 years, through many of the major milestones in LGBTQIA+ history, the all-volunteer organization has literally rescued history from the trash. Now co-founders Deborah Edel and Joan Nestle are in their mid-70s, and the group faces a number of challenges: a transfer of leadership; the rise of digital technology; a renewed call to activism in a politically charged moment.




Director Megan Rossman is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose film Love Letter Rescue Squad won best student documentary in the Emerging Filmmakers Showcase at the Cannes Film Festival American Pavilion in 2017. She has also worked as a multimedia journalist at The Washington Post and as the director of video at Teach For America. In 2009, Rossman collaborated on “A Mother’s Risk,” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting.


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THE SYMPATHY CARD is an unconventional comic love triangle about three women wrestling with living in the present, mortality and bad first dates.  When Emma’s cancer takes a turn for the worse, she presents her new wife Josie a deathbed order: find someone new while Emma is still around to approve of her choice. Josie reluctantly embarks on a painfully awkward pursuit to honor Emma’s wishes and play the field.  



Writer-director-producer Brendan Boogie is an award-winning filmmaker whose credits include festival favorite Sundown, a dramatic comedy about a family coping with dementia, and The Mayor of Rock & Roll, in which Brendan also starred. Brendan is also a mainstay of the Boston independent music scene. In addition to his film and music endeavors, Brendan has spent the last decade working as a licensed mental health counselor with adults, teenagers, families, addicts, soldiers and sufferers of all kinds.  



Monday, September 23

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MAKING SWEET TEA is a documentary film that chronicles the journey of Southern-born, black gay researcher and performer E. Patrick Johnson, professor at Northwestern University, as he travels home to North Carolina to come to terms with his past, and to Georgia, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C. to reconnect with six black gay men he interviewed for the book, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History



Co-director/executive producer John L. Jackson, Jr.  is a Philadelphia-based filmmaker, anthropologist, and author. His films include Four Days in May, Bad Friday: Rastafari after Coral Gardens, Divided We StandAfrican Americans and the Bible and Get it Together.

Co-director/ cinematographer Nora Gross is part of the leadership of CAMRA, the Collective for Advancing

Multimodal Research Arts.




Monday, September 23

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THE GARDEN LEFT BEHIND traces the relationship between Tina (Carlie Guevara), a young

Mexican trans woman, and Eliana (Miriam Cruz), her grandmother, as they navigate Tina’s transition and struggle to build a life for themselves as undocumented immigrants in New York City. Featuring an authentic cast, with transgender actors in trans roles and Latinx performers in Latinx roles, THE GARDEN LEFT BEHIND also stars Anthony Abdo, Tamara Williams, Ivana Black, Kristen Lovell, Danny Flaherty, Alex Kruz, Michael Madsen and Ed Asner.




Flavio Alves is a Brazilian writer, film director and producer. He was granted political asylum in the U.S. in 1998 with the help of the Immigrants and Refugee Rights Clinic at the City University of New York School of Law. After graduating from Columbia University, Alves worked as an assistant to then-New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. His debut feature film, The Garden Left Behind, premiered at SXSW, where he was nominated for the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award.



Tuesday, September 24

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2 IN THE BUSH is an unconventional romantic comedy about dungeons, a fish named Archimedes, and the many forms that love takes. After losing her job, Emily arrives home early from work to find her girlfriend in the throes of passion with someone else. In an instant, her entire life is turned upside down. Moving in with her best friend, Emily lands a new gig working for a dominatrix. When she falls for her new boss, and then her boss’s boyfriend, Emily must decide what risks are worth taking for love.



Director-cowriter Laura Madalinksi spent her childhood in West Virginia where she was queer before she knew it had a name. She studied film and video at Columbia College Chicago before launching a career in post-production. After working in editorial boutiques for eight years she started her own company, Strange Charm. She got her start in independent film as an assistant editor on the award-winning documentary We Live in Public.


Tuesday, September 24

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This coming-of-age southern dramedy is about 17-year-old Rodney, who dreams of escaping his small hometown in pursuit of following in his late mother’s footsteps as an award-winning pageant queen. Bullied by family and classmates, Rodney calls upon his best friend Monique and a unique cast of southern characters to help him take the crown in an upcoming teen drag pageant in Atlanta, GA.




Writer-director Jonothon Mitchell is an Atlanta-based web series host, writer, independent filmmaker, actor and pop culture enthusiast. As a gay man he yearns for more accurate and positive LGBT representation in film. The one-time morning show host on Adult Swim’s digital series Stupid Morning Bullshit now hosts the network’s online Dear Jono call-in show.



Wednesday, September 25

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From the vantage of one of the most admired Broadway Producers and General Managers you’ve probably never heard of, this feature documentary captures what goes on behind the curtain of New York theater. In a career that has spanned more than 70 years, Soloway, now 90, has been involved with more than 150 productions, including Waiting in the Wings with Lauren Bacall and Rosemary Harris, How to Succeed in Business Without Really TryingJerome Robbins’ Broadway and Mark Twain Tonight! with Hal Holbrook. His productions have collected more than 40 Tony Awards, 21 Drama Desk Awards and two Pulitzer Prizes.




Director Jeff Wolk is an award-winning independent film and theater producer. In 2016, he produced the Off-Broadway show Maurice Hines Tappin’ Thru Life, nominated for three Lucille Lortel Awards. During that show’s run, he produced a behind-the-scenes documentary about the show’s legendary Broadway producer, Leonard Soloway. In 2017 Wolk executive-produced After Louie starring Alan Cumming, a film that explores modern gay life and how it got to where it is today. After Louie was the closing night film of the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival.



Thursday, September 26

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Jenna (Kari Alison Hodge) agrees to a sexy weekend fling with materialistic girlfriend Kate (Rachel Paulson) and the worldly Mia (Julie Eringer). As the night unfolds, Jenna realizes she’s bitten off more than she can chew, and the love triangle begins to crack.




Writer-director Wendy Jo Carlton’s 2009 debut feature, Hannah Free, starred Emmy winner Sharon Gless. Carlton’s second feature Jamie and Jessie are Not Together, is filmdom’s first-ever lesbian romance musical. Her digital series, Easy Abby, received more than 50 million views in its first season. Good Kisser star Kari Alison Hodge and producer, Anne T. Hanson will also be in attendance.



Sunday, September 29

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SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET sets the records straight about the controversial sequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street, which ended Mark Patton’s acting career. As Patton travels to horror conventions across the U.S. each new city unwraps a chapter from his life that is met with equal parts joyful and bittersweet detail, as he attempts to make peace with his past and embrace his legacy as cinema’s first male scream queen. Patton confronts Freddy’s Revenge cast and crew for the first time, including co-stars Robert Rusler, Kim Myers and Clu Gulager, as well as Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund.



Actor Mark Patton is best known for his feature film roles as Joe Qualley opposite Cher, Sandy Dennis and Kathy Bates in Robert Altman’s Come back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and as Jesse Walsh in the 1985 horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, a role for which he is touted as the first male scream queen.

Co-directors Tyler Jensen and Roman Chimienti will also be in attendance.




Click here for the full festival lineup

* Sponsors

Presenting Sponsors for the 37th edition of Reeling are SHOWTIMEAARP and ROOM & BOARD.Reeling sponsors also include Premier Sponsors GILEAD, CHICAGOPRIDE.COM, and HERE TV; Grand Sponsors include BEST WESTERN PLUS HAWTHORNE TERRACE, EDGE MEDIA NETWORK, and NEXUS RADIO. Reeling is a program presented by CHICAGO FILMMAKERS, a non-profit media arts organization that has been serving Chicago’s independent film community for 45 years.

* General Information

For more information please call (773) 293-1447, consult the festival website at, or follow ReelingFilmFest on Twitter, reeling.filmfest on Facebook and @reelingfilmfest on Instagram for the latest Reeling news and ticket promotions.

* Ticket Information

Advance tickets and passes may be purchased online beginning August 12, 2019 or in person at Chicago Filmmakers (5720 N. Ridge Ave.) from September 9 to 18. Ticket prices are $13 for regular screenings at the Landmark, $11 for regular screenings at Chicago Filmmakers, with member discounts of $3 per show. Special admission programs include the opening night film, THE SHINY SHRIMPS$15 for the film only and $40 for the film and pre-party; and $30 for the closing night film SCREAM, QUEEN!: MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and after-party.

* Pass Information

Discount passes are available at $55 for a Pick-5 Pass ($45 for members), $100 for a Pick-10 Pass ($90 for members), and $130 for a Festival Pass ($110 for members). Passes are good for regularly priced screenings only.