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28 Years of Reeling

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 2, 2009 4:40PM

2009_11_1reeling.jpg 1981: Walter Cronkite retires from CBS Evening News, Lady Di weds Prince Charles, MTV goes on the air. And in a 90-seat folding-chair screening room at Chicago Filmmakers on West Hubbard, Reeling, the first Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival, takes place. 1981 also saw the first recognized cases of AIDS in five gay men. A lot has changed in 28 years. HIV is no longer the automatic death sentence it once was, and culturally LGBT people are more visible than ever before. But Reeling is still a crucial festival, a yearly opportunity to dive into the culture on its own terms rather than in sitcom-ready chunks.

This year's festival runs November 5-15 and will feature over 150 films. Screening venues include Landmark's Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark St.), Film Row Cinema (Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave.), Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport Ave.), and the festival's home base at Chicago Filmmakers (5243 N. Clark St.). Mink Stole, Jai Rodriguez, and Jane Wiedlin from The Go-Go's are among the special guests expected to attend.

Opening Night kicks things off with The Big Gay Musical and an after party featuring The Joans. The Documentary Centerpiece screening this year is the locally produced film Fish Out of Water. Especially intriguing are the 16 separate programs of shorts on the docket, which probably feature every sort of movie you can think of. You can check out the full schedule here. We hope to review at least a few of the movies in time for you to see them.