aGLIFF Announces the Centerpiece and First Five Films for Prism 34

Friday July 30, 2021

'BLITZED: The 80s Blitz Kids Story'
'BLITZED: The 80s Blitz Kids Story'  (Source:Courtesy aGLIFF)

The following is a press release from aGLIFF, the All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival:

Austin's oldest film festival, aGLIFF (All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival) announces the Centerpiece film and five additional films forPRISM 34 running August 26 — September 6, 2021 in hybrid form, both in-person and online.

"Boulevard! A Hollywood Story" will make a Southwest Premiere as the Centerpiece Film for PRISM 34. Written and directed by aGLIFF alumni Jeffrey Schwarz ("Tab Hunter Confidential," "I Am Divine"), "Boulevard!" looks into the strange but true story of Gloria Swanson and the first musical version of "Sunset Boulevard."

"I cannot wait to screen 'Boulevard! A Hollywood Story' at this year's PRISM 34 and look forward to sharing this strange but true story with Austin's movie lovers. If you're into classic Hollywood, bigger-than-life screen divas, Broadway musicals, or 1950s gay romance — then this is the movie for you!" said Boulevard! director Jeffrey Schwarz, "Thank you aGLIFF for getting Gloria Swanson back up on the big screen where she belongs."

Honoring the work of past aGLIFF filmmakers, this year's Legacy Honoree will be director Madeleine Olnek. To celebrate her work, Olnek's 2011 feature "Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same" will screen this year at PRISM 34. Additional films announced at this time are "Invisible," "Beyto," "Leading Ladies," and "Queerdom," and are all Southwest Premieres.

"Madeleine Olnek is a singular talent. Channeling 1950's red-scare SciFi into a romantic comedy, Olnek captured just how 'alien' it can feel to live outside straight society in her debut, 'Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same.' She delights in demolishing stereotypes and preconceptions, even restoring Emily Dickinson from 150 plus years of sexless morbidity. She is one of the most important queer filmmakers working today," said aGLIFF Artistic Director Bears Rebecca Fonté. "It is an honor to bring great artists like Madeleine to the festival, just as it an honor to introduce new voices like Ruth Caudeli ("Leading Ladies") to our audiences. I had a hard time picking just five films to announce (okay six, I cheated) because this has been a really good year for queer film. Wait and see."

Everyone's favorite Tupperware lady, Dixie Longate, makes her triumphant return to Austin with an exclusive live interactive "aGLIFF Happy Hour with Dixie Longate" on Friday, September 3 at 5 p.m. CST. Open to everyone as a single ticketed event, this unprecedented virtual affair will be an evening of shenanigans, as Dixie mixes up a few of her favorite drinks and brings some of her favorite Tupperware along with plenty of laughs for a night like no other. This is not your mother's happy hour or Tupperware Party!

The previously announced Opening Night film "BLITZED: The 80s Blitz Kids Story" features Boy George, Midge Ure, Gary Kemp, Rusty Egan, Marilyn, Princess Julia, Andy Polaris, Robert Elms, Chris Sullivan, Stephen Jones, Dylan Jones, La Roux, Michele Clapton, Darla-Jane Gilroy, Fiona Dealey and Steve Dagger. Directed by Bruce Ashley and Michael Donald with music by Rusty Egan, "Blitzed" will have a North American premiere at The Paramount Theatre in Austin on August 26, 2021.

More information about the PRISM 34 festival lineup will be announced next week.More information on PRISM can be found at agliff.org/prism.


Centerpiece Film

"Boulevard! A Hollywood Story"
USA, 2021, 85 min
Southwest Premiere
Director and Producer: Jeffrey Schwarz

From aGLIFF Multi-Film Alumni Jeffrey Schwarz ("I Am Divine," "Tab Hunter Confidential") comes the strange but true story of the first musical version of "Sunset Boulevard." For Gloria Swanson, the iconic star of "Sunset Boulevard," both the movie and the character of Norma Desmond provided a renewed spotlight. Seeing in Norma a portal back to the stardom she once commanded as a silent screen superstar, Swanson began to envision a musical stage adaptation of the film. Enter, Dickson Hughes and Richard Stapley, two struggling songwriters (and also a romantic couple) looking for their big break. Playing Joe Gillis to Gloria's Norma Desmond, they threw caution to the wind and joined forces to bring the musical to life, beginning a journey that would alter the course of their lives. Also complicating matters was the fact that Gloria set her sights on handsome Richard Stapley, resulting in a classic love triangle.


First Five

"Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same"
USA, 2011, 76 minutes
Writer & Director: Madeleine Olnek, 2021 aGLIFF LEGACY HONOREE
Cast: Lisa Haas, Susan Ziegler, Jackie Monahan, Cynthia Kaplan, Alex Karpovsky, Dennis Davis, Rae C. Wright

When three bald lesbian aliens are sent to Earth from Zotz to have their hearts broken so that their strong emotions won't contribute to destroying their planet's ozone layer, one of them connects with Jane, a tender soul working at a stationery store. Meanwhile, there are two government agents — men in black — monitoring Jane as she starts to become closer to a woman who the men feel does not belong on this planet.

Multi-aGLIFF alumni Madeleine Olnek ("Wild Nights With Emily," "The Foxy Merkins") celebrates the 10th anniversary screening of her singular SciFi comedy and will be aGLIFF's 2021 LEGACY HONOREE. Past aGLIFF honorees include Yen Tan, Rose Troche and Jim Fall.


"Invisible"
USA, 107, Southwest Premiere
Director: T.J. Parsell
Featuring: Ruthie Foster, Bonnie Baker, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Pam Tillis

Country music is finally coming out of the closet. The contributions of lesbian singer-songwriters are generally not the first thing that come to mind in the arena of country music, but some of the greatest hits in the genre are the work of these badass women writing, producing, and persevering in an extremely traditional and corporate industry that requires most to keep their authentic selves secret for fear of committing career suicide.


"Beyto"
Switzerland, 98 minutes, Southwest Premiere
Director: Gitta Gsell | Writers: Gitta Gsell, Yusuf Yesilöz

Talented swimmer, motivated apprentice: Beyto is in the midst of life, with a bright future ahead of him. One would think. But when the only son of a Turkish migrant family falls in love with his coach Mike, an ideal world falls to pieces. Ashamed, his parents see only one way out: they lure Beyto to their home village to marry him off to his childhood friend Seher. Beyto finds himself in a disruptive love triangle: How can he get back to Mike without destroying Seher's future?


"Leading Ladies"
Colombia, 81 minutes, Southwest Premiere
Writer & Director: Ruth Caudeli
Starring: Diana Wiswell, Silvia Varón, Ana María Cuellar, Marcella Robledo, Ana María Otálora

A welcome dinner is the excuse to discover that we always keep a secret from those who know us the best. Five points of view that show that each of these five girls tries, as best they can, to lead their own lives. Some lies have been saved for years, other were hidden for months... But many of them will come to light during this special meeting. Guilt affects everyone in different ways.


"Queendom"
France, 62 minutes, Southwest Premiere
Directors: Marco Novoa, Simon Vivier

The Paris ballroom scene has grown enormously over the past several years. As France grapples with the COVID crisis, three artists working in this resurgent subculture struggle with day-to-day challenges as they keep their eye on the throne. Misha, of the famed House of LaDurée balances studying for his high school exit exam and for two important balls. Romain believes drag is a form of political activism. Cookie Kunty, his drag queen alter ego, will be acting in their 2nd short film this year, hoping to take drag mainstream and reach as wide an audience as possible. Le Filip, a 25-year-old drag queen stand-up comic, is busy writing and putting together his first one-queen show. Beautiful cinematography and intimate profiles pull the queens to the front of the runway.


Tickets: aGLIFF encourages fans to consider membership to get the best access and support aGLIFF's year-round programming. Members and badge holders have priority access to reserving tickets for individual films and events upon purchase.

Prism 34: Early bird festival badges are available through the end of July for $95; regular price badges available at $125 beginning August 1. Memberships get the best access, support aGLIFF's year-round programming, and include festival badges and an array of other perks depending on the level. Memberships are available now; Festival badges are on sale now at agliff.org/badges. Single tickets will start at $12, plus applicable service fees and will be on sale one week before the festival based on availability.

aGLIFF Membership: Memberships start for as low as $25 a month and are available for purchase now. Memberships can be paid up front or in monthly installments. Memberships include festival badges and an array of other perks depending on the level and range in price from $300 to $2500 and above. Memberships are available now agliff.org/members.

At this time, access to the Opening and Closing Night screenings for PRISM 34 will not be available to stream online and are in-person screenings only. Additional in-person screenings will receive priority access before virtual viewers. All other access to the PRISM 34 Festival and virtual special events will be available online throughout the United States.


Previously Announced: Opening Night Film

"BLITZED"
North American Premiere
Thursday, August 26, 2021
The Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave., Austin 78701


"BLITZED: The 80s Blitzed Kids Story"
UK, 2020, 90 minutes, English
North American Premiere

Directors and Writers: Bruce Ashley, Michael Donald | Executive Producers: Ian Penman, Andy Woodford | Music: Rusty Egan | Featuring: Boy George, Midge Ure, Gary Kemp, Rusty Egan, Marilyn, Princess Julia, Andy Polaris, Robert Elms, Chris Sullivan, Stephen Jones, Dylan Jones, La Roux, Michele Clapton, Darla-Jane Gilroy, Fiona Dealey and Steve Dagger.

In strife torn 1979 Britain, against a backdrop of strikes, blackouts, racism, and homophobia, out of one small London venue called The Blitz came a generation of outrageous teenagers, working class and art school kids, who would define the look, the sound, the style and attitude of the '80s and beyond. Inspired by David Bowie and driven by a gender bending, genre busting desire to make it, these penniless superstars in the making from Boy George to Culture Club to Spandau Ballet, Visage, Ultravox and Sade would go on to change the face of fashion, music and culture across the world. This is their story.

Click here to see a trailer for "BLITZED."