Tru Loved: 12th Annual RI International Film Festival

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Bay Windows
Ocean State is awash in film
by Brian Jewell
arts writer
Thursday Jul 31, 2008

Providence hosts international, GLBT film fests

The twelfth annual Rhode Island International Film Festival opens on Aug. 5 and with nearly 300 films screening over six days all over downtown Providence, phrases like “there’s something for everyone” are insufficient. The real problem facing cinemaphiles is what not to see amongst the screenings, workshops, and special appearances. Just a few of the highlights include in-person appearances by actors Richard Jenkins, Blythe Danner and John Ratzenberger; 58 world premieres; and a two-day long forum for New England filmmakers.

Bay Windows readers will want to pay special attention to the queer sub-festival, The Providence GLBT Film Fest. Also in its 12th year, this subset of RIFF has a long history of supporting queer voices in film. This year’s 27 offerings represent the diversity of our community with dramas, documentaries and mockumentaries telling stories of Rhode Island drag queens, politics, surviving high school, surviving cancer and much more.

Highlights include two of the hottest films on this year’s film festival circuit, Tru Loved and Were the World Mine. Stewart Wade’s Tru Loved, which was recently picked up for a theatrical release, is a heartwarming drama about a feisty teen with two mommies who sets out to make her new high school a safe space for queer kids. Featuring a talented young cast supported by gay faves like Bruce Vilanch, Jane Lynch and Alec Mapa, this is truly a film for the whole family … or “family.” Were the World Mine is the impressive feature debut of writer/director Thomas Gustafson. A glittery gay fantasy, complete with musical numbers and Shakespearian allusions, the much-buzzed-about movie takes a lighter-hearted look at coming out in high school.

The fest also boasts an new film by out actor Dan Butler. In the mockumentary Karl Rove, I Love You, Butler prepares for a role as the Republican strategist so obsessively that he falls in love with his subject. Director Casper Andreas returns to the Fest in a more serious mood than last year’s A Four Letter Word with the edgy family drama Between Love & Goodbye.

A robust selection of queer themed documentaries includes the fashion tell-all Eleven Minutes, which follows Project Runway winner Jay McCarroll’s road to New York Fashion Week; the slick flick Bi the Way, a look at the possibilities in the middle of the Kinsey scale; Out Late, which presents moving stories of people who came out of the closet after the age of 55; Bailey-Boushay House, a history of the grassroots effort to establish the first residential facility for people living with AIDS; and Out in India, the “activist-adventures” of two Americans working to help HIV awareness efforts in India.

A portion of ticket sales at the Providence GLBT Film Festival will be donated to the Bell Street Chapel, to help fund its LGBT outreach efforts. For tickets and more information, visit