Jonathan Caouette's 2003 documentary -- initially made for just $218.13 -- weaves together 20 years of Super 8 footage, VHS videotape, photographs and answering messages to tell the story of openly gay Caouette's life and realtionship with his mentally ill mother. A remarkable autobiography and portrait of an extraordinarily challenged mother-son dynamic, it was championed by John Cameron Mitchell and Gus Van Sant and ended up going from a $218.13 project to screening at Cannes and Sundance. [Peter Knegt]
"The Times of Harvey Milk"
If your only reference to Harvey Milk is Gus Van Sant's narrative film (also listed here), it's time to add to expand your references. Rob Epstein's Academy Award winning 1984 documentary is just one of many historical LGBT docs that should be required viewing for pretty much everyone ("Common Threads: Stories From The Quilt," "The Celluloid Closet," "Silverlake Life: The View From Here," and recent additions "We Were Here" and "How To Survive a Plague" are among the many examples not on this list). The film details the heroic life and tragic life of openly gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk. And while Van Sant's film did an excellent job at dramaticizing the same story, there's nothing better than the real thing. [Peter Knegt]
When Marlon Riggs made "Tongues Untied" with funds from the NEA and the film landed on PBS' POV lineup, he unwittingly provided the kindling for the fire kept blazing by the nuts leading public funding of the arts. Pat Buchanan and Jessie Helms came out slugging against Riggs' 1989 experimental documentary that explored a wide range of issues pertaining to gay black men in the late 80's. The legendary poet Essex Hemphill is just one of the many men that join Riggs to make this a documentary that is still required viewing. [Bryce J. Renninger]
"Touch of Pink"
Before he made (oh yes!) the MTV release "How She Move," Ian Iqbal Rashid made two quite brilliant films about South Asian gay cinephiles. Rashid's 1998 short "Surviving Sabu" is a tender look at fatherhood through a father and son's mutual star worship of Hollywood star Sabu. His "Touch of Pink," though is an absolutely delightful feature-length look at a gay man's (Jimi Mistry) relationship with his mother -- and the ghost of Cary Grant (played impeccably by "Twin Peaks" cop Kyle McLachlan). [Bryce J. Renninger]
We'll admit, the set up for "Trick" sounds like a dreadful sitcom on paper, but thanks to a surprising script, stellar supporting work from Tori Spelling (yes, really), and a winning lead in Christian Campbell (brother to Neve), "Trick" is a total treat. The Sundance entry concerns one long night in the lives of Gabriel (Campbell), an aspiring Broadway composer and Mark (John Paul Pitoc), a go-go dancer, as they try to find a place to hookup. Being a romantic comedy, plenty of mayhem ensues thanks to Gabriel's selfish roommate and his overbearing best friend, Katherine (Spelling), another Broadway hopeful. Will the boys ever find a spot to get it on? Watch, and find out. [Nigel M. Smith]