Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Screens World Premieres and "Barbarella"

by Brian Brooks

Maggie Gyllenhaal in a scene from Don Roos' "Happy Endings," which will screen as a Centerpiece at the 2005 Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Ron Oliver's thriller mystery "Third Man Out" starring Chad Allen opened the 2005 Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival last night, launching this year's event which will screen 160 features, documentaries and shorts from 26 countries. Eight world premieres are included on the roster in addition to special events mostly taking place from the festival's new residence at Broad Street's "Avenue of the Arts."

Gay adult filmmaker Toby Ross ventures into the non-adult realm with a comedy about a young man who dreams to make a gay adult film in the world premiere of "Bowser Makes a Movie." Also making debuts are Everett Lewis' drama about homeless gay youth who become young activists in "FAQs," and "Thirsty" by Carolina Roca-Smith and Lauren Anderson about three headstrong women who yearn for emotional fulfillment. Also screening as a world premiere is Paul Wagar's "Shakespeare's Merchant," described as an "updated version of the play, set in Venice Beach, CA and featuring an unambiguously homosexual relationship between Antonio and Bassanio."

On July 9, PIGLFF will host its Centerpiece screening of "The Mostly Unfabulous Life of Ethan Green" by George Bamber. The film, starring Meredith Baxter, is based on a hit gay episodic comic strip about a twenty-something Chelsea boy looking for true love. Don Roos' "Happy Endings" will also screen as a Centerpiece the following night. The Sundance '05 film starring Lisa Kudrow, Jesse Bradford, Bobby Cannavale, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Tom Arnold, Laura Dern and Jason Ritter, is an ensemble comedy about a group of friends who share and reveal secrets. Ritter will attend the screening.

In other event highlights, the festival will host the "Real World Philadelphia" House Party on July 14 at the location of MTV's Philadelphia installment of the reality series. The 1968 camp classic "Barbarella" starring Jane Fonda will screen July 17 as a free outdoor program. The evening will begin with a contest for the best costume inspired by the film, determined by what the festival says are 'celebrity judges.'

Jury competition winners and audience awards will be announced July 19 prior to the screening of the closing night feature "The Dying Gaul" by Craig Lucas. The Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival takes place in the city of brotherly love July 7 - 19, and is produced by the Philadelphia Film Society, which also hosts the annual Philadelphia International Film Festival.

[For more information and a complete list of films, visit the festival's website.]