CHARLOTTE — Organizers of the second annual GayCharlotte Film Festival say they’ve worked hard to see the diversity of the LGBT community reflected in their line-up of films and events Jan. 28-31. Hosted at and presented by the Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte, the film festival’s four-day slate of flicks includes a broad spectrum of movies about young and older gay men and lesbians who are white, African-American, Latino, Chinese and even Navaho Indian.

Former 'Queer Eye' Fab 5-er Jai Rodriguez and John Lloyd Young of 'Jersey Boys' star in 'Oy Vey My Son is Gay,' showing at the GayCharlotte Film Festival Jan. 28-31.
Former 'Queer Eye' Fab 5-er Jai Rodriguez and John Lloyd Young of 'Jersey Boys' star in 'Oy Vey My Son is Gay,' showing at the GayCharlotte Film Festival Jan. 28-31.

The festival kicks off Jan. 28 with a Spanish-themed Opening Night Gala featuring Spanish musical entertainment and a screening of “Little Ashes,” starring Robert Pattinson and and Javier Beltrán. Admission to the first night’s event is $25 and includes admission to the film, Spanish tapas, sangria, free bar tickets and door prizes.

Other films to be showcased in the festival include documentaries “Daddy & Papa,” about gay couples who adopt children, and “Beauty Before Age,” about growing old in our vanity-filled gay culture. The festival will also screen “Amancio,” the true story of the investigation into a young, Latino drag performer’s brutal murder, “Chica Busca Chica,” a lesbian romantic comedy, “A Question of Gender,” a documentary about Brazil’s transgender population, and “Miss Nizhoni,” a drama about lesbian Navaho Indians.

Special events throughout the weekend include a screening of “Itty Bitty Titty Committe,” about a group of 20-something-year-old lesbian activists, followed by a “Behind the Scenes” Q&A with local filmmaker Victoria Eves, who served as both a cast and crew member for the movie.

The festival’s final film, “Oy Vey My Son is Gay,” will be screened at the Park Terrace Stadium 6 at Park and Woodlawn and its filmmaker, Isreali Evgeny Afineevsky, will host a Q&A and discussion session after the film. “Oy Vey My Son is Gay” is considered by critics as the gay answer to “My Big Fat Wedding,” organizers say.

The film stars Lainie Kazan as Shirley Hirsch who is trying desperately to match up son Nelson with a proper Jewish girl. Nelson, played by John Lloyd Young of “Jersey Boys” fame, is gay. Saul Rubinek plays father Martin Hirsch, and Carmen Electra plays the porn centerfold Shirley and Martin hope is their son’s new girlfriend. One true treat of this movie is watching Jai Rodriguez, of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” play Nelson’s boyfriend.

Afineevsky believes his movie, which addresses gay mixed marriages and adoptions between a devout Jew and his Italian boyfriend comes to Charlotte at just the right time, considering the current lawsuit challenging California’s Proposition 8. Considered a “cross-over” movie which will appeal as much to straight allies as to the LGBT community, Afineevsky predicts his movie will draw equal numbers of straights as gays.

The diversity reflected in the festival’s offerings this year is a pleasing sight to co-director Rhonda Wattlington, who works for festival sponsor Food Lion. Wattlington says she’s thrilled at the selection.

“Food Lion has always been dedicated to the promotion of diversity, and sponsorship of this festival is no exception,” Wattlington explains. “The fact that we’ve been able to schedule such an exceptionally diverse selection of LGBT movies is a testament to the commitment by both the Lesbian & Gay Community Center and Food Lion to advance diversity within our LGBT community.”

The festival will be held Jan. 28-31. All events, with the exception of the Opening Night Gala, are $8 each. Many of the films are grouped together so that one ticket will pay for up to three showings. Organizers say area bars are also planning to host after-parties with free admission to festival ticket-holders.


— Compiled by qnotes staff, with festival organizer Teresa Davis contributing.