The 13th annual North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival will kick off at Durham’s Carolina Theatre Aug. 14. For four days, North Carolinians will be treated to a slew of prized LGBT-themed films. Sixty-six out of the full slate of 68 LGBT movies, some of them short and some of them feature-length, are North Carolina premieres.

Don’t miss out on the Festival. Some of these films might stay away for extended vacations before coming back to the state or being released on DVD. Check out or call 919-560-3030 for more information on other films, show times and ticket prices.

A short review of the films Q-Notes found most appealing are below.

(Spain, 2007, 100 min)
In Spanish with English Subtitles
Viewer’s Guide: Nudity, violence and language.
N.C. Premiere. In this dark comedy, sexy and charming Victor (20 Centimeters Pablo Puyol) has created the perfect strategy to become Boystown’s top real estate agent: He makes old apartments available by murdering the elderly ladies who live in them and disguises their deaths as suicides. He then quickly updates their décor to upwardly-mobile gay couples because his ultimate goal is to transform the neighborhood into a hip “gayborhood” like the Castro in San Francisco and Chelsea in New York. But when Victor targets his latest victim — a sweet next door neighbor of a working-class gay couple — his plan hits a snag as the old lady has already bequeathed her apartment to the not-so-trendy boys next door. Toss in the eccentric Inspector Mila and her charmingly clueless son, assigned to investigate the suicides, and soon the neighborhood is brimming with comic mishaps, sexy seductions, and more murders!

‘Lez Be Friends’
Preceeded by ‘Daddy’s Big Girl’
(US, 2008, 70 min)
Viewer’s Guide: Language, nudity and drug use.
N.C. Premiere. From the producer of Boy Culture, Stephen Israel, and the director of Boychick, Glenn Gaylord, comes this hilarious new feature-length sitcom! A throwback to the three-camera sitcoms of the ’60s and ’70s, “Lez Be Friends” consists of two super-sized episodes that pay homage to those comedies of days gone by. Ricca Pike is a butch lesbian who must pretend to be a hetero girly-girl in order to live with her two (inevitably shirtless) gay male roommates lest she incur the wrath of their lesbian-hating, old queen of a landlord, Truman DuBois. Set the day after the Stonewall Riots in 1969 Greenwich Village, Lez is a loving homage to the great sitcoms of the 70s with an even gayer twist on Three’s Company than anyone thought possible! Move over Will and Grace, 70s queer history serves as the basis for a delightfully skewered sitcom with gay and lesbian characters that would make Norman Lear proud.

(Australia, 2008, 107 min)
Viewer’s Guide: Language, nudity sexual content, and violence.
N.C. Premiere. “Newcastle” is a beautiful Australian coming-of-age family drama (think Ordinary People) set in world of competitive surfing. Every second of surfing footage in Newcastle is so mind-blowingly gorgeous, you won’t want to take your eyes off the screen. The Hoff family has three brothers: Jesse (Lachlan Buchanan), a 17 year old surfer, living in the shadow of his older half-brother Victor (Reshad Strik), a former surf champion whose life is now in ruins due to a knee injury and a drinking problem; and Fergus (Xavier Samuel), who dies his hair purple, wears nail polish and Clash T-shirts and is in the midst of discovering he might be gay. Even when he’s in his natural habitat of magnificent surf breaks, Jesse’s blue-collar future is brought home by the coal barges that constantly line his horizon. He has the natural skills to surf his way out of this reality and onto the international circuit, but when a weekend with his mates turns into an unexpected and devastating tragedy, Jesse must now face the biggest wave of his life and find the courage to hold on and discover his dreams.

(US, 2008, 95 min)
Viewer’s Guide: Language.
N.C. Premiere. “Pageant” takes you behind the scenes as 52 ordinary gentlemen go to extraordinary lengths in order to be crowned the 34th Miss Gay America. This contest is about the art of illusion, so hormones and surgical body enhancements are forbidden. The movie follows five of the most talented and beautiful female impersonators as they prepare to dominate in this underground competition. Hear from the men as well as from those in their entourage: husbands, mothers, sons, and little brothers. Pageant features stunning musical numbers, while diving into the heart and soul of this make-believe world. But it’s the film’s focus on the people under the mascara that makes Pageant truly resonate. Soon the real-life drama of the competition takes over as we watch extravagant performances and frantic costume changes, wondering who will walk away with the coveted crown. Everybody has a dream; these men are making theirs a reality. “It will steal your heart away in a way you’d never expect. Everyone will have a favorite.” — Amy Sewell, Filmmaker, “Mad Hot Ballroom.”

‘Tru Loved’
(US, 2008, 101 min)
Viewer’s Guide: Mild language.
Finally a plucky high school heroine who’s neither pregnant nor a cheerleader! In this delightful second feature from Stewart Wade (Coffee Date), Tru is the new girl in a conservative suburban California high school. If she seems a little aloof and way too grown-up, ask her more about her name and you’ll find out why. Tru as in Gertrude as in Gertrude Stein, so named by her two overprotective Moms. That’s right, two Moms, as in…exactly. But contrary to school rumor, Tru’s not a lesbian herself. In fact, in a hilariously hetero high school cliché, she’s falling for the quarterback Lo. The only catch is…well, let’s just say Lo takes Tru to a musical on their first date, and he doesn’t even try for a goodnight kiss. See, Lo’s on the Down Low, and this is just the beginning of Tru’s romantic woes. This romantic comedy abounds with wry humor, gentle warmth and it has universal appeal. The cast’s older generation is full of faces you know and love from TV and film, including comic legend Bruce Vilanch, Jasmine Guy (“A Different World”), Jane Lynch (Best In Show, “The L Word”) Marcia Wallace (“The Bob Newhart Show”) and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura from the original “Star Trek!”).

— All images copyright their respective producers and filmmakers. ‘Pageant’ photography by Jody Herndon Photography.