New LGBT Films to Be Screened This Year, 2017

Amos Lassen


Here is a list of some of the new films that we will be seeing this year on the festival circuit. I will post individual review as the films become available. I have already posted reviews of other new films (such as “Open”) and I am not including those on this list.

HANDSOME DEVIL, Director by John Butler, Ireland, 2017, 100 mins, Drama, 

In this film, Ned and Conor are forced to share a bedroom at their Irish boarding school. The loner and the star athlete at this rugby-crazed school form an unlikely friendship until it’s tested by the authorities. The two roommates, arbitrarily housed together, are very different high schoolers yet they share much more than a room and a school but the status of genuinely being outsiders who, ultimately, must learn to be true to themselves, the most important lesson of all, no matter what the consequences.

FAIR HAVEN, Directed by Kerstin Karlhuber, USA, 2016, 93 mins, Drama,

After a long stay in an intense ex-gay conversion therapy retreat, a young piano prodigy returns home to his family’s apple farm in a small town, his emotionally distant father, and a former boyfriend. Will boy love be rekindled or the future play out differently?

FLATBUSH LUCK, Directed by Casper Andreas, USA, 2016, 99 mins, Comedy, Crime,

This caper is all about being down on your luck one minute and up on it the next. Of course, a little cheating never hurts until you’re caught. Fun turns to crime, even murder, as a sexy would-be hot shot finds out all kinds of secrets that change the dynamic of his life, his values and his relationships.

A TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW, Directed by Sampson McCormick, USA, 2016, 58 mins, Documentary, Comedy, 

It’s “two for one” when out, African-American comedian, writer and activist performs live and on-stage for one-night only with his standup routine prior to the screening of the documentary about being all these things and still managing on making a living and a career in show business. Sampson’s toughest act to follow is his own but he’s daring enough to take his chances in entertaining you live and then on screen.

OPPORTUNITY, Directed by Mohit Goswami, India, 2017, 73 mins, Drama, 

Two friends, now one an out gay urbane, professional and the other a small town fellow with rustic charms, recollect upon some forgotten memories from a distant past. Together, they revisit the roads not taken; and, the lines between the past and the present get blurred. Set in Mumbai, the romantic drama is a contemporary study on understanding of one’s identity, missed opportunities, and personal choices.

THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN, Directed by Jennifer M. Kroot, USA, 2017, 93 mins, Documentary, 

If anyone knows how to tell a tale it’s Armistead Maupin with his ground-breaking Tales Of The City, first in books, then brought to television screens, this documentary offers up a lot of behind the scenes of the renowned author’s journey from intolerant conservative to beloved writer known for his outrageous wit and open heart with interviews with Sir Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Amy Tan, and Neil Gaiman and more.

WELCOME TO DEAD HOTEL, Directed by Li Bin, China, 2016, 94 mins, Drama, 

“China’s first gay fantasy film, an absurd film noir,” and calling it, “a salute to the American film maker Quentin Tarantino,” the love triangle of a fellow soldier and a fiancé vie for the officer’s attention and affection in a totally improvised film without any script during the shooting. All scenes and actors’ lines are all dependent upon director’s on-site guidance, The result is something that pushes the boundaries of traditional film making.


THE LAVENDER SCARE, Directed by Josh Howard, Jill Landes, USA, 2016,  80 mins, Documentary,

No one will “Like Ike” (President Dwight S. Eisenhower) after seeing this film! The timeliness of its subject couldn’t be greater than right at this moment in our nation’s history. The witch hunt that the federal government pursued of LGBTQ professionals within their own ranks is dark and chilling. That it happened at all is both instructive and a warning of what is possible when power runs amuck..

SEARCH ENGINES, Directed by Russell Brown, USA, 2016, 101 mins, Drama, Comedy, 

It’s time to share the Thanksgiving Day dinner with family and friends but getting everyone to mix and mingle is challenging when so many are addicted to their cell phones. A power outage causes everyone to have to “communicate” in real time and space that’s when the tragedy and the comedy come into play. Stars Connie Stevens and Joyle Fisher.

SUICIDE KALE, Directed by Carly Usdin, Canada, 2016, 78 mins, Drama, Comedy, 

A group of lesbians are enjoying a Saturday afternoon cookout when an anonymous suicide note is found in their midst. Their friends and partners are all wondering “who wrote it?” Dark and comedic, the answer will surprise and delight even the smartest of would-be “detectives”! The fantasy is part of the film’s charm embedded though with an important message.

APRICOT GROVES, Directed by Pouria Heidary Oureh, Armenia/Iran, 2016, 82 mins, Drama, 

Aram, the Iranian Armenian youth who has immigrated to the US in childhood returns to Armenia for the first time to propose to an Armenian girlfriend Narbeh who he met and lived with stateside. Narbeh sees many cultural, religious, and national differences on their day trip together. But harder obstacles are ahead and twists and turns on the road to life.

SMALL TOWN RAGE, Directed by David Hylan, Raydra Hall, USA, 2016, 141 mins, Documentary, 

This is NOT a documentary about injustice surrounding an epidemic in New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco. It IS a documentary about injustice surrounding an epidemic in Small Town America: Shreveport, Louisiana. Expertly narrated by Lance Bass, the brave men and women of ACT UP Shreveport tell their stories of rage against that injustice, which may not have made them popular, but lead to necessary changes in their Small Town and in America.

 SOMETHING LIKE SUMMER, Directed by David Berry, USA, 2017, 111 mins, Drama, Musical, 

This romantic musical is so original that it can easily be dubbed “a gay La La Land.” Its freshness in its approach in dealing with youthful identity, feeling comfortable in one’s own skin, and, finally, early adulthood is as heartfelt, truthful and engaging as the original songs and music that underscore the story of young love, gained, then lost, and later regained, but not before a wide range of emotions have been experienced, felt, accepted and understood.  Love discovered is not without its hardships and heartache and the young gay men go through many challenges and are even struck by tragedy before they defy the odds and look towards their future.

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