This weekend is the 14th annual “Damn These Heels” film festival, the longest running queer film fest in the western mountains, held right here in our own Salt Lake City. No matter your sexual or gender orientation, there are 23 films that will be presented this weekend to get excited about. It’s impossible to see them all, so I’ve spent some good amount of time scoping out my top choices that I have gotta see this weekend. The opening party is Friday, July 14th, 7:30p at Rose Wagner Theater. The films will begin immediately after. Find out about passes and prices here.
Friday night, July 14, 7:30p. Opening film: Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall
Todrick Hall may become the first gay African-American man to win an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony Academy Awards). With 25 million subscribers and 400 million views on Youtube, Hall has even earned tweets from Beyonce for his full scale productions. This film follows Hall as he writes, composes, sings, choreographs, dances and directs in his new production, “Straight outta Oz.”
Friday night, July 14, 10:30p: Like Foam
In Spanish with English subtitles, this film is going to be unlike anything I have ever seen. A majority of the story takes place at a giant orgy. Yes, a big pool party with a foam machine turns into an orgy. It’s been called a “soft porn cliche,” but with commentary on disability, diversity, polysexuality and queer curiosities, I’d like to think it has a more sincere message to offer.
Saturday morning, July 15, 10:00a: Chavela
In Spanish with English subtitles, this film is about the iconic Mexican singer that “slept with everyone in Mexico.” Although later in life she self-identified as lesbian, Chavela stole the hearts and souls of men and women alike throughout Mexico with her music.
Saturday afternoon, July 15, 2:00p: Political Animals
Did you know that four female gay representatives in California were the renegades for LGBT political rights after the Stonewall days? If you love political action, strong-as-hell female icons and white house warriors, you don’t want to miss this film.
Saturday night, July 15, 9:30p: Femme Brutal
In German with English subtitles, this is an Austrian, feminist burlesque documentary. You are going to fall for this sexy line up of voluptuous woman who make a naked claim to power. Learn the stories of how they got on the stage, and more importantly, the radical movement behind burlesque in Austria and how it is empowering women for the ages.
Saturday night, July 15, 10:30p: The Untamed
In Spanish with English subtitles, this film might be the most bizarre of the festival line up. Taking place is a small, mundane looking town, a young lady has a responsibility to perform at “the cabin” where a sex-monster-from-space demands to satisfy-and-be-satisfied by the townspeople. Yep.. it’s going to be pretty weirdly awesome.
Sunday evening, July 16, 4:45p: Don’t Call Me Son
In Portuguese with English subtitles, I find there is more hype around this dramatic film. It’s a story of a gorgeous young androgynous boy in Brazil who finds out that his mother isn’t really his mother- he was kidnapped by her as a young child. He is finally introduced to his biological, conservative parents- but they don’t seem pleased by his polished nailed and khol- lined eyes. This film explores the characters struggle of self understanding mixed with the complications and effects of parental guidance on queer youth.
Sunday night, July 16, 7:30p: After Louie
Starring the iconic Alan Cumming, this modern gay love story reminds us of the tragic past losses that happened during the AIDS crisis that are still being grieved today, as well as a fresh reminder of modern millennial sexual freedom. This film explores how devastation can bring art, art can bring love and love can bring a freedom of happiness. This film will be one of many tear-jerkers this weekend, but I’m sure there is a big reason it is the last film of the festival.
See the full list with show times of all the fantastic films here.