The Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival 2015 Returns on 6 June

Highlights of the line-up for TLVFest 2015, as the festival marks its 10th anniversary, include the last film appearance of the late Robin Williams, playing a 60-year-old man coming out of the closet in Boulevard (2014). The winner of last year’s festival’s Honorary Award, Jamie Babbit, gets the opening slot for this year’s event with his movie Fresno, a black comedy starring Natasha Lyonne, Judy Greer and Aubrey Plaza, produced by Andrea Sperling (Transparent) and written by Karey Dornetto (The New Normal, Portlandia).

This year, the festival’s Honorary Award will be presented to Angela Robinson whose ground-breaking career is celebrated with a showing of her cult lesbian spy comedy D.E.B.S. (2004). Robinson is a writer, producer and director of the HBO hit True Blood. She was the first out lesbian and African American director to helm a Disney film (Herbie Fully Loaded) and continues to break stereotypes as consulting producer of How to Get Away with Murder.

Guest filmmakers attending this year’s festival include Alanté Kavaïté, winner of the Best Director at Sundance 2015 for her movie The Summer of Sangaile, a rapturous portrayal of young love and big dreams. Luizo Vega will present his unique documentary, The Material Boy (2015), about creating art that breaks boundaries in a fascist country and his longing for his spiritual “mother”, the Queen of Pop, Madonna.

Fresh from premiering at Berlinale 2015, 54: Director’s Cut stars Ryan Philippe and Selma Hayek, and its director Mark Christopher and producer Jonathan King will be at the showing. The Fourth Man Out (2015) from Andrew Nackman gets its international premiere at TLVFest’s Closing Night on 15 June, with its star, Evan Todd, in attendance.

James Franco stars in I Am Michael (2015) as “saved” gay activist Michael Glatze, one of many films being shown for the first time in Israel. They include The Amina Profile (2014), by Sophie Deraspe, which tells the story of a lesbian activist in Damascus who vanished in the early days of the Arab Spring, as well as a selection from Berlinale 2015 including Stories of Our Lives (2014), winner of the Berlinale’s Teddy Jury Award, a collection of stories of the lives of LGBT people in Kenya.

As usual, TLVFest will present a diverse homegrown programme featuring more than 30 short movies by Israeli filmmakers. Notably, documentary Karam: A Matter Of Karma (2014) tells the story of a Palestinian-Israeli drag queen who speaks about his tormented past, his tragic coming out in front of his Muslim family, and finding shelter in an LGBT youth house. Third Person (2015), directed by Sharon Luzon, documents the life of two inter-sex people: one Muslim and one religious Jew. Finally, the American-Israeli co-production Lost in the White City (2015) tells the story of a romantic triangle between American students and Israeli soldiers.

Lastly, ensuring a memorable start to this 10th anniversary celebration, internationally renowned drag queens Sherry Vine from New York and Gloria Viagra from Berlin will perform at the Opening Party on 5 June. On 12 June, Maya Jafer, from the Golden Globe winning series Transparent, will be a guest at TLVFest’s Queer Pride Party while festival guests Luizo Vega from Paris and Missy Lopes from Hamburg will also DJ during the evening.

The Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival 2015, 6 -15 June, Tel Aviv Cinematheque, 2 Shprinzak St,
6473802, Tel Aviv, Israel.

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1. Still from I Am Michael (2015).