Washington has plenty of good film festivals going on this month—both the Tacoma Film Festival and the Orcas Island Film Festival start today—and one would be remiss to not appreciate the wide variety of impressive works to be found at Three Dollar Bill Cinema’s Seattle Queer Film Festival, too. Starting October 13, SQFF will offer a combination of in-person and virtual screenings, and here are five picks you don't want to miss.
What the Funk: A Love Letter to the POC Community, USA, 2022, 99 min., dir. Adriana Guiman
This locally produced documentary about What the Funk?! BIPOC Burlesque Festival, which began in 2019 in Seattle, brings us along for the event's exciting three-day preparation period. It follows producer and founder Kia Puckett (aka Mx. Pucks A’Plenty) on a journey to building a community of performers from the ground up. Both a slice-of-life portrait and a behind-the-scenes historical document about Seattle art, this film is the hands-down must-see of the festival. The cast and crew will be in attendance for the opening night celebrations, which includes performances before the film and an after-party at LO-FI Performance Gallery. (Thurs Oct 13 at 7:30 pm at SIFF Cinema Egyptian; virtual screenings available Oct 13-23)
Youtopia, USA, 2022, 92 min., dir. Scout Durwood
A musical that is as sharp as it is silly, Youtopia is a comedy showcase overflowing with charm. After an unexpected breakup, Scout finds herself as the leader of a cult where members are starting to vanish and addressing their disappearances may bring on the end of the world. Written, directed, and starring Scout Durwood (who will be in attendance at the in-person screening, should you want to join the cult), Youtopia is continually refreshing, with every musical interlude showcasing a different style from the one before it. Best see this one with a crowd if you can. (Sat Oct 15 at 6:45 pm at Broadway Performance Hall; virtual screenings available Oct 13-23)
The Jessica Cabin, USA, 2022, 72 min. dir. Daniel Scott Montgomery
Ever wonder if ghosts are just lurking about and watching you? Not only are they doing just that in The Jessica Cabin, but they’re really sassy about it. In this case, the ghosts are focused on a couple who are staying in a cabin and are initially unaware of the spying supernatural entities. Various shenanigans ensue and while details of this delightful comedy are best kept under wraps, it's a film that is both snarky and oddly sweet when it all comes together. (Sat Oct 15 at 9 pm at Broadway Performance Hall; virtual screenings available Oct 13-23)
Swallowed, USA, 2022, 92 min., dir. Carter Smith
Swallowed is a strange and unsettling body horror-ish film that is hard to fully pin down. It follows two very good friends Ben (Cooper Koch) and Dom (Jose Colon) who are spending their final night together before the former leaves town to go be a pornstar. Things take a turn for the terrifying when Alice (Jena Malone) pulls a gun and instructs the friends to run drugs for her by swallowing condoms filled with her suspicious supply. The film gets more chaotic from there, making for the messiest movie on this list. (Thur Oct 20 at 9:15 pm at the Beacon Cinema)
BAZZOOKA, USA, 2021, 83 min., dir. Danny Denial
Originally a web series that is now a full feature, BAZZOOKA is the local festival film that has the best independent vision and vibes. Taking place in the terrifying dystopian future that is 2022 (the film was shot in 2020), the story centers on Gab, played by Eva Walker of the killer rock 'n' roll band the Black Tones, who has returned to the supposedly "progressive" Seattle following the sudden death of her ex. Music and mystery intertwine as she begins to piece together what exactly is going on under the surface of the city. Packing humor, style, and flair to spare, BAZZOOKA doubles as a mini concert full of talented performers who just keep coming as the film goes on. (Sat Oct 22, 3:00 pm, Museum of Pop Culture; virtual screenings available Oct 13-23)
The Seattle Queer Film Festival runs Oct 13-23 with daily screenings at various venues around town. For a look at the full lineup as well as virtual screening options, see the festival guide here.