From June 23–25, the Walker Art Center presents
Queer Takes: Standing Out
, a series showcasing daring films which feature stories of those who challenge the status quo. Now in its fourth edition at the Walker, Queer Takes is back with a group of films diverse in style and genre exploring LGBT issues that range from discrimination based on sexual orientation in women’s sports to AIDS activism to gay parenting.
Queer Takes opens on Tuesday, June 23, 7:30 pm, with Nacho Velilla’s Chef’s Special (Fuera de Carta), a comedy from Spain about a distinguished and openly gay chef from Madrid who is forced to reevaluate his own morals and values when the children from his former marriage suddenly come knocking on his door and a handsome ex-football player from Argentina moves in next door; two documentary films addressing the challenges faced by lesbians in women’s sports, including Dee Mosbacher and Fawn Yacker’s Training Rules (June 24, 7 pm), focusing on a lawsuit against a women’s college basketball program with strict rules against lesbians, and Ayat Najafi and David Assmann’s Football Under Cover (June 24, 8:45 pm), which exposes cultural and gender conflicts in a women’s soccer match between teams from Germany and Iran; and John Greyson’s Fig Trees (June 25, 7:30 pm), an experimental opera about two AIDS activists from different continents fighting for access to affordable medication for all that was the winner of the 2009 Teddy Award for Best Documentary Film at the Berlin Film Festival, preceded by Jenni Olson’s 575 Castro Street, which employs archival recordings of Harvey Milk describing the events he would like to take place in the event of his assassination, set to images shot on the set of Gus Van Sant’s 2008 film Milk.
Unless otherwise noted, films are screened in the Cinema and are $8 ($6 Walker, Quorum, and OutFront Minnesota members). Tickets to free films are available one hour prior to each screening at the Bazinet Garden Lobby desk.
Queer Takes is a GLBT Pride/Twin Cities endorsed event.
QUEER TAKES: STANDING OUT
Tuesday, June 23
Chef’s Special (Fuera de Carta), 7:30 pm
Directed by Nacho Velilla
This saucy light comedy from Spain serves up a bellyful of laughs. With slavish attention to detail, chef Maxi (Javier Cámara) labors over the sumptuous dishes at his chic restaurant in Madrid’s gay ghetto, Chuecatown. He tries to stay focused on obtaining his first Michelin star, but the unexpected arrival of his two children from a previous marriage and the sexy footballer who moves in next door become a distraction. Now he must decide what’s more important: family, love, or career—or can he have it all? “Raucous comedy” (New York Times). 2008, video, in Spanish with English subtitles, 111 minutes.
Wednesday, June 24
Training Rules, 7 pm
Directed by Dee Mosbacher and Fawn Yacker
The policies of some women’s collegiate sports programs denying rights based on sexual orientation have created a culture of harassment and intolerance that has stalled the careers of lesbian athletes. Oscar-nominated director Mosbacher (Straight from the Heart) and codirector Yacker’s documentary focuses on the lawsuit against Penn State University and women’s basketball coach Rene Portland, who had three strict rules during her 26-year tenure—no drinking, no drugs, and no lesbians. A post-screening discussion follows. 2009, video, 60 minutes.
Football Under Cover, 8:45 pm
Directed by Ayat Najafi and David Assmann
A women’s soccer match pitting Berlin’s team against Iran’s national team exposes cultural and gender conflicts in this thrilling documentary. After learning that the Iranian team has never been allowed to play their sport outdoors—much less against another team and in front of fans—the German team sets out to organize a match. The film traces the logistical challenges they must navigate: men are banned from the Tehran stadium, and the predominantly lesbian German team must learn to play with headscarves and observe a strict code of conduct while in Iran, downplaying their sexuality. When the two teams finally meet, the stadium erupts with a thousand screaming female fans. 2008, video, in German and Farsi with English subtitles, 85 minutes.
Thursday, June 25
Fig Trees, 7:30 pm, Free
Directed by John Greyson
An audacious, multilayered work with an arresting visual sensibility (much like Greyson’s Zero Patience and Lilies), the genre-defying Fig Trees deals with the campaigns of AIDS activists Tim McCaskell (Toronto) and Zackie Achmat (Capetown), who refused treatment for the disease until drugs could be made accessible to all South Africans. Backed by an exhilarating music–laden score, the film disregards conventional storytelling, fragmenting time as Gertrude Stein and St. Teresa of Ávila weigh in on the ethics of medicine and the power of activism. Winner of the 2009 Teddy Award for Best Documentary Film at the Berlin Film Festival. 2009, video, 104 minutes.
575 Castro Street
Directed by Jenni Olson
Olson’s images, shot on the set of Gus Van Sant’s Milk, are paired with taped audio presciently recorded by the real Harvey Milk to be played in the event of his assassination. 2008, video, 7 minutes.