February 17, 2018 at 5:40 am EDT | by Brian T. Carney
Film fests blooming in Washington
film festivals, gay news, Washington Blade

A scene from ‘Something Like Summer,’ which screens tonight in Washington. (Photo courtesy Reel Affirmations)

Spring is coming, which means the D.C. film festivals are starting to bloom.

One of the oldest is the D.C. International Film Festival, which runs through Monday at a variety of venues around the city. The festival’s Executive Director Deirdre Evans-Pritchard says its mission is straight-forward: “We are a competitive festival with the mission of forwarding the careers of emerging and established filmmakers of exceptional talent who work locally, nationally and internationally.”

She this approach to festival programming can be nerve-wracking.

“We honestly do not know the lineup of the festival until a couple of months beforehand. It is a surprise for us ourselves, how the programming lines up each year.”

Some of the highlights of the weekend’s screenings include the High School Film Competition; the high school thriller “The Rainbow Experiment” (with director and cast numbers in attendance); “Killing Diaz” about a hook-up gone horribly wrong; and, and a late night panel of Chills and Thrills Late Night Shorts.

The programming on President’s Day starts with an amazing panel of animated shorts. Mind-Blowing Animation includes the Oscar-nominated film “Negative Space.” Created by the Baltimore-based team of Max Porter and Ru Kuwuhata, the stop-action film offers a nostalgic look at the complicated relationship between a father and son as the father, a traveling businessman, teaches his son about the art of efficiently packing a suitcase.

The festival closes with “Andover.” Directed by Scott Perlman and starring Jonathan Silverman (“Weekend at Bernie’s” and “Brighton Beach Memoirs”), it’s a fascinating parable about the limits of science and the power of love. Silverman plays a brilliant genetics professor who is devastated by the sudden death of his wife (played by Silverman’s real-life wife Jennifer Finnegan). The cast also includes Jonathan Lipnicki (the kid from “Jerry Maguire”). Beth Grant (“Sordid Lives”) and Richard Kind (“Gotham” and “Mad About You”).

Another of D.C.’s popular film festivals is also offering great programming this weekend. Reel Affirmations, D.C.’s local LGBT fest, is screening “Something Like Summer.”

Based on the popular book by Jay Bell (adapted by Carlos Pedraza), “Something Like Summer” features original music by John Patrick and original artwork by Kyle Joseph Johnson. The movie traces the complicated relationship between Benjamin Bentley (Grant Davis) and Tim Wyman (Davi Santos).

Painter and aspiring singer Ben thinks he’s the only gay kid in town until he (literally) runs into the handsome athlete. The two begin a passionate secret affair until the fear of exposure drives them apart.

Years later, Ben and Tim are reunited. Tim wants to resume their relationship, but Ben is dating Jace Holden (Ben Baur). Both Tim and Jace pursue Ben, who has to learn how to follow his own heart.

“Something Like Summer” will screen at the HRC Screening Room (1620 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.) tonight (Friday, Feb. 16) at 7 p.m. After the movie, Rayceen Pendarvis (one of the Washington Blade’s Most Eligible Singles) will lead a discussion with producer Tom Ly and actor Ben Baur.

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