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QFest 2016: The 20th Annual Houston International LGBTQ Film Festival

The Museum proudly hosts screenings in the 20th edition of QFest, Houston’s international GLBTQ film festival. Programmed by Kristian Salinas, selections include a tribute to noted Italian filmmaker Liliana Cavani.

Vist for the complete schedule.

Film Festival ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH members, students with ID, and seniors receive a $2 discount.


Other People

Chris Kelly


Saturday Night Live writer Chris Kelly’s debut is a semi-autobiographical journey, juggling tragedy with gut-busting laughter. David (Jesse Plemons) is a struggling comedy writer who has returned to his family home to assist his mother (Molly Shannon in an extraordinary performance) as she battles with terminal cancer. Stuck in an awkward place, trying to deal with the emotions that come with watching your mother’s health decline while also dealing with heartbreak and disappointment, David quietly struggles on a daily basis. ... more info

The Skin

La pelle

1981, in Italian with English subtitles
Liliana Cavani


Never released in the United States, Liliana Cavani’s adaptation of Curzio Malaparte’s 1949 memoir features Marcello Mastroianni as the famed writer. At the time of the U.S. invasion of Italy, he was serving as an Italian liaison officer for the controversial General Clark (Burt Lancaster), whose invasion of Rome was heavily criticized. Claudia Cardinale and Ken Marshall are also featured in this unflinching look at life during the American occupation of Naples during World War II. more info

The Night Porter

Il portiere di notte

Liliana Cavani


In this unsettling drama, a concentration camp survivor (Charlotte Rampling) discovers her former torturer and lover (Dirk Bogarde) working as a porter at a hotel in postwar Vienna. When the couple attempt to re-create their sadomasochistic relationship, his former SS comrades begin to stalk them. Operatic and disturbing, The Night Porter deftly examines the lasting social and psychological effects of the Nazi regime. more info

Next to Me

Pored mene

2015, in Serbian with English subtitles
Stevan Filipovic


The festival’s International Centerpiece is a provocative new film from Serbia. Olja, a Belgrade high school teacher, is married to a painter whose latest exhibition has prompted criticism. Olja is attacked one night, and suspects her students’ involvement when she finds them watching the attack on YouTube. Unable to learn the names of the culprits, she takes harsh measures, with surprising results. Named Best Film at the Pula Film Festival, the jury praised this “courageous portrayal of the new generation, ... more info

Women He’s Undressed

Gillian Armstrong


Movie costume designer Orry-Kelly (1897–1964) contributed to some of the most magical moments in cinema history. He designed for an astonishing 282 motion pictures, including costumes for Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Rosalind Russell, and Marilyn Monroe in films ranging from Casablanca to Some Like It Hot. Talented, daring, brash, and bold, Orry-Kelly was the first Australian to win three Academy Awards. more info

Uncle Howard

Aaron Brookner


Howard Brookner was buried on his 35th birthday in 1989. He was many things: gay, an Ivy League graduate, seedy-nightlife lover, and maker of cult documentaries. To director Aaron Brookner, he was a loving and inspirational uncle who died of AIDS when Aaron was only seven. QFest’s Documentary Centerpiece is a nephew’s personal journey to discover his uncle’s films and establish his legacy. more info

Past Films in This Series


Gun Hill Road

Directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green
Esai Morales ("La Bamba") stars as a newly released ex-con from the Bronx trying to integrate back into family life, only to be confronted by the revelation that his teenage son is transsexual. This gritty indie drama—a finalist for the esteemed Jury Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival—marks the feature debut of director Rashaad Ernesto Green. Preceded by a tribute to John Kellett and The John Steven Kellett Foundation for their continued support of the festival over the last 15 years. Special ticket ... more info

2 Frogs in the West

(2 Frogs dans l’ouest)

2010 (French with subtitles)
Directed by Dany Papineau
In this thrilling coming-of-age drama, a young woman’s trek across Western Canada takes her to a lavish ski-resort town where she befriends—and moves in with—a former champion skier, his sexually provocative ex-girlfriend, and their gay best friend. Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH Members, students with ID, seniors, and members of Film Buffs receive a $2 discount.   more info

Outfest at QFest: Girl Shorts

Directed by various filmmakers
A compilation of the best short films from the “Girl Shorts” program featured at Outfest Los Angeles. Titles include For Such a Time as This (2011; USA; 10 min.); Cried Suicide (2010; USA; 14 min.); You Move Me (2010; USA; 12 min.); After Lunch (Depois do almoço) (2009, Brazil, 13 min.); Public Relations (2010; USA; 17 min); Birthday/Födelsedag (2010; Sweden/Poland; 18 mins; Swedish with English subtitles). Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH Members, students with ID, seniors, and ... more info

Making the Boys

Directed by Crayton Robey
This 2009 film tells the remarkable story of how The Boys in the Band became the first play depicting the lives of gay men, and its historical impact upon the world of theater. Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH Members, students with ID, seniors, and members of Film Buffs receive a $2 discount. (Members of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston are also entitled to the discounted ticket price for this film.) more info

Outfest at QFest: Boy Shorts

Directed by various filmmakers
A compilation of the best short films from the “Boy Shorts” program featured at Outfest Los Angeles. Titles include Gayby (2010; USA; 12 min.); (2010; USA; 14 min.); The Very Best of Pretty Things, season 2 featuring "Popcorn," "Treble & Timbre," and "Hairbox Thrillers." (USA; 20 min.); The Queen (2010; USA; 8 min.); Billy & Aaron (2010; USA; 10 min.); George & Brad in Bed (2009; USA; 5 min.); The Armoire (2009; Canada; 22 min.); raw love/Amor crudo (2008; ... more info

A Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor: National Velvet

Directed by Clarence Brown
Elizabeth Taylor’s star-making debut as a young lass who wins over a wild stallion and take a shot at winning England’s Grand National Sweepstakes. Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH Members, students with ID, seniors, and members of Film Buffs receive a $2 discount.   more info

Short Films by Kenneth Anger

Directed by Kenneth Anger
Legendary, iconic director Kenneth Anger’s most memorable work is featured in this timeless collection of recent 35mm restorations from The UCLA Film and Television Archive. The program consists of Kustom Kar Kommandos, Rabbit's Moon, Fireworks, and Scorpio Rising. Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH Members, students with ID, seniors, and members of Film Buffs receive a $2 discount. 35mm preservation prints courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Preservation funded by The Film Foundation.   more info


Directed by Todd Haynes
20th Anniversary Presentation The feature-film debut of Oscar winner Todd Haynes is an unforgettable triptych combining drive-in sci-fi horror, a disturbing family documentary, and a seedy prison melodrama. Poison is a provocative take on gay identity, gay politics, and gay sexuality. Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH Members, students with ID, seniors, and members of Film Buffs receive a $2 discount. Cosponsored by DiverseWorks more info

A Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor: Boom!

Directed by Joseph Losey
From the director of Secret Ceremony and Mr. Klein comes this brilliantly underrated, over-the-top adaptation of Tennessee Wiliams’ play The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore. Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH Members, students with ID, seniors, and members of Film Buffs receive a $2 discount. more info


Directed by Thom Fitzgerald
​QFest Opening Night: The audience is invited to a reception in the museum galleries following the film. Light bites generously donated by Central Market, and DJ ESTEFF spins vinyl!   Special ticket prices apply: General admission is $10. MFAH Members, students with ID, and senior adults receive a $2 discount. Oscar winners Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker star as Stella and Dot, an elderly lesbian couple whose peaceful life is disrupted when Dot’s manipulative granddaughter connives her to sign over power of attorney, ... more info



2011, in Afrikaans and English
Directed by Oliver Hermanus
Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH members, students with ID, and seniors receive a $2 discount. François (Deon Lotz, in an astounding performance) is a middle-aged Afrikaner leading a double life. Respected as a successful businessman with a doting wife and beautiful daughter, François travels outside the confines of his hometown to carry on regular clandestine relations with similar men. However, François’ life is turned upside down when he meets Christian, the handsome son of his best ... more info


Directed by Jeffrey Schwartz
Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH members, students with ID, and seniors receive a $2 discount. ​Introduced by author/journalist Vance Muse, member of the MFAH film committee In the aftermath of Stonewall, a newly politicized Vito Russo found his voice as a gay activist and critic of LGBT representation in the media. He went on to write “The Celluloid Closet,” the first book to critique Hollywood’s portrayals of gays on screen. During the AIDS crisis in the ... more info

Mosquita y Mari

Directed by Aurora Guerrero
Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH members, students with ID, and seniors receive a $2 discount. Set in the predominately Mexican, immigrant neighborhood of Huntington Park outside Los Angeles, Aurora Guerrero’s feature debut depicts the story of two 15-year-old Chicanas: straight-A college bound Yolanda—“Mosquita,” and street-wise, undocumented Mari.  Despite Yolanda and Mari's contrasting approach to survival, both are brought together when Mari is threatened with expulsion after saving Yolanda from an incident at school involving Yolanda’s boy-crazed friends. ... more info

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same

Directed by Madeleine Olnek
Special ticket prices apply! General admission is $10. MFAH members, students with ID, and seniors receive a $2 discount. Zoinx is sent from the planet Zots to Earth on a mission to rid herself of romantic emotions, which are considered toxic to her planet's atmosphere. She is told to have her heart broken on Earth (where such heartbreak is considered a given). Zoinx meets Jane, an Earthling of mild manners who lives an uneventful life working in a stationery store. ... more info

Italy: Love It, or Leave It

2011, in Italian with English subtitles
Directed by Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi
Luca and Gustav are two young Italians who have witnessed the exodus of many of their Italian friends to other parts of Europe. Gustav is convinced the time has come for them to go abroad too, but Luca persuades him there are many good reasons to stay. The couple spends six months on a quixotic journey across their boot-shaped land in an old Fiat 500, attempting to understand Italy’s power to make people abroad dream. This film is not rated. more info

Valentine Road

Directed by Marta Cunningham
A 2008 classroom shooting shattered the working-class town of Oxnard, California. The sensationalized tale of a young, biracial LGBT teen pushing a young white supremacist to his breaking point drew attention to the plight of gay teens, as well as the overwhelmed educational and juvenile justice systems. This film is not rated. more info

Portrait of Jason

Directed by Shirley Clarke
Restored 35mm print One night in 1966, Shirley Clarke and her crew convened at the Hotel Chelsea to film self-described gay hustler Jason Holliday as he spun tales, sang, donned costumes, and reminisced about good times and bad behavior. The result is a mesmerizing portrait of a remarkable, charming, and tortured man, who is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking. Almost 50 years later, Portrait of Jason remains a potent reminder of what the world was like for black gay men ... more info

Myra Breckinridge

Directed by Michael Sarne
Introduced by Vance Muse, The Menil Collection In this infamous adaptation of Gore Vidal’s scandalous novel, Raquel Welch portrays Myra, née Myron (Rex Reed), a film buff who undergoes a sex change to pass as Myron’s widow—both to claim his inheritance from his uncle (John Huston), owner of the Academy for Aspiring Young Actors and Actresses, and to enforce female dominance on the unsuspecting “studs” studying there. Mae West stars as a sexually voracious talent agent who makes a meal ... more info


Directed by William Friedkin
In perhaps one of his finest performances, Al Pacino stars as Steve Burns, an undercover cop assigned to find a serial killer that is mutilating and murdering gay men in New York City. Deeply embedded within the gay S&M leather scene, Burns finds his work taking a toll on his personal life, both for his refusal to share details with his girlfriend (Karen Allen) and for his uncertainty over his own sexuality. This film is rated R. Also screening during QFest ... more info

Appropriate Behavior

Directed by Desiree Akhavan
Writer-director-star Desiree Akhavan helms this deadpan comedy about a bisexual Iranian-American woman adrift after a break-up. Finding new digs in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and a daycare job at a kindergarten film school, 20-something Shirin oscillates from conservative family gatherings (where she remains closeted) to hip Brooklyn parties and cold sexual encounters—punctuated with flashbacks to simpler times with her ex. Drawing comparisons to Annie Hall and Girls, this debut feature introduces a sharp new voice in independent cinema. —BAM CinemaFest Preceded by: ... more info


Directed by Hong Khaou
A British man (Ben Whishaw) struggling with grief over the passing of his lover attempts to bond with the dead man’s Chinese-Cambodian mother. He hires a translator to converse with the woman whose initial distrust dissolves into finding common ground together.  more info

Of Girls and Horses

Von Mädchen und Pferden

2014, in German with English subtitles
Directed by Monika Treut
A teenager struggles in her new environment when she is forced into an internship at a rural horse farm. She tentatively bonds with her boss before attempting a relationship with a client who stables her horses at the farm. German filmmaker Monika Treut has written, directed, and produced more than 20 award-winning independent features and documentaries. Widely acclaimed for her audacious vision, she has been honored with retrospectives in Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Taipei, Toronto, Prague, Warsaw, Athens, Los ... more info

India Blues: Eight Feelings

2013, in German with English subtitles
Directed by Christoph Forny and Yiannis Kolios
No one under 17 admitted. North American Premiere In this challenging and explicit feature debut, the everyday moments—big and small—between two young men reveal the emotions and feelings that both bring them together and tear them apart. Preceded by: The Tanti Man Directed by Bobby Abate (1999, USA, 14 min.) “A summer memoir of my love affair with a strange and charming drifter . . . highlighted by melodramatic, self-destructive journal entries from my teenage years that kept me fumbling though uncertain ... more info

One: A Story of Love and Equality

Directed by Becca Roth
Director Becca Roth and producer Melina Marini in attendance This year’s documentary centerpiece was inspired by Amendment One, a proposed ban on gay marriage that divided North Carolina voters in 2012. Filmmaker Becca Roth travels across the state in the months leading up to the election, interviewing people advocating for and against the legislation. By collecting personal stories of North Carolinians from diverse backgrounds, the film aspires to contribute to the national dialogue and refocus the national discussion on love, family ... more info

You and the Night

Les rencontres d'après minuit

2013, in French with English subtitles
Directed by Yann Gonzalez
Evoking references as diverse as John Hughes, Luis Buñuel, and Peter Greenaway, this titillating drama follows a beautiful couple and their transgender maid as they host an intimate party for an exclusive group of friends playing archetypal characters. Each guest has a moment in the spotlight. Set in a fabulous mansion with a score by French electronic band M38 pulsating throughout, the mood swings from pathos to humor, camp to confessional. Following its premiere in the Director’s Fortnight at the 2013 Cannes ... more info

I Am Michael

Directed by Justin Kelly
Introduced by director Justin Kelly, recipient of QFest's inaugural Freedom of Vision award Ivy League grad Michael Glatze (James Franco) is the handsome, charismatic, and opinionated co-editor of the groundbreaking gay periodical XY Magazine. After moving from San Francisco with his boyfriend (Zachary Quinto), Glatze experiences a traumatic health scare that leads him to find solace in the Bible, question his beliefs, and conclude that he is “a heterosexual person with a homosexual problem.” Rejecting his former life and his friends, Glatze ... more info

Liz in September

Liz en Septiembre

2014, in Spanish with English subtitles
Directed by Fina Torres
Introduced by director Fina Torres Presentation of the inaugural Achievement Award by Señorita Cinema Liz (Patricia Velasquez), a party girl and notorious womanizer, invites her friends to a Caribbean beach resort to celebrate her birthday. However, Liz is keeping a secret: She is terminally ill and believes this may be her last opportunity to be surrounded by those she loves. Eva (Eloisa Maturen), a married woman who finds herself stranded at the resort after her car breaks down, is warily accepted ... more info

Nasty Baby

Directed by Sebastián Silva
Sebastián Silva both stars in and directs this seriocomic tale of aging hipsters and their desire to start a family in Brooklyn’s Forte Greene neighborhood. Freddy (Silva) is a struggling mixed-media artist whose best friend, Polly (Kristen Wiig), asks him to be the biological father of her child. When Freddy learns he is infertile, Polly aggressively pursues Freddy’s boyfriend for the job. Meanwhile, a vagrant who settles into an abandoned walk-up acts aggressively toward residents, and expresses vitriolic homophobia toward ... more info

Tab Hunter Confidential

Directed by Jeffrey Schwartz
In person: Tab Hunter and producer Allan Glaser In the 1950s, Tab Hunter was No. 1 at the movie box office and on the music charts. He was Hollywood’s most sought-after star, romantically linked to Sophia Loren, Debbie Reynolds, and Natalie Wood. Nothing, it seemed, could stop Hunter’s career—except that he was secretly gay. Tab Hunter Confidential delivers a revealing look into Hunter's life, from his rise in Hollywood to the outing that nearly destroyed his career. Struggling to remain ... more info