Other comedies like The Big Gay Musical and Make the Yuletide Gay add a bit of camp to the festival.
The festival’s closing night on November 15 features Oy Vey My Son is Gay, a hilarious comedy that tackles issues of family dynamics, acceptance, and diversity with incredible wit and grace.
Starring Lainie Kazan (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Jai Hernandez (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), Vincent Pastore (The Sopranos), comedian Bruce Vilanch, and Carmen Electra, the film follows Nelson Hirsch (John Lloyd Young) as he tries to come out to his overbearing Jewish mother Shirley (Kazan).
Shirley is convinced that her son is dating a centerfold model (Electra), so when she discovers that he is actually in a serious relationship with the flamboyant interior designer Angelo (Hernandez), Nelson’s relationship with his family, especially his mother, unravels.
Though Oy Vey follows a typical coming out narrative, Kazan and Vilanch’s hilarious quips and the family’s diversity make the film a unique story of unconditional love and acceptance.
Just in time for the holiday season, Make the Yuletide Gay screens this Saturday.
The movie is another coming out story, following Olaf “Gunn” Gunnunderson (Keith Jordan) as he travels home to his overly chipper mother and pot-smoking father for the holidays.
Everything is as usual in the Gunnunderson household until Gunn’s boyfriend, Nathan (Adamo Ruggiero), unexpectedly drops by and Gunn is forced to tell his parents about his relationship.
Reeling: The Chicago Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival celebrates its 28th year by focusing on the idea of cinema as an escape from reality.
After a tumultuous year for gay rights, from the passage of Proposition 8 to the raid on a gay bar in Fort Worth on the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, it’s understandable that the queer film industry would want to impart a more optimistic outlook to filmgoers.
With 150 films from countries like the Philippines, Sweden, and Puerto Rico, Reeling provides innovative, diverse, and evocative narratives that will surely allow people to escape the political woes of today and look toward the future.
As in previous years, most of the films selected deal with familiar problems within the gay community, like familial and romantic relationships, coming out, and discrimination, but comedy seems to be a much more prominent feature in the films than in years past.