www.chillfest.org for a complete schedule and film synopses
Chillfest, the long-running Jersey City-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) film series will be presenting screenings over four weekends this summer at the Jersey Shore in Asbury Park. Chillfest’s first warm weather series in the historic beach and boardwalk city will be hosted by The ShowRoom Cinema, the brand new art-house movie complex located in the heart of Downtown Asbury Park. Chillfest at The ShowRoom Cinema will begin the weekend of June 21 and run bi-weekly through August 4.
For its summer in Asbury Park, Chillfest will be presenting five new films as well as three retrospective screenings. The New Jersey premieres are the Sundance selection “Pit Stop” that tells the parallel stories of two gay men in a small Texas town, the hilarious road movie “Cloudburst” starring Academy Award winners Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as long-time lovers on the lam, and the documentary “I Am Divine” detailing the outrageous life and career of Harris Glenn Milstead, better known as director John Waters’ fearless muse, Divine.
On its 30th anniversary and in honor of the late Nora Ephron’s body of work, Chillfest is screening “Silkwood” (1983). Based on Ephron’s Academy Award-nominated script, “Silkwood” stars Meryl Streep as labor union activist Karen Silkwood and Cher as her lesbian friend, Dolly Pelliker. Cher won a Golden Globe Award for her performance. And in honor of its 20th anniversary as well as its Academy Award-winning director, Ang Lee (for “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”), Chillfest will screen “The Wedding Banquet” (1993) about a gay New Yorker who stages a marriage of convenience to satisfy his traditional Taiwanese family.
Other films being presented by Chillfest at The ShowRoom this summer are the comedies “Petunia” about the wildly dysfunctional Petunia family starring Thora Birch (“American Beauty”), Brittany Snow (“Hairspray”) and Michael Urie (“Ugly Betty”); and “Wonder Boys” (2000) based on the novel of the same title by Michael Chabon and starring Michael Douglas as creative writing professor Grady Tripp, Tobey Maguire as his gifted yet troubled student, and Robert Downey, Jr. in a brilliant turn as a rambunctious gay book editor desperately in need of a new best-seller. All three stars give one of their best and surprising performances in this wondrous comedy.
Also screening is the critically acclaimed coming-of-age drama from last year, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” based on the best-selling novel by Stephen Chbosky and starring Logan Lerman as Charlie, a socially awkward high school transfer student, and Emma Watson (“Harry Potter” films) and Ezra Miller as his newfound friends and cohorts. Miller gives a spirited and strong performance as an exuberantly gay high school senior.
Go to www.chillfest.org for a complete list of dates and times.
Reflecting on the summer season in Asbury Park, Chillfest programmer John Catania cites several reasons for the move: “Asbury Park has become a popular vacation destination for lesbians and gay men and their families, and there is also a growing population of LGBT people now living there. And on visiting The ShowRoom Cinema, we were immediately excited by the new first-rate facility and know Chillfest audiences will enjoy watching our films there.”
The ShowRoom Cinema’s owners, Mike Sodano and Nancy Sabino, are looking forward to this series since the summer is going to bring more visitors to the city, looking for all the city has to offer. “These titles will give our audiences more varied content to select from and we anticipate a high level of interest from the LGBT community, who host family and friends over the summer weekends.”
Founded and programmed by media producers and filmmakers John Catania and Charles Ignacio, Chillfest began in Jersey City with a single weekend of films in 2005 and is dedicated to screening LGBT moving image art forms and to recognizing the creative work of LGBT filmmakers by bringing them and audiences together. Catania and Ignacio, together 20 years and married in New York City in 2011, were long-time producers for the Emmy-nominated PBS series “In the Life,” America’s first newsmagazine on LGBT lives shown on national television. They also produced the award-winning 2005 documentary “The Lady in Question is Charles Busch” about the celebrated writer, actor, playwright and drag artist that will be re-broadcast on Thirteen in June.