For most of its first 17 years, QFest—Houston’s LGBT film festival—was a strictly inside-the-loop phenomenon. Last year, the festival made its first, tentative steps into Houston’s hinterlands by holding film screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park in Katy. The experiment was so successful that this year QFest is expanding even further, adding screenings in northwest Houston (at the Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park) and Galveston (at the Galveston Artist Residency).
“The gay and lesbian community extends well beyond what has been traditionally known as the gay part of town, the Montrose,” says QFest board president Kristian Salinas. “We saw this as an opportunity to truly take the festival city-wide, and to take this programming to areas of Houston that have not in the past had [a film festival] that was specifically queer.”
With 60 films being screened over five days at nine venues around town, this year’s QFest offers something for everyone. For the first time, QFest has partnered with the Houston Museum of African American Culture on a program of short films about the African American queer experience; the festival is also collaborating with the Asia Society Texas Center to present a program of films from Thailand and Slovenia.
The festival will feature several films with local connections. Kyle Henry, a Houstonian now living in Chicago, will present his film Fourplay at the Aurora Picture Show on Friday night; Patrick Hancock, who grew up in Alief and now lives in Los Angeles, contributes the short film PDA; Before You Know It, a documentary about a group of older gay men, features the owner of Galveston bar Robert Lafitte, which will host an after party.
QFest, July 25–29. See website for screening, venue, and ticket info, q-fest.org