Reeling to showcase a load of Chicago-connected films

"Bittersweet Waters"

“Bittersweet Waters”

The annual LGBTQ+ fest
will screen work by
Lilly Wachowski,
Jesús Canchola Sánchez,
Michael Cicetti,
Wendy Jo Carlton,
Laura Madalinski, and more

Reeling, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ film festival, will host international, national and local actors and filmmakers at its 37th edition, unspooling September 19-29 at Music Box Theatre, Landmark Theatres’ Century Centre Cinema and Chicago Filmmakers.

Just announced, actor Mark Patton, the star of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge and subject of the documentary Scream, Queen! will be in attendance for closing night.

A complete Reeling schedule of features and shorts can be found here.

Chicago (and Chicago-connected) films at Reeling
Saturday, September 21, 2019

The pilot of Work in Progress, a new half-hour comedy series created by Chicago improv mainstays Abby McEnany and Tim Mason, and co-written by Lilly Wachowski (The Matrix, Sense8) will screen on Saturday, September 21 at noon followed by a panel discussion with special guests from the series.

A funny and uniquely human comedy, Work in Progressfeatures McEnany as a 45-year-old self-identified fat, queer dyke from Chicago whose misfortune and despair unexpectedly lead her to a vibrantly transformative relationship. The series co-stars Chicago-based performer Karin Anglin alongside Celeste Pechous, with Julia Sweeney (Saturday Night Live, Shrill) appearing in a crucial role as herself.

Work in Progress will premiere Sunday, December 8 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

Saturday, September 21

A young man living in rural Mexico loves in secret. In order to live truthfully, he must overcome his mother, his lover’s fiancée, and the traditional community that surrounds him.

Writer-director-star Jesús Canchola Sánchez had his first short story published at the age of 7 in his Chicago elementary school newspaper. He makes his feature length directorial debut with Agua Agridulce (Bittersweet Waters), which just had its Mexico City premiere in May. His short film Cuban Colors was an official selection of the 6th Annual Puerto Rico Queer Filmfest and Mix Mexico 21st Sexual Diversity Film Festival.

Saturday, September 21

He’s a gay geek hitting 30. She’s a suburban divorcée embracing 50. Together, neighbors Kev (Michael Cicetti) and Jan (Angela Atwood) confront New York’s daily disasters… with the help of a little bubbly from the bodega. The first two episodes of Cicetti’s sitcom will be shown as part of Reeling’s “Drag, Geeks and Schemers” short films program.

Creator-director star Michael Cicetti has appeared Off-Broadway and in various regional houses: Williamstown Theatre Festival; Ravinia Festival; Lyric Opera of Chicago; Redmoon Theatre; The Neofuturists. Film credits include: Landing Up; Bowes Academy; Bro Brunches; and Working On It. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Monday, September 23

Making Sweet Tea is a documentary film that chronicles the journey of Southern-born, black gay researcher and performer E. Patrick Johnson, professor at Northwestern University, as he travels home to North Carolina to come to terms with his past, and to Georgia, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C. to reconnect with six black gay men he interviewed for the book, Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South—An Oral History

Co-director/executive producer John L. Jackson, Jr. is a Philadelphia-based filmmaker, anthropologist, and author. His films include Four Days in May, Bad Friday: Rastafari after Coral Gardens, Divided We Stand, African Americans and the Bible and Get it Together. Co-director/cinematographer Nora Gross is part of the leadership of CAMRA, the Collective for Advancing
Multimodal Research Arts.

Tuesday, September 24

2 in the Bush is an unconventional romantic comedy about dungeons, a fish named Archimedes, and the many forms that love takes. After losing her job, Emily arrives home early from work to find her girlfriend in the throes of passion with someone else. In an instant, her entire life is turned upside down. Moving in with her best friend, Emily lands a new gig working for a dominatrix. When she falls for her new boss, and then her boss’s boyfriend, Emily must decide what risks are worth taking for love.

Director-cowriter Laura Madalinksi spent her childhood in West Virginia where she was queer before she knew it had a name. She studied film and video at Columbia College Chicago before launching a career in post-production. After working in editorial boutiques for eight years she started her own company, Strange Charm. She got her start in independent film as an assistant editor on the award-winning documentary We Live in Public.

Thursday, September 26

Jenna (Kari Alison Hodge) agrees to a sexy weekend fling with materialistic girlfriend Kate (Rachel Paulson) and the worldly Mia (Julie Eringer). As the night unfolds, Jenna realizes she’s bitten off more than she can chew, and the love triangle begins to crack.

Writer-director Wendy Jo Carlton’s 2009 debut feature, Hannah Free, starred Emmy winner Sharon Gless. Carlton’s second feature Jamie and Jessie are Not Together, is filmdom’s first-ever lesbian romance musical. Her digital series, Easy Abby, received more than 50 million views in its first season. Good Kisser star Kari Alison Hodge and producer, Anne T. Hanson will also be in attendance.

Saturday, September 28

Directed “lifelong Chicagoan” Martin Mulcahy, My Mattachine is an eleven-minute experimental animation documentary about a gay man’s search for connection on the south side of the Windy City during the 1970s/80s.

Et cetera
Also coming out of Chicago are an increasing number of queer web series, which will be the focus of a panel discussion and screening of episodes from several Chicago web series.

Creatives from these series will discuss how they got started, how they achieved visibility in a crowded online environment, and what impact their web series has had on their careers.

For the full festival lineup, click here.

Ticket Information
Advance tickets and passes may be purchased online beginning August 12, 2019 or in person at Chicago Filmmakers (5720 N. Ridge Ave.) from September 9 to 18. Ticket prices are $13 for regular screenings at the Landmark, $11 for regular screenings at Chicago Filmmakers, with member discounts of $3 per show. Special admission programs include the opening night film, The Shiny Shrimps, $15 for the film only and $40 for the film and pre-party; and $30 for the closing night film Scream Queen: My Nightmare On Elm Street and after-party.

Pass Information
Discount passes are available at $55 for a Pick-5 Pass ($45 for members), $100 for a Pick-10 Pass ($90 for members), and $130 for a Festival Pass ($110 for members). Passes are good for regularly priced screenings only.

General Information
For more information, the public can call (773) 293-1447, consult the festival website, or follow ReelingFilmFest on Twitter, reeling.filmfest on Facebook and @reelingfilmfest on Instagram for the latest Reeling news and ticket promotions.

About Chicago Filmmakers
Chicago Filmmakers is a not-for-profit media arts organization established in 1973 that fosters the creation, appreciation, and understanding of film and video as media for artistic and personal expression, as well as media of important social and community impact. Chicago Filmmakers’ twofold mission is to serve independent film and digital video artists by supporting the creation and dissemination of new media arts works and to serve Chicago audiences by screening artistically innovative, socially relevant, and diverse films and videos.

Reeling Sponsors
Presenting Sponsors for the 37th edition of Reeling are SHOWTIME, AARP and ROOM & BOARD. Reeling sponsors also include Premier Sponsors GILEAD, CHICAGOPRIDE.COM, and HERE TV; Grand Sponsors include BEST WESTERN PLUS HAWTHORNE TERRACE, EDGE MEDIA NETWORK, and NEXUS RADIO. Reeling is a program presented by CHICAGO FILMMAKERS, a non-profit media arts organization that has been serving Chicago’s independent film community for 45 years.

Send your event updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton,