Dayton’s LGBT Film Festival Enters Its 12th Year


By: Brett Slaughenhaupt – Movie Columnist

Every fall Dayton’s independent movie theater, The Neon, hosts its annual Dayton LGBT Film Festival. The weekend of Oct. 13-15 will cover eight films, three shorts, and one encore screening, looking into the LGBT experience, from international and interracial experiences to the world of drag to the queering of gender identities and more.

This is all done through narrative, short-form and documentary films. The festival’s committee was tasked with the monumental work of considering over 100 films, both shorts, and features, that eventually was whittled down into the 11 films we see in this year’s line-up.

With each passing year, the festival grows more and more popular. The festival passes, sold for $50, almost immediately sold out as soon as they were available. As we draw closer to the fest, individual screenings continue to sell out each day.

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While Dayton may seem out-of-place when compared to other large film festivals held in Toronto and New York, being a smaller city works to its advantage.

“Larger markets tend to program more films…and sometimes, it seems like the selections are just there to fill the time slots,” said Jonathan McNeal, the head curator of the festival. “Being smaller means that we’re filling our line-up with some really great work.”

Representing the breadth LGBT experience through 11 films may seem impossible, but the festival does strive for representation and inclusion. McNeal says, “we’re looking for quality first and then hope to program a slate of films that speak to a more diverse breadth of experiences within the LGBT community.”

Another hot topic around diversity in the film industry is that of women-directed films. They are proud to say of the seven feature films playing, five of them are directed by women. Not many other festivals can compete.

The festival opens with “Freak Show,” a witty comedy described as “somewhere in-between David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Freddy Mercury and Oscar Wilde” about a boy who decides to run for homecoming queen. After the opening film, all ticket holders are invited to the opening night party, held at Mudlick Tap House.

Saturday is more packed with “Top Drawer Shorts,” seven short films ranging from five to 20 minutes and “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin,” a documentary about the famed author. “Sensitivity Training,” a comedy, stars Jill Alexander, a Beavercreek-native who will be at the screening. Finally, “Alaska is a Drag,” the story of an aspiring drag queen stuck in the monotony of life will also be shown.

The final day will screen “Pushing Dead,” a “comedy about the serious world we live in” starring Danny Glover, “Rebels on Pointe,” a documentary about the famous all-male comic ballet company, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, and ending with “God’s Own Country,” a quiet drama being hailed as “one of the most assured British debuts of recent years,” with an encore of “Rebels on Pointe” after.

It is sure to be a great weekend and another successful year for the Dayton LGBT Film Festival.

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The festival will play October 13-15. A full schedule and individual tickets can be purchased online at

Photo Taken from Dayton Film Festival website