To make your viewing experience complete, we have created an online guide for the film festival. Start by looking at the schedule for dates and times of films and special events. Follow the links to browse through our guide to view plot summaries, photos, multimedia links, directors' profiles, reviews and more. The only thing missing is the popcorn.

The other areas contain information about tickets, Tampa Theatre, and Tampa Bay Arts, Inc.

Volunteers are needed for the film festival to assist with set-up, ushering, tickets, and other duties. We will compensate you for you time with tickets. If you're interested call Tampa Bay Arts, Inc. at (727) 865-9004 or take a look at our volunteer form.

We would like to thank the sponsors who made the 1998 Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival possible.

See our photo archives from the 1998 Film Festival.


Welcome to the 1998 Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Twenty-two years ago, San Francisco introduced a new concept -- a film festival to celebrate the work of lesbians and gay men. Today there are nearly 100 gay and lesbian film festivals around the globe, from Bologna to Budapest and from Seattle to Tampa.

In its ninth year, the Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival has grown to be the largest of its kind in the South. This 10-day Festival will open on Friday, October 2 and close Sunday, October 11 at the Tampa Theatre. Over a dozen shorts and 35 features from 13 countries will be screened.

For more information call Tampa Bay Arts, Inc. at (727) 865-9004.

Opening the 1998 Festival on Friday, October 2 at 7:00 pm will be Gigi Gaston's nonfiction debut feature The Cream Will Rise. This moving portrait of musician Sophie B. Hawkins combines performance footage with intimate moments of revelation. Attending the opening night Florida premiere of The Cream Will Rise will be star Sophie B. Hawkins and director Gigi Gaston. The Cream Will Rise will be followed later that evening by the gay romantic comedy Leather Jacket Love Story and Homo Heights, starring high-camp icon octogenarian Quentin Crisp and lesbian comedian Lea DeLaria.

Closing the Festival on Sunday, October 11, National Coming Out Day, will be the West Florida premiere of P. J. Castellaneta's comedy/drama Relax...It's Just Sex, starring an ensemble cast, including Jennifer Tilly (Bound and Bullets Over Broadway), Lori Petty (Tank Girls and A League of Their Own) and Mitchell Anderson (Party of Five). Centering around a tight-knit group of thirty-somethings, gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight struggle to live, love and stay friends in modern day Los Angeles as circumstances conspire to tear them apart. Relax...It's Just Sex was a favorite at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

On Saturday, October 4, the Festival will feature Cheryl Dunye's debut feature The Watermelon Woman, winner of the Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. Set in present day Philadelphia, Dunye's film tells the story of an aspiring young filmmaker (played by the director) trying to make a documentary about an elusive 1930s Black character actress known only as The Watermelon Woman. Director and star Cheryl Dunye will attend the screening and answer questions afterwards. Film critic B. Ruby Rich writes: The Watermelon Woman is a wonderfully inventive journey through the annals of film history, African American culture, dyke attitudes, race relations and the mysteries of lesbian attraction. Did I mention this is a comedy, too?

In addition to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, the 1998 Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival will present films from China, the Phillipines, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Guinea, Greece, Spain and Hong Kong.

Two groundbreaking films are Dakan from Guinea and East Palace, West Palace from China. On Saturday, October 3, Dakan, the first West African feature film to deal with homosexuality, will screen at 3:30 pm. Dakan (which translates to destiny) is the story of two men who, by coming out, disappear and become invisible to their families and society, because their society has no language which recognizes their love. Filmed clandestinely in Guinea, Dakan both challenges the idea that there is a universal gay culture and debunks the notion that homosexuality is non-existent or foreign to African societies. In director Mohamed Camara's words: I made this film to pay tribute to those who express their love in whatever way they feel it, despite society's efforts to repress it.

On Saturday, October 10 at 12:30 pm director Zhang Yuan's feature, East Place, West Palace, the first gay feature to hail from mainland China, offers rare insight into a world where the only life a gay man can lead is one of furtive dalliances at public toilets and routine police raids. East Palace, West Palace is a mesmerizing character drama about a defiantly bold young writer named A-Lan who is taken into police custory for engaging in homosexual activity in a Beijing park. Banned in China, this controversial film is an unconventional yet touching love story, a disturbingly sensual portrayal of one man's struggle with himself, and an indictment of the state-sanctioned oppression of homosexuals in China.

Other features set to premiere at the Festival include Cavafy, Iannis Smaragdis' lush biopic of the famed homosexual Greek poet; Ferzan Ozpetek's controversial Steam: The Turkish Bath (Turkey/Italy); Hilary Brougher's stylish sci-fi flick The Sticky Fingers of Time (USA); Mark Rappaport's (Rock Hudson's Home Movies and From The Journals of Jean Seberg) The Silver Screen: Color Me Lavender, an exploration of the way Hollywood dealt with or ignored issues of homosexuality during its so-called Golden Age, when the studio reigned supreme: and Out of Season, Jeannette Buck's debut film about a hip, urban dyke who goes to a sleepy beach resort to care for her dying uncle and unexpectedly falls in love.

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