Desperado LGBT Film Festival 2015 Brings Award-Winning Movies to Paradise Valley

Not to sound like Stefon from Saturday Night Live, but Desperado LGBT Film Festival 2015 has everything: comedies, dramas, documentaries, a horror film, cartoons, romance, short films, and a pink, fuzzy monster with dreams of becoming a cabaret singer.

Seriously, the sixth edition of the Valley's LGBT-themed film festival, which runs Friday through Sunday, January 23 through 25, at Paradise Valley Community College Center for the Performing Arts, has a little something for everyone, including Q&A sessions with directors and actors, live music, and an art gallery.

See also: Ten Films to Look For in 2015

Yes, the weekend is packed with award-winning, local, national, and international films, but Desperado's mission goes beyond sharing great films with audiences to opening the community up to diversity and inclusiveness.

The festival kicks off Friday, January 23, at 8 a.m. with the Diversity Leadership Alliance Workshop that includes diversity training and leadership guidance. The workshop is free and open to the public and there will be a screening of film Back On Board: Greg Louganis, which documents the life of the Olympic gold medal-winning diver who came out publicly and openly discussed being HIV positive in the 1980s. Louganis will speak after the movie is shown.

Louganis will lead a Q&A following the more formal showing of Back On Board: Greg Louganis that night after the Desperado 2015 opening reception.

The story of one of the first legally married same-sex couples in the U.S. who filed the first federal lawsuit for equal treatment of same-sex marriages, Limited Partnership, leads the lineup of films Saturday, January 24, after the showing of the 2015 Student Film Competition Winner, Tomorrow.

Saturday continues with Cupcakes, which is about a group of friends who reluctantly become the official Israeli entry for the televised singing competition UniverSong, the short film entries, and The Foxy Merkins, a riff on male hustler movies but with two lesbian hookers. A Q&A with The Foxy Merkins writer and actress Lisa Haas will follow the screening.

The second day of the festival will be capped off with Crazy Bitches, in which a group of friends learns the story of a mass murder that supposedly happened in their rental house. The story seems silly until the friends start disappearing one by one. Director Jane Clark and actors Cathy DeBuono, Nayo Wallace, and John W. McLaughlin will lead a Q&A following the film.

We don't want to say that they saved the best for last, but it kind of seems like they saved the best films for Sunday, January 24.

There's the story of a blind teenager who forms a new friendship with the new boy in town in The Way He Looks, which has won 12 awards world-wide. Then two best friends take the spotlight in BFFs when the two women decide to embark on a couple's retreat together where hilarity and maybe something they weren't exactly bargaining for ensues.

Eric Schaeffer's Boy Meets Girl comes with a hefty list of awards as well, raking in everything from Best Screenwriting to Best Film. Audiences will get the chance to see the love triangle between best friends Robby and Ricky, a beautiful transgender girl, and debutante Francesca unfold Sunday afternoon.

Finally, the festival closes out with the romantic comedy The 10 Year Plan about Myles and Brody who scramble to fall in love as the deadline of their ten-year pact to end up together if neither one finds love by the time they're 35 approaches. Writer and Director JC Calciano will also host the final Q&A session of the festival after the film. And be sure to ask him about the two real-life inspirations for Myles and Brody and where they are now.

The Desperado LGBT Film Festival 2015 hits screens January 23 through 25 at Paradise Valley Community College Center for Performing Arts, 18401 North 32nd Street. For the films' showtimes and schedule, a list of the live performances, and to buy tickets ($10 for general admission), visit desperadofilmfestival.com.

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