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“OUT at the Movies” celebrates diversity in Southern music

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“OUT at the Movies” celebrates diversity in Southern music

The "OUT at the Movies” LGBTQ screening series will present the award-winning documentary feature Invisible: Gay Women in Southern Music at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13 at the ACE Theatre Complex, located on the main campus of the University North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), 1533 S. Main St., in Winston-Salem. 

Tickets are $10 and are available at https://outatthemovies.org or beginning at 6:15 p.m. in the ACE Theatre Complex lobby. UNCSA faculty, staff, and students will be admitted free. Due to local mandates, face masks and proof of COVID-19 vaccination are required. A pre-recorded Q&A session featuring several of the film’s performers will follow the screening.

“Invisible: Gay Women in Southern Music is an excellent documentary that I know will resonate with our audience members,” said Rex Welton, co-founder and director of the “OUT at the Movies” screening series and annual film festival. “It was submitted for our festival, just a bit too late, so we decided that it would definitely be our first post-festival series screening. It has received an IMDB (Internet Movie Database) rating of 9 out of 10, and all of our reviewers loved it!”

As the title indicates, Invisible focuses on singers and songwriters in the realm of country music who have had to contend with bigotry and hatred simply because they were lesbians. In many cases, they remained in the closet so as not to compromise their career aspirations but have now come to terms with who they are and the inherent hurdles they have had to face along the way. 

Among the principal performers profiled in the film are Bonnie Baker, Cidny Bullens, Dianne Davidson, Kye Fleming, Ruthie Foster, Mary Gauthier, Mary Ann Kennedy, Jess Leary, Pam Rose, Virginia Team, Cheryl Wheeler, and Chely Wright. In addition to displaying their impressive musical talents, they discuss their personal lives and experiences in forthright fashion. They’ve made considerable headway in Nashville, achieving success and acclaim, while living their lives on their own terms.

The film, which marks the feature debut of writer/producer/director (and social activist) T.J. Parsell, won the Audience Award as Best Documentary at the 2021 Frameline San Francisco LGBTQ Film Festival, and the cast includes appearances by such country-music legends as Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Pam Tillis, Rodney Crowell, Gretchen Peters, and others.

Invisible is primarily an upbeat film — if the women featured in it have had to make compromises, they’ve found ways to thrive — and overall it’s a joy to watch,” praised Sarah Boslaugh of theartsstl.com. Matt Fagerholm of RogerEbert.com wrote: “Invisible is full of bittersweet stories … and it ranks alongside Morgan Neville’s 20 Feet from Stardom as well as Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck’s Shut Up & Sing in its insightful tribute to unsung artistry and rousing courage.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 “OUT at the Movies” International Film Festival had only two in-person screenings, but the eighth annual festival — which was held in September — was a resumption of the traditional format. 

“The ‘OUT at the Movies’ board certainly considered our 2021 festival a success,” said Welton. “Although our in-person attendance was down from 2019, our virtual viewership increased over 200% from 2020. Everyone — actors, filmmakers, documentary subjects, audience members, and volunteers — seemed to really enjoy our 2021 festival programming, Q&As, and parties. It was good to be back!”

The official “OUT at the Movies” website is https://outatthemovies.org.

See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2021, Mark Burger.

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