"Freelancers Anonymous" (2018). Credit: Image courtesy Reel Film Festival.

LINCOLN SQUARE — For the first time ever, the Davis Theater will host opening night of Chicago’s Reeling Film Festival.

The festival is the second longest-running film festival of its kind, and prides itself on showcasing the best LGBTQ+ films and videos each year. For the first time in its 36-year history, the festival will host its opening night in Lincoln Square. 

Freelancers Anonymous,” about a woman who juggles her wedding plans while starting a new tech business with a rag-tag group of women after she quits her job, will kick off the festival on Sept. 20.

“‘Freelancers Anonymous is a screwball comedy and we like to kick off the festival as often as possible with work that’s upbeat and fun and not get too much into serious or sad films,” said Brenda Webb, the executive director of Chicago Filmmakers and founder of the festival.

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“So, that seemed like the perfect opener for us because it’s so upbeat and fun, but also it was made in Chicago and includes a lot of cast from Chicago,” Webb said. “For us, really exciting to be able to support local filmmakers by giving them kind of high profile positioning like this.”

Following the opening night screening at the Davis, 4614 N. Lincoln Ave., an after party will be held at the theater’s adjoining Carbon Arc Bar. The rest of the festival’s films will then be screened at Landmark Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St., through Sept. 30.

“Our key programs are shorts and we have more shorts than ever before, which is exciting,” Webb said. “I think it kind of reflects what we think is sort of a growing audience interest in shorter films.”

Webb also says a number of films this year’s films also reflect on the past, especially the 1970s and 1980s.

One of those films, “1985,” is about a man who returns to his Texas hometown for Christmas during the first wave of the AIDS crisis. The festival will also screen a digital restoration of “Buddies,” which focuses on someone who volunteers to be a “buddy” to an AIDS patient.

“So ‘1985’ is a contemporary film released in 2018, but set in 1985,” Webb said. “But we’re also screening ‘Buddies,’ which is actually the first American dramatic feature film about AIDS. That film was actually released in 1985.”

Credit: Submitted

Other films featured during this year’s festival include the biopic “Mapplethorpe” starring Matt Smith and the documentary “The Queens,” which follows several contestants participating in the Miss Continental Pageant at the Baton Show Lounge in Chicago.

A full schedule of this year’s films can be found here.

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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park reporterrnrnalex@blockclubchi.orgnnLincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park reporterrnrnalex@blockclubchi.org Twitter @avhndz