The Sixteenth edition of Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ+ Film Festival will soon be underway. The schedule is set and tickets and passes are now on sale. The festival, which includes forty nine feature films and over 100 short films this year, runs for two long weekends at the Palm Springs Cultural Center: September 21-24 and September 28-October 1. Films will be screening in all three of the Camelot theatres. 

Cinema Diverse opens on Thursday, September 21st at 7:30pm with a super special preview of Billy Clift’s new feature, HERE WE ARE. It’s a timely and emotional tale of love, family and prejudice. HERE WE ARE stars Mel England (Electricity) and Wil J. Jackson, and features Sally Kirkland, Christine Elise, Gregory Zarian and Elizabeth Regen.

Some of this year’s other feature films include:

FIREWORKS (STRANIZZA D’AMURI), a touching and emotionally powerful film from Italy about two teenage boys, Gianni and Nino, who meet and fall in love in the heat of a Sicilian summer in 1982. The relationship soon becomes a topic of gossip in their small town and despite their families’ objections the boys dream of living together – something the community is determined to stop.

The French Film, LIE WITH ME, in which Novelist Stéphane Belcourt returns to his hometown of Cognac for the first time in 35 years to help promote a distillery, even though he doesn’t drink alcohol. After meeting the son of his teen lover, his memory is flooded with thoughts of that first love.

THREE DAYS A WEEK, sponsored by the Desert Film Society. Another powerful French film about Baptiste, a photographer in search of his art, who meets and becomes involved with drag performer Cookie Kunty on the streets while volunteering at a public-health clinic alongside his girlfriend, Samia. His involvement with Cookie leads Baptiste on a profound journey of self-discovery.

The enlightening documentary, BODY ELECTRIC, which examines body image in the LGBTQ+ community and body dysmorphia. The film traces the history of queer culture and its fixation on the body, and explores steroid use & plastic surgery. It also investigates the impact of the AIDS crisis, while hearing inspiring stories from Leslie Jordan, Judy Gold, Bruce Vilanch, Rajee Narinesingh and others.

GLITTER AND DOOM, a fantastical summer musical romance told with the iconic tunes of INDIGO GIRLS. A musician who wears charisma as camouflage & a carefree kid about to run away with the circus fall in love at first sight. But will 29 days be enough time for them to fall in love forever?

COMING AROUND, a touching story about a 28-year-old second-generation Palestinian-Egyptian Brooklynite who is grappling with the decision to come out to her devout mother. Along the way, she makes a decision to marry her male partner to evade silent disapproval. When that fails, she struggles with various ways to be herself while somehow maintaining the tight bond she has with her mother and sister.

JESS PLUS NONE, a comedy-drama about a reluctant maid-of-honor who is forced to attend her best friend’s off-the-grid wedding in the woods, where she’s forced to confront her ex-girlfriend, all her more successful college friends, and every bad choice she’s made in her life so far. Sponsored by The Center.

These films and more – lots more – tell the stories that are part of Cinema Diverse this year. Stories that help Cinema Diverse continue its mission of sharing films that empower the LGBTQ+ community, advance our efforts to gain equal rights, and introduce us to a world that has heretofore never known us. We believe LGBTQ+ films and LGBTQ+ film festivals are critical to our local community, and to the world community, because they tell stories that remind us of where we came from, who we are, and who we can be.

WHAT: The Sixteenth Edition of Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs, LGBTQ+ Film Festival

WHEN: September 21-24 & September 28-October 1, 2023

WHERE: Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 East Baristo Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262