Since 2009, The Queer Film Society (QFS) has been bringing LGBTQ-focused film entertainment to Chicago. The QFS is proud to announce the Cinema QVI film series, taking place on three consecutive Fridays (May 5, 12, and 19) at 6:30 pm in the Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center [78 E. Washington Street].

The trio of films scheduled is focused on the fictional and non-fictional representation of activism on film. These three films are bolstered by the talents of top LGBTQ luminaries which include Gus Van Zant, the Wachowskis, Stephen Fry, Dustin Lance Black, Larry Kramer, and David France.

All screenings are free of charge. Following each film there will be discussion as well as a brief Q&A. Viewer discretion is advised for some of the films. The Cinema QVI films are presented in a partnership with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Chicago Filmmakers, the Center on Halsted, and the Legacy Project.

The Cinema QVI Lineup

Friday, May 5
V for Vendetta (2005)

Lana and Lilly Wachowski ("Bound", "Sense8", "The Matrix" trilogy) penned the screenplay and co-produced this James McTeigue directed political thriller starring Natalie Portman. Queer themes and characters abound in this suspenseful dystopian tale of a masked revolutionary battling a neo-fascist regime. The film also stars Hugo Weaving, Stephen Fry, Stephen Rea and John Hurt.


Friday, May 12
How to Survive a Plague (2012)

The award winning documentary, "How to Survive a Plague", is the powerful story of the AIDS activist group, ACT-UP. Filmmaker David France dedicated this comprehensive and compelling documentary to his late partner Doug Gould. The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary and features footage and interviews with such giants of LGBTQ activism as Larry Kramer and Peter Staley.


Friday, May 19
Milk (2008)

The Oscar winning film "Milk" is director Gus Van Sant's biopic of slain gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk. The award winning screenplay by Dustin Lance Black (When We Rise) traces Milk's personal life, his political struggles and success in 1970s San Francisco, and his eventual murder by political foe Dan White. Sean Penn won an Oscar in the title role. The film also stars Josh Brolin, James Franco, Emilie Hirsch, Diego Luna, and Denis O'Hare. This film is part of the "Legacy LIVE" series co-presented by the Legacy Project and Center on Halsted.


Talking with QFS Founder and President, Richard Knight, Jr.

Founder and president of the Queer Film Society, Richard Knight Jr. talks movies, and gives his recommendations for where to stop for food after catching a film screening.

How are the films chosen for the series? 

It's a balancing act between what we'd like to show vs. what will draw. We're  always hoping to find a happy medium. We also need to consider availability and cost since we have to pay a screening fee but make the showings free. I like to go with a theme — this year, with the mood of the queer community very much in activist mode, I thought that would be a great direction for the films chosen.

I think "V for Vendetta" is the Wachowski's best film, but it doesn't have quite the recognition of some of their other movies.

"How to Survive a Plague", the story of ACT-UP, feels very personal. [Knight was a member of the Chicago chapter]. And the film couldn't be more timely.

And "Milk" kind of goes without saying. Talk about an inspiration. It's also being screened a few days before Harvey Milk's birthday. The selections were run by the other non-profits and all were enthusiastic. So there you have it. We usually do four films but opted instead for the Friday night time slot which is great. Folks can see a terrific movie and then have dinner nearby.

And where would you suggest for a great place to eat after the the QFS screenings?

I love Elephant & Castle a block and a half away [185 N. Wabash Avenue] or The Park Grill in Millennium Park [11 N. Michigan Avenue] if you want something fancier.



The Queer Film Society is a non-profit organization of LGBTQ film critics, historians, artists, and scholars dedicated to the exploration and celebration of queer images in cinema. The QFS is committed to showcasing important films from a variety of vantage points to reflect the community's diversity. The group strives to create entertaining and educational moviegoing experiences for QFS members and Friends of the QFS and wishes to inspire the creation of QFS chapters in other cities. For more info and upcoming events visit