By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
Paris Is Burning (1990), Jennie Livingston's classic doc.
The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), genius history lesson.
Falconpac 1-15, porn from back when sex was in.
DAVID MORETON (filmmaker, Edge of Seventeen)
Head On [1998; Ana Kokkinos, director] is a great rush of a movie, so energizing that it made me want to make more movies. But I also want to name What's Up, Doc? [1972; Peter Bogdanovich, director] because I sometimes think it's the movie that single-handedly made me gay. With Barbra and Madeline Kahn and Ryan O'Neal in those boxer shorts -- for me, it was gay nirvana.
EILEEN MYLES (novelist, Cool for You)
My favorite lesbian movie is The Parent Trap [1961; David Swift, director] with Hayley Mills. I love that movie so much. I saw it when it was new, and I had a best friend who I was in love with, and this was our favorite movie. We studied it endlessly and got our hair cut like theirs and adored Hayley Mills, who was sort of an early-teen butch icon in 1961. Well, you have to understand butch from a 10-year-old perspective. She was as tomboyish as you got at that time, and she had a theme song, and she had a best friend/girlfriend who looked just like her. She had everything. And the double image played right into that place of imagining what it would be like to have sex with someone who was like you.
CASSANDRA NICOLAOU (filmmaker whose short Interviews With My Next Girlfriend screens at Outfest 2002)
It was way back in 1987 that I saw I've Heard the Mermaids Singing, Patricia Rozema's (When Night Is Falling, Mansfield Park) first feature film. I was on my very first date with my very first girlfriend, and to be honest I'm surprised I made it out of there alive, what with my sweaty palms, my heart palpitations and girls kissing on screen. Aside from the debut of Anne-Marie MacDonald (who's in my film at Outfest) and a magical use of the now-overused Delibes' Lakmé, the thing I most remember about Mermaids is that it proved to be great foreplay.
LAURA NIX (filmmaker whose feature The Politics of Fur screens at Outfest 2002)
Pee-wee's Big Adventure [1985; Tim Burton, director] is a movie that is so clearly gay without ever using the word "gay." At the end of the film, when Dottie asks Pee-wee if he would like to go to the drive-in with her, he falls down on the ground laughing. He isn't mature enough to date yet, but we also know that even if he was, he wouldn't take a girl to the movies. And then he explains to her "Dottie, this is about things you couldn't understand." When Simone asks Pee-wee what he dreams about, he tells her "a snake and a donut." A kid watching that doesn't get it, but a gay audience knows exactly what he means. Pee-wee's Big Adventure is one of the most gender-subversive films I've ever seen. I wish more films were like it.
KIMBERLY PEIRCE (filmmaker, Boys Don't Cry)
My first choice is La Dolce Vita [1960; Federico Fellini, director] because when I first saw it as a kid, I was totally obsessed with Anouk Aimée and Anita Ekberg, and didn't know why, then finally figured it out. I love that it celebrates desire and sex without apology, which is very homo to me. My second choice is Heavenly Creatures [1994; Peter Jackson, director] because I love those girls -- love their desire and love their rage.
JOHN RECHY (novelist, essayist, City of Night, Rushes, The Coming of the Night)
Howard Hawks' Red River  stars two iconic but opposite gay figures -- John Wayne and Montgomery Clift. One very macho, one very sensitive, struggling against each other. I doubt that I thought so in 1948, but when I've seen the movie subsequently, I think, "This is a gay relationship." It ends up in a great fistfight between the two men, a fight that is very sensual, in a sense, because you just know, even if they don't, that they really want to do otherwise.
DAN SAVAGE (syndicated columnist, "Savage Love")
South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut [1999; Trey Parker, director]. It's the best gay movie in the last 20 years. The love scenes between Saddam Hussein and Satan were really moving, they really touched me. The movie had a queer sensibility that was completely thrilling, and the movie played like one long joke for musical-theater queens, because every song is a takeoff on a very specific number in another musical. It showed how thoroughly integrated into the culture gays and lesbians are -- that you could do this movie with Satan as a sensitive, thoughtful man in an abusive relationship. It's completely queer. And you know, who needs a coming-out film anymore? Thirty years ago it was a huge issue, because it was so much more scarring and traumatic. Now, it's nothing. Now, Satan's out.
DIRK SHAFER (filmmaker, Circuit, Man of the Year)
Longtime Companion [1990; Norman René, director] devastated me, really made me cry, because it brought back memories of so many friends I’d lost. Especially then, when so many more were dying. Even today, I can’t stand on the beach without thinking of all those characters who’d died coming back at the end, holding hands, coming across the beach — it gives me chills just to talk about it.