The 2019 Provincetown International Film Festival kicks off with ‘Brittany Runs a Marathon’; will honor Judith Light, John Cameron Mitchell, and Jillian Bell

Provincetown is known for its long history as a queer arts utopia; located on the tip of Cape Cod, it traces its theatrical roots back to the early twentieth century, with authors including Eugene O’Neill, Susan Glaspell, Tennessee Williams, and Norman Mailer, all finding inspiration on its shores. These days, writers and auteurs including Michael Cunningham, John Waters, Ryan Murphy, and Judy Gold, all call Ptown home. (seasonally, at least!)

The Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) kicks off Wednesday and will run from June 12-16, featuring several LGBTQ-inclusive titles. Although its lineup is not exclusively queer, PIFF is committed to serving communities who are often outside of the mainstream, in the margins, or otherwise underserved, but have a voice critical to the evolution of artistic expression.

Now in its 21st successful year, PIFF has permanently established itself as the largest cultural event in lower Cape Cod and Provincetown's premier cultural event, attracting 10,000 plus film-goers, movie buffs, and arts patrons. The 5-day festival showcases over 100 American and international independent narrative, documentary and animated features and shorts as well as panel discussions and special events.

PIFF’s opening night film is the critically-acclaimed Brittany Runs a Marathon, which had its world premiere at Sundance earlier this year, where it was acquired by Amazon Studios. (it will hit theaters this August) Writer/Director Paul Downs Collaizo and lead actress Jillian Bell will be in attendance. Bell, who will be honored with PIFF’s Next Wave Award, has another film, Sword of Trust, which will also be showing at the festival. This year’s closing night film will be Before You Know It, from Hannah Pearl Utt, which co-stars Judith Light.

Before You Know It
 Light in 'Before You Know It'

Light, who was honored at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards last weekend for her long-established career on stage, as well as in film and television, will be presented with this year’s Excellence in Acting Award. A lifelong ally to the LGBTQ community, Light was one of the only celebrities who attended the inaugural GLAAD Media Awards in 1989, when very few public figures were willing to do so. Light won Tony awards in 2012 and 2013 for her performances in Other Desert Cities and The Assembled Parties. She was Emmy-nominated for her role in Ryan Murphy’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story this past fall. And this coming fall, she’ll star in Murphy’s upcoming Netflix series The Politician, while also taking center stage in the musical finale of Amazon Prime’s Transparent, for which she’s received several Emmy nominations over the years for her role as Shelly Pfefferman.

Also being honored this year is Hedwig and the Angry Inch creator John Cameron Mitchell, who will receive PIFF’s 2019 Filmmaker on the Edge Award. Mitchell received PIFF’s Audience Award for the film version of Hedwig in 2001. The now cult classic will play again at PIFF this year and Mitchell will be featured in conversation with Waters at Ptown’s town hall on Saturday.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

PIFF ‘19 will also include a keynote conversation with Oscar-winning documentary filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, who bring two new docs to PTown this year. The recently-released State of Pride from YouTube Originals, as well as their new documentary about singer Linda Ronstadt.

State of Pride takes a look at the LGBTQ history, fifty years after the Stonewall uprising, while Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, traces the iconic singer’s genre-defying career that spanned decades—from the 1960s to her retirement in 2011 due to Parkinson’s disease.

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice

Following is a preview of additional high-profile films that will be playing at PIFF this year:



Awkward teen Adam spends his last high school summer with his big sister, who throws herself into NYC’s lesbian and trans activist scene. After meeting and falling for thoughtful, savvy Gillian he realizes that she’s mistaken his gender identity and makes the fateful decision not to correct her, as he and those around him encounter love, friendship, and hard truths. Director Rhys Ernst (a director/producer on Transparent) depicts Ariel Schwag’s novel with wit and sensitivity, delivering a coming-of-age comedy that subverts boy-meets-girl conventions.

2018, 95 minutes, Directed by Rhys Ernst
Cast: Nicholas Alexander, Margaret Qualley, Bobbi Salvör Menuez

Vita & Virginia


The fascinating true story about the love affair between socialite and popular author Vita Sackville-West and literary icon Virginia Woolf springs to life in this sumptuous double portrait of its two extraordinary real-life protagonists explores how their liberating affair led to one of Woolf’s greatest novels.  

2018, Ireland, UK, 110 minutes, Directed by Chanya Button
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Elizabeth Debicki, Isabella Rossellini

Sister Aimee

In 1926, America’s most famous evangelist is looking for a way out. Fed up with her own success, she runs away with her married lover and finds herself on a wild road trip towards the border.  And that’s only the beginning in this marvelous film based (very very loosely) on a true story. In their playful feature debut, co-writer/directors Samantha Buck and Marie Schlingmann conjure a true retro spectacular anchored by Anna Margaret Hollyman’s dazzling virtuosic turn as consummate showwoman Aimee.

2018, USA, 87 minutes, Directed by Samantha Buck and Marie Schlingmann
Cast: Anna Margaret Hollyman, Michael Mosley, Andrea Suarez Paz

Top End Wedding


Lauren and Ned's plans to have an impromptu wedding are derailed after her mom goes AWOL following a spat with her now comically-depressed dad.  Now they have just 10 days to find Lauren’s mother, reunite her parents, and pull off their dream wedding. Following her wayward mom’s path takes them on a madcap, picturesque journey through Australia’s far north from Darwin to the Tiwi Islands, culminating in a beautiful story about returning home in this heartfelt, funny film by director Wayne Blair (The Sapphires).

2018, Australia, 103 minutes, Directed by Wayne Blair
Cast: Miranda Tapsell, Gwilym Lee, Kerry Fox

The Farewell

The Farewell

After learning their beloved matriarch has terminal lung cancer, a family opts not to tell her about the diagnosis, instead scheduling an impromptu wedding back in China as an excuse to reunite and surreptitiously say their goodbyes.  Writer/director Lulu Wang imbues THE FAREWELL with warmth and knowing wit, while the uniformly excellent ensemble cast (anchored by a breakout performance by Awkwafina) invites us to share this extended clan’s joy and sorrow—and to feel, for the length of this remarkable film, like a part of their family.

2019, China, USA, 98 minutes, Directed by Lulu Wang
Cast: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin




Late one night in 1984, Lady Bunny and a few friends drunkenly wandered from the Pyramid Club in New York’s East Village to Tompkins Square Park and staged an impromptu drag show. This would soon become an annual drag bacchanal that lasted until 2001. In 2018 Wigstock roared back in all its glittery glory—celebrating drag, both classic (we won’t say old) and new. WIG lovingly captures the “then” and “now” of this cultural institution.

2019, USA, 89 minutes, Directed by Chris Mourkarbel

Gay Chorus Deep South

gay chorus deep south

To confront a resurgence of faith-based, anti-LGBTQ laws brought about in the Trump era, Conductor Tim Seelig leads 300 singers of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus on a bus tour of the deep South. The road trip forces Seelig and other Chorus members who fled the South to confront their own fears, pain, and prejudices on a journey toward reconciliation. In a time of great divide in this country, director David Charles Rodrigues reveals a timely exploration of LGBT issues that both challenges and reinforces notions surrounding the South.

2019, USA, 100 minutes, Directed by David Charles Rodrigues

Making Montgomery Clift

making montgomery clift

Directed by Clift’s nephew Robert Clift and Hillary Demmon, MAKING MONTGOMERY CLIFT explores Monty’s life from the fresh and intimate perspective of his family, remaining lovers, and friends. Through their stories and voluminous audio recordings made by Monty and his family, the myth of a troubled young man struggling with his sexuality and post-car accident appearance in 1960s Hollywood is challenged—and a new Monty starts to emerge: a complicated man and talented actor who can’t be easily pigeonholed into the familiar narratives found in his biographies.

2018, USA, 88 minutes, Directed by Robert Clift, Hillary Demmon

Circus of Books

Circus of books

Filmmaker Rachel Mason’s parents Karen and Barry, are the proprietors of iconic L.A. pornography shop Circus of Books. Mason chronicles their life’s work as one of the biggest distributors of gay porn in the country, including their prosecution on obscenity charges and the shop’s role in offering refuge to the LGBTQ community during the height of the AIDS crisis. CIRCUS OF BOOKS depicts an untold chapter in queer history, while also honestly and emotionally exploring how the way Mason’s parents supported their family affected their home life as well.

2019, USA, 92 minutes, Directed by Rachel Mason



Freddy is 30 and yearns to start a family but for him, this ordinary desire comes with unique challenges. He is a gay transgender man. Deciding to carry his own baby took years of soul searching, but nothing could prepare him for the reality of pregnancy, and the challenges of society’s fundamental understanding of gender, parenthood and family. Against a backdrop of increasing hostility towards trans people, Freddy is forced to confront his own naiveté, mine unknown depths of courage and lean on every friend and family member who will stand by him.

2019, UK, 89 minutes, Directed by Jeanie Finlay

For more information about the 2019 Provincetown International Film Festival, head to: