Much more personal, but no less powerful, was For My Wife, a film about the heartbreaking journey of Charlene Strong, following the tragic loss of her partner, Kate, after a freak accident.
Because of her subsequent mistreatment because of anti-gay policies, Strong lived up to her name and testified before Washington State lawmakers just a month after Kate’s death. The move really helped to seal the deal for domestic partner benefits in the state.
She didn’t stop there — she took her story on the road and, hey — made a movie about it, and now spends her time spreading the good word for marriage equality. For My Wife is a sobering, tear-jerking piece of filmmaking.
Desi Girls provided a rare, intimate look at the experiences of queer South Asian-American women — the “Desi” girls of the title. By interviewing and following three very different women from the community (including Desi party promoter, DJ Ashu) and comparing their experiences, the film entered the tricky intersection of sexual orientation, gender and cultural background that make up an individual’s (and a community’s) sense of identity.
Bucking the super-serious trend to some degree was Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, which covers the entire history of New Zealand’s top comedy act: a yodeling, sketch-performing, lesbian set of twins. The examination of a heartbreaking bout with cancer and the twins’ passionate involvement with social justice causes kept the film from just being one big fluffy party.
The camp stamp
In stark contrast to the drama that ran through the year’s biggest lesbian-inclusive documentaries and studio titles, 2010′s smaller indie films saw a distinct trend towards camp — or, at the least, a playful tone and tendency towards off-kilter humor.
Nowhere was this more evident than in Drool, a candy-colored dark comedy featuring Laura Harring as Anora, a battered southern housewife who dreams (literally) of a better life, and idolizes her pig-headed husband. When Anora kills him semi-accidentally, she and her perky new best friend/girlfriend Imogene (Jill Marie Jones), take the kids on the world’s weirdest road trip, featuring a corpse, a load of neon-hued Slurpee ice, and a metric ton of loud makeup. It was a weird and wonderful journey that would make John Waters proud.
Bitch Slap tried (perhaps too hard) to bring back the B-movie genre, with ridiculous action, over-the-top violence, and girl-on-girl action aplenty. AfterEllen.com contributing writer Dorothy Snarker summed up the two possible audience reactions to the flick with lines from the movie: “I’ll let the movie dialogue speak for itself here. Either: ‘This is crazy. I’ve had enough. I want to go home,’ or, ‘Don’t ever apologize for being you.’”