The Sacramento International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival marked its 20th anniversary last year with a gala and other special events.
Now, Sacramento's longest-running film festival has quietly returned to what it's always done: Shown movies that speak to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender experiences to an audience that otherwise might not see such stories on the big screen.
Opening the festival, which runs Thursday through Saturday at the Crest Theatre, is "Cloudburst." Oscar winners Olympia Dukakis ("Moonstruck") and Brenda Fricker ("My Left Foot") play a lesbian couple who run away from their nursing home and embark on a road trip to Canada to get married.
Ryan Doucette, who plays a young male hitchhiker the couple pick up along the way, will answer audience questions Thursday night after the film.
"Cloudburst" closed the San Francisco lesbian and gay film festival and ranks among "the best LGBT films I have ever seen," said Lou Camera, part of the programming committee for the Sacramento festival.
On Friday night, the Sacramento festival will show the Turkish film "Zenne Dancer." It follows three friends a male belly dancer, a college student and a professional photographer and chronicles the risks of coming out in Turkey, where homosexuality is not illegal but often still must be hidden.
On Saturday, the festival will present its popular shorts program, which this year is longer and includes a break.
"I love showing shorts, and last year, a couple of people mentioned it might be nice to have an intermission," SIGLFF programming chairman Michael Dennis said. "And I figured I could throw another short in there."
Dawn Deason, whose film "Prowler" made the shorts lineup, is a past president of the festival's board.
She was inspired, Deason said, after someone opened the gates at her own home and roamed her backyard. The person was never caught.
"It creeped me out so much, and I wanted to get back at this person, even though they didn't actually get into my house," Deason said. "I wanted to express some sort of emotion about it."
A media professional and former promotions producer at local TV stations, Deason received a completion grant for "Prowler" from the SIGLFF.
"It's a very nicely done movie," Camera said. "It's not just, 'Oh, it's someone from Sacramento, and a former board member.' She really earned it."