By Michael C. Green

The Sixteenth edition of Cinema Diverse, The Palm Springs LGBTQ+ Film Festival will soon be underway. The schedule is set, and tickets and passes are now on sale. The festival, which includes forty-nine feature films and over 100 short films this year, runs for two long weekends at the Palm Springs Cultural Center: September 21-24 and September 28-October 1. Films will be screening in all three of the Camelot theatres.

Cinema Diverse opens on Thursday, September 21st at 7:30pm with a super special preview of Billy Clift’s new feature, Here We Are. It’s a timely and emotional tale of love, family and prejudice. Here We Are stars Mel England (Electricity) and Wil J. Jackson, and features Sally Kirkland, Christine Elise, Gregory Zarian and Elizabeth Regen.

Following are some of this year’s other feature films, please visit for complete list of films and showtimes.

Fireworks (Stranizza D’amuri), a touching and emotionally powerful film from Italy about two teenage boys, Gianni and Nino, who meet and fall in love in the heat of a Sicilian summer in 1982. The relationship soon becomes a topic of gossip in their small town and despite their families’ objections the boys dream of living together – something the community is determined to stop.

The French film, Lie With Me, in which Novelist Stéphane Belcourt returns to his hometown of Cognac for the first time in 35 years to help promote a distillery, even though he doesn’t drink alcohol. After meeting the son of his teen lover, his memory is flooded with thoughts of that first love.

Three Nights A Week, sponsored by the Desert Film Society. Another powerful French film about Baptiste, a photographer in search of his art, who meets and becomes involved with drag performer Cookie Kunty on the streets while volunteering at a public-health clinic alongside his girlfriend, Samia. His involvement with Cookie leads Baptiste on a profound journey of self-discovery.

The enlightening documentary, Body Electric, which examines body image in the LGBTQ+ community and body dysmorphia. The film traces the history of queer culture and its fixation on the body and explores steroid use & plastic surgery. It also investigates the impact of the AIDS crisis, while hearing inspiring stories from Leslie Jordan, Judy Gold, Bruce Vilanch, Rajee Narinesingh and others.

Glitter And Doom, a fantastical summer musical romance told with the iconic tunes of Indigo Girls. A musician who wears charisma as camouflage & a carefree kid about to run away with the circus fall in love at first sight. But will 29 days be enough time for them to fall in love forever?

Coming Around, a touching story about a 28-year-old second-generation Palestinian-Egyptian Brooklynite who is grappling with the decision to come out to her devout mother. Along the way, she decides to marry her male partner to evade silent disapproval. When that fails, she struggles with various ways to be herself while somehow maintaining the tight bond she has with her mother and sister.

Jess Plus None, a comedy-drama about a reluctant maid-of-honor who is forced to attend her best friend’s off-the-grid wedding in the woods, where she’s forced to confront her ex-girlfriend, all her more successful college friends, and every bad choice she’s made in her life so far. Sponsored by The Center.

Norwegian Dream

Norwegian with English Subtitles  Robert travels from Poland to begin work in a salmon processing plant off the Trøndelag coast in Norway. Isolated and far from home he plans to keep his head down and work hard, seeking financial security for him and his mother. However, his focus shifts when he begins spending time with colleague, and aspiring drag queen, Ivar. Robert’s budding relationship and loyalty to his fellow workers is tested when a strike breaks out and his employer offers him a solution for his financial troubles. Will he choose the security he has sacrificed so much for or a chance at love with Ivar?

The Floating Man

As anti-trans and drag queen rhetoric in a new wave of rightwing gender wars rage across the globe, Michael V. Smith’s intimate documentary unpacks his journey as a radical drag performer and genderqueer. Inspired by Agnès Varda, The Floating Man is a unique blend of DIY documentary, road trip, performance art, and video poem.

The Winner Takes It All

What do you get when you throw an outrageous Drag Queen, her bestie, a smoking hot gigolo and a porn star into a blender? The most hilarious, sexiest, Aussie film since ‘Priscilla’ of course! ‘The Winner Takes It All’ sees drag megastar Maxi Shield embark on a crass crusade of revenge after her best friend finds her super-hot, maybe not so straight (ok, he’s super gay), husband cheating on her.  What follows can only be described as the most insane, hysterical and unashamedly steamy saga ever set to celluloid! 

Blue ID

Turkish with English Subtitles Rüzgar Erkoçlar received his first testosterone injection on October 4, 2012, marking an important step in his gender affirmation. He never imagined that traditional Turkey would make him front-page news because he was formerly a well-known actor. The entire process, a path paved with frustration, humiliation, and endless waiting, is captured in home.

movie-esque observations and self-assured phone videos. An intimate report of a struggle with self-realization and acceptance in a traditional society, under intense media scrutiny.

Nelly And Nadine

On Christmas Eve, 1944, Belgian prisoner and opera singer Nelly Mousset-Vos is asked to sing Christmas carols in one of the barracks at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. After she meets Nadine Hwang, the pair begin a secret relationship.

The Judgment

English/Egyptian  An Egyptian gay couple return from the U.S. to Egypt for a family emergency and must force themselves back into the closet and pretend to be just friends. When they fall prey to witchcraft as punishment for their “homosexual sins,” one of them falls into religious terror and exposes his unhealed past.    


English, Modern Greek with subtitles . Aligned is an intimate exploration of self-discovery, love, desire and pain. Set against a backdrop of beautiful music, dance and photography. Two male dancers with shared cultural heritage, though worlds apart, find a deep unexpected connection. This intimate tale reveals the beauty that lies within us all and the transformative power of self-love.

Legendary Children: [All of Them Queer]    

Legendary Children [All Of Them Queer] follows many of the original Gay Liberation Front pioneers of the 1972 and first European Pride March during events over the summer of Pride 50 when the UK marked its 50th anniversary in spectacular style. The headline cast encompasses some genuinely influential figures in LGBTQIA+ rights activism and its history, there at the very start when Pride took its first steps in Europe. We won’t quite see their like again. (Screens with the short documentary, Stonewall Postal Action Network)

Shoulder Dance (Closing Night Feature)

Best friends Ira and Roger haven’t seen each other in 24 years. When Roger arrives unexpectedly for the weekend, long suppressed desires dangerously resurface. As the boundaries of friendship, love, and sex collide, the strength of Ira’s long-term relationship with Josh is tested as never before in the romantic drama.

These films and more – lots more – tell the stories that are part of Cinema Diverse this year. Stories that help Cinema Diverse continue its mission of sharing films that empower the LGBTQ+ community, advance our efforts to gain equal rights, and introduce us to a world that has heretofore never known us. We believe LGBTQ+ films and LGBTQ+ film festivals are critical to our local community, and to the world community, because they tell stories that remind us of where we came from, who we are, and who we can be.


WHAT: The Sixteenth Edition of Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs, LGBTQ+ Film Festival

WHEN: September 21-24 & September 28-October 1, 2023

WHERE: Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 East Baristo Road, Palm Springs, CA 92262 TICKETS AND PASSES: