The Olympia Film Society’s new Pride Film Festival shines the spotlight on people that aren’t often shown in popular culture.
It also shines a spotlight on Facebook sensation and former “Star Trek” star George Takei, the subject of the documentary “To Be Takei.”
The festival, happening this weekend, features an international array of films, each presented with a short film and a brief presentation by organizers of community groups working with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Festival programmers Stephanie Summers and Sara Jade Webb, who are partners and both volunteer at OFS, came up with the idea for the festival.
“I was kind of sad we didn’t have one here in Olympia,” said Summers, who worked at queer film festivals in New Mexico and Seattle before moving to Olympia two years ago. “It’s something that I find really enriching. It seemed like it was something missing from Olympia.”
In a festival illuminating the lives of those often underrepresented in the media, Takei is the exception.
“He’s become more of a celebrity later in life than he ever was before,” said Harry Reetz, the film society’s marketing and events coordinator.
The actor and activist’s witticisms have won him more than 7 million fans on Facebook.
On Monday, Takei posted this about having a crush on Ricardo Montalban, star of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”:
“Ricardo Montalban (Khan) was charming, witty and gracious in the old-school way, and, at the same time, warm and down to earth and very good-looking,” Takei wrote. “He was disciplined with his fitness program and he had a great physique. Those pectorals and six packs were really his — oh myyy.”
But if the film is lighthearted, it’s not all frivolity. The film covers Takei’s groundbreaking career at a time when few people of Asian descent appeared on TV, his quarter-century relationship with his husband, Brad, his activism in helping to promote same-sex marriage, and his childhood experiences in internment camps during World War II.
The organizers promoted the film festival last weekend at Capital City Pride, and “To Be Takei” definitely drew the most attention, she said.
“The film is a great mix,” Webb said. “It has funny parts, and it has sad parts. It’s a really great film.”
Pride Film Festival
What: The Olympia Film Society presents a weekend of films that highlight the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, ally (LGBTQQIA) experience.
When: Friday (June 27) through Sunday
Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia
Tickets: $8.50 general admission, $5.50 for OFS members; for a weekend pass, $65 general admission, $45 for members; for a partial pass (admission to five screenings) is $35 general admission, $25 for members.
More information: 360-754-6670 or olympiafilmsociety.org
6:30 p.m. “To Be Takei” — This documentary, a hit at Sundance, follows the life of “Star Trek” star and Facebook phenom George Takei.
9 p.m. “Lilting” — This Sundance award-winning feature by Cambodian-born filmmaker Hong Khaou tells the story of a British man attempting to build a connection with the Chinese-Cambodian mother (Cheng Pei-pei of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) of his recently deceased partner.
1:30 p.m. “Transvisible: The Bamby Salcedo Story” — The documentary tells the story of an immigrant transwoman who travels a path from drugs, prison and an HIV diagnosis to sobriety and activism.
4 p.m. “The Way He Looks” — The award-winning Brazilian film follows a blind teenager navigating a world of overprotective parents, bullies and his feelings for a boy who moves to town.
6:30 p.m. “Born to Fly” — This film is a biography of extreme choreographer Elizabeth Streb, showing both her work and her home life with her wife, Laura.
9 p.m. “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same” — This romantic comedy, which is on its way to becoming a cult classic, tells the love story of a shy New Yorker and an alien from the planet Zots.
2:30 p.m. “My Prairie Home” — The intimate portrait of transgender folk singer-songwriter Rae Spoon, who grew up in an evangelical Christian family, pairs personal interviews with performance videos.
5 p.m. “Appropriate Behavior” —Desiree Akhavan wrote, directed and starred in this romantic comedy about a bisexual Iranian-American woman living in New York.
7:30 p.m. “Cupcakes” (with a performance by emcee Flirticia Fondue) — This colorful and campy comedy follows a group of neighbors who make up a song and wind up representing Israel at the finals of a worldwide music competition.