The 28th annual Rainbow Film festival opens at the Doris Duke Theater next Thursday August Tenth with seventeen LBGTQ feature films and 3 short film showcases. Even though LBGTQ characters and stories are now part of mainstream entertainment, most of the movies in the Rainbow film festival will never screen in commercial theaters, so this may be your only chance to see them.

Here are some of what I believe are the highlights:

The ten day Rainbow festival opening night film is BEHIND THE CURTAIN: TODRICK HALL, a documentary about the challenges the popular singer/dancer faced in putting together his original autobiographical musical called STRAIGHT OUTTA OZ. Hall himself will attend the screening and the opening night reception that precedes it.

The "Centerpiece film" of the ten day festival is WHOSE STREETS?, a documentary about the Ferguson uprising that followed the police shooting of the unarmed teenager, African-American Michael Brown. Activist Brittany Ferrell who's featured in the movie, will lead a discussion after the screening.

The closing night film is actually the first segment of the  ABC mini series called WHEN WE RISE which is based on the real history of the LBGT civil rights movement. Show creator Dustin Lance Black will lead a discussion afterwards.

I've only sampled parts of the films in the extensive lineup from all over the world. But here are the ones I'm most looking forward to:

The dramatic feature, APRICOT GROVES, focuses on a trans man, a young Armenian who was raised in America but makes a visit to his home country to propose to the girlfriend he met when she was visiting the U.S.A.  Well acted and well shot with a beautiful score, this movie intrigues me.

The feature length documentary I most want to see is called FORBIDDEN: UNDOCUMENTED AND QUEER IN RURAL AMERICA. Moises Serrano's parents fled Mexico when he was a baby.  But despite being here for over 20 years, he's being told to go back where he came from.

A Norwegian film called THANKS FOR DANCING, about two men facing the end of their time together, is the short film I most want to see.

The Rainbow Film festival also offers both a Red Carpet Event and a pool party. Check  out the festival's online site for a full schedule and all the ticket information you'll need.

Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.