Milwaukee LGBT Film and Video Festival
The old blessing says, “May you live in interesting times,” and we certainly do. This is even more true for the LGBT community, and its allies, than ever before. Since the beginning of summer, we’ve seen the appointment of an out lesbian to the Massachusetts Supreme Court, fully-inclusive civil unions in two states (Illinois and Rhode Island), same-sex marriages in New York, the ordination of a gay Presbyterian minister, Chaz Bono on “Dancing with the Stars” and the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
Conversely, we still have young people being bullied to death in our public schools, and there are still 29 states where you can be fired – and more than 30 states where you can lose your house – for being LGBT. We hear about African nations where being gay is punishable by death, and about the American evangelicals who sparked that legislation as part of their missionary work. These are interesting times, to be sure.
Last year, the festival experimented with a new format. Instead of 10 days of films in early October, it presented four days of film and video over a weekend, and then offered monthly films throughout the year. Carl Bogner, director of the festival, says the slimmed-down format was successful, and this year’s festival will follow the same format, with a diverse slate of LGBT-focused offerings.
“I’m really excited about the emergence of so many films about transgender and gender-variance people,” he offers. “It’s not just documentaries anymore. There are now really powerful, beautiful narratives, too.”
He’s also excited for Thursday’s opening night film, Weekend. “We’ve never shown an opening night film that has received so much critical acclaim.” The film has won several festival prizes, including Audience Favorite at 2011 SXSW. The New York Times called it “one of the most satisfying love stories you are likely to see on screen this year.” The opening night reception follows at Beans & Barley, and admission to the party is free with your ticket stub.
Bogner says a theme runs through some of this year’s programming that offer audiences a chance to see “just how queer young people are these days.” Traditionally, LGBT films about teens have been coming-out stories. “Now, coming out isn’t the main narrative, it isn’t the central drama. What they’re dealing with is the rest of their lives – what happens after they come out… These are full and complicated dramas about complete people.” Bring three canned food items to Shouts and Murmurs; A Program of Youthful Declarations for free admission. Contributions stock the Milwaukee Alliance School’s food pantry, which distributes to LGBT seniors.
Built upon an ever-growing network of businesses, non-profits and community groups, the festival has once again put together four days of films that brings the entire community together in a way that nothing else in our city does. With documentary and narrative films from all over the globe about queer people of all ages, and even some shows with free admission, this year’s LGBT Film and Video Festival has something for just about everyone.