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  • Dana Piccoli

LGBTQ film festivals are finding new life online

2020 has been a challenging year, to say the least for anyone using festivals to put their art out into the world. Starting as early as February, major film fests have been canceling or postponing their events in the face of Covid-19. From the huge fests like SXSW to Cannes, to smaller but vital fests like Frameline and Inside Out, filmmakers are looking at best a long delay in getting their work out there, or total cancellation for premieres and important opportunities to have their films picked up for distribution or support.

While this is highly disappointing, there are fests that are figuring out how to use the online space to support films and filmmakers, and also stay afloat in uncertain times. This pivot from theatres to online also has another silver lining: Now fests are much more accessible to the community.

A film fest that is taking this formula and running with it is QWOCMAP's Queer Women of Color Film Festival. This year's fest is completely free, though you can certainly donate to QWOCMAP to help fund their amazing efforts year-round. (Please do register though for your free ticket.) This year you can catch feature films and shorts alike, all with subtitles included. This year's theme is SafeSpace/NoPlace: LBTQ People of Color which "expands discussions about the meaning of safety for LBTQ+ people of color, both outside on the streets and inside homes typically thought of as safe." The fest kicks off on June 12th.

After ClexaCon was postponed this year, Film Fest director Stacy Jill Calvert brought the film fest to the masses virtually. The week-long festival which concluded on May 17th included over a dozen short films, and lots of conversations about the film industry, from Trans and Non-Binary creators to how to get your project funded. You can check out the great panels on ClexaCon's Facebook page.

A brand new fest called OUTstream is heading to your laptop this June 1-7, just in time for Pride month. The fest, run by vets of the Seattle Queer Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and The Tel-Aviv International LGBTQ Film Festival, will feature a slate of shorts and features from LGBTQ+ filmmakers, plus panels and Q&As. (I'm on the screening committee for this fest and I'm very excited about the quality and diversity of films that Outstream will be programming.) You can pick up tickets for individual screenings starting at $6.99 or buy a pass for the whole week for $59.

The San Francisco Transgender Film Festival is also moving its fest online this year, but there's still time to submit films if you are a filmmaker yourself. SFTFF "screens films that promote the visibility of transgender and gender variant people and challenge the mainstream media’s negative stereotypes of our communities." This prestigious and long-running fest will take place November 12-15 online in collaboration with The Roxie Theater in San Francisco.

Are you working with an LGBTQ+ film fest and would like to talk about a feature on QMM, just send us a message!

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