BCC’s first ‘Queer Film Festival’

A collection of provocative films will be shown at Bellevue Community College in less than two weeks.

Beginning April 15th, the Gay Straight Alliance Club will be screening an array of films at its first ‘Queer Film Festival’. The films screened will depict the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer people experiencing love, family, friendship, and life amidst the oppression, isolation, and discrimination imposed on them by society.

Over the past few weeks, the GSA has personified the sense of unity that has permeated gay communities throughout the world; all 35 members played a part in orchestrating the event.

“Everyone [in the GSA] is interested and involved,” said Laurel Cooper, president of the GSA and director of the LGBTQ and Allies Resource Center.

The screenings, which will be followed by a discussion, are intended to incite reaction in their viewers.

“What we want to do is [to] keep it open to questions and views. People will be giving varying opinions,” said Corey Netter, member of the GSA.

There is no doubt that the films, all of which contain controversial material, will spark a mixed reaction, certainly in the context of BCC itself, according to Netter.

“Equality U”, which will be screened during the festival, portrays the struggle of gay Christian teenagers at Christian colleges, and addresses the implications of religion upon sexuality and the friction it causes within the realms of an educatory institution.

The GSA Film Festival will also screen “Brother to Brother,” the story of a homosexual, black male who is discriminated against because of his sexual orientation and ethnicity. This screening highlights the prevailing existence of racial and sexual orientation discrimination, which remain engrained in some areas of American and other societies.

The festival will screen two movies depicting the murders of individuals because of their sexual orientation or identity, screened on a fitting and meaningful day, April 17, the 2009 Day of Silence.

The Laramie project documents the story of Matthew Shepherd, a young gay man brutally killed by bigoted peers in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming. The film reenacts the journey of a team of filmmaker activists who visited Laramie putting together Shepherd’s story by interviewing residents of his town.

The Day of Silence is the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s annual date of action to protest against the harassment and bullying of members of the lesbian, bisexual and transgender student body.

The festival will, however, primarily have a positive theme throughout, celebrating the strength and united attitude that the gay community has adopted in the face of adversity.

Cooper said the club stumbled upon an accidental theme for their festival after scouring a plethora of films for their interesting and thought-provoking lineup. The majority of films deal with the notion of coming of age and summoning the strength and courage to come out. Parts of the lineup deal directly with this theme in documentary form, exploring the trials and tribulations of accepting one’s sexuality.

Screenings will occur at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 a.m., and 2:30 p.m. on the 15th, 16th and 17thof April and, while the lineup for the festival is still being finalized, many films have been confirmed for the event including the award-winning “My Summer of Love”.

“My Summer of Love,” a British-made film about two  adolescent girls discovering sexuality, encapsulates both the positive and negative aspects of being part of the LGBTQ community.

The GSA film festival intends to promote awareness regarding the mistreatment of LGBTQ students and to celebrate the diversity they bring to the college. For more information on the event, contact the GSA through Student Programs in C212.