As yet another sign that things are changing in Virginia despite the efforts of virulently anti-gay folks at The Family Foundation and their puppets in the Republican Party of Virginia, next weekend ACCESS AIDS CARE is sponsoring a Hampton Roads Queer Film Festival, called REEL IT OUT. The festival will run from March 14th through 21st and feature nine, full-length feature films, along with several short-film screenings across the area. Several of the films will have panel discussions and after-party events to follow. The festival proceeds will benefit The LGBT Center of Hampton Roads a program of ACCESS AIDS Care. What makes the event more significant is that three of the regions universities are involved in the effort. HRBOR, the local affiliate of the NGLCC is a sponsor of the event. I hope local readers will make an effort to attend some of the screenings and receptions. For more information on the festival, please go to www.Reelitout.org and www.accessaids.org. Here are some details from the press release on the effort:
The festival’s chief visionary has been a personal friend, Connor Norton, a theater production and business management student at Old Dominion University and the president of ODU Out Student Alliance. “I wanted [Reel it Out] to do two things; to create a sense of community bonded not simply by sexuality or gender identity, but by our human emotions to love, laugh, cry and feel. The second was to commemorate those who had the courage to break the status quo. Before our time, films with LGBTQ themes had very little to no attention or recognition in the professional movie making world.”
The festival will kick off on Thursday, March 14th with a special screening of STRUCK BY LIGHTENING, written by Chris Colfer (Glee). The film will be held at Naro Theater, followed by discussion featuring Director Brian Dannelly (Los Angeles) and reception to follow at The Green Onion. The Naro Theater will also host closing night, March 21st with a screening of JUDAS KISS, followed by discussion with featured guest Director Carlos Pedrazza (Seattle) and actress Julia Morizawa (Los Angeles). A closing after-party will be held at Night of the Iguana.
There will be a series of university screenings, including PARIAH and THE WORLD UNSEEN, which will be held at Norfolk State University at The New Student Center, Room 149 and hosted by NSU’s LGBTQ student organization, Leading the Education of Straight and Gay Individuals (LEGASI). There will be a discussion to follow, hosted by Dr. Charles Ford, Professor and Chair of the Department of History at NSU.
Old Dominion University’s gay student association, ODU Out, will host a screening of STONEWALL UPRISING at The Monarch Theater on Hampton Boulevard. After the movie, there will be a panel discussion with several members of the ODU academic faculty and Hampton Roads residents Mitch Rosa and Melissa Morrissett, who were both in Greenwich Village during the Stonewall Riots.
Christopher Newport University will touch on the subject of homosexuality and the church, with a screening of PRAYERS FOR BOBBY at The Ferguson Center Studio Theater (Black Box), located at 1 Avenue of the Arts, Newport News, Virginia, 23606(-3072). Five university clubs, including the Gay-Straight Student Union, the Communication Club, the Film Club, Unitarian Universalist and United Campus Ministries (UCM), host the film. A discussion and reception will follow the film.
Other films on the agenda include THE SENSEI (The LGBT Center of Hampton Roads), WERE THE WORLD MINE (TR Dance) and IMAGINE YOU AND ME (The Commodore Theater). There will be a screening of selected short-film entries at TR Dance at 325 Granby Street, prior to the screening of WERE THE WORLD MINE.
As noted above, the event will benefit The LGBT Center of Hampton Roads, a program of ACCESS AIDS Care. The Center provides services such as mental health for gay, lesbian and transgender youth and adults, support groups for youth, military personnel and the transgender community and a variety of social outlets for area high-school gay student associations, and over 50 group and weekly yoga sessions. Free HIV testing and youth outreach is also held in the center, which is partially funded through a grant from the Elton John Foundation.