Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
I got involved with programming for the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival not long after relocating to the Emerald City. I started out as a volunteer on the Screening Committee, watching, rating and reviewing feature films. But I really hit my stride when I started working with short films. Curating a shorts program is like making a promise to a captive audience of strangers, and hoping they’ll stay with you on the unpredictable journey you take them on. Under my tenure the festival nearly doubled the number of shorts programs, elevating the festival to the status of major LGBTQ festival and creating many more opportunities to showcase the work of new and noteworthy filmmakers.
Beyond working with films submitted to the festival, I spearheaded and created a number of original and popular programs, including:
“Saturgay Morning Cartoons,” which featured a mix of current animated shorts, classic cartoons with sometimes-surprising (and often hilarious) queer references, and old school kiddie commercials for toys and treats. The whole thing was served up with a breakfast bar stocked with kid-favorite sugary cereals, and it wasn’t uncommon for audience members to show up in pajamas for these popular screenings.
“Inspiration: Activate!” This mix of important, inspiring documentaries celebrated LGBT individuals working to make a difference in their communities and our world. Local representatives from activist organizations working towards positive change were invited and present and the screenings, to create connections and opportunities for involvement.
“Gay TV Dinners” showcased back-to-back episodes of hard-to-find TV shows that included queer content in their storylines, from sitcoms like “Alice” and “The Golden Girls” to action dramas like “Starsky & Hutch” and even a very impressive fan-created episode of “Star Trek.” This popular program helped us land the World Premiere of “Outland,” an Australian comedy series about a queer science fiction. The show was stuck in limbo until our sold-out, two-night screening put it back in the spotlight and finally aired on television.
Growing bolder, getting bigger.
In my final year with the festival, my goal as Artistic Director was to elevate the event into a multimedia, can’t-miss arts event. Incorporating live performance was a big part of the plan. Highlights included “Return to Grey Gardens,” an original live show starring Seattle superstar Jinkx Monsoon, show creator Peaches Christ, and a bevy of local stage talent; “Boating With Clyde, Live!” with multidisciplinary wunderkind Clyde Peterson singing songs in a theatre transformed into an idyllic waterway, along with clips from his music & puppetry web series; the Radical Faeries got into the act with a pre-show incantation and a hilarious lip-synch number as part of their shorts program, while Annah Anti-Palindrome added avant garde performance art to “Infrared: New Visions from the Queer Underground.”
Annually re-creating the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival was a fun, enlightening, and rewarding experience, and I’m very proud of the work that was presented over my seven years with the festival.