Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday September 2nd 2014

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By Jessica Forbes

Four nights, four venues, and 14 films are on the schedule for the second annual Pensacola LGBT Film Festival. Organizers are hoping to expand on the success of the inaugural festival, which debuted in 2012 and quickly became one of Pensacola’s most buzzed about arts events.

The festival’s lineup presents contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) films and filmmakers from around the globe. According to Sara Latshaw, regional director of the ACLU of Florida, the crowds at last year’s festival screenings showed Pensacola’s readiness to embrace and support diversity within the local community.

“The turnout proved what we hoped it would about Pensacola:  That support for the LGBT community and interest in hearing stories from and about LGBT people is shared by people regardless of age, gender, race, socioeconomic background,” Latshaw stated. “This was an event for the entire community.”

In 2012, progressively larger crowds over the festival’s four days required organizers to secure larger venues for this year’s events.

Together with HIVevolution, Gay Grassroots of NW Florida, and the University of West Florida Gay-Straight Alliance, among others, Latshaw and “a small and dedicated group of volunteers” worked to establish partnerships and put the four-day festival together.

“The festival is each evening from Oct. 8 through Oct. 11, which is National Coming Out Day,” said Latshaw.

The focus of this year’s film selections ranges from the everyday lives of gay and lesbian couples to the experiences of transgender females in America and abroad, and a host of topics in between. Filmmakers themselves and community members submitted films for consideration throughout the year. “All were donated because the directors strongly believe in our mission of creating a welcoming community in Pensacola regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” Latsahw explained. “The films were selected on the basis they help foster that mission.”

The festival will open at UWF’s Music Hall in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts on Tuesday, Oct. 8 with the documentary “deepsouth,” which follows the lives of four individuals fighting HIV in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. The feature length documentary will be followed by “O Pacote (The Package),” a Brazilian short film that depicts the developing relationship between a young couple, one partner of which must reveal he is HIV-positive.

A discussion is scheduled on Tuesday after the screening. “We’ve arranged for a few speakers and Q&A sessions. Tuesday, the films will spotlight HIV—specifically in the South. The films will be followed by a guest speaker from HIVevolution,” said Latshaw.

On Wednesday, the festival will move to Vinyl Music Hall, where “The Painted Girl,” “Luca,” “Model CiTizen,” “(A)Typical Couple,” “The Buss Pass,” “Always My Son,” and “Quiet,” are on the bill. The screening of “Model CiTizen,” a documentary about a Muslim transgender female model, will be the film’s North American debut. “It has been shown in Asia as part of the Active Vista film festival in the fight against transphobia,” said Latshaw. Following its showing in Pensacola, the film will go on to screen at the International Film Festival Manhattan in New York, another up-and-coming festival.

“On Thursday, the venue is the Bayview Park pier in East Hill, which should be a beautiful outdoor experience,” said Latshaw.  Thursday will feature the family-focused films “Families are Forever,” “Conceiving Family,” and “Foremost in My Mind,” the sixth film made as part of The Devotion Project, self-described as “series of short documentaries celebrating LGBTQ couples and families.”  “Foremost in My Mind” tells the story of a lesbian couple in New York who met later in life after successful careers in sports, stock brokerage, and fashion. Thursday’s screening begins at 7 p.m., the only night that deviates from the festival’s standard 6:30 p.m. start time.

The final screening of the festival will be held on Friday at Artel Gallery. An as of yet unnamed short film about a local gay couple will open the evening followed by a screening of “What’s the T?,” a documentary which captures the experiences of five transgender females, including a nurse, a pre-med student, two entertainers, and a community organizer.

Cactus Flower will cater Friday’s event, and a joint after-party will take place a few blocks away at Sluggo’s and Cabaret, capping off what promises to be a thought-provoking and enlightening series.

PENSACOLA LGBT FILM FEST 2013
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8 to Friday, Oct. 11 (except for Thursday, Oct. 10 screening, which begins at 7 p.m.)
WHERE: Location changes nightly
COST: Free
DETAILS: facebook.com/pcolaLGBTfilmfest

Tuesday, Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m.
UWF Center for Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA) Music Hall, 11000 University Pkwy., Bldg. 82
Southern Spotlight on HIV, featuring the documentary “deepsouth” followed by short film “O Pacote” (The Package) and a discussion from HIVevolution.

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 6:30 p.m.
Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox
A series of short films highlighting various LGBT issues.

Thursday, Oct. 10, 7 p.m.
Bayview Park Pier, 2001 E. Lloyd St.
“Families in the Park” featuring “Families are Forever,” “Conceiving Family,” and “Foremost in My Mind.”

Friday, Oct. 11, 6:30 p.m.
Artel Gallery, 223 Palafox Pl.
Closing ceremonies with snacks and sangria provided by Cactus Flower, featuring “What’s the T?” and a local short subject documentary.