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Cinema of Culture

PACE Film Fest shows diverse portrayals

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PACE Film Fest shows diverse portrayals

PACE will present its seventh annual North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival on Sept. 18-24 at the Robinson Film Center in downtown Shreveport.

Award-winning filmmakers, including special guest Robert L. Camina, director of the documentary film “Upstairs Inferno,” will be present at the opening weekend reception 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19.

The mission of the festival is to recognize the cultural contributions made by lesbians and gays and to educate the general public about issues affecting the LGBT community.

The festival’s film choices explore the history of gays and lesbians in film, addressing the stereotypes and counteracting them with valid, meaningful and diverse portrayals.

This year’s line-up of film runs the gamut from thought-provoking and heart-wrenching to downright funny. There will also be a “Meet the Filmmakers” workshop and Q&As after some of the films.

Camina, best-known for his film, “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge,” will conduct a Q&A Sept. 19 following the 7:45 p.m. viewing of “Upstairs Inferno,” which tells the story of a 1973 arsonist-set fire to the Upstairs Lounge, a gay bar located on the edge of the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Camina will conduct an extended Q&A Sept. 20 on filmmaking following another screening of his film. A third screening will take place later in the week.

Jillian Armenante will also participate in a Q&A Sept. 18 night after a viewing of her “Kittens in a Cage,” a series where a ukulele-playing bad girl, Junie Butler, is sent to prison and abandoned by her “rat fink friends.” Romance sparks between her and her pyromaniac cellmate as they plan their escape from the power-obsessed prison matron and an axe-murdering beauty queen.

Filmmaker J.C. Calciano, a producer of the film “Mission Impossible,” will show two films at the festival: “Is it Just Me?,” in which a socially shunned columnist finds his romantic match online, but an unfortunate messaging mix-up causes his sleazy roommate’s picture to be forwarded instead, and his 2011 film “E-Cupid,” where a gay man in a seven-year relationship rut responds to an Internet ad that begins to consume his life. There will be a Q&A with Calciano after “E-Cupid.”

Camina, Armenante and Calciano, along with Clayton Delery-Edwards, author of the book “Upstairs Lounge Arson,” will all be present at the Saturday night reception.

New this year will be the opportunity for filmmakers and film students in the community to join professional filmmakers to view screenings and discuss the filmmaking process. David Hylan, secretary of the executive team of People Acting for Change and Equality, is no stranger to filmmaking, having co-produced his own film, “Small Town Rage.”

“We’ve been inspired from the festival,” Hylan said. “The film festival has played a significant role. We got exposure to independent film, the Louisiana Film Prize and as a result, it was a kick-starter for our film.

“For years the LGBT community had worked to bring change to North Louisiana through efforts supported by individuals and organizations like PACE,” he said.

“We really wanted to do something that encompassed more of the community, and it was decided that a film festival would be a strong signal to those struggling with their sexual identity, that they were certainly not alone, as well as a message to opponents that the gay community would not be silent.”

––Susan Reeks

Want to go?

Reception tickets can be purchased online at the film festival website (nlglff.org) for $25. At the door, the reception tickets will be $30, cash only. All film tickets are available at Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas St., 459- 4122 or www.robinsonfilmcenter.org. Updates and additional films will be posted on the film festival website through opening weekend, so check in often at nlglff.org.


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