The North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival may have been scaled down from two weekends to one, but its relevance is as strong as ever, organizers say.
The current political climate is not ideal for many minorities, including the LGBT community, said Chuck Wheeler, who is chair of men’s film programming at the festival.
“My feeling is that this festival exists to inform and proclaim that our artists remain resolute in their creative dedication to moving our causes forward,” Wheeler said.
“You can’t underestimate the power of art to affect change,” Wheeler said. “The other thing about the festival is that it does restore that sense of community, or bringing us together, reminding us what we risk losing if we fail to stand together.”
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The 22nd annual North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival starts Aug. 10 and continues through Aug. 13. It will be at the Carolina Theatre in Durham. Select films will be be re-screened Aug. 14-17.
This year’s festival features 148 films – 22 features and 126 shorts – which is down slightly from the past two years after it was decided to make it a one-weekend event.
But Wheeler said there is more of a sense of community at festivals that run for a shorter amount of time.
“I think the fans enjoy it more when it’s over one weekend,” Wheeler said. “Plus for out-of-towners who have come from far away for an overnight stay, it’s just much easier to schedule an event over one weekend than it is over two weekends.”
Among the films, Wheeler recommends “A Million Happy Nows,” about an actress who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and “A Very Sordid Wedding,” about the shenanigans surrounding a wedding. Theater and television star Alan Cumming stars in “After Louie,” about an activist struggling with a new generation’s views on politics. Another film, “Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall,” is about the former “American Idol” contestant Todrick Hall, who has become a YouTube star and has created “Straight Outta Oz.” (The reimagining of “The Wizard of Oz” was presented in April at Duke Energy Center.)
Jim Carl, the Carolina Theatre’s senior director of film programming, said the festival gives attendees an opportunity to see films, particularly international ones, that they might not otherwise get a chance to see on the big screen.
“Many of these films will never find distributors, many of them will never be sold to Netflix or Hulu or Amazon,” Carl said. “The chance to see these films with an audience is very rare, and we’re one of the very few venues in the Southeastern United States who produce this type of event.”
Carl said the festival is just as important this year as it has been in previous years.
NCGLFF is the second largest gay, lesbian and transgender film festival in the Southeast. Wheeler said the festival, founded in 1995 as the Q Film Fest, isn’t going anywhere.
“The fight continues,” Wheeler said. “We don’t ever become complacent. Complacency is a liability. We always need to be ready to affect change.”
What: 2017 North Carolina Gay + Lesbian Film Festival
When: Thursday, Aug. 10, to Sunday, Aug. 13
Where: Carolina Theatre, 309 W. Morgan St., Durham
Cost: $10 a movie, or $85 for 10-Passes for access to 10 screenings.
Info: NCGLFF.org, carolinatheatre.org or 919-560-3030