Lesbian, Gay Film Festivals and the Power of Film

Happy Pride month! Cities are preparing for tons of events from now through the end of June, capped by the big parade. New York has started its eight day, three venue, film festival, Newfest. Check out the schedule.

newfest_logo

The largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender festival, San Francisco‘s Frameline, begins later in the month. Its schedule can be found here.

Should unhappy content and non-affirming actions disqualify a movie from inclusion in a GLBTQ film festival?

Would you exclude a movie if it contained bisexual, gay, or lesbian characters but none were redeeming?

If film does have this power to influence would festival schedulers want to make sure that the influence was beneficial?

OR Is there benefit to seeing lesbian, gay and bisexual characters who are pathetic and so they end their lives?

Washington’s One-In-Ten runs a few days of movies prior to the big weekend. Sometimes the group provides a sampling of what would come during the Reel Affirmations festival in October. Other times they reach back for a Hairspray or another fun movie from the past. I recently watched the movie Jade Teardrop and it caused me to wonder what content from a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movie was appropriate for showing at a festival.

The plot summary makes the movie seem challenging. “A young boy refuses to speak to anyone and only has his caterpillar for a companion. His adoptive gay father desperately tries to fix their broken relationship, but the boy is unwilling to forgive him and seeks to be part of a ‘normal’ family.” The trailer appears below. At the first scene in which the adoptive father pours whiskey from the bottle after a rough moment with the boy, my partner and I began to worry. When we are introduced to the homophobic uncle and his friends, the combination of the performances and the language is an unhappy mixture.

Yet the movie is untypical for any movie, let alone a feature GLBTQ film, in characterization, ethnic depictions, and showing the difficulties of relationships. I kept watching. Without giving away any of the details, the end is unhappy for the two gay characters. Our committee is asked to rate on a 1 to 5 scale if the movie should be included in the upcoming Reel Affirmations film festival. I checked and saw that Newfest included 26 features, but not Jade Teardrop. Frameline had approximately 50 narrative feature films and Miami featured 25 and neither festival included this movie.

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