BY CARMEN SIERING
Since the Bloomington PRIDE Film Festival began 13 years ago, moviegoers and television audiences have been exposed to more lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) characters, but the need for the festival hasn’t abated, says Sarah Perfetti, executive director of Bloomington PRIDE.
“I think LGBTQ+ characters are becoming more common, but they aren’t usually main characters, and they don’t always have positive storylines,” Perfetti says. “Our films represent a wide variety of people, and they haven’t stripped away the realness of their experiences.”
The festival, which will be held January 28–30 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, offers six screenings — one on Thursday, two on Friday, and three on Saturday.
Each screening will start with a welcome followed by a short live performance. Past performers have included Quarryland Men’s Chorus, Flight Club Fitness, and The Hudsucker Posse. Next, a selection of short films will be shown. After an intermission, there will be another live performance followed by the feature film.
This year’s feature films include Tab Hunter Confidential and Portrait of a Serial Monogamist. Perfetti recommends both films for first-time visitors to the festival. She also recommends all of the shorts and the feature film The Year We Thought About Love, which will be shown January 30 at 3 p.m.
While the free Saturday afternoon event is designated as a youth screening, Perfetti says it is open to everyone. “The criteria I used for recommending all of these films for first timers is that they are light-hearted; relatable to everyone, not just the LGBTQ+ community; and have limited explicit content,” she says.
Other feature films, and some shorts, have stronger content. Because of that, Perfetti says, the printed festival program will incorporate trigger warnings so audience members will be aware of content they want or need to avoid.
While the PRIDE Film Festival is a celebration of and for Bloomington’s LGBTQ+ community, it is open to everyone, Perfetti says, and she encourages everyone to attend.
“These are great independent films, and a lot of them could be blockbusters if mainstream society was ready for less understood LGBTQ+ stories,” she says. “If you’re a curious person, come and show your support and be prepared to learn something new.”
For more information, visit bloomingtonpride.org/pride-film-festival.html.