WTF? As in Where’s The Festival ?
This year — the Festival’s 33rd – the Festival is trying an experiment, a necessary experiment. A year of transition, maybe; a year of reflection for sure.
Mostly, this: the Festival will not be unfurling a concentrated 11-day event this Fall 2018.
Instead, we will continue to bring a diverse array of LGBT+ representations to local screens through regular – monthly, in fact, mostly – screenings.
Why this change? The Festival needs to figure out the best, most realistically sustainable, way to be. Generously housed in the Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Festival, as you know, is put together by staff who also have a range of other University duties. And after recent position adjustments, a better balance needs to be found from the staff can successfully mount the Festival.
The Festival wants to continue to bring you a community-articulated event that showcases the best in LGBT+ cinema and, in order to achieve this, we need to experiment a bit, taking the time to figure out how best to go forward, what savvier practices are needed.
As we have found it hard to reflect on an experience while simultaneously mounting one, we want to take this year — Fall 2018 & Spring 2019 — to conjure a better way to mount the Festival. We also want to engage with our loyal patrons and community partners to discuss how they want the Festival to be, to glean ideas on how we can successfully and sensibly present this LGBT-authored, LGBT+ community cultural event. Maybe — after all of this talk — when the Festival unspools next year, in 2019, it will look exactly as it did just a year ago, 11 concentrated days being the form that audiences prefer. But, whatever its form, the Festival, the thinking goes, will be fortified by the input shared and the conversations enjoyed and the investments made across the year – time shared from people like you.
And, please know, working with community partners and local venues, the Festival will continue to bring films to town regularly.
On September 27 at the UWM Union Cinema, for example, we will kick off our monthly schedule with a double feature of documentaries about women’s music and women’s spaces with our presentation of Chavela (the stirring portrait of Mexican folk singer Chavela Vargas) and Shakedown (Leilah Weinraub’s film about the black lesbian strip club scene in Los Angeles and the singular community it instigates).
In October, we will be unfurling a LGBT+ program of short films – including Reina Gossett and Sasha Wortzel’s Happy Birthday, Marsha! Also that month, we will be welcoming film/video artist Frédéric Moffet to town for an evening of his films.
In November, we will be partnering with the Jewish Museum Milwaukee to share the documentary The Lavender Scare which depicts the effects of a genuine witch hunt: one that targeted lesbians and gays in the federal government in the 1950s.
November will also bring Prophylactics and Other Pleasures: Responses to the AIDS Crisis, a student-curated program of artist-made AIDS activist videos, offered in the conjunction with the UWM Archives’ Wisconsin HIV/AIDS History Project. Also that month we will co-sponsor the UWM Union Cinema’s presentation of Coby, a new documentary about gender transition in a small, Midwestern town.
And…well, there’s even more. Follow us on Facebook and this — our always-in-development, learning-as-we-go website to keep informed of all that we are to offer, in, we hope an ongoing fashion.
So, what do you think? Let’s us know: we’d love to hear from you.
And we hope to see you at the movies.
Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival
Department of Film, Video, Animation, and NEw Genres
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
from Frédéric Moffet’s Jean Genet in Chicago (October 23)