Full coverage of the Seattle Gay and Lesbian film festival can be found here.
One of the reasons I’m in love with the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival is that one of their offerings set the date I arrived in Seattle.
When I was planning on moving to Seattle in 2007, I was being wishy-washy about whether to move here or to try my luck in New York City. I had friends in both locations, and knew I had to get the hell out of Dodge, but I didn’t know where or when. What settled the issue was a newsletter I received from Peaches Christ saying she was interviewing Tura Satana and presenting Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! at the Egyptian Theater. Of course, listening to Tura was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I had to go. Peaches’ Midnight Mass was presented as one of the midnight movies of the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, and so now I had a movie theater, a film festival, and a home.
The SLGFF is a huge part of why I love Seattle. They tend to bring in a variety of film, with some great special presentations. With this in mind, I interviewed Jason Plourde, Executive Director of Three Dollar Bill Cinema, the overarching organization for SLGFF.
Julius Kassendorf: This is the 19th annual Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. The first festival was held in 1996. What was the first movie shown?
Jason Plourde: The film that Opened the first festival was BEAUTIFUL THING. One of the reels started projecting upside down so we had to pause and fix it…but the audience still loved it!
Julius: To people my age, queer film festivals have always been part of big city life. Why did SLGFF start in 1996? And, why so late?
Jason: Seattle was part of a second wave of queer film festivals right after New Queer Cinema hit the scene. Some people in the city made due with seeing LGBT films at SIFF and the Olympia queer film festival until we found that there was a real interest and need in having a specifically queer film festival in our city.
Julius: With bigger film festivals, like SIFF, having queer films mixed in with straight films, what is the importance of SLGFF in modern times?
Jason: Yes there are lots of queer films at SIFF (which is not always the case at mainstream festivals) but it is totally different watching a LGBTQ film with other people like you, within your community. We put on a stellar event that gives LGBTQ people a place to watch a lot of great films from all over the world, talk about them at the many parties that we host for our audience, filmmakers and other guests.
Julius: One of the big discussions that’s happening lately is that of niche filmmaking and marketing. Queer films have been one of the oldest pure niche markets. Is the niche market important to cultivate?
Jason: I think cultivating LGBTQ community to come to the festival is what we want. All are welcome but of course we want our community to come as well to love and enjoy the films and what queer films have to offer. If queer films do well in the theatres and online more of them will be made because people will support LGBTQ filmmakers.
Julius: Do queer film festivals have a cross over demographic into a heteronormative audience? And/or, is that important?
Jason: We have all kinds of films that all kinds of people will like. They are about life and love which are universal themes. LGBTQ people go to many heternormative films so why would we not like to have straight people come to our festival and enjoy our stories? The LGBTQ film world is making up their own stories, about their lives and experiences. We invite LGBTQ people and their allies (friends) to the festival to enjoy the wide ranging subjects of films.
Julius: Some films are intended for us by us, but others are intended for wider audiences. What films would you hope people would cross over into watching?
Jason: Never is a film set throughout Seattle. It is about a friendship between a queer woman (Zelda Williams daughter of Robin Williams) and a straight guy (Zachary Booth) in the indie music scene in Seattle. [ed: Never screens on Tuesday, Oct 14, at 9:15pm at the Egyptian]
Our closing night film Life Partners is about two female best friends, one gay (Sasha, played by Leighton Meester) and the other straight (Paige, played by Gillian Jacobs) and how their life changes when Paige meets Tim (Adam Brody). [ed: Life Partners screens on Sunday, Oct 19 at 6:30pm at AMC Pacific Place]
I’d also recommend Tell Me A Secret which is a shorts program that is all about bisexuality. As well as Appropriate Behavior directed by Desiree Akhavan which is a bisexual woman Shirin who has broken up with her girlfriend and is looking for all kinds of love and sex on OK cupid. [ed: The program Tell Me a Secret screens tonight, Oct 13, at 9:30pm at Northwest Film Forum]
Julius: Let’s say I’m old and jaded, and I miss the edginess of the New Queer Cinema movement. What’s out there for me this year?
Jason: We have of the New Queer Cinema genre including Gerontophilia directed by Bruce LaBruce, Xenia by Panos Koutras, and the shorts program Infrared V: New Visions from the Queer Avant Garde.
Julius: What’s out there this year for the newly out and idealistic romantics?
Jason: Romantic Comedies include Eat With Me by David Au, The 10-Year Plan, Appropriate Behavior, Girls Shorts Program, and Boys Shorts Program.
Julius: Other than the centerpieces and opener/closers, what films are your favorites this year?
Jason: My favourites include some really stellar documentaries that are about LGBTQ histories and present day lives. These include Children 404 from Russia, States of Grace about Dr. Grace Dammann, and Limited Partnership, a very relevant and moving film about gay marriage and immigration policy.
I am also extremely excited about our World Premiere In the Turn, about a 10 year old Trans girl who is empowered through roller derby, and the Vagine Regime, a queer roller derby team that help her. The filmmaker Erica Tremblay will be here. [ed: In the Turn screens on Saturday, October 18 at 7:15pm at AMC Pacific Place]
Julius: Is there any question you wish people would ask you, and what’s the answer to that?
Jason: What’s the best candy to eat while watching a movie? Red licorice.