Out on Film: On a cinematic journey with Atlanta’s LGBTQI film festival
Out on Film – Atlanta, Georgia’s LGBTQI film festival – is one of the oldest film festivals of its kind in the United States, devoted to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. The event was launched in 1987 by Atlanta community leaders, including playwright Rebecca Ranson, under the umbrella of SAME (Southeastern Arts, Media, and Education Project). “For many years after, the event was staged by the Atlanta Film Festival until a new group (including myself) took over in 2008 and became a non-profit LGBTQI-run organization,” explained festival director Jim Farmer. “Now we run for eleven days and feature more than 125 films each year.”
The celebrated, long-running festival screens films at its annual event in every category from narratives to documentaries to short films. “We show everything from international fare to local programming to retrospectives, and we also place a big premium on working with filmmakers.” In addition to the festival with live screenings, Out on Film is an awards event, offering prizes for Best Overall Feature, Best Documentary, Best Men’s Film, Best Women’s Film, Best Trans-Themed Feature, Best Comedy, Best Men’s Themed Short Film, Best Women’s Themed Short Film, and Best Foreign Film. Meanwhile, Jury Awards are given for Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best Foreign Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best First Film, and Best Ensemble.
Providing a cinematic journey of LGBTQI lives, culture, and identity, each year Out on Film assembles a selection of films that attempt to capture just what it means to be queer in contemporary society in often challenging and captivating ways. Farmer explained that it is vital to give voices to LGBTQI filmmakers so that these artists can tell (and continue to tell) their stories that are uniquely about the LGBTQI experience. “Festivals provide a forum to showcase these filmmakers and their films to appreciative audiences, hungry for programming that speaks directly to them.”
Over the years, Out on Film has garnered warm reviews from attendants and filmmakers alike. Andrea Hintermaier described it as a “wonderful festival,” adding, “I can’t tell how grateful I am that my world premiere was at this beautiful event, full of genuinely creative and kind people.” Meanwhile, Edward King said it was a “fantastic experience – everyone was so warm and giving.”
The event itself is held from September 27 to October 7, which means there’s still time for those looking to submit their film and be in with a chance of competing at the event – the regular submission deadline is July 5 while the late one falls on July 19. Filmmakers can submit via FilmFreeway. However, if you’re simply a film buff looking to network and witness the next big thing in LGBTQI cinema, tickets will soon be available on Out on Film website. Be there or be square!