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LGBTQ Film Festival This Weekend In Downtown Pensacola

Stamped LGBTQ Film Festival

Twenty-eight films are in the lineup, for the eighth annual Stamped LGBTQ Film Festival in Pensacola.

The event runs Thursday-Sunday, August 22-25; it has grown since its beginning at the University of West Florida in 2012.

“Over the years the festival has found a greater and greater footing in the community,” says David Newton, the president of the festival's board of directors. “So it’s expanded from off the campus of UWF basically, to be primarily in our downtown area. We’ve had a lot of opportunity there and of course as we’ve grown, we’ve had a little bit more marketing expertise kind of come on board and help us get the word out.”

The 28 movies this year were selected from more than 150 entries. According to the event’s news release, they were selected to tackle tough topics and advocate for LGTBQ issues — as well as inform, educate and entertain. One emphasis this year, says Newton, is on the “T” in “LGBTQ.”

“The transgendered community is still struggling in so many different ways to find and voice and have a presence,” Newton said. “One of the great little films we have is actually called ‘Listen,’ featuring young trans actors that are actually in trans roles. And they are honestly and frankly depicting some of the myriad struggles that they experience day-to-day.”

Credit Dave Dunwoody WUWF Public Media
David Newton, President of the Board of Directors, STAMPED Film Festival.

“Listen” is directed by British director, actor, and activist Jake Graf.

A special guest at this year’s festival is writer-director Del Shores, the force behind the gay cult classic “Sordid Lies,” which was released in 2000. The romantic comedy is based on Shores' play of the same name, and includes elements of his life according to the director's DVD commentary.

“He actually did a follow-up movie two years ago, I believe, and showed it here called ‘A Very Sordid Wedding,’” said Newton. “He’s been a writer for ‘Queer as Folk’ and I believe I was just told recently that he has written some for ‘Will and Grace.’ So he’s here as our guest, our special friend, and he’s going to be opening the festival for us.”

In 2019, the Stamped schedule has expanded, with four days of films and other activities, including the event’s inaugural “Family Day” on Sunday.

“I always get asked the question, ‘Is the festival family-friendly?’ And this year I can absolutely say, unequivocally, yes it is,” Newton said. “Part of the challenge with answering that question has always been we’re at the mercy of the submissions that we get. But we were fortunate to have this year a handful of films that we thought would work in this category, and so we plugged it in for a couple of hours on Sunday.”

Admission to all films is free, and all will be screened at the Pensacola Little Theater in downtown Pensacola – which Newton says is a “natural setup” with a history of collaboration.

Credit outinsa.com
Writer-Director Del Shores, special guest at the 2019 STAMPED Film Festival in downtown Pensacola.

“Every time we kind of landed at Pensacola Little Theater, it was just always like ‘wipe your brow, feel relieved,’” said Newton. “Because the venue for watching a show is there, and there’s a great lobby and atrium to do the setup that we have for merchandising and getting people in and registered and all that kind of stuff.”

With four days and 28 films, the task of attending Stamped may be daunting for some people. Board president David Newton says a good rule of thumb is to begin at their website – www.stampedfilmfest.com.

“You can look through the full schedule, every film that’s up; we’ve tried our best to kind of lay out the time frame,” Newton said. “So that even if you have only a couple of hours – or a half an hour or something – pop in and see something. Be inspired, get some education, even resourcing if you will.”