This week venues around Pensacola are hosting Stamped: The Pensacola LGBT Film Festival. This is the fourth year for the film festiva which highlights artistic achievement in film from and about the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and queer community.
David Newton, one of the organizers of the film festival shared this about the fest,
“Our mission has a lot to do with trying to not only prove entertainment, obviously, through great films: shorts, documentaries, feature films but in addition to that we have a primary goal of educating the community about the concerns of the LGBT community, and the different challenges that are faced by the LGBT community as well.”
One of those concerns is visibility which is how the festival chose its name. It’s now the STAMPED: Pensacola LGBT Film fest and the name comes from a time when thousands of LGBT tourists and locals stamped their dollars with pink triangles or the words “gay money” to make a statement about their presence and economic impact in the community.
Another concern is education which is why each night of the film fest has speakers and other programming to supplement the films. Again, here is David Newton.
“It’s exciting to think that folks will be coming and not just kind of eating popcorn and watching a movie but walking through an experience of how they can identify with the films, film themes and their neighbor that they are bringing, or their special friend, or their loved one.”
One of the films sure to garner discussion is the short film RSVP which was written and directed by Pensacola native Shannon Beeby. She was inspired to create a film about the broader resonances of a community’s acceptance or rejection of its LGBT members from personal experience.
“My best friend, he came out in high school and, we went to Tate High School, it was a really wonderful accepting environment that shaped my view of the world.”
Despite her friend’s positive experiences coming out in the south, she learned that isn’t the case for everyone.
“It wasn’t until much, much later that he told me that the guy he was seeing at the time didn't have anyone to spend the holidays with and I assumed they must live out of the country or really far away and he said, oh no, he was disowned by his family.”
The film explores the repercussions of a family’s estrangement beyond the family member who is rejected. The broken relationship left Beeby with a sense of sadness and injustice.
“That effects a family in such a profound way, a painful way. It actually hurts the community, it hurts the family as a whole, it hurts congregations of churches and my message of the film is actually that it’s the community itself that suffers.”
Here is a trailer for the film:
Beeby will be on hand for an artist’s “Talk Back” period after her film is shown at Treehouse Cinema this evening.
Aside from Beeby’s film RSVP the festival will show 24 other award-winning films from an initial round up of over 200. Each night of the festival is free and open to the public with different themes.
David Newton says, “So Wednesday night we will be doing "You Gotta Be" which is accepting who you are and accepting others for who they are. Then Thursday night we are using the theme "At Last" celebrating 'love is love' and marriage equality. Then on Friday we will be doing Forever Young and then Saturday we are doing a night of 'short shorts.'”
That’s short films! Each night is free and all are encouraged to attend. More information can be found at stampedfilmfest.com.