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Lesbian and Gay film festival: when will LGBT film-making g

 
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:50 pm    Post subject: Lesbian and Gay film festival: when will LGBT film-making g Reply with quote

div class="track"img alt="" src="http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.22.4/9147?ns=guardianpageName=Lesbian+and+Gay+film+festival%3A+when+will+LGBT+film-making+go+mainstream%3F%3AArticle%3A1722141ch=Filmc3=GU.co.ukc4=Film%2CBFI%2CGay+rights+%28News%29%2CTransgender+%28Society%29%2CCulture%2CFestivals+%28Culture%29c5=Unclassified%2CNot+commercially+useful%2CFilm+Reviewsc6=Julie+Bindelc7=12-Mar-23c8=1722141c9=Articlec10=Blogpostc11=Filmc13=c25=Film+blogc30=contentc42=Cultureh2=GU%2FCulture%2FFilm%2Fblog%2FFilm+blog" width="1" height="1" //divp class="standfirst"BFI London's 26th Lesbian and Gay film festival opens tonight with a lineup that boasts at least a dozen feature films that could be marketed as mainstream. So why is it still a niche event?/ppTonight sees the opening of thea href="http://www.bfi.org.uk/llgff/" title="" 26th Lesbian and Gay film festival at the BFI/a in London, making it one of the longest-running gay-focused events in the UK. I recall being there in 1988. As a young lesbian from the sticks I was bowled over by its sophistication, but could not for the life of me understand much of what appeared on the screen. All I can remember is being surprised at glimpses of sex and genitalia and confused about the artsy focus. Today it is more mainstream, and definitely more accessible with its feature-length dramas and political (rather than avant garde) documentaries about serious issues around the world, but it remains a niche interest within the film festival circuit./ppThe programme reflects that in many ways Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) film-making has certainly come of age. In the festival's early days the films tended to be either shorts, experimental art-house, or documentaries. Any full-length feature was almost guaranteed to be very low budget, and few were from outside of Europe or the US. Earlier programming reflected a minority culture and the film-makers were largely working in the independent low-budget sector./ppToday the festival includes LGBT-themed films from around the world and many more full-length quality features. The truth is, however, that very few will ever see general release./ppAlthough the event is a popular one in the gay calendar, lately it appears to have struggled to remind its hosts and sponsors of its importance. Having run without a break since 1986, the festival was cut from two weeks to 10 days by the BFI because of a dwindling budget. In fact, there is clearly a voracious appetite for it. Most events were sold out soon after the box office opened. LGBT film-making has certainly developed over time./ppDifficulties aside there is certainly a varied programme this year, with full-length feature films such as the opening night special, Cloudburst, Thom Fitzgerald's comedy starring a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/mar/22/olympia-dukakis-lesbian-film-cloudburst" title=""Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker as older lesbians in a long-term relationship/a, and events like the Glam up for a Glam night which follows the screening of Kieran Turner's film on queer rock pioneer Jobriath (at which Mark Almond will make a special appearance)./ppThe programme boasts at least a dozen feature films that look like they could be marketed as mainstream. But in the main it is still a very niche event. Anyone attending in recent years will pick up that it is primarily an LGBT cultural and political festival, rather than one appealing to the general public. Regular straight folk seem to be largely uninterested unless accompanying their queer friends./ppThe fact that there is only one new British film, Campbell Ex's Stud Life, at the festival this year tells its own tale about the state of our film industry in general. Stud Life, with its sharp, contemporary feel looks to be one of the most interesting feature films of 2012. An exploration of urban London and queer friendship and desire, it promises to be held up as the new face of British gay film./ppThe festival will close with Bavo Defurne's North Sea Texas, a story of teenage unrequited love that looks, at first glance, to be somewhat cliched and plodding. Hopefully it is not indicative of the LGBT film future, but, aside from the increasing numbers of films from around the world, such as Circumstance, a lesbian coming-of-age drama set in contemporary Tehran, I fear we are not going to make it mainstream anytime soon./pdiv class="related" style="float: left; margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"ullia href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/bfi"BFI/a/lilia href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gay-rights"Gay rights/a/lilia href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/transgender"Transgender/a/lilia href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/festivals"Festivals/a/li/ul/divdiv class="author"a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/juliebindel"Julie Bindel/a/divbr/div class="terms"a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk"guardian.co.uk/a copy; 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our a href="http://users.guardian.co.uk/help/article/0,,933909,00.html"Terms Conditions/a | a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/help/feeds"More Feeds/a/divp style="clear:both" /

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