LGBT and queer film festivals are key sites for the screening of films with LGBT or queer themes that may be otherwise difficult to access in mainstream cinema. The number of such festivals has grown exponentially since the establishment of the Frameline Film Festival in 1977. It has been estimated that there are now almost 400 LGBT/queer film festivals across the globe. These events provide a distinctive platform for the discussions of issues and themes that may otherwise be ignored in both mainstream cinema and other spaces of the LGBTQ community such as racism in the LGBTQ community. Talks and discussions that accompany such screenings provide a unique opportunity for audiences to engage within LGBT and queer themes in cinema. Accordingly, such festivals are increasingly recognised as important spaces for the production of queer community. At the same time, such festivals are not immune to broader criticisms of the exclusive nature of some LGBT and queer spaces.
Building on the success of an the international symposium, Queer Film Festivals as Activism, which took place at Manchester Metropolitan University in February 2016, this workshop seeks to examine the practical challenges in organising queer film festivals and related events screening films with LGBT and queer themes. The idea is to bring together people from Manchester, the UK and Europe to share their experiences of organising and participating in these events.
What underpins decisions about programming? How to obtain funding to run such events? How to build audiences? What about volunteers? How important are issues such as food and drink in making festivals welcoming and fun? Can queer film festivals be done better? How can such festivals address and
not reproduce social injustice in their organisational practices and decisionmaking? What lessons can be learned from listening to the experiences of others? This workshop does not seek to discover all the answers to these questions but provides a chance for participants to discuss and share their knowledge and experience.