Photo and Story by Emily Blalock / Contributing Writer
The fifth Middle Tennessee LGBT+ Film Festival, sponsored by MT Lambda and the MTSU LGBT+ College Conference, was held in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building Thursday night.
Guests were encouraged to arrive at 6 p.m. for a reception, and the films began at 6:30 p.m.
The festival director and programmer, Allie Sultan, chose the films for the festival from a range of global submissions.
She explained the submission process, as well as how the films are selected.
“We watch every film, and we rate them according to a criteria of different factors, like story and performances and cinematography. Then the best films will get selected, and I talk to each filmmaker over email and get their screener copies and information and just kind of tell them how much we appreciate their films and I invite them to come,” she said.
The films chosen for this year’s festival were all shorts less than 20 minutes long and included “Is Your Teen Homosexual?” by Tamara Scherbak; “The Pick Up” by Giovanna Chesler; “Infinite While it Lasts” by Akira Kamiki; “Bending the Line” by Ruth Goldman; “There You Are” by Lisa Donato; “Of Origins, Part 1: Hannah” by Irit Reinheimer; “River” by Sam Crainish; and “Heads Up” by Alex McFry.
These films addressed a variety of different issues, including facing stereotypes, accepting identities, asexuality and the stigma that surrounds Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV.
Sultan explained what makes this festival so important for the community.
“This film festival is the only LGBT film festival in all of Middle Tennessee, which is crazy to me. Like Nashville’s a big town, and we don’t have one,” she said. “There’s nowhere where LGBT people can go to a theater and watch a festival full of films of all different types, you know, short films to kind of reflect their experience.”
Laklyn May, an MTSU sophomore who double majors in journalism and global studies, said she enjoyed the film festival overall and wants to attend more LGBT+ College Conference events.
“I think it’s great that our campus does this and sheds light on this topic, because it’s very important to raise awareness,” she explained.
Sultan also described what she wants to see for the future of her film festival.
“I want to move it to Nashville and expand it, maybe showing films at the Belcourt and doing like whole weekends, get some corporate sponsors, and show features as well as shorts,” she said. “In my screening I always show different perspectives in one, so you’re going to see the cumulative presentation of an entire community, and not just one type of identity.”
The LGBT+ College Conference concluded Saturday evening.
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