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DC Shorts International Film Festival to Virtually Showcase LGBTQ Films

By Clare Mulroy

This article was first published September 8, 2020 in Tagg Magazine here.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic halting most in-person events, the annual DC Shorts International Film Festival will continue for its 17th year. This year’s showcase will look different than others, returning virtually with 163 films and free online events. The event kicks off on September 10 and runs through September 23.

The festival includes 21 LGBTQ films with queer characters of diverse ages and backgrounds. While many of these films are within the designated LGBTQ category, eight of them will be shown across different showcases. Throughout various genres are examples of queerness at the intersections of race, family, love, and heritage.

According to Joe Bilancio, DC Shorts’ programming director, the variety of LGBTQ films throughout the festival are a way to bring LGBTQ experiences to the masses.

“We have the luxury of working with two different audiences because we do have a queer audience within this general audience,” says Bilancio.

Some of the LGBTQ films that will be available at the virtual event include:

BLACKN3SS: Between melanin and far away planets, BLACKN3SS proposes a dive into the journey of the black youth of the São Paulo city. A documentary on blackness, queerness, and spacial aspirations of the diaspora’s children.

The Fabric of You: Unable to show his true identity, Michael, a grieving tailor mouse, recounts sand reckons with the memories of a past lover in this animated short film.

I Love Your Guts: Two girls working the graveyard shift at a fast food restaurant fend off a belligerent drunk guy while also confronting their own friendship.

Kama’āina: Mahina, a queer 16-year-old girl, must navigate life on the streets in Oahu, until she eventually finds refuge at the Pu’uhonua o Wai’anae—Hawai’i’s largest organized homeless encampment.

T: A film crew follows three grieving participants of Miami’s annual T Ball, where folks assemble to model R.I.P. t-shirts and innovative costumes designed in honor of their dead.

Translucent: In this short documentary, filmmaker Azzan Quick documents their struggles and triumphs exploring their own gender identity and figuring out unapologetic ways to explain it to friends and family.

Although the festival loses the personal connection of hosting filmmakers and film lovers in person, Bilancio is confident the virtual component will add rather than subtract.

“We’re trying to keep a lot of the things that made us who we are—it’s just a matter of transferring them and seeing how they translate into this online world,” he explains. “We’re still trying to do virtually everything we did in the past.”

Capacity Building for Artists and Arts Organizations: a workshop with Michael Kaiser

Capacity Building for Artists and Arts Organizations: a workshop with Michael Kaiser

Saturday July 23, 2016 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
4201 Georgia Avenue NW, Third Floor

How can you, as an artist or arts administrator, ensure that you not only survive, but thrive? This workshop will include a presentation by Mr. Kaiser followed by a question and answer session. Space is limited; to register for this workshop click here.

More about Michael M. Kaiser:

Michael M. Kaiser is Chairman of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management.

From 2001 to 2014, he served as president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Dubbed “the Turnaround King” for his work at numerous institutions, including the Royal Opera House (London), American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the Kansas City Ballet, Michael has earned international renown for his expertise in arts management. Through the DeVos Institute and the Kennedy Center, he has advised performing arts organizations around the world, working with arts leaders in nearly 70 countries.

In 2001, Michael founded the Institute to provide advanced training for young arts administrators and has developed a series of programs to help train others in the field. He created a Capacity Building Program for Culturally Specific Arts Organizations, which offers mentoring services to the leaders of African American, Latino, Asian American and Native American arts groups from across the United States. A similar program was instituted for over 280 arts organizations in New York City. In February 2009, he created Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative, a program to provide free arts management consulting to non-profit performing arts organizations around the United States. He embarked on a 50-state tour for the program, bringing his expertise to every state in the Union along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

His books include Curtains: The Future of the Arts (2015), The Cycle: A Practical Approach to Managing Arts Organizations (2013), Leading Roles: 50 Questions Every Arts Board Should Ask (2010), and The Art of the Turnaround (2008).

Mr. Kaiser directs the DeVos Institute at the University of Maryland overseeing training and consulting programs in the United States and around the world.

To reserve your spot for the workshop: click here.

Thanks to the DC Arts and Education Collaborative, Dance Metro DC and Emerging Arts Leaders DC for their partnership in this event.

Panel Discussion on Artists Journalists with Fellow Jonelle Walker Sunday July 17

Artist Journalists

Sunday July 17, 2016 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Mt Pleasant Branch of the DC Public Library
3160 16th Street NW

Mass media no longer exists and real time reporting has destroyed the news cycle. What does it mean when artists are also journalists? Visit with four practitioners and share your thoughts about the role of expert opinion, independent opinion, and self-promotion in the arts.

Lenny Campello (Artist, Curator, and author of DC Art News blog)
Jenn Larsen (Artist at Dog and Pony and co-founder of WeLoveDC magazine)
JT Kirkland (Artist and author of Thinking About Art blog)
John Stoltenberg (Playwright and publisher of DC Metro Theater Arts.)

*** RSVP on the Facebook Event ***

This panel event is co-produced with DC Art News and will be moderated by Fellow Jonelle Walker.