Advertising Feature
Sponsored

Out Film CT announces 35th annual state LGBTQ film festival

The event is the longest-running film festival in the state

Just in time for Pride month in June, Out Film CT is kicking off the 35th annual LGBTQ Film Festival, running June 3-12. 

This year, Connecticut’s longest-running film festival will be a hybrid event featuring both in-person and virtual screenings. It will showcase 113 feature-length movies, short films and documentaries selected from filmmakers around the globe. The 2022 festival will also see the return of fun parties celebrating the opening, centerpiece and closing films.

The in-person films will screen June 3-12. Virtual features and short film programs will be available to screen virtually June 3-19. Many of the feature films will be preceded by short films not included in the short film program.

Festival co-director Jaime Ortega said the annual festival is one of the biggest and longest-running cultural events in the state.

“We have 23 committee members, and we start watching films in September,” he said. 

Ortega said before the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee would get together and watch the films as a group.

“We rate them and discuss them,” Ortega said. “Since the pandemic, we have been watching films virtually and still meet regularly via Zoom to discuss the planning of the festival.” 

Organizers receive hundreds of submissions, which are narrowed down by the committee. Last year’s festival was also a blend of virtual and in-person showings. In 2020, the only in-person showings were held at a drive-in theater. 

The committee looks at specific aspects when choosing the featured films. 

“We definitely try to have a mixture, a diverse blend of films that are representative of our community,” Ortega said.

The committee also looks at the quality of the films, including the acting, cinematography, and how relevant the story is.

“We love seeing things that are original and new. We want to mix it up and be inclusive and get as many perspectives as we can,” Ortega said. “This year, we got a really good mix of films. We added a few new short programs.”

One of the great things about the festival is that some of the films are early releases, which give audiences an exclusive first glimpse. In other cases, there are works in the festival that aren’t shown elsewhere.

“It’s kind of cool that a lot of these films are films you won’t see anywhere else,” Ortega said. “Sometimes there are independent, art-house, foreign films that might not even play in Connecticut.” 

Most in-person movie screenings will be shown at Cinestudio, a historic movie house located on campus at Trinity College. The in-person films on closing night will be screened at Apple Cinemas on Front Street and the Connecticut Science Center in downtown Hartford. Virtual screenings are available to view via the nonprofit’s website, OutFilmCT.org.

“Out Film CT is delighted at the expanse and depth of submissions we received this year,” festival co-director Shane Engstrom said. “We’ll be hosting two world premieres, seven North American premieres, five U.S. premieres, and 12 east coast premieres,” 

“In particular, we are excited to premiere a new short film shot right here in Connecticut entitled ‘Gay Spirit Radio: Not Afraid to Be Different — The Keith Brown Story,’ directed by University of Hartford’s Susan Cardillo,” Engstrom said. “Keith is an area legend having hosted America’s longest-running gay radio program on UHart’s station, WWUH.” 

“We’ve embraced the possibilities that a hybrid format has provided. We’ve expanded our offerings for 2022 to 31 distinct programs, up from 27 last year. We will be featuring fourteen features, seven documentaries, a TV series, and nine themed shorts programs. There is truly something for everyone,” Ortega said.

Ortega is excited to offer parties again this year, including an opening night party on June 3 at Cinestudio, a centerpiece film reception on June 8, and two closing parties at the end of the festival. 

Tickets for in-person and virtual screenings are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Tickets for in-person films on opening night (June 3) and closing night (June 11), including post-show parties, are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors and students. 

All-Access FestiPasses are $125 per person or $200 for a two-person household. A five-show FestiPass, good for five in-person or virtual feature film or short film programs, is $50 per person or $80 for a two-person household (excludes opening and closing night films/parties).

For a full listing of virtual and in-person showings and tickets, visit www.outfilmct.org.

Out Film CT’s mission is to entertain, educate and promote community through the exhibition of LGBTQ film. A volunteer, nonprofit cultural organization, Out Film CT is dedicated to presenting outstanding LGBTQ cinema and other theatrical events throughout the year, culminating in the 10-day Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival. This springtime event — Connecticut’s largest LGBTQ cultural event — holds a special place in the state’s cultural landscape, bringing the community together to introduce, celebrate and rediscover the ideas and values that make the LGBTQ community unique.