Out on Film, Atlanta’s LGBTQ Film Festival, closes today, Monday, October 2nd. While we’re sad to see the festival programming come to a close, we’re thrilled to share more about all the amazing films and stories this year’s festival showcased.
Through a combination of in-person and virtual screenings, each year Out on Film aims for a slate of diverse, inclusive programming that is committed to equitable representation for all members of the LGBTQ+ community. Films chosen for the festival are not only meant to entertain viewers, but also appear on-screen as forms of education and advocacy, addressing key issues like discrimination, religion, social justice movements, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
This commitment to inclusion and equitable representation is especially important as we continue to work towards equitable health outcomes and protections for LGBTQ+ people and LGBTQ+ people of color living in the U.S. South. No programming can be truly inclusive unless it is reflective of and committed to the most marginalized members of the community it serves and the ecosystem it is situated in.
The 2023 Out on Film schedule clearly took this into consideration, platforming not only films that have received rave reviews and taken center stage at numerous festivals this year (like Chasing Chasing Amy and Big Boys), but also films created by those with roots in and connections to the local community.
This year’s programming lineup championed the stories of the community’s most marginalized through films like Jewelle: A Just Vision, Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn, All the Colors of the World Are Between Black and White, and Truth Be Told.
Kenyatta: Do Not Wait Your Turn, directed by Timothy Harris
These powerful, entertaining, and informative films, among many others across the Out on Film program, tackle issues and conversations surrounding homophobia, anti-LGBTQ sentiment and violence, the lived reality of LGBTQ+ people of color living outside of the United States, political and systemic issues, the disproportionate impacts of HIV/AIDs on subsets of the community, and the experiences of Black and Latine LGBTQ+ people.
Truth Be Told, from Emmy award-winning Nigerian-American filmmaker, producer, activist, and director Nneka Onuorah, premiered at Out on Film on Saturday, September 30th. The film sheds light on the intersections of the Black Church and the LGBTQ+ community, a dynamic that hasn’t yet been fully explored and is rarely mentioned when conversations about the relationship between LGBTQ+ people and the church do occur.
Truth Be Told, directed by Nneka Onuorah
The importance of these films’ role in addressing hard conversations and issues cannot be overstated. Many of these films work to combat the misinformation, stigma, and harmful narratives surrounding the LGBTQ+ community that have proliferated due to the erasure of our history and voices. With these films and others like them in development, LGBTQ+ storytellers can begin to correct the historical register.
One ramifying story with particular historical significance that premiered at Out on Film was Madeleine Lim’s Jewelle: A Just Vision. The film centers the journey, art, and activism of Jewelle Gomez, an Ioway & African American, Wampanoag, and Cape Verdean lesbian elder, and one of GLAAD’s founding visionaries.
Jewelle: A Just Vision, directed by Madeleine Lim
Infused with the power of radical Black and Indigenous feminist thought and wielding a force of inspiration, the film writes contemporary LGBTQ+ stories into being and into history while paving the way for hopeful and bright queer futures.
Overall, we leave this year’s Out on Film energized and galvanized. The future of LGBTQ+ filmmaking is bright, the community is diverse, divine, and abundant, and we can’t wait to see what next year’s programming holds.