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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

Notre Dame's first annual Queer Film Festival runs Wednesday through Saturday

As nearly every student knows by now, one of the more dubious distinctions given to Notre Dame this year was Princeton Review's top rated school where "alternative lifestyles are not an alternative." While the University has worked to change this perception with the Standing Committee on Gay and Lesbian Student Needs, the administration still refuses to approve as an official club Outreach ND, the independent gay student group on campus. Many on campus, such as Badin freshman Anne Kroeger, still feel the University isn't doing enough, "If the University was actually open minded and willing to change things then it would be a different story."Senior film major Liam Dacey decided to do something after a conversation with the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae of Notre Dame/Saint Mary's (GALA-ND/SMC). The idea of a film festival came up and they ran with it. Dacey says the idea of the event is to "normalize the existence of gay students on this campus and offer to the entire community the opportunity to enjoy and study the extraordinary accomplishment of gay cinema artists in the United States.Thus is the story behind the First Annual Queer Film Festival, which runs Wednesday through Saturday in the Hesburgh Library Auditorium. The events planned are not simply screenings of gay films, but discussions and workshops with the people who made them. Those involved in the event hope to create "discussion, awareness and acceptance" of the issue of homosexuality, according to a statement from Dacey, the festival chair, and Mairead Casey, the publicity chair.While acceptance may be hard to garner from many students, the festival is sure to be a huge step in terms of awareness. All films have been honored by many different organizations and received critical acclaim both nationally and internationally. In addition, there are several special events involving the filmmakers, including some Notre Dame grads.Wednesday's film is Jim in Bold, a documentary about the life and untimely death of Jim Wheeler, a gay teenager who committed suicide. The hope shining through this tragedy comes from Young Gay America, a group the film follows as they travel to conservative areas to talk to other gay teenagers struggling with the attitudes around them. Malcolm Lazin, producer of the film and executive director of the Equality Forum will join Benjie Nycum, Mike Glatze and Scott MacPhee from Young Gay America to answer questions afterwards. Lazin's Equality Forum is the "world's largest annual gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender gathering." Where does this come from?Hedwig and the Angry Inch, an "anatomically incorrect rock odyssey" based on the off-Broadway musical, will be shown Thursday night . Winner of the Sundance Film Festival's "Audience Award" and "Best Director," the film also won a Grammy award. Following a drag queen from East Berlin touring the United States with her band, it is considered by most critics to be one of the most influential and innovative gay films of the last several years. In what is definitely one of the highlights of the festival, the director and star of Hedwig, John Cameron Mitchell, will be in attendance to hold a question and answer session following the screening. The acclaimed 1994 film Go Fish will be presented on Friday night . Winner of the "Best Feature Film" award at the Berlin Film Festival and a nominee for the "Grand Jury Prize" at Sundance, the movie is about a beautiful young lesbian's search for love in Chicago.