Thursday, September 10, 2009

Announcing the Queer Film Society

I am delighted to help spread the word about Chicago's new Queer Film Society, an organization founded earlier this year by Richard Knight of the Windy City Times and Knight at the Movies. Richard and fellow members Hank Sartin of Time Out Chicago, Gregg Shapiro of Chicago Free Press, and Jonathan Lewis and Charlie Shoquist of Gay Chicago felt that local film culture and its audiences would appreciate and benefit from an ongoing network of conversations, screenings, and events that placed queer-targeted releases and queer-appropriated classics in a privileged spotlight, opening up the depth, the history, and the merriment of sexuality and LGBT livelihood as they overlap with cinema. In fact, though the organization is starting and based in Chicago, it has its heart set on bigger, more widely inclusive goals. From the website:

Recognizing the diversity of identities and perspectives that comprise its membership, QFS is committed to showcasing vital films from equally vital, and sometimes widely varied, vantage points. From mainstream to underground and from artist to audience, a distinct and communal sensibility informs the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) cinema experience.

The QFS website endeavors to be a global gathering spot for the reviews and film writing of its membership and other LGBT film critics, historians, artists, and scholars.

The Chicago chapter of the QFS, home base of the Society, endeavors to create a variety of entertaining and educational cinema experiences for both QFS members and Friends of the QFS and hopes, through such events, to inspire the creation of QFS chapters in other cities.

If you live in Chicago, you can already be enjoying these hosted screenings at our beloved Center on Halsted, a QFS co-sponsor: next up are Barbarella on Monday night, and John Waters' Desperate Living the following Monday, the 21st. (I'm already geared up for that one!) QFS will also sponsor events this year at both the Chicago International Film Festival in October and the LGBT Reeling Film Festival in November.

I have recently joined as a sixth member, so watch this space, including the newly dedicated plot on my sidebar, for continued updates about QFS activities. But even more immediately, here are four things you can do to support the Society as it gets on its feet:

• Show your support and add yourself to the mailing list by signing up here as a Friend of the Society, which makes you eligible for several free advance-screenings of queer-targeted movies that are already being orchestrated through the rest of the fall, including the one I saw last night of the Vogue/Anna Wintour documentary The September Issue. Even if you do not live locally but plan to check out the site, or if you wonder about opening your own branch, or if you simply think it's a good thing for QFS to exist and proliferate, become a Friend! It is crucial to developing the organization, persuading distributors, securing venues, and building up $$$.

Attend our events, and tell or bring your friends. Early shows of community support are especially vital, while we're attracting sponsorships and negotiating with studios for exclusive screenings, which have already started to happen.

• If your background and interests suggest that you might be a good fit to join QFS as a full member, or to introduce or respond at a screening, or to host an event in a venue where you have some sway, or to write up QFS in a public forum where you have a voice, etc., etc., please be in touch, either with me or with the current officers on the website. Given the age-old trends of gendered and racial chauvinism in film criticism, we are especially interested in diversifying our membership and hearing from queer film critics, writers, teachers, and professionals who can help remind our audiences that Queer ≠ Gay + White + Male.

• Don't freak out that I mentioned $$$. I don't have a lot of it, either, especially with how depleted people are these days and how many emergencies and justice campaigns are in need of our support. But you'd be surprised how little can be a big help to a non-profit arts initiative like this. What you'd spend on a movie ticket and a pail of Goobers would be a much appreciated boon to QFS. Again, if you're feeling generous (and I hope you are!), be in touch with me or with the current officers.

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Blogger Dr. S said...

Rock out! I'm in!

3:08 PM, September 13, 2009  

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