Clayton State to host first lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual film festival

By Jeffery Whitfield

Stephanie Seaborough is optimistic about a new film festival slated to begin at Clayton State University today.

“I think it's a good thing to have at Clayton State,” Seaborough, 21, said of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) Film Festival.

The festival's organizers, comprised of Clayton State faculty members and students, agree.

“Our festival committee members agreed over a year ago that LGBT should absolutely be our first theme,” said Dr. Virginia Bonner, chair of the festival committee and curator of the festival. “There is so much vibrant cinematic creativity in LGBT films and so many great films from around the world, it was an easy choice. Plus, there are few LGBT events in the Southern Crescent despite the strong LGBT population in metropolitan Atlanta.”

Clayton State has hosted multiple national and international film festivals in recent years, but organizers sought to create a theme beyond nationality this year, she said.

The festival will showcase films by, for and about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual communities.

There has been no opposition to the festival with the exception of one e-mail from an “offended” student, Seaborough said.

The festival will feature the airing of seven films, starting with “The Wedding Banquet,” an English and Mandarin language film with English subtitles, which will start tonight at 7:30 p.m. All other films also are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Upcoming films that will be shown include “The Watermelon Woman,” an English language film, and “Show Me Love,” a Swedish language film with English subtitles. Both will be played Tuesday. “Strawberry & Chocolate,” a Spanish language film with English subtitles, will be shown on Wednesday. “Better than Chocolate,” an English language film, will air on Thursday. “Southern Comfort” and “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” both English language films, will be shown on Nov. 14.

Students have had mixed reactions about the festival.

Rachel Roberts, a 25-year-old junior, said she thought the festival was a good idea, but probably wouldn't attend because of a lack of interest in the films.

Christian Halpen, a 20-year-old freshman, said she wasn't “really that curious” about the event though she thought the festival was a good idea.

“It does raise questions in my mind about awareness of the gay and lesbian (communities),” she said.

The festival is funded by Lyceum program, which is a division of Clayton State University's Office of Student Life.

For more information, call (770) 960-2109.