CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The founder and director of the Appalachian Queer Film Festival says the event, which gets started in Lewisburg on Oct. 23, is about bringing different perspectives to West Virginia.
“This festival presents the opportunity to have a conversation in an entirely different way to change hearts and minds for folks living in West Virginia about what it means to be LGBTQ and be Appalachian at the same time,” Tim Ward, a Huntington native, told MetroNews.
LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.
To preview next month’s festival, organizers are hosting two free screenings in the coming days of “The Campaign,” a film from director Christie Herring that tells the story of the fight to defeat California’s Proposition 8 and defend same-sex marriage.
Those screenings were scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. at the Kanawha Players Theatre in Charleston and Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Marshall University’s Smith Hall Room in Huntington. Herring, whose film will also be shown at the AQFF, will be on hand to talk about it.
“Growing up in West Virginia, I’m from Huntington, as a gay man, as a gay kid, I didn’t really have the opportunity to see myself on screen ever,” Ward said. That’s what motivated him to try to find ways to give other people such chances.
Many of the films that will be shown next month premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and will be making their debuts in West Virginia.
Ward said there is no longer a negative connotation for the word “queer.” “It’s a word, for me, that symbolizes community and, honestly, that’s what the festival is about. It’s about sustaining the community through dialogue, through conversation, through film,” he said.
For more information about the inaugural Appalachian Queer Film Festival, which runs from Oct. 23-26 in Lewisburg, click here.