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.

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  • Marion

    Queer is Queer ! You all make me sick ! It's wrong ! Downright wrong ! That's my free speech ! Hope you all burn in hell ! Man and Women only to be together ! Enough said !

    • Bob

      Would you feel that way if it was your child or grandchild too?

  • Bobby

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    There was no bom_ threat made from what I read earlier. It was a joke, a poor comment. That's all. That is what your type of people do. You sensationalize and whine about everything just to get attention to your choice of lifestyle. Please stop. There were many negative comments from many people. Are they all a threat too? Drop it, attend your festival and move on please.

    • Drob

      Yeah, make that comment to a school and see what happens.

  • Stewart

    Attending as much as I can. Thanks AQFF, and keep it up!

  • Kristin

    I deepy love West Virginia and all of our people. So proud of our state for welcoming such an important and valuable opportunity not only for the LBGTQ community to be heard, but also for those outside the community to educate themselves. I can't wait to be there! I have a great deal of pride for our state and the strength of its people, and this only makes more proud to be a West Virginian.

    • John of Wayne

      Doesn't sound like much of a welcome to me and I doubt the awaiting reception will encourage even the most flaming of your kind to want to return. I'm willing to ignore what these beings do in the privacy of their own bedrooms but that's not enough for them, they feel that they have a right to throw it in everyone's face. While freedom of speech is guaranteed by the constitution, it is freedom from government retribution and censorship. There is no guaranteed right to be heard and I for one wouldn't walk across the street to hear any lbgtq tripe. Feel free to consider me an ignorant bastard as I don't consider your opinion worthy of serious thought.

    • Mountain Navy

      I am going to puke.

  • Padge

    If I were still in Huntington, I would totally attend this. So awesome that this is going on! :)

  • Drob

    I want to post and say that I'm proud of this state for hosting this event that will encourage acceptance and understanding, but then I read a comments section full of some of the most backward, ignorant, and offensive stuff out there. A bomb threat? Are you kidding me? An utterly stupid attempt at a joke or not, I hope whoever's moderating this deletes "What a joke's" comment and, preferably, reports it to the FBI.

    Good for you, AQFF, for doing this in the face of such hatred and bigotry. With your efforts, maybe one day I can be fully proud of this state instead of just half proud.

    • James

      Drob, everyone is entitled to their opinion. No direct threats or hate crimes have been committed on this forum. I doubt the FBI has time for your complaint. It's only Freedom of speech and a lot of service members have died protecting it. Stop playing the gay card. Just ignore it and move on.

      • Chelsea

        My father was in the service, and he would tell you that Freedom of Speech does not mean Freedom to Say Hateful and Violent Remarks About a Peaceful Gathering. Freedom of Speech means your government won't prosecute you for said remarks BUT can still investigate if your speech could result in actual action.

      • Drob

        I'm sure all of those service members would be so happy to know that their sacrifice is used to defend a bomb threat under the guise of "free speech." Maybe you didn't see the comment I'm referring to, because I reported it and it appears to have been deleted. But it was there, and it was disgusting.

        • Bobby

          There was no bomb threat made from what I read earlier. It was a joke, a poor comment. That's all. That is what your type of people do. You sensationalize and whine about everything just to get attention to your choice of lifestyle. Please stop. There were many negative comments from many people. Are they all a threat too? Drop it, attend your festival and move on please.

  • Jesus

    Two women can't procreate. Two men can't procreate. My father designed it that way.
    Butts were for exit only or perhaps you need to watch "Deliverance" for your first time. in any event, it is vial and not part of my fathers prescribed lifestyle.
    The body is an alter, therefore changing it by adding other sexual parts is abnormal and simply not sacred. It was never approved by my father.
    Coveting the same sex is not normal and is practiced in only one approved location. That being hell.
    Your lifestyle and sexual status choices are not in accordance with moral or the laws established by my father. Therefore, you will all meet your end soon enough at his hands.

    • Tim


    • Smile

      We do not have the same father. My dad doesn't think much of the lifestyle either, however he realizes, just as your dad should NO ONE CARES WHAT HE THINKS!!!!!!!At least my dad is real.

      • The Light

        "EVERY knee shall bow"

        • Smile

          Make me bow and your light will be extinguished!

          • The Light

            Every. That includes yours.

    • RDC

      Wow, Jesus, are you a closet homosexual?

  • Don Smith

    We have moved beyond doing unnatural things in secret all the way to pride in the same.

    "Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
    Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." Romans 1:31-32

    Lets not persecute these poor folk, but lets not accept their behavior as just another option to be respected.

    • Marion

      Don , WHAT !

    • Drob

      "However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way." (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

      • Don Smith

        You understand context better than that my friend. I seek no debate with you concerning the written Word of God. Wresting Scripture to despise God won't change what each of us knows is natural and things against nature. I choose not to champion that which God and even common sense identifies as wrong.

        • fact checker

          Funny how the bible thumpers quote from the Bible as the final word, but when the hypocrisy of the Bible is pointed out, it is somehow out of context. It's not out of context, it's from your Bible. Poor Don Smith wants to choose only those portions that fit his warped view of the world, and ignore the others.

        • TheWORD

          Just shut-up 412, you're clearly out classed in clarity, knowledge and intellect here.

          Go peddle your pseudo intellectual nonsense elsewhere, maybe some 60's themed coffee-shop where other wanna-be, pretend scholars hang out.

          • Jason412


            I noticed you didn't refute it, because it's true. Plenty of Christian's accept homosexuals, if you don't that's fine, but don't blame it on your religion.

        • Drob

          I understand context perfectly well. I grew up in church, and I know the Bible. Including the parts that allow God's followers to forbid women from speaking in church, massacre men women and children to take a plot of land, own slaves, and rape women with little to no punishment.

          • Drob

            Right, Jason412. That, and the quotes bigots use against homosexuals are "taken out of context" just as much.

          • Jason412

            Don Smith,

            I think you missed his point that verses from the Bible taken out of context can be used to fit anyone's agenda. Much like the Qur'an is taken out of context by Islamic extremists to justify their hatred.

          • Don Smith

            A man convinced against his will
            Is of the same opinion still

            I won't waste time trying to change your mind, but do ask you to consider an honest approach to the Bible rather than your deliberate twisting. Straw men (out of context statements) do not hold up and I think you know that.

            You owe me no answer, but there is One to Whom we will all answer. Peace.

  • Catherine

    So proud of my state and community for welcoming progressive and important opportunities like this Appalachia. I look forward to attending!

  • RDC

    They were made this way by your god. Let everyone live their own lives. Your way of living is right for you only.

    • WhgFeelin

      It is a choice not a Devine design. Biology 101

      • RDC

        I must have missed that in Biology 101. How about refreshing me on that.
        For the sake of argument let's say it is a choice. It's their choice Dammit! Live your own life.

        • WhgFeelin

          RDC when was the last you saw 2 same sex couples have a child on their own? NEVER........Biology lesson completed.

          As for their own life and choice....I don't care what they do in their private lives but just like I don't flaunt my sexual desires on to another nor should they. Nor should I expect an all inclusive, all accepting society. Instead of making personal attacks on one you might want to take a dose of that tolerance medicine.

    • What a joke

      God didn't make them this way. It's a choice dumbas_.

      • RDC

        Sorry, but they are born this way. However this conversation is way above your intellectual capabilities. Go buy your six pack and finish the underlining on your trailer. Everything is going to be alright.

  • Hillbilly

    SICK, SICK ,SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Other Hillbilly

      How Shameful is this , Sick , Sick , Sick .

    • RDC

      Sorry to hear you're sick Hillbilly. Have you seen a doctor yet.

  • never

    Why the hell would I want to live like californians do, im sorry but so tired of the pro gay agenda in national news. It has stayed away from this state and majority live peacefully here.

    • Smile

      What if someone from California gets transferred to WV as part of their employment. They gay, do they not have rights? Is WV part of UNITES STATES. I wasn't supportive of "gay agenda"'till I relized how much it upset the idiots I grew up around. I have lived in WV my whole life. It's a great place except for the right wing nut jobs. "Your way if life" is over...move on or move out.

      • Marion

        Hey. Smile you move the hell out ! I will slam the door as you leave !!! It's wrong to be queer PERIOD. ! It's downright sick. ! No place for them here. Stay in California !

        • Smiling still

          I'll be staying right here where I've always been. I was in LA California once, that was enough. May check out Northern Cali sometime with my wife. Our marriage will be legal there for the same reasons there's is here (or will be soon). I'll never leave this state. We probably agree on second amendment rights I bet.

      • God

        There is nothing normal about this lifestyle and it was never part of the grand design. End of story.

        • Smile

          Is that really you God? I never thought you existed, but you answered me. You must be God because no true Christian would use your name. Please guide your flock, they are flockin' nuts!

  • thornton

    Perspectives are good....agendas seldom are.
    The line is fine.
    Will there be popcorn?

  • ThatGuyOverThere

    If a straight person called a gay person "queer" in a public setting, they would be labeled, homophobic, gay basher, bigot, etc...It is the same double standard that lives in the black community as well...we can call our selves the n word but noone else can...the gays can call themselves gays and queers, but noone else can. Big bunch BS...I am sure they will have a huge turnout at their film of luck.

    • Drob

      It's crazy how people from an oppressed group (Appalachians) have such a hard time understanding where other oppressed groups are coming from. Ditto what Jason just said: Appalachians love using the terms "hillbilly" and "redneck" themselves, but hate it when someone from outside the community starts referring to us with those terms as if we're a bunch of inbred morons. Can you really not see the connection?

      • Marion

        Hey Drobe ! News flash. ! Us Hillbillys and rednecks are damned proud when we are called that ! Go to a big crowd at a gathering anywhere in our state and holler those two words and everyone will respond proudly !! That is what we are and damn proud of it! No such thing as a queer redneck !

    • The Monitor


    • Jason412

      Much like white rural West Virginian's take pride in calling themselves "Redneck" to the point it is a booming t-shirt industry, but take offense when a non-resident says it.

      • Marion

        Most of us don't take offense ! Proud of it and yes we are well educated .

  • MT

    Marriage is between a MAN and a WOMEN!

    Keep the gay and queer crap in California!!!!!

    • Marion

      Agree 100% keep them all in the screwed up state of California ! Would love to vote for California to be its own country! Just think of all the electorial votes we could save !

    • The Facts

      And they wonder why ISIS and the Taliban want to kill all of us. The whole world thinks our country is full of this type and rich in these lewd and immoral acts. Shaking my head.

    • Da Man


    • We are damned as a nation

      Could'nt agree more!!!