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Screening: FilmOut 2011

Fest Starts Slow But Builds Momentum

Credit: Table Ten Films

Above: "The Green" is the closing night film at FilmOut 2011.


Checking in on FilmOut 2011's opening weekend.



Checking in on FilmOut 2011's opening weekend.


Over the weekend, FilmOut -- San Diego's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Film Festival, opened at the Birch North Park Theater. The festival will also run next weekend. Festival programmer Michael McQuiggan talks about some changes.

FilmOut opened with smaller than usual numbers on Friday but built momentum over the weekend. The festival moved from its usual April dates to the summer because it needed more time to secure sponsorship money. Festival programmer Michael McQuiggan says running the festival during the bad economy has created new challenges.

MICHAEL McQUIGGAN: It's extremely tough. We have our loyal and consistent sponsors, however, this year we have 15 board members so it's been a little bit easier because they're also looking for sponsors. Everyone is required to bring in sponsorship dollars and so we have a lot of new blood.

FilmOut also benefits from local organizations that co-present films. Carin Scheinin is president of the San Diego Women's Chorus, one of this year's co-presenters.

CARIN SCHEININ: I think it's really important to have arts in the community that are reflective of the community. Here in Hillcrest and North Park there are a number of LGBT people and also allies and I think whether it's film or music or arts to have lesbian and gay, bisexual and transgender people represented is so essential because it gives people a way to relate.

She says events like FilmOut help local people feel like they are part of a larger and more global community.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Motion Film Group

Harmony Santana and Esai Morales star in "Gun Hill Road."

In addition to moving from April to August, FilmOut gave out its first lifetime achievement award (To director Randal Kleiser), and began adding workshops to its programming. It's now also split over two consecutive weekends. McQuiggan is concerned about maintaining momentum but says there are benefits to the new schedule.

MICHAEL McQUIGGAN: Usually when we do our festival from an opening night on Friday to the following Thursday, the films that played on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesdays that would play any time after 9pm were poorly attended, so people were missing out on some good films. So we thought since most people come on the weekends that we would try two consecutive weekends and see how that works.

Next weekend will have a focus on horror, a pair of shorts by San Diego filmmakers, and the closing night drama "The Green" as well as many more films.

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