Gay film fest enters third year

    After 15 years the Philadelphia gay film festival is entering its third act. What started as a scrappy weekend festival quickly exploded into a 10-day showcase.

    After 15 years the Philadelphia gay film festival is entering its third act. What started as a scrappy weekend festival quickly exploded into a 10-day showcase. Now after a contentious split with the Film Society, the festival has a new name. But its future may still be uncertain.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090709pcqfest.mp3]

    The festival – with the zippy new name QFest – opens the same weekend as the much-hyped satire Bruno. The mainstream release of Bruno suggests that gay film may have a foothold with mainstream audiences.

    But there’s a downside. Festival founder and director Raymond Murray says audiences have decreased in the last few years. He says there is more competition for audience’s attention, which no longer needs a festival to deliver gay subject matter.

    Murray: It’s ironic because as gays and lesbians have become more acclimated into society and less outsiders, the relative importance of gay and lesbian cinema has decreased.

    In addition to screenings of campy musicals, a Doris Day tribute, and a revival of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the festival offers what Murray calls “the subculture of the subculture”: transsexuals, interracial relationships, and gays in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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