“Out” Film Festival kicks off Gay Pride Month

The 2nd annual “Out Film Festival” brings over 40 GLBT films to St. Anthony Main this weekend

by Mark Brenden


Out Film Festival

Where: St. Anthony Main Theater, 115 Main St. NE

When: June 2-5

Cost: First day free to public, $10 per movie or event after that. $60 all-access festival passes available online

2011 has been a monumental year for the Twin Cities progressive movement. Publications have called us the most bike-friendly, the hipster-est and most gay-friendly area in the United States. Coupled with a Gay Marriage ban heading to the 2012 ballot, the combination makes for a passionate Gay Pride Month.

To kick off June, the gayest month of them all, St. Anthony Main will host the second annual âÄúOut Film Festival.âÄù The festival includes more than 40 films and shorts, ranging from family-friendly to the adult industry. The first day is free to the public, and it will include a visit from Rep. Steve Simon, who made a passionate plea to lawmakers to vote against the aforementioned bill.

After being moved by SimonâÄôs emotional speech, festival director and founder Chris Durant took a shot in the dark and sent him a personal message via Facebook asking if heâÄôd speak at the festival. He accepted.

âÄúI feel extremely honored to have [Simon] speaking,âÄù Durant said.

A queer filmmaker himself, Durant has a perspective on why a film festival is a necessary way to kick off Gay Pride Month. Durant has been on his own since he was 13. Growing up with an unsupportive family, he found a means of escape in film. His film, âÄúGenderfukation,âÄù premieres June 16 at St. Anthony Main.

âÄúTo me, one of the reasons why film is so powerful is that film itself is âÄòout,âÄôâÄù Alex Gutterman, a festival organizer and assistant to the Durant, said. âÄúItâÄôs visual. ItâÄôs verbal. ItâÄôs not private.âÄù

With the cloud of a constitutional gay marriage ban hanging over what is otherwise a uniquely joyous environment, the organizers said that the atmosphere has been varied.

âÄúI think a lot of people feel that these setbacks may be painful and they may be significant for a while, but they represent something that canâÄôt last,âÄù Gutterman said. âÄúItâÄôs a trepidation about recent issues but also an understanding that ultimately human freedom is indomitable,âÄù he added.

Despite the jovial nature of the festival and the location being at what Durant called âÄúone of the most romantic areas of the Twin Cities,âÄù Durant said âÄúyou never knowâÄù if protesters will show up, but he vowed that reaction would be peaceful.

âÄúI think probably the best way you can deal with hate is with love.âÄù