Eau Claire (WQOW) — An annual film festival at UW-Eau Claire is bringing the LGBTQ community to the forefront and the big screen.
The Eau Queer Film Fest is in its ninth year, and over the course of this week 11 documentaries and short films will be shown, focusing on this year’s theme of ‘becoming.’ Organizers told News 18 the theme is meant to show constant growth and learning about LGBTQ topics and the community. They said an event like this is a way to broaden or share an experience that might not happen in day-to-day interactions.
“Film is such a good medium, really for people to have these conversations. Whether it’s to see themselves reflected on screen or see experiences they’ve never thought about,” said Kallie Friede, a graduate assistant in UWEC’s Gender & Sexuality Resource Center. “I think whether it’s on campus or the Chippewa Valley, they’re conversations that are being had nationally, and so it’s a way for us to kind of ease into those challenging conversations.”
October 6, 2018 marked the 20th anniversary of the brutal torture of Matthew Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming, presumably because he was gay. He died six day after the attack.
Festival organizer and Director of the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center, Christopher Jorgenson, was in college at the time of Shepard’s murder, and told News 18 times may have changed since 1998, but progress requires active engagement and advocacy.
“It allows people to learn, to educate themselves about experiences and identities that they perhaps never have come into contact with at UW-Eau Claire, but cumulatively have an effect on equality and equity and inter-sectional advocacy and social justice,” Jorgenson said. “I think recognizing change is important, but also recognizing that we have a long way to go.”
The film festival kicked of Tuesday night, with a showing of “Call Her Ganda.” The event is free and open to the public. For more information on times of showings, click here.