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Frameline, Inside Out, NewFest, and Outfest Form Queer Film Festival Alliance (EXCLUSIVE)

Frameline, Inside Out, NewFest, and Outfest
Ava Benjamin Shorr/Netflix

Several major North American LGBTQ film festivals are forming an alliance so that they can continue to highlight the works of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer filmmakers during the coronavirus pandemic.

To that end, Frameline (San Francisco), Inside Out (Toronto), NewFest (NYC), and Outfest (Los Angeles) have formed NAQFA: the North American Queer Festival Alliance. The Alliance’s first collaborative event will be a live conversation and celebration with the talent behind “Disclosure,” a documentary exploring the history and visibility of transgender people in films and television. Netflix acquired the film after it premiered at Sundance and will make it available on its streaming service beginning June 19, 2020.

The conversation will be live-streamed on June 24th, 2020 at 6PM PST / 9PM EST and will include Executive Producer Laverne Cox, Director Sam Feder, and featured talent such as Jen Richards, Brian Michael Smith, Tiq Milan, Candis Cayne, Zeke Smith, and Zackary Drucker. In statements, the filmmaking team behind “Disclosure” argue that its message resonates even more strongly at a time when people are pushing for social justice and change.

“We cannot imagine a better community launch than what NAQFA has created,” Feder and Cox said in a statement. “We are so deeply honored that ‘Disclosure’ was selected by NAQFA for their first event. ‘Disclosure’ was made with a new world in mind, which connects deeply to this moment. The social uprising we are witnessing now is about how a community has systematically been oppressed by those in power and with more privilege. Trans people, especially those Black and Brown, know this experience intimately. ‘Disclosure,’ a documentary chronicling the history of trans imagery on screen, underscores how patriarchy, white supremacy, settler colonialism, and capitalism further oppresses our most marginalized. We want ‘Disclosure’ to be of use within the current uprising and to reach communities who need to see it the most.”

The announcement was made today by the Executive Directors of each festival, James Woolley of Frameline, Andria Wilson of Inside Out, David Hatkoff of NewFest and Damien S. Navarro of Outfest. NAQFA will plan additional events in 2020. The heads of the various festivals heralded the new partnership, as well as the decision to launch with “Disclosure.”

“Netflix’s acquisition of this vital, beautiful, game-changing documentary – which centered trans people and trans voices in all elements of its creation – is a cause for celebration for us all,” said Wilson. “Our organizations have a shared mission: supporting LGBTQ film and filmmakers. Through the formation of this alliance, and using our collective voice to champion ‘Disclosure,’ we are entering a new era of collaboration.”

“I’ve seen first-hand the power that industry alliance organizations like NAQFA have had on their member organizations in times of struggle, hardship and uncertainty,” said Navarro. “Launching NAQFA alongside the powerful messaging of ‘Disclosure’ sends a clear statement to the industry that we are mobilizing to enact real change through our collective amplification of our voices.”

“The formation of NAQFA allows us to leverage our collective knowledge, access and resources to assure that our festivals and filmmakers continue to grow and thrive,” said Hatkoff. “Though each organization has a unique history and serves its community in a singular way, we all share an unwavering commitment to the power and importance of queer stories, and believe we can accomplish great things for artists and audiences by collaborating in this new way.”

“Film Festivals are an irreplaceable part of our cultural landscape — they build community, they support our storytellers, and they are inherently agents of change. Our curators find new and undiscovered voices telling stories that need to be seen, allowing us to better understand our world,” said Woolley. “For the LGBTQ community, film festivals have, and continue to be a necessary safe place to come together and to see our lives reflected and affirmed. As with so many cultural institutions, COVID-19 has forced us to look at how we need to change and innovate in order to fulfill our missions.”