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PACE throws Gay & Lesbian Film Festival

William Schmidt

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People Acting for Change and Equality will be hosting the 7th Annual North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in Shreveport.

The event will take place from September 18 to 24 and provide film screenings, panel discussions, Director Q&A and more.
Though the film festival is set in Shreveport and may not seem relevant to those of Southeastern, the film festival gives the chance for college students who may want to pursue a career in film a unique experience.

“Any type of hands-on work that college students can do, and anything that they can learn from professionals in the field is extremely beneficial,” said Emmy award winner and senior communication major Sarah Barbier. “It’s one thing to sit in a classroom and take notes from a professor, but learning from someone who has lived it can be very insightful.”

Along with the film festival having the possibility of enriching a future, recent media events have shed some light on the issues of gender equality and sexuality. One campus organization leader, early childhood education major and president of StandOUT, Gabrielle Filiberto supports the festival and hopes the city of Hammond can one day have such a festival.

“Since it is becoming more accepted, [gay and lesbian film producers] are having more of a chance to get involved, and build confidence to create something,” said Filiberto. “The trans community is still becoming more accepted after the Bruce Jenner thing and everything that happened; it is creating people to be more confident to go into the film industry. I could see it happening [gay film festival coming to Hammond].”

Those who want to learn the trade of film but are unsure if this festival would provide benefits for their specific genre can still learn from those that work in film. One such person who believes this is Emmy winner Barbier.

“Workshops are always helpful,” said Barbier. “Speaking to and learning from someone who has experience and know-how is a great way to learn new tricks and techniques. The earlier someone gets started on working with film, the better they’ll get.”

Each year, the film festival brought in at least one star. This year they are changing it up a bit.

“This is really the first year we are doing a film festival without a star, well last year we didn’t, we brought in Judy Shepard,” said Film Festival Chair Gary McCollister. “When I say a star, I meant a big star. The first year we had Leslie Jordan. The second year we had John Waters, he is a filmmaker but has a very big following. The third year was Bruce Vilanch. The fourth was Margaret Cho. The fifth year was Del Shores and the Cast of Southern Baptist Sissies along with Jordan. He was in New Orleans filming the American Horror Story. Last year was Judy Shepard and we brought in two of the actors. This year we are focusing on filmmakers. We are bringing filmmakers as our guests to spotlight filmmakers this year.”

To learn more information about the 7th North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, visit To learn more about the host of the festival, People Acting for Change and Equality, visit

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