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ImageOut: The Rochester LGBT Film Festival

Programmer’s Message

ImageOut 25: A Silver Lining

As we celebrate 25 years of helping bring our LGBTQ+ community together, we at ImageOut count our blessings that we are able to continue doing what we do on the strength of a loyal and hardworking army of volunteers, and generous patrons and donors. It’s amazing what can be accomplished by sharing a vision and working together to achieve common goals. But I’m not going to lie. We are living in dangerous times. Today, there are people at the highest levels of government who are working hard to chip away from our victories and our achievements over the last 8 years towards equality. It is scary to think what they will go after next.

This year, we bring 67 films from 20 different countries precisely to remind us how far we’ve come as a global community to achieve dreams and hopes that were deemed impossible not too long ago. So we cannot go back. We refuse to go back! If there is one positive by-product of these recent setbacks and threats to our very existence, it is how activism is more alive than ever. There is hope.

Our Opening Night films, Princess Cyd and God’s Own Country, reflect the growing understanding and acceptance of homosexuality and gender fluidity across generations. Our Narrative Centerpiece, 120 Beats Per Minute, highlights the importance of activism and finding allies to fight for our causes, whatever they may be. Freak Show, our Closing Night film, is a reminder that no matter how strong our community has become, our hold to our gay rights, our basic human rights, is very fragile. And did I tell you that these films deliver these strong messages while making us laugh, fall in love, and thoroughly entertained at the same time? Oh yes! You must check out our whole roster of films and join us as much as you can for 11 days. After all, there is no better way of watching films that were specifically made for you than seeing them with your friends and allies.

It’s been 25 years since our organizers had the foresight to provide a venue like ImageOut so we can come together as a community, and have a platform to promote LGBTQ awareness. And the Film Festival is more relevant than ever, helping ensure that we continue to see our ever-evolving narratives and experiences, shared by our brothers and sisters from all over the world.

On a personal note, this is my 15th year of programming for ImageOut. It never gets any easier. But thank you for allowing me to help shape your LGBTQ cinematic journey for this long. You’ve got taste!

It’s an amazing film lineup this year once again. So I hope to see you at the movies!

Michael Gamilla
Chair, Programming Committee