The New York Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival

by Edith Becker

from Jump Cut, no. 37, July 1992, p. 74
copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1992, 2006

We view our bodies with our minds. We fed our minds on bodies. Sarah Schulman and Jim Hubbard have curated the New York Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival since 1987. At that time theft operative factor was experimental. Now with the state's tremendous financial cut to the arts and vicious attacks on gay, lesbian, sexual and political artists, the Festival increasingly has become an important exhibitor for scarcely screened films. The festival is also a memorial to AIDS victims. Many films screened are by men who have died from the virus and many more films present people with AIDS.

One of the Festival's goals has been to unite lesbians, gay men, and a full range of concerns. The annual festival has included recent films, 16mm, super-8mm, old films, silent films, historic films, encompassing an array of topics — from AIDS demonstrations to pastoral settings to comedy. The following two articles review the 1989 Festival. They express two different sensibilities that the Festival helps bring together. Jennifer Montgomery reviews with a candid personal response to the films; Daryl Chin contemplates his choices with an aesthetic model in mind.

Whereas the 1989 Festival contained an eclectic mix of films, the 1990 Festival devoted a large number of films to the African American Gay Male experience. Every year the house sells out. These reviews explain why. The films chosen for the Festival are hones and show the directors' personal commitment to the work. These films send you away thinking about sexual politics or the problems of fun. The Festival, its staff, films and filmmakers said for victory over repressive forces and a hope for all of us to keep struggling with our visions.

For information about the festival or touring it in your area, contact the New York Lesbian and Gay Experimental Film Festival, c/o Anthology Film Archives, 32-34 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003.