The IMA’s DeBoest Lecture Hall buzzed with energy this afternoon. It was the last day of the Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival, and it kicked off with an eclectic collection of short films.
The crowd was sparse but spirited. Viewers squirmed and grumbled as injustices against the LGBT community unfolded on screen. And they exhaled with relief as the filmmakers and their subjects fought for fairness.
All seven short films were tender, thought-provoking and innovative, moving from a stop-motion animated exploration of ancient homosexuality to a futuristic fantasy in which heterosexuals are on the fringes of society. Three films in particular stood out.
An intimate, inspiring documentary portrait of Len Lanzi, a former Boy Scouts of America official who was fired after coming out in 2000. This one drew a strong emotional reaction from viewers. A collective gasp rose from the crowd as the film detailed the Supreme Court ruling the upheld the right of the Boy Scouts of America to exclude gays. Lanzi's calm, gentle nature amidst the storm of controversy is a wonder to behold.
An original, poignant dystopian fantasy. Pink Moon takes place in an alternate America in which homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuals are persecuted. The film follows two teens as they try to hide their love — and an unplanned pregnancy. If you missed it at the IMA, you can watch the whole film on YouTube.
When the film was released online in June, director Sal Bardo told the queer blog Bent: "With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to potentially make a huge decision on marriage equality very soon, and with women’s reproductive rights under attack across the country in ways they haven’t been in decades, the themes feel especially relevant right now."
A funny, feel-good film about a gay couple quarreling on Christmas Eve. With the help of an angel and a little holiday magic, they are able to settle their differences and lift each other's spirits. The hand-drawn animation is crude yet comforting. This one garnered a lot of hearty laughs — much-needed catharsis amidst today's emotional rollercoaster of short films.
At the end of the short film program, the enthusiasm in the intimate theater was infectious. The crowd left the DeBoest Lecture Hall in a chipper mood, chatting up a storm about these films that everyone can relate to, regardless of sexual or social orientation.
For more information about the Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival, visit www.indylgbtfilmfest.com.