October: 2nd Annual Eau Queer Film Festival

Katie Johnson

Gun Hill Road
Gun Hill Road, part of this year's Eau Queer Film Festival

This fall, the Eau Queer Film Festival (EQFF) returns to the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire campus for its second year. Running from October 13th-16th in Davies Theatre, this lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer film festival will offer audiences a wide cinematic range from feature length comedies and dramas to documentaries and shorts.

The purpose of EQFF is to embrace difference, promote equality, and educate through the powerful medium of film. The film festival originated last fall as an extension of the new immersion course, LGBTQA Studies: San Francisco Travel Seminar. The course, which was taught through the Women’s Studies Program by professors Ellen Mahaffy (Communication and Journalism) and Pamela Forman (Sociology), incorporated a trip to San Francisco to experience its annual gay pride celebration, make documentary films, and attend Frameline, the longest running LGBT International Film Festival.

The EQFF features films that students screened at Frameline’s LGBT Film Festival. In October we will showcase award winning films, including Three, Weekend, Gun Hill Road, Gen Silent, and Wish Me Away. The opening night film, Three, is a unique a feature length drama out of Berlin. Three explores a complex love triangle between a straight married couple and their lover, a man, with whom they are both having an affair. Weekend considers the possibilities when two opposites attract each other; they engage in conversation that reminds us of one of life’s greatest aspects: love. When the weekend comes to a close will this pair be able to truly trust one another? Weekend is a film that will surprise you through its honest look at life’s curve balls. Gun Hill Road is an exploration of a male-to-female transitioning teen, who is struggling to handle the demands of his religious, unaccepting father and the social norms of gender and sexuality. The riveting scenes of transgendered experience are some of those most vivid and poignant in all of Eau Queer. Closing night features Wish Me Away, a moving and eye-opening documentary about Chely Wright, a famous country musician from a small southern town and conservative Christian family. In 2010, Wright came out publicly as a lesbian despite facing scrutiny from a heterosexist and even homophobic industry.

The three student documentaries will screen on Saturday, October 15 at 4 p.m. Our Town (Kim Acheson, Katy Cobb, Lindsay Miklya, and Brooke Verwiel) contrasts the different realities of being queer in Eau Claire and in San Francisco; this film ends with a call to action of how to make Eau Claire a more welcoming LGBTQ community. With Open Arms (Kelly Brill, Bryton Fredrick, Katie Johnson, and Tatjana Trommershauser), examines three churches that are affirming of LGBTQ identities in San Francisco, and includes poignant reflection from its producers about the impact of religion on their lives. In Hear Me Now (Liz Albert, Katie Chaplin, Megan Chilman, and Brianna Mueller) we learn captivating stories from members of San Francisco’s deaf queer community, who are reconciling what it means to face double oppression.

Join us for the Eau Queer Film Festival in Davies Theater on the UWEC campus from October 13-16th. All films are free and open to the public. To see the schedule and learn more about the upcoming films at EQFF please visit eauqueer.com or check us out on Facebook. The LGBTQA Studies course is supported by a Domestic Intercultural Immersion Grant. This second Eau Queer Film Festival is made possible by funding from a Blugold Differential Tuition Grant and support from the University Activities Commission (UAC).