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Author Topic: South African group distributes free DVD's with gay films  (Read 3839 times)

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  • Viktor Zimmermann
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South African group distributes free DVD's with gay films
« Reply #1 on: Sun, Mar 12, 2006, 05:23 »

An interesting way to bring gay culture to the poor gays in the wildness is reported by

"SA's gay cinema 'going places'
10/03/2006 10:26  - (SA)   

Johannesburg - For 12 years, the "Out in Africa" film festival has been one of the biggest events on South Africa's gay cultural calendar.

Now, its organisers hope to take "queer cinema" to other African countries, where many gay people still live in fear of being persecuted for their sexuality - much less get a chance to see people like themselves in films.

The festival already distributes free DVDs in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe and its organisers plan to add six more African countries to that list by the end of the year.

The organisers get permission from the filmmakers to duplicate movies free of charge; they are then passed on to gay groups in each country for their own mini-festivals or any other use they see fit.

Festival director Nodi Murphy said the enthusiasm with which "Out in Africa" has been received in small-town South Africa, where the event is still in its infancy, showed there was definitely a hunger for gay films even in out of the way places.

"You go to small communities where people are just thirsting for knowledge, they're thirsting for images of themselves. They're so appreciative. They're ready to celebrate," Murphy told Reuters.

These "satellite festivals" in South Africa initially got off to a slow start when the films were screened in cinemas, where many gay people afraid of revealing their sexuality were too afraid to go, Murphy said.

They then decided to work with local gay groups to spread the word about the events and screen the films in places that were less in the public eye - in one case in a hotel owned by a gay-friendly straight man.

Black gays and lesbians

"Out In Africa" currently hosts its premier festivals in Johannesburg and Cape Town but in recent years it has taken its offerings to some of the remotest towns in the country.

South Africa's post-apartheid constitution is alone in Africa with its protection of gay rights. But Murphy said outside the main urban centres, where gay clubs and bars flourish, the closet door is still firmly shut for many gay men and lesbians.

She said one year organisers had planned to put up a festival in Soweto, South Africa's biggest black township, but some gay people were afraid of being "outed" to their community.

Showing just how real the threat of violence can be, a 19-year old lesbian was last month beaten, stoned and stabbed to death by a gang in the Khayelitsha township near Cape Town.

Murphy said poorer townships also did not have the facilities to screen films. This year they are hoping to change that by bringing township dwellers to the swish suburban malls where most festival-goers hail from.

Three thousand free tickets will be given away through gay groups in townships. The recipients will be shuttled to and from the main festivals in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

"I would never despise it but our greatest supporters are white men and then after that white women. We must be representative of South Africa and the gay and lesbian community that we serve and of course there are a great number of black gays and lesbians," Murphy said.

"The truth of the matter is with the economic circumstance that we still have in this country the majority of black people don't have the disposal income necessary to attend a film festival of this kind or of any kind.""
« Last Edit: Sun, Mar 12, 2006, 05:47 by Mogul »
"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right!" Salvor Hardin
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