Still from the film Black and Queer in America courtesy of SQFF.

Seattle Queer Film Festival Bounces Back from Pandemic for 26th Edition

by Lovely

Movie production, events, and festivals were hit hard by COVID-19 this past year, but now that the smoke is beginning to clear, Seattle Queer Film Festival (SQFF) is making a comeback with their 26th Edition, produced by Three Dollar Bill Cinema. They’ve announced their full line-up of features, shorts, and workshops running Oct. 14–24. 

SQFF is the largest LGBTQ+ film festival in the Pacific Northwest, known for showcasing award-winning films that represent multiple cultures and viewpoints from all around the world.

“We always get over 500 submissions from filmmakers so there is a need and desire from queer filmmakers to have a platform to showcase their work,” festival director Katherine Mullen told the Emerald. “What we really strive for is that our community in Seattle recognizes that and works with us to make Three Dollar Bill Cinema and our festivals the best they can be and supports the work we strive to do.”

Still from the film “Adam” (courtesy of SQFF)

Many of this year’s ambitious filmmakers have been overcoming challenges that the LGBTQ+ community has endured throughout the history of filmmaking. 

“We are committed to putting these amazing films on screens in Seattle,” said Managing Director Billy Ray Brewton in the festival’s press release. “Folks in the city have an eagerness to experience film in a communal environment, and we truly feel we can give them that safely and strategically in a way that doesn’t jeopardize them. But for those still reluctant to enter the public arena, we have plenty of exciting virtual opportunities, including exclusive parties and Q&As.” 

SQFF is an opportunity to turn off Netflix and other streaming services and be a part of an exclusive film experience. There will be movies, documentaries, and short films by LGBTQ+ creatives from all around the world including Russia, Taiwan, Peru, Switzerland, Germany, Columbia, United Kingdom, and more. Highlights include Potato Dreams of America, Being BeBe: The BeBe Zahara Benet Documentary, Socks on Fire, and more. Screenings will take place online and at various venues throughout Seattle including The SIFF Egyptian, Northwest Film Forum, Museum of Pop Culture, Erickson Theatre, Broadway Performance Hall, and Ark Lodge Cinemas.

Still from the film “As We Like It” (courtesy of SQFF)

“Last year we ran two festivals, Translations and Seattle Queer Film Festival online,” Festival director Katherine Mullen wrote to the Emerald in an email. “[This year] we want to still support people who want to watch films from the comfort of their own homes but we also wanted to try and open things up and have in-person screenings.”

With COVID-19 still a threat to our well being, SQFF has taken precautions to help ensure everyone who attends does so safely. In-person attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination and mask up when not eating or drinking. There will also be limited seating at the various venues and increased sanitization to support social distancing and best hygiene practices. 

“I’m so excited to continue to expand our offerings of genre filmmaking,” said Programming and Operations Manager Maddy Szmidt in the festival’s press release. “This is where queer filmmakers are able to push the boundaries and experiment in ways that we’ve never seen before. Plus they’re so much fun to watch!”

Still from “Being BeBe: The BeBe Zahara Benet Documentary” (courtesy of SQFF)

“In the words of our new vision statement,” said Mullen, “we are elevating the spectrum of queer stories to help create a just and equitable world. We want people to come and enjoy the films, talk to us, discuss filmmakers’ work, and have a lot of fun.” 

The Seattle Queer Film Festival runs Oct. 14–24 online in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska and in person at theatres in Seattle. For more information on the films, ticket sales, screening times, days, and locations, please visit the SQFF web page.

Lovely is a writer, musician, actor, event coordinator and entrepreneur. She is the founder of The HYv Network whose mission is to organize events and produce projects to strengthen the creative community and amply voices unheard.

📸 Featured Image: Still from the film “Black and Queer in America” (courtesy of SQFF)

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