Saturday, June 16, 2007

Painting the Spectrum 3 - SASOD's Lesbian and Gay Film Festival- June 2007

SASOD held Painting the Spectrum 3 - Celebrating Love in all of its Diversity
June 2007, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Sidewalk Cafe, Georgetown Guyana

The report of the festival can be downloaded here

The Celebration on Wednesday 27th featured Andrew "Kei' Miller, who was in Guyana compliments of Earl Fowlkes, President/CEO of the International Federation of Black Prides, Inc.
Kei Miller was born in Jamaica in 1978. He studied at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK . His first collection of short fiction, The Fear of Stones, was short-listed in 2007 for a Commonwealth Writers First Book Prize. He is also the author of a poetry collection, Kingdom of Empty Bellies , and editor of the anthology New Caribbean Poetry (Carcanet, 2007). The Journal of Commonwealth Literature has hailed him as "one of the finest poetic talents to have emerged from the Caribbean in recent decades." As of September Kei will join the faculty of University of Glasgow as an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing. He has also recently been selected as an International Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa. His forthcoming publications include a new collection of poetry 'There is An Anger That Moves' coming out this October, and a novel, 'The Same Earth' to be published in 2008.

Friday June 1

Fresa y Chocolate (Cuba/Spain/Mexico) Comedy/Drama
Diego, a cultivated, homosexual and skeptical young man, falls in love with a young heterosexual communist full of prejudices and doctrinary ideas. First come rejection and suspicion, but also fascination. Fresa y chocolate is the story of a great friendship, that is, a great love between two men, which overcomes incomprehension and intolerance. This film was produced in Cuba and is recognised as one which had criticisms of the Government. Winner of an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, and other awards(104 minutes) Ratings : 16+

Monday June 4
Hsi Yen - Wedding Banquet (Taiwan/USA) Comedy/Drama
Ang Lee's funny film is about Simon and Wei-Tung who are a gay couple living together in Manhattan. To defer the suspicions of Wei-Tung's parents, Simon suggests a marriage of convenience between Wei-Tung and Wei-Wei, an immigrant in need of a green card. When Wei-Tung's parents come to America for the wedding, they insist upon an elaborate banquet, resulting in several complications (106 minutes) Ratings 16+

Wednesday June 6 Fingersmith (UK) Drama

Susan Trinder (Sally Hawkins) has been brought up in a house of thieves in London. She gets sucked into a plot by a family friend. She becomes Maud Lilly's (Elain Cassidy) maid so as to get her to marry Mr Richard Rivers. They plan to put Maud in a mental asylum once she marries so they can claim access to her $40,000. The plan becomes a nuisance when Susan mistakenly falls in love with Maud. (181 minutes)

Friday June 8
Sea in The Blood (Canada) DocumentarySea In The Blood is a personal documentary from Trinidad born, Richard Fung, about living with illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in 1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. The narrative of love and loss is set against a background of colonialism in the Caribbean and the reverberations of migration and political change. (30 mins)

We are Dad (US) – donated by Director Michel Horvat
Heartfelt documentary about two gay men in Florida who are foster parents to children with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses (68 mins)

Monday June 11
Gulabi Aina - The Pink Mirror (India)

Screening rights donated by Director Sridhar RangayanA unique film coming from India where homosexuality is still taboo, The Pink Mirror (Gulabi Aaina), is a colorful funny look into the Indian homosexual closet.
It pits two Indian drag queens against a westernized gay teenager in a battle to woo a handsome hunk. It's a clash of the east and west. Who will win? The drag queens who are expert in the art of seduction with their wit, innuendo and cunning or the young teenager who is saucy, slutty and sly? (40 minutes)

Wednesday June 13
Boys Dont Cry (USA) Drama/True StoryThe story of the life of Brandon Teena, a transgendered teen who preferred life in a male identity until it was discovered he was born biologically female.
Hilary Swank Oscar's winning performance of a girl who wanted to be a boy is a moving tribute to the people who feel trapped in bodies different from their minds (118 minutes)

Friday June 15

Some prefer cake (USA) Drama/ComedyFilmmakers Jeannie Kahaney and Heidi Arnesen created this comedy-drama starring Tara Howley and Kathleen Fontaine as a pair of San Francisco friends struggling with relationships and professional challenges. Kira is a would-be stand-up comedienne embittered over the fact that her sister, also a comic, has a flourishing career in comedy, while she is reduced to writing jokes for her sibling -- her own unfunny act failing to generate much success. A lesbian, Kira grapples with her frustrations by engaging in a series of one-night stands with other women, but her combative, acerbic nature keeps any long-term affairs at bay. Her best friend is Sydney, who's dealing with her own stunted aspirations to be a food and restaurant critic, and who deals with her lack of any heterosexual romance by choosing to eat rather than date, asserting that in any choice between chocolate cake and sex, a woman will always choose cake. (118 minutes)

Monday June 18
Mambo Italiano (Canada) Comedy
Angelo Barberini is the oddball son of Italian immigrants Gino and Maria, who inadvertently ended up in Canada rather than the States. Angelo shocks his parents by moving out on his own without getting married, and shocks them further still when he reveals that he's gay. But his boyfriend, policeman Nino Paventi isn't as ready to come out of the closet -- especially not to his busybody mother, Lina. (88 Minutes)

Wednesday June 20
Juste une question d'amour (France) Romance
Just a Question of Love follows the whirlwind romance of two young men in different stages of coming out. The film paints a heartbreaking portrait of the difficulties that befall a relationship when one man lives proudly out of the closet, while the other has created a double life to please his parents (88 minutes)

Friday June 22
Heavenly Creatures (UK/ New Zealand) Romance
Based on the true story of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker, two close friends who share a love of fantasy and literature, who conspire to kill Pauline's mother when she tries to end the girls' intense and obsessive relationship. (99 mins)

Monday June 25
Better than Chocolate (Canada)
Two attractive young lesbians, Maggie and Kim, meet in Vancouver, develop a passionate romance, and move in together. Maggie's well-meaning but naive mother Lila gets divorced and decides to move to Vancouver and join the household. Complications ensue as the conservative Lila learns the truth about Maggie, Judy, and their diverse group of friends.(101 minutes)

Wednesday June 27 "Celebration"
A special evening of film, music, dance, poetry and reading.. we celebrate acceptance of diversity.
An Intimate Evening with Nhojj (USA)
Donated by Nhojj

Nhojj started singing as a child in Guyana - the home of his parents, he sang in churches, on radio programs and eventually performed for the President. His father, a minister moved his family to Trinidad where Nhojj joined a quartet, eventually touring the country and again performing before the President. At the age of 18, he moved to New York City and would eventually graduate with honors from NYU with a BA in Economics. With education out of the way Nhojj could settle down to what he really wanted to do - music. This DVD features a musical performance by Nhojj. His second CD -someday peace love & freedom will be available for sale.. donated to SASOD.

Donated by Director Sean DrakesThe Devil's Day (Trinidad)

The dancefloor is a sacred sanctuary where we release, reaffirm and renew with dance-- and a little hot paint. Shot at J'ouvert in Trinidad (8 minutes)

Vale of Cashmere (USA)
Public space.. increasingly an oxymoron, public parks taken for granted by straight folks are secret outlets for black same-gender-loving men, where , sometimes, life is the price of the ticket (12 minutes)

From a Guyanese visitor to Prospect Park "With Prospect Park..people go because it's different, not because there's a lack of gay spaces...but I know the park, nature can have a telling effect when mixed with the possibility of adventure and sex...the only thing is that it's usually cheap and empty, but I like to observe all the same."

Friday June 29

Kinky Boots (USA/UK) Comedy
Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots is a comedy which challenges prejudice and intolerance. After the death of his father, Charlie Price must find a way to save his family's failing shoe factory , or his entire town would be left out in the cold. Charlie finds help in an unlikely ally - female impersonator "Lola", and together they would hatch a plot to save the factory. (107 minutes)

Admission is FREE.

Check the reports for the 2005 and 2006 film festival.

email sasod_guyana (at) for any other details

Other films for Spectrum 31/2 - dates to be announced

Donated by Director Aykut Atasay
Travesti Teror - The Transvestite Terror (Turkey)
The documentary discusses the way transvestites and transsexuals are presented in the Turkish media. (19 minutes)

YÜRÜYORUZ (YÖNETMEN KURGUSU) (Turkey) - We are Marching

Gay and lesbian activists who want to make a demonstration against governorship’s will to close down their foundation were going to march and then release a press statement in Bursa; but..(50 minutes)

Rag Tag (Nigeria/UK )

Donated by Director Adaora Nwandu

Raymond (aka Ray) and Tagbo (aka Tag) have a friendship forged in childhood. Ray is from a single-parent West Indian home and Tag is the pride of middle-class Nigerian parents. The two are inseparable until Social Services discovers Rag's mother isn't around and he's taken far from his London home to Birmingham. A decade passes. Tag is finishing law school and, despite incredible grades, can't find a firm willing to hire him. Meanwhile, Rag returns to London and finds his old friend. Their lives and circumstances have changed, but their rekindled friendship is more intense than ever. Once based on bonds of an innocent camaraderie, now their feelings have grown into something far more complex and confusing. As tensions build, the two realize they both must decide how far they're willing to go to satisfy the newfound urges they can't explain. (1 hour, 50 minutes)

We welcome some dancehall singers renouncing homophobia

We welcome some dancehall singers renouncing homophobia

Dear Editor,
SASOD welcomes the move by three Jamaican dancehall singers to sign the Reggae Compassionate Act renouncing homophobia and condemning violence against lesbians and gay men. Beenie Man, Sizzla and Capleton had previously released anti-gay hate songs, including incitements to murder lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. They have now signed up to the Reggae Compassionate Act, in a deal brokered with top reggae promoters and Stop Murder Music activists. The agreement follows the three-year-long Stop Murder Music campaign, which resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of the singers' concerts and sponsorship deals, causing them income losses estimated in excess of five million US dollars.
In a letter dated December 2, 2005, SASOD has requested that the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) intervene as part of its mandate to "encourage and create respect for religious, cultural and other forms of diversity in a plural society" under Article 212D paragraph (f) of the Constitution of Guyana after Beenie Man's July 29, 2005 concert at the National Park, a state-owned premises, where he urged his audience to kill and maim all gay and lesbian people.
SASOD has received one inadequate response with no hearing or any form of redress.
"The singers' rejection of homophobia and sexism is an important milestone. We rejoice at their new commitment to music without prejudice," said Peter Tatchell of UK-based queer human rights group, OutRage! This view is mirrored by fellow Stop Murder Music campaigner, Dennis L Carney, Vice-Chair of the Black Gay Men's Advisory Group (BGMAG) in London. Mr Carney is of Jamaican descent, and played a leading role in negotiating the Reggae Compassionate Act.
In the Reggae Compas-sionate Act the three singers pledge to:
"respect and uphold the rights of all individuals to live without fear of hatred and violence due to their religion, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or gender."
"there's no space in the music community for hatred and prejudice, including no place for racism, violence, sexism or homophobia."
"we agree to not make statements or perform songs that incite hatred or violence against anyone from any community"
In this declaration the artists promise to not sing lyrics or make public statements, in Jamaica or anywhere else in the world, that incite prejudice, hatred or violence against lesbian and gay people.
The Reggae Compassion-ate Act applies worldwide. If any of the three singers break this agreement anywhere in the world, the Stop Murder Music campaign will resume against them.
At least five of the murder music artists - Elephant Man, TOK, Bounty Killa, Vybz Kartel and Buju Banton - have not signed the Reggae Compassionate Act. The campaign against them continues. These singers have incited the murder of lesbians and gays. They should not be rewarded with concerts or sponsorship deals.
SASOD has also condemned the violent, homophobic and sexist lyrics of TOK at the February 14, 2007, Valentine's Day launch event for Digicel in Guyana, also held at the National Park.
"These unrepentant homophobic performers are the moral equivalent of neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan," said Tatchell. His views are echoed by Gareth Williams, Co-Chair of the Jamaican gay human rights group, J-Flag. "This statement against homophobia and violence is a move in the right direction," he said.
The Stop Murder Music campaign consists of more than 60 organisations in over a dozen countries in Europe, North America and the Caribbean. It is led by a triumvirate consisting of the Jamaican gay human rights group, J-Flag and, in the UK, the Black Gay Mens Advisory Group and queer human rights group, OutRage! The Stop Murder Music campaign won the Best Advocacy Award at the recent Black Lesbian and Gay Community Awards 2007 ceremony in London.
Yours faithfully,
Members of SASOD.