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Photo courtesy of QTBIPOC Film Festival | A frame from Jaime Ruiz’s experimental short “Saying Something.”

QTBIPOC Film Coalition hosts first annual film fest


by Camille Delany

Originally printed April 26, 2023

The first annual QTBIPOC Film Festival on campus Saturday, April 15, centered the work of student filmmakers from communities rarely represented on the festival stage. The festival was hosted by the newly-formed QTBIPOC Film Coalition and the Cinema Club. Featuring work by QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and non-film students, it was a much-needed opportunity for artists from diverse majors to share their work in a festival setting.

The fest was programmed by Danny Garcia, a Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies (CRGS) senior, and Matthew Mason, a senior in the Film program. They had gained experience in festival programming from attending both the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) and SXSW in Austin.

“I rediscovered the joy of film through these festivals where I got to see representation that actually resonated with me, and I thought about how to bring this back to the people,” Garcia said. 

At SBIFF they were inspired by the representation of Trans and Indigenous communities they saw on the big screen.

“I saw films that I would never have expected to get the spotlight,” Garcia said. “That sparked my interest as a CRGS major in the potential of film as a liberatory medium.”

The QTBIPOC Film Festival showcased films ranging in length from less than two minutes to thirty minutes, and included experimental dual projections as well as longer films including documentaries and narratives.

Garcia collaborated with filmmaker and computer science major David Yaranon to write “What a Waste,” a thirty minute narrative critique of misogyny that follows a stalker. Production took place over the span of a week, and involved many of Yaranon and Garcia’s close friends both in front of and behind the camera.

“I would love to make more films with these guys,” Yaranon said. “This idea was kind of locked in, but it would be great to hear from other people, different ideas and talk about how we can make something meaningful and with a message behind it.”

Garcia screened their short “i am chicano,” which they produced for Professor M. Cartier’s Fall 2022 class Representation in Film Matters. Among other films that had been produced for the class and screened at the QTBIPOC Film Festival was Lake McLeod’s “I AM,” an experimental short in which the filmmaker reads an original poem.

Also in the experimental category, Mason showed his 2022 production “Woman in Gold,” starring McLeod and Raelynn Davis, in which a mysterious protagonist follows a woman through a dark forest, and is in turn pursued by a masked stranger.

Mason welcomes the opportunity to show his work outside of the class it was produced for, because he values the outside viewpoint that the audience brings.

“Everyone has a different reaction and takeaway from it,” Mason said. “People can see the same thing but take away infinitely different meanings.”

The QTBIPOC Film Festival encapsulated art created in a pivotal moment for rights and representation of QTBIPOC people.

“Right now we’re going through a cultural change. Things are shifting. Film still needs to catch up,” Garcia said. “At the forefront of the industry, representation is real and they’re putting money and resources towards it.”

Disclaimer: The author of this article showed a film at the festival

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