Appalachian Queer Film Festival to be hosted on Saturday

Published by the Daily Athenaeum, April 26, 2017.

WVU students are encouraged to open their minds as the Appalachian Queer Film Festival makes its way to Morgantown.

The AQFF will visit WVU on Saturday in partnership with the WVU Film Society.

Having started four years ago, the festival has kept its mission to bring queer films and filmmakers to West Virginia in an attempt to break down stereotypes and broaden the minds of the Appalachian region.

“This event is one of the AQFF’s first opportunities to spread our mission to an even larger audience in West Virginia,” said Katelyn Campbell, the interim director of the film festival. “Bringing AQFF to Morgantown means making queer films accessible to an audience of young people who might never have been to a film festival, while also furthering our mission of facilitating queer folks in Appalachia seeing stories like theirs on screen.

In addition to the regular film festival set in October, the festival will host their first traveling film screening in Morgantown with the films “Bayard & Me” by Matt Wolf and “Discreet” by Travis Mathews.

“Bayard & Me” was featured at the Sundance Film Festival and documents the long-term interracial, same sex relationship between Bayard Rustin, an organizer of the Civil Rights March on Washington, and his partner. It tells the story of Rustin’s method to allow his young partner to receive full benefits following his death.

Premiered at Berlin, “Discreet” takes a political route and focuses on outsider culture and the alt right in rural queer communities. The film was also described by Variety as “perhaps the first queer film to directly address the subject of alt-right influence on outside identity in Middle America.”

Following the film, director Travis Matthews will host a panel talkback. The event will also have an after party at the nightclub Vice Versa located downtown.

“We relish the opportunity for students to examine and discuss challenges within the LGBTQ community through two very different stories: a story of love despite all odds paired with a story of the pain caused by isolation and discretion,” Campbell said.

The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. in the Gluck Theater of the Mountainlair on Saturday, April 29. Admission is $10 or free for students who present their valid WVU ID at the door.