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EROS Film Fest sends a message: It Gets Better

12th Annual EROS Film Festival Sends a Message: It Gets Better

As our nation cries out in grief and disbelief at the recent tragedies surrounding gay youth in America, the question that begs an urgent answer is: how do we prevent this from happening again and again? The answer is simple: support, support, support. Support takes many forms – from reaching out on a personal level to gay and lesbian youth in our lives to mentoring an at risk youth we’ve never met to linking ourselves and others up with organizations like GLAAD, GLSEN, PFLAG, or True Colors. One great opportunity Connecticut residents have to become acquainted with and support gay youth locally this November is the 12th annual EROS Film Festival.
How will attending a film festival show support for the gay community? EROS, or Encouraging Respect Of all Sexualities, is Trinity College’s Gay-Straight Alliance student organization. Most colleges, universities, and many high schools have Gay-Straight alliances which serve to create safe environments in schools, educate the school community about homophobia, gender identity, and sexual orientation issues, and fight discrimination, harassment, and violence. In fact, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network states on their website ( that, “strong, well-supported GSAs can have a major impact on the education environment and possess the power to transform individuals, school cultures, and educational institutions.”
EROS aims to achieve the same goals outlined above through activities all year round, but the film festival is a unique unification of gay and straight culture through America’s favorite pastime: the movies! This fall marks the 12th year for the EROS Film Festival; an event that brings queer films to Hartford with an emphasis on youth, history and classic films. Catching a film at Trinity’s Cinestudio Theater is a highly accessible and fun avenue for the larger community to join with university students and staff in this celebration of queer arts and entertainment. The EROS Film Festival presents an opportunity for larger thoughts and dialogues about acceptance, understanding, and exploration of queer culture through its international cinematic expression.
In addition to an array of fine films from around the world that will be shown this year, the festival will screen a video from the “It Gets Better Project” at the start of each feature as a tribute to the lives of Tyler Clementi, Billy Lucas, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Asher Brown, Raymond Chase, and all those who have died needlessly due to intolerance, hatred, and isolation. Out Film CT Director Shane Engstrom stated, “Because the EROS Film Festival is sponsored by and focused on LGBT youth, we felt that it was important to share the powerful message of the ‘It Gets Better Project.’ It is our belief that the arts help people to transcend differences and encourage dialogue about vital topics such as bullying and the well-being of the LGBT youth community.”

This year’s film selections include the following:

A Marine Story (Wednesday, 11/10 @ 7:30 p.m.) From the filmmakers of SHELTER and THE GYMNAST, comes a story set against the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ Policy of the US Military. A decorated Marine officer unexpectedly returns home from the war and is quickly recruited to help a troubled teen prepare for boot camp, but when the true reasons for her return become known it threatens the future for both of them.

Sasha [Sasa] (Thursday, 11/11 @ 7:30 p.m.) A fresh take on the coming-out film, Sasha tells the story of a Montenegrin boy growing up in Cologne, who is nurturing a powerful crush on his piano teacher while attempting to negotiate the pressures of his family and community. In German with English subtitles.

The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (Friday, 11/12 @ 7:00 p.m.) What might have happened if Elizabeth Bennet had ignored Mr. Darcy and pursued the local ladies? This incredible, based-in-fact tale follows an early 19th century English gentlewoman as she seduces the local ladies and records her dalliances in a shockingly explicit diary. For anyone who ever wanted to be seduced with the line “Are you fond of Byron?”

Children of God (Friday, 11/12 @ 9:00 p.m.) This sumptuous and daring tale of young interracial love is set against the backdrop of the breathtaking islands - and violent homophobia - of the Bahamas. Johnny, an introverted white artist, is bullied on the streets of Nassau - even by the man he slept with the night before. His budding relationship with Romeo, a sexy young black man, sours when Romeo’s fiancée and overbearing mother arrive unannounced. Meanwhile, a preacher’s wife joins her husband’s anti-gay crusade perhaps as a distraction from her own troubled marriage. An intensely personal portrait of relationships, tolerance, and self-acceptance, at its core CHILDREN OF GOD is a gorgeously shot, poignant and captivating love story.

The Real Anne Lister (Saturday, 11/13 @ 2:30 p.m.) Loved THE SECRET DIARIES OF MISS ANNE LISTER, but found it left you wanting to know more about her real life? In this dry-witted documentary, comedy writer Sue Perkins digs up the real dirt on this Regency-era British lesbian who was well ahead of her time. Born to a landowning family in Halifax in 1791, Lister lived in the same era as the Bronte sisters, but her writings - and, boy, did she write - were a far cry from Wuthering Heights. In a series of elaborate and often encrypted diaries (“The Rosetta Stone of lesbian history,” says her biographer), Lister detailed every one of her sexual relationships.
- Followed by -
Holding Hands (Saturday, 11/13 @ 2:30 p.m.) This moving Australian documentary tracks the aftermath of a gay-bashing in a gay-friendly neighborhood of Sydney, proving how a loving couple can break down and how a community can come together under the strain of homophobic violence.

Is It Just Me? (Saturday, 11/13 @ 7:00 p.m.) Frustrated by his ongoing failure to meet Mr. Right, Blaine stumbles upon what might be his perfect match in an online chat room-Xander, a sweet, hunky guy who's recently moved to LA. Smitten, Blaine then finds that he's been chatting to Xander under his go-go dancer roommate's profile, setting in motion a convoluted comedy of errors with romance as the ultimate objective.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Saturday, 11/13 @ 9:00 p.m.) . It's the Australian film that blitzed overseas box offices. It caused a near riot at the Cannes Film Festival and won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design. Two drag-queens, Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) and Felicia (Guy Pearce), and a transexual, Bernadette (Terrence Stamp) contract to perform a drag show at a resort in Alice Springs, a resort town in the remote Australian desert. They head west from Sydney aboard their lavender bus, Priscilla. When they arrive they discover that it is more than just a cabaret job waiting for them. This fun, daring, over-the-top and unforgettable work is a road movie with attitude and the occasional frock.

The Laramie Project (Sunday, 11/14 @ 2:30 p.m.) The Laramie Project recreates the efforts of a New York theatre troupe to shed light on a western town’s loss of innocence following a hate crime perpetrated on University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard. Moises Kaufman constructed the script of The Laramie Project using hundreds of hours of actual testimonies from people involved in the story of that murder – from Matthew’s family and friends, to the policewoman who found the 21-year-old’s battered body, and the two young men found guilty of beating him to death. With a stellar and first-rate cast that includes Christina Ricci, Steve Buscemi, Janeane Garofalo, Laura Linney and Peter Fonda, The Laramie Project is a harrowing, moving and hugely important monument to a dark day in recent history that we should never forget.

Free reception on Sunday, 11/14 at 6:30 p.m.

Howl (Sunday, 11/14 @ 7:30 p.m.) James Franco stars as the young Allen Ginsberg - poet, counter-culture adventurer, and chronicler of the Beat Generation. In his famously confessional, leave-nothing-out style, Ginsberg recounts the road trips, love affairs, and search for personal liberation that led to the most timeless and electrifying work of his career: the poem HOWL. Meanwhile, in a San Francisco courtroom, HOWL is on trial. Prosecutor Ralph McIntosh sets out to prove that the book should be banned, while suave defense attorney Jake Ehrlich argues fervently for freedom of speech and creative expression. The proceedings veer from the comically absurd to the passionate as a host of unusual witnesses pit generation against generation and art against fear in front of conservative Judge Clayton Horn.

Out Film CT is a nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to presenting outstanding LGBT cinema and other theatrical events throughout the year, culminating in the 10-day Connecticut Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. As Connecticut's longest-running film festival, it has become a distinctive fixture in our state’s cultural landscape, bringing the community together to introduce, celebrate and rediscover the ideas and values that make the LGBT community unique.

Hi-res photos available upon request.

Out Film CT
Presenting Outstanding Queer Cinema since 1988
PO Box 231191, Hartford, CT 06123-1191 (860) 586-1136


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