Unique narratives about the impact of LGBT identities in characters’ lives will come to Athens with the five-part “Out At The Movies” series.

Starting Jan. 25, The Athena Cinema will show five LGBT-themed films with diverse casts. Each month, the theater will have free screenings followed by a discussion. The lineup includes Bayard & Me, Reluctantly Queer, Kiki, Princess Cyd, BPM (Beats Per Minute) and Saturday Church.

The series follows the free screening of Call Me By Your Name that had a full house, delfin bautista, director of the LGBT Center, said.

If You Go

What: Bayard & Me and Reluctantly Queer
When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
Where: Athena Cinema
Admission: Free

What: Kiki
When: Feb. 22, 7 p.m.
Where: Athena Cinema
Admission: Free

What: Princess Cyd
When: March 1, 7 p.m.
Where: Athena Cinema
Admission: Free

What: BPM (Beats Per Minute)
When: March 22, 7 p.m.
Where: Athena Cinema
Admission: Free

What: Saturday Church
When: April 19, 7 p.m.
Where: Athena Cinema
Admission: Free

“Even though that wasn’t part of the series, we hope (the free screening for Call My By Your Name) has set a tone for the series that there is an interest in these types of films and discussion,” bautista, who uses they/them pronouns and the lowercase spelling of their name, said.

Alex Kamody, director of the Athena, said she enjoys telling unfamiliar stories and creating a LGBT-themed film series is the perfect way to explore those identities.

The Athena worked with Alden Library, Athens Center for Film and Video, the LGBT Center and the women’s, gender and sexuality studies program to make “Out At The Movies” a reality.

Organizers felt intersectionality of identities and diversity in casts were important elements in depicting the true experiences of LGBT-identifying people, bautista said. In mainstream LGBT-themed movies, main characters are often gay, white males and supporting characters are reduced down to represent only the LGBT aspect of their identity. Most films don’t show the varying backgrounds LGBT-identifying people can come from, bautista said.

“We wanted to make sure we selected films that highlighted sexuality and gender, but didn’t limit people to just those aspects of who they are,” they said.

Douglas Robinson, the communication director for the Southeastern Ohio LGBT Coalition, said he thinks the film series will have a “positive impact” on Athens and the local LGBT population.

“In the LGBT community, the more representations (means) the larger impact it’ll have socially,” he said. “We have to not only come to terms with accepting ourselves through internalized homophobia, internalized transphobia (and) internalized biphobia, but then we have to be able to know who we are as people and sometimes represent that to others.”

Robinson said he’s most excited for Kiki. The film takes moviegoers into the lives of LGBT-identifying performers in modern New York City. They participate in a performanced-based art form called Ballroom, which was popularized by the documentary Paris is Burning and a Madonna music video in the early 1990s. Fast forward two decades later and LGBT-identifying individuals, especially people who identify as transgender, still face many problems.

“Trans people are 10 to 15 years behind LGB people on social progress,” he said.

Kamody wanted the series to focus on coming-of-age narratives, mostly seen in Princess Cyd and Saturday Church, because the series will be shown in Athens, which has a large student population. Many LGBT-themed films might be set in adolescent years because people who identify as LGBT could just start discovering that aspect of their identities at that time, she said. 

“It doesn’t really become an issue in their life until they’re at that point,” she said.

Coming-of-age storylines in LGBT-themed films speak more about when a character comes out rather than specific years in their life, bautista said. People come out at all ages.

Robinson said coming out is an “ever-evolving process” because someone could think they identify with one sexuality and then realize that’s not true years down the line.

Some of the selections, like Bayard & Me and BPM (Beats Per Minute), give moviegoers a glimpse into parts of history they may not have known. Showing films that dig deeper into LGBT aspects of history was a conscious decision, bautista said.

“In five films, in 100 films, can we cover everything that needs to be covered? No,” they said. “But there’s an intentionality of trying to broaden the narrative that is presented around LGBT folk.”



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