The race will soon be on to make a documentary...in five days...before the clock runs out.
Here in St. Louis, the Queer Doc Challenge will be kicking off next month, giving LGBT groups the chance to tell their community stories in documentary form. Proudly presented by KDHX and the International Documentary Challenge, the Queer Doc Challenge is the world's only timed documentary filmmaking competition where filmmakers have five days to develop, shoot, and produce a short documentary film about lives and issues of LGBTQ and related identities. Anyone, and everyone, can participate.
“Frankly, we're surprised someone else didn't do it first. But global perceptions are shifting now, and we think it's absolutely critical that the public opinion includes diverse voices and stories from youth filmmakers, media students, and queer documentarians,” says executive producer Steven Ley of KDHX. “We've seen our Doc Challenge participants address some complex social issues, and we expect to see a full range of heartwarming and eyeopening stories reaching international award quality from this competition.
Each documentary must have a randomly assigned element that will be announced at the Creating Change conference later this month in Atlanta.
“All of the pieces that connect LGBT folks to the the rest of the world are built through relationships and some shared experience or understanding,” Ley said. “So, if global perceptions are changing, simply because more LGBT people are visibly connected into society through work, family, friends, or neighbors, we think even more people can feel like that through media and storytelling. And, also we want to preserve this moment, because it's happening. We want to showcase the most relevant stories of our time, right now, 2013.”
And the competition is already heating up. Multiple groups are already on board, offering scholarships for Queer Women of Color (QWOC), planning screenings, conducting outreach to GayStraight Alliances (GSAs) and Queer Youth Groups, and organizing teams to compete. Winning films will be screened at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto, the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon, the Seattle International Film Festival, and QFest in St. Louis, Missouri, with more screenings to be announced.
“We know we can find these stories from around the world through the excitement of a short and fun film competition,” Ley said. “Take the most incredible stories--told by the people who care the most about them, give those folks tools and resources to make a great piece of documentary film, then through global partnerships like POV and Hot Docs, get them in front of as many eyes as possible? That's bringing the world a little closer, and that gives us media to build conversations around. And hopefully, that gives us new fuel for social change. That's exactly why we're pushing so hard to build this the Queer Doc Challenge right now.”
Registration opens January 2013 and the competition will begin at 8 a.m. for each teams’ local time on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013. The competition ends sharply on February 18 at 11:59 p.m., finished or not. Registration fees are TBA and more information can be found at www.queerdocchallenge.org.
By MATT JAMIESON – STAFF WRITER
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