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Queer Film Festival premieres

Beth Erickson | Thursday, February 10, 2005

The second annual Notre Dame Queer Film Festival, which begins today and runs through Saturday, will screen several award-winning films by gay and lesbian artists and host two panels with acclaimed writers and directors. Unlike the inaugural festival held last spring, which raised eyebrows and sparked campus-wide debate, this year’s festival has faced little opposition. “We think that a film festival is a good medium to bring the entire community together. This type of festival – not just for gay and lesbian people to enjoy, but for students, alumni and members of the community – is a way to bring in award-winning filmmakers, directors, and writers,” said Notre Dame graduate Liam Dacey, director of operations and co-founder of the festival as a senior film major last year. “And it’s a good way to create tolerance and acceptance of all kinds of people at Notre Dame.”Last year’s festival spawned many angry letters, both to The Observer and to the festival committee itself. Thus far, this year’s festival has not been protested. Dacey said.”I think that because we’ve done everything in such a positive way, we haven’t had any protests,” Dacey said. “We don’t expect any this year either, I think it’s just credit to the way we’ve gone about it.”The festival has been well received by both students and faculty.”I’ve only heard positive things, and some of my professors have encouraged us to go, to experience diverse things,” said senior Erin Phillips.”I don’t really understand the point of the festival other than that it is a themed series that explores a poorly-understood and highly-discriminated portion of our population,” said senior Joanna Cornwell. “I don’t understand why such a series would be so controversial. It appears they are just showing films.”While homosexuality remains a touchy subject on campus, Dacey feels Notre Dame has become more accommodating for alternative lifestyles in recent years.”It’s just little things on campus that make you think we still have a long way to go,” Dacey said. “But I think a lot of positive things have been done to make campus more accepting.”The organizers also have high hopes for future festivals.”I think it will get better and better every year. This year, we have a better line-up in terms of films and speakers – we have a Tony-award winner, which isn’t something you see every day at Notre Dame,” Dacey said. “My hope is to keep [the festival] going, to lay a foundation for an annual event, and it’s a good way to bring in big names from the film world. They’re coming basically for free because they believe in what we’re doing, so if we do it the right way, it’ll just get better and better.”