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Queer As Film

Love is the Highest Law screens Feb. 7 at Bijou Metro
Love is the Highest Law screens Feb. 7 at Bijou Metro

The enormous diversity gap the Oscars tends to leave in its wake can make you want to give up on film altogether. Luckily, here in Eugene, there’s a place less mainstream films can thrive. 

Currently in its 23rd year, the Queer Film Festival, presented by the UO’s Cultural Forum, will screen 21 LGBTQ-focused films at the Bijou Metro Feb. 6-8. This year, filmmakers Christina Hurtado-Pierson (Transmilitary) and Liliya Anisimova (Love Is The Highest Law) will travel from New York to host discussions and Q&A sessions 7 pm Feb. 6 and 7.

“In every film there is a very unique story,” says QFF Coordinator Audre Pile, who curated the collection from more than 40 entries. “It’s a really cool chance for you to have kind of a universal conversation.” 

Here are three films not to miss:

 

Transformation

The 8-minute film DYLAN is almost a decade in the making. Filmmaker Elizabeth Rohrbaugh wrote the script several years ago as part of a writing class where she interviewed her friend Dylan, who had recently transitioned from female to male.

Rohrbaugh tells Dylan’s story with his monologue playing, accompanied by shots of actor Becca Blackwell at a deserted Coney Island. Rohrbaugh chose this mise-en-scène to give the film a more dramatic narrative feel in light of the simple conceit. 

She says Dylan and his wife, who saw the film at the St. Louis Film Festival, were happy to see a movie about transgender people that wasn’t sad. 

“This is one person’s evolution of discovering who he is and that’s a great thing,” Rohrbaugh says. 

DYLAN screens 6 pm, Friday, Feb. 6. 

 

Soldier Story

The 28-minute documentary Transmilitary explores the lives of the 15,000 transgender soldiers currently illegally serving in the U.S. military. The film also discusses the British army, where transgender soldiers are supported. 

New York director Christina Hurtado-Pierson, who grew up in a military family, says it was difficult to see that something she was taught was honorable had “glaring discriminatory practices.” 

“I think people should come see this film because it’s something that a lot of people don’t challenge themselves on,” she says. “It comes back to the idea of complacency, of thinking, ‘Well, I kind of know what’s going on, so I don’t really need to be that informed about the subject because it doesn’t affect me.’ And that’s a problem.”

Transmilitary premieres 7 pm Friday, Feb. 6. Discussion prior to film, Q&A following. 

 

Love Laws

Love Is The Highest Law is a feature-length documentary from Russian filmmaker Liliya Anisimova about same-sex marriage and immigration rights. The film follows Jonathan and Vadim, a gay couple in L.A. trying to become actors, who are faced with Vadim’s impending visa expiration. On the other side of the country lives Sandro, a Russian fashion designer (who was also on season 12 of Project Runway) seeking political asylum in New York for his homosexuality. 

“No law, whether it is in Russia or in the U.S., can separate us from who or what we love, or dictate who to love due to its marriage acts, immigration benefits laws or propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships laws,” Anisimova says. 

Love Is The Highest Law premieres 7 pm Saturday, Feb. 7. Discussion prior to film, Q&A following.

The Queer Film Festival is 6-9 pm Friday-Sunday, Feb. 6-8, at Bijou Metro; free admission. For a complete list of films, visit qff.uoregon.edu.