Wednesday, May 31, 2006

2006 FRAMELINE XXX—Persistent Vision Conference

The Persistent Vision film conference, presented by Frameline.

Every five years on the anniversary of their film festival Frameline presents Persistent Vision, an international conference that brings together leaders in the field of queer cinema to look at the past, present and future of LGBT media. Michael Lumpkin introduced the "two outstanding talents"—Meg Daly and Matt Florence—who have led and organized the 2006 Persistent Vision Conference.

Matt Florence began the commentary by stating that Frameline is very pleased to present Persistent Vision: Envisioning the future of queer media arts. "The first Persistent Vision was presented back in 2001 at the 25th anniversary of Frameline," he recalled. At that conference the organizers promised to return in five years to let the LGBT community know "where we are" and to chart queer cinema's future. "This year we are celebrating so much that has happened over the last five years including of course—as Michael talked about—Transamerica and Brokeback Mountain. We'll be highlighting three different questions: where are we in terms of queer media arts? Whose images and voices are missing from our representations? And where are we going?"

Addressing these questions will be three wonderful speakers: B. Ruby Rich, the cultural and film critic who addressed Frameline's last conference and who coined the term "new queer cinema"; Keith Boykin, the cultural critic, author, former Clinton official, and now currently BET host; and John Cameron Mitchell, the filmmaker who did Hedvig and the Angry Inch as well as the current controversial, Cannes-premiered Shortbus.

The conference will have 18 panels and workshops spread out over three days, spanning topics of distribution, exhibition, and filmmaker support, in line with Frameline's mission. A few examples of those panels include "Queer Channel Explosion", a panel that will look at the cultural impact of LGBT media arts specific channels. Do these channels help connect people to a larger queer community? Did they help create that community or simply reflect what's already there? And how are consumers engaging with these channels?

There will also be a panel—"Rebels With A Cause"—focusing on niche festivals. Niche festivals representing specific parts of the queer community are popping up all over. Directors from several alternative or niche LGBT film festivals will discuss why they do what they do and why a diversity of festivals is good for queer cinema.

Yet one more panel will be called "We Want Our Dykeback Mountain." Addressing the fact that not many dyke features are being made but that they are also being made with far less money than gay male features. "Nobody wins in this current scenario," Meg Daly cautioned, "audiences, programmers, and filmmakers themselves all want more and better lesbian films. What will it take to make that desire a reality?"

The conference boasts over 60 panelists, including director Angela Robinson, director Cheryl Dunye, actor/writer Guinivere Turner, producer Stephen Israel, director Rodney Evans, director Jamie Babbit, Marcus Hu—founder of Strand Releasing—and director/producer Susan Stryker who just won the Northern California Emmy for Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria, just to mention a few.

Specific details of the remaining conference panels and their topics can be found at the Persistent Visions website which also hosts an ongoing blog site administered by Daly and Florence.

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