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Arts, Sports & Culture

'Underground' Film Festival To Showcase Unknown LGBT Films

Sylvia Frances Films
Via ReelQ
"Ovarian Psycos" is a film about Latina women in east L.A. that started a bicycle brigade to fight gentrification. It's the first of 17 films being screened this weekend.

An East L.A. bicycle brigade mixing feminist ideals with a self-described “urban/hood mentality” will be the subject of the first film in this weekend’s Pittsburgh Underground Film Festival, or PUFF.

The festival, in its first year, is organized by the Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Society. Kevin Lovelace, the society’s executive director, said the festival stemmed from a need to serve a younger, politically-conscious audience.

“We developed the underground film festival as a way to show more diverse movies with a political edge to them,” Lovelace said. “Eighty-five percent of the movies this year are either made by or about women or people of color. We’re also screening movies made by local LGBTQ filmmakers, which is something that hasn’t been done before.”

The Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Society also holds the ReelQ film festival each October. Lovelace said the ReelQ festival tends toward more “mainstream” LGBTQ films. According to Lovelace, the new festival will cater to a more niche audience. The "underground" moniker points to the fact that most of these films aren't widely accessible.  

“These movies will probably never get released onto Netflix or the more common ways movies are being released, video on demand,” Lovelace said. “The content is not something that’s more of an appeal to a wide audience.”

In all, 17 films will be screened over the course of the weekend, including six short films by Pittsburgh filmmakers. “Only in Pittsburgh!” is a showcase of Pittsburgh-based filmmakers Saturday afternoon and “Get Animated!” is a collection of animated short films Sunday afternoon.

In addition to the screenings, PUFF will have poetry accompanying a Saturday feature and a free lecture Saturday afternoon.

“We’re screening movies about Latina women in east L.A. that started a bicycle brigade to fight gentrification,” Lovelace said. “We’re showing movies about lesbian slam poetry, and we’re going to have talks about the history of the Pittsburgh LGBT scene back in the '70s. And so they’re more topics that don’t have quite as wide of an appeal and we’re hoping to change that.”

The Friday screening of “Ovarian Psycos” will feature a talk back session afterwards with a member of the cycle brigade, as well as Pittsburgh community leaders.

All screenings will take place at the Melwood Screening Room in North Oakland. Tickets for the screenings are available for $10 on the ReelQ website and the Saturday afternoon lecture is free.