Pink triangle perception
2004 Reno Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
In the Truckee Meadows, where Century Theatres alone decides what films come to our biggest theaters, independent film organizations, like Great Basin Film Society and Cinemareno, serve an epic function.
With the idea of turning a buck, Century heeds demographics—statistics that say the Reno area does not have a substantial enough gay, black, Latino, you name the minority, population, to make money off of presenting films that focus on these groups. This is Century Theatres’ job. Fortunately, independent film societies are there to fill the gaps.
Cinemareno is currently filling a big crevice by hosting the 2004 Reno Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in conjunction with SPECTRUM Northern Nevada, an organization that serves our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The event will be held on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, at the Reno Hilton. This is only the festival’s second year, but with the success it enjoyed last year, Cinemareno founder, Steve Davis, looks to make it a regular event.
“SPECTRUM approached us saying that they wanted to do a movie night for their organization,” Davis said. “We had a long list of films that we’d been considering, and I noticed that several on the list had gay and lesbian themes. Since we don’t really have a gay and lesbian film festival and most big cities do, I said we should do a festival.”
SPECTRUM had the volunteers and the ability to help publicize the event, while Cinemareno had the expertise when it came to managing equipment and booking films. Davis extensively researches the movies before making his selections. This year, he has chosen six award-winning feature films and two short films, none of which have been shown in Reno.
“Some of the films haven’t even started their theatrical run yet,” said Davis, “so we’re getting a jump on them. Yossi and Jagger has just started. And You’ll Get Over It will start its run in the spring.”
Of all the films, Davis says he is looking most forward to the dramatically romantic comedy The Trip, about a gay couple—one’s a liberal activist and the other an uptight Republican—who find themselves and each other during the gay rights movement from 1973 and 1984. Big Eden is a feel-good love story that Davis is also excited about. Then there’s A Family Affair about a lesbian and her PFLAG mom, and the documentary Paragraph 175, which addresses the close-to-100,000 gay men who were put in prisons and concentration camps during World War II.
“It’s a very important documentary,” said Deborah Achtenberg, UNR philosophy professor, who will introduce the film. “Everyone knows about the pink triangle. Well, that’s a symbol [that was used to mark homosexuals] during the Nazi era, but there wasn’t very much discussion about the experience of gays … The film is one of the important documents that made that information public.”
Davis also touts the film’s significance, as it features interviews with a small handful of homosexual camp survivors and illuminates the details of Paragraph 175, a clause in German law that prohibited homosexual relations. Hitler revised the law in 1935 to include activities as slight as kissing or embracing.
“There are festivals like this in many other communities that have a large gay and lesbian population," Achtenberg said. "It’s a way for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people to become aware of their history and to view films that have to do with themselves."