Clip, aka the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Fest, offers straight-friendly movies

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Benefits and drawbacks are strictly personal. ... They don't have to put up with me in their face all the time, and I get to skip a long meeting or two. The drawbacks have been slim. Personally it was kinda tough to have two programs due on the exact same date, but we made it.

The benefits of the collaboration were huge, as Fresno and Tampa were able to share costs for the film selection process, and it helps me to negotiate with distributors when I'm offering two festivals for their film.

How'd you come to be connected with Tampa?

When they started their national search for a programmer, they wrote to me asking for the contact info for a programmer I knew. I said "Hey! I want the job!" Six interviews and months later, and here I am. The Tampa board was very careful with their selection, and I expect to continue to get much better once I can attend Tampa's fest and learn about their audience tastes/concerns.

Still, the board of Clip is a pretty good swatch of Clip's audience members, and I asked many many questions before making film selections, and cleared everything with David Gonzalez, the board member in charge of programming.

Which films are you not so sure about this year?

I want to see how the audiences react to Newcastle and Goodbye Baby. These films are slightly "less overtly gay," but I find wonderful elements to them both. I hope audiences give those films a chance and come out to see them. Also, the Director's Cut shorts program is for experimental film fans only. These are not all films with a storyline. There's some thinking involved there. And finally, I'm sure about the family day Saturday, but I hope our audiences are sure as well. I hope to see lots of kids and parents together for Dottie's Magic Pockets, middle/high school kids for the wonderful Youth Shorts and HS/College kids crying together at Equality U!

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story misstated the years of Joseph Cook's tenure as programming director. The error has been corrected above.

Click here for reviews from CLIP's first week of films

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