Former critic makes a plea for Tampa's gay filmfest

The former programming director of the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, now known as CLIP, was critical of the 2007 lineup. Now Joseph Cook is coming out strong in favor of this year's festival, which is up against tough competition (including the financial crisis and the lure of Rays baseball). Here's the letter he sent out today to friends:

Greetings Friends,

As we all know, we are living in strange times —politically, culturally, and economically. Given such distractions and serious concerns, I wanted to take a moment to ask that you come out and support and enjoy one aspect of your community that is very important, Clip: The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival ! Your community –whether that be the film community in Tampa Bay or the LGBTQ community statewide—needs you.

Yes, it is true that I was explicitly critical of a last year’s program, one that marginalized many of the festival circuit’s truly interesting cinema in exchange for unappealing, uninspired (and often quite boring) fluff (and I was critical of a –now gone!— program director who was a snotty embarrassment to our community). But, much of that is behind me now.

This year, while there may be some odd slottings of films (in terms of when they are shown) and one or two strange choices, our cherished local festival has some very cool stuff to offer! I myself have only seen 4 of the films so far this year (mostly due to work), but, by all accounts, there have been some true gems in this year’s festival. Whether or not you saw them, Ruby Blue, Edge of Heaven, Saturn in Opposition, Wrangler, Pageant, black./womyn, The Secrets, and surely others are all films that would not have otherwise been shown in Tampa Bay, films that have been well received by local filmgoers and cinema lovers all over the world.

This weekend has some interesting fare in store as well and I urge you to give Clip: The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival your support this weekend!

This weekend you can find at least 4 films that have been critically acclaimed worldwide! Here are films that have been darlings of the festival circuit –whether international fests or LGBTQ fests—and each is reportedly excellent in their own unique ways: XXY, Ciao, Drifting Flowers, and A Portable Tribe all deserve attention!

Furthermore, if it is your gay side you’re more interested in exorcising this weekend –and I do mean your fun, silly, party-on gay side, then there is also stuff for you. I have no indication of how good Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild really is, but it’s predecessor is the bawdiest, raunchiest, most delightfully irreverent gay comedy that I have seen in years! And there is also Were the World Mine, the feature length version of a previous short, Fairies, that was art-directed-to-death (in a good way) and oodles of fun. Most importantly to many, both of these movies are gay, Gay, GAY!

At any rate, whether or not you heard, the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival financially collapsed this year (such a shame!) and it is going to be very hard for them to make a come back. With your support, our local communities can insure that we never have to face such a crisis here at home. There is much worth seeing this weekend, the kind of films that entertain, enlighten, and leave you with plenty to talk about for days, so don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

I hope to see everyone around and about…

Cheers,

—Joseph

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