New Film Series in Lehigh Valley

A month-long LGBT film festival kicks off in May in Bethlehem

Courtesy of ArtsQuest

Philly has long had its LGBT film festivals, but this year the Greater Lehigh Valley, along with Equality Pennsylvania and ArtsQuest, are launching a new festival based in nearby Bethlehem, Pa. The LGBT Film Series at SteelStacks’ Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas (FBAC) kicks off May 6 and runs through June 10.

The month-long series, designed to raise awareness of LGBT issues, will feature six films, as well as special discussions and talkbacks hosted by prominent members of Lehigh Valley’s LGBT community. In addition, a Tea Party fund-raiser will take place May 6, with all proceeds from the event going to support the 2013 LGBT Film Series.

“We hope that this will be the first of many years of this film series,” says Shawn Bausher, president of Pride of the Greater Lehigh Valley. “Kudos to ArtsQuest for promoting diversity in the community and bringing a much needed LGBT presence to Bethlehem’s SouthSide.”

Cult classic The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert will kick off the festival on May 6, while two of the screenings (Making the Boys on May 15 and Gun Hill Road on June 5) will feature talkback and Q&A sessions after the film with Adrian Shanker of Equality PA and transgender activist Ashley Hope. The complete list of speakers will be announced later this month.

The series will also screen locally produced short films before feature films, including Eric Leadbetter’s One Way Out (May 22 prior to Tomboy) and Lawrence Milano’s Liberty (May 30 in advance of Better Than Chocolate). Leadbetter’s short won for Best Short Film at the 2011 Greater Lehigh Valley Filmmaker Festival.

“We are pleased to partner with ArtsQuest in providing high-quality, LGBT-affirming programming to the Lehigh Valley,” says Shanker. “We can’t wait for opening night.”

Here’s the schedule:

May 6 (2 p.m.): The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (followed by a tea party – 4 p.m. – in the Musikfest Café to benefit next year’s LGBT Film Series)

May 15 (7:45 p.m.): Making the Boys (followed by a talkback and Q&A)

May 21 (7:45 p.m.): Tomboy (One Way Out screens in advance of the feature film)

May 30 (7:15 p.m.): Better Than Chocolate (Liberty screens in advance of the feature film)

June 5 (7:15 p.m.): Gun Hill Road (followed by a talkback and Q&A with Dr. Kim Gallon, assistant professor of history at Muhlenberg College, Ashley Hope, a transgender activist, Peter Nagy, a Ph.D candidate at Lehigh University and Adrian Shanker, president of Equality Pennsylvania).

June 10 (7 p.m.):Wish Me Away

Tickets are available by calling 610-332-3378 or clicking here. They can also be purchased at the ArtsQuest Center Box Office (25 W. Third Street in Bethlehem).