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Gay white men are the minority as QFest diversifies its lineup

The documentary Major! features Major Griffin-Gracy, a long-time transgender activist.
Cinema St. Louis | Provided
The documentary Major! profiles Major Griffin-Gracy, a long-time transgender activist.

When QFestdebuted in 2008, its schedule of LGBT films was more about the “G” than any other letter. Few male or female characters were people of color.

But things are different now, according to Cinema St. Louis’ Chris Clark.

“The true minority of all, honestly, is white, gay men,” he said.

In the festival’s ninth year, a majority of its 29 feature-length and short films focus on women, transgender individuals and people of color. Of QFest’s 15 feature-length films and documentaries, four are about African-American women — a quarter of the slate.

Clark purposely chose films representing a wide variety of people. But he said the diversity of films is available only because more individuals overall are making movies.

Chris Clark is artistic director of Cinema St. Louis.
Credit Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio
Chris Clark is artistic director of Cinema St. Louis.

“The number of black lesbian filmmakers is very small compared to the number of women filmmakers compared to the number of male filmmakers,” Clark said. “It’s a minority within a minority, like a unicorn.”

Advances in technology are allowing more people to join the filmmaking community, Clark said, boosting the number of voices that can be heard.

"In the last 10 to 15 years, the digital revolution — film, audio, everything — has made it much more easy for anyone at any income level and experience level, too, to be able to make a film,” Clark said.

This year’s lineup includes "Trans Lives Shorts" and a new comedy by St. Louis native Doug Archibald, called “I Love You Both.” Archibald's film is a semi-autobiographical story about a brother and sister dating the same man.

The festival will also screen a 20-year-old cult classic,“The Watermelon Woman,”about an interracial relationship. The film was recently restored.

QFest runs April 24 - 28 at the Hi-Pointe Backlot Theatre, behind the original Hi-Pointe in the Dogtown area.

In this video, “I Love You Both” filmmaker Doug Archibald and his sister Kristin Archibald talk about the film in which they play the lead roles.

Follow Nancy on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.