Pink Sheep Film Festival
Fri., June 8th
City Stage • 21 N. Front St.
Doors: 6:30 p.m. • Films: 7 p.m.
Last year local activists Lynn Casper and Channing Duke boldly stepped into Wilmington’s film scene with their own contribution: the Pink Sheep Film Festival. The event, which will screen this year at City Stage on June 8th, showcases an assortment of GLBTQIA-themed films and documentaries from all over the globe.
The idea for Pink Sheep sparked during the 2010 Cucalorus Film Festival, for which Casper volunteered as a programmer. It was there that Cucalorus director Dan Brawley suggested that Casper give GLBTQIA-themed films its own outlet by launching a separate festival that could screen during Wilmington’s Pride week.
Soon after, Casper met Duke through Wilmington Pride’s Facebook page. The two began meeting weekly and planning what would later be the Pink Sheep Film Festival. The name is intended convey what it feels like to be the black sheep of the family due to sexual orientation—hence “pink sheep.”
The films selected for the festival depict day-to-day human struggles of being different, and also delve into other issues, such as coming out of the closet, monogamy and gender. After the screenings at City Stage, the festival moves over to the Soapbox Laundro-Lounge for the after party. Presented by Homoground, the podcast website run by Casper (also winner of the 2011 encore Webby Award), the after party features live music from Noon:30 (Washington, D.C.) and play/start (Portland, Oregon).
encore spoke with the duo to discuss the Pink Sheep, Amendment One and Pride week.
encore (e): Lynn, the last time we spoke, you were organizing Working Films’ Reel Equality project, which was to educate NC communities about Amendment One. Were you surprised at the outcome of the amendment?
Lynn Casper (LC): Going into it, I had my doubts because of the conservative nature of North Carolina, especially being a part of the Bible belt. But throughout the campaign, I was really getting hopeful and thought that we might actually win. So I did get my hopes up, but I’m not really surprised that it passed.
Channing Duke (CD): I was actually really surprised; I still think that a lot of people were uneducated to what Amendment One entailed or that they were wrongly informed to vote for it. I saw so many people become less supportive of the amendment and more active in helping educate others on the harm it would cause to all citizens, and it made me really proud to stand beside the people who were also against it.
e: Earlier in the week, Huffington Post wrote: “The fight against Amendment One has created a stronger, more robust progressive community [in NC].” Do you agree with this statement in regards to the Cape Fear region?
LC: I definitely saw people coming together to stand against the amendment—people I didn’t expect. It wasn’t just the Cape Fear region, but communities all across North Carolina came together to support one another. I am very proud of Wilmington and all of the people who organized against Amendment One. New Hanover County almost voted against it—it was very close. I am glad to know that the work we did here in New Hanover County made a difference.
CD: I really feel like things are starting to change. I’ve heard so many people say that although Amendment One passed, it only makes them want to fight harder against it. “I feel more radicalized and more passionate about this now” is something I’ve been hearing from a lot of people. I don’t think that Amendment One has killed anyone’s spirit; I think it has helped motivate people to keep pushing forward. Change is inevitable. I think good things are coming; it’s all just a matter of time now.
e: Pride Week seems to have taken on a whole new significance in the wake of the passing of Amendment One, would you agree?
CD: I feel that this year’s Pride is going to help build a lot of momentum and rejuvenate everyone’s spirit, so that they can keep fighting for equal rights. Hopefully, we can bring a lot more attention to the issues of Amendment One with Pride week and help educate more people in our community who were maybe unaware of all the negative things that went hand in hand with this amendment.
e: Back to the festival—how did you select the films that are screening this year?
CD: We put out a call for entries a few months back and just waited for films to be sent in. Thanks to all the press we received last year through social media, many people had put our festival into online databases that filmmakers use to find festivals to send their work. Our number of submissions doubled from last year. Once we received the films, we organized them all in spreadsheets. After we watched the trailers and received the full screeners, we got together and watched every film and discussed how or if we could fit the film into the festival.
e: How has the festival evolved since its debut last year?
LC: Last year we held the festival at Jengo’s Playhouse and it was a sold-out event—we had to bring in extra seats. This year we are holding the festival at City Stage, which [fits] more people. We also have two special guests, Taylor Herbert and Jon Cavenaugh, hosting the event by welcoming everyone and entertaining us during the intro and intermission. Taylor is a local favorite bartender at Costello’s, and Jon is a local favorite bar patron.
e: What are some things you’ve learned about running a film festival since the first one?
CD: Definitely organization and time management. It’s so important to be able to keep everything organized and to stay on top of action items. I feel like by being more organized and prepping ahead of time, we really cut out a lot of work for ourselves that could have caused a lot of headache if we hadn’t taken care of them in a timely fashion.
PINK SHEEP FILM FESTIVAL LIST:
• “The Art of Walking Through the Streets” (Director: Rafaela Camelo)
• “Gender?” (Director: Sam Berliner)
• “Always Again” (Director: Estel Camprecios)
• “Ketheron’s Bucket-Mending and Hymen Emporium” (Director: Anton H. Gill)
• “ub2” (Director: Dan Goldes)
• “Cyclicity” (Director: Jason Knade)
• “What It Could Be” (Director: Pedro Paulo de Andrade)
• “El Nido Vacío” (The Empty Nest) (Director: Francisco Lupini)
• “Entry Denied” (Director: Machu Latorre)