The annual Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is back in town until October 13th. It will feature over 63 films from 17 countries, and showcase major names like Molly Shannon, Matt Smith and Paul Rudd.
The festival's mission is to entertain, enlighten and empower their audience by showcasing films by, for, or about LGBTQ people. The films will highlight artistic, social and political changes that impact the community.
The festival’s program director, K.J. Mohr, said for some people this is the only time of the year they get to celebrate the community.
“More than anything, it’s a place of community, of coming together,” she said.
Mohr has heard of many people who have met their spouses and formed long-term friendships at the festival over the years.
Although it’s changed names a few times since it began in 1990, the festival has always been an international event, and this year they are showing films from 17 different countries.
“It’s always really interesting to see what’s happening in other parts of the world,” she said. “I think we’ve started to really take for granted the progress that we’ve made in this country even though there have been some setbacks.”
Mohr said it’s important to keep the global perspective at the festival because of how many countries still criminalize homosexuality. She said it’s also interesting to show the international stories because most people won’t get to see it anywhere else.
The opening, closing and centerpiece films will feature major stars like Molly Shannon, Matt Smith, and Paul Rudd.
Tickets to each screening are $15, but there are different packages that you can purchase. Anyone 18 or younger may attend for free. In addition to film screenings, the event will also host panel discussions, meet & greets and parties.
More information about events and ticket prices can be found on the TIGLFF website.