Pride at FilmScene kicks off Iowa City Pride Week with ‘Stonewall Uprising’

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Pride at FilmScene: Stonewall Uprising

FilmScene — Monday, June 10 at 6 p.m.

‘Stonewall Uprising’ — video still

FilmScene and Iowa City Pride will recognize the 50th anniversary of Stonewall by showing Stonewall Uprising for free on June 10, the day before Iowa City’s 49th Pride Festival begins. Stonewall Uprising is just one of many LGBTQ+ affirming films shown as part of their monthly series, Pride at FilmScene. The documentary reflects on the three-day long demonstrations and protests led primarily by trans women of color, which are now widely considered as the turning point for the gay rights movement.

FilmScene and Iowa City Pride met in the fall of 2017 to create the series highlighting LGBTQ+ stories. Every month since February of 2018, FilmScene has shown one piece of queer cinema on a Monday evening with the goal of representing diversity within the LGBTQ+ community.

The series became an idea as Iowa City Pride wanted to focus on their year-round presence, instead of being most known for the Pride Festival in June. FilmScene’s programming director, Rebecca Fons, and Iowa City Pride Community Outreach & Publicity board member, Chris Hawes, were determined to kick off the series.

“It just seemed a natural pairing,” said Hawes. “There were so many LGBTQ-affirming films already being shown [at FilmScene].” Though FilmScene always strove for representation of the LGBTQ+ community, this series was curated to cement it in place and make it consistent.

The collaboration is as important to FilmScene as it is to Iowa City Pride, since both strongly believe queer voices expressed artistically can impact an audience. “You come see this film and have your popcorn and beer, but you can also say ‘Oh, that’s really cool, two organizations … are working together,’” Fons said.

Pride at FilmScene’s focal point is diversity within the LGBTQ+ community.

“At first, as any things are … [the lineup] was very male and very white,” Hawes said.

After sitting together and realizing that the lineup was unbalanced in representation, FilmScene found more films with cultural and gender diversity, both from the United States and abroad, indie and mainstream. This included giving more representation to trans and non-binary people, lesbians, women and bisexual people from a variety of backgrounds, which, Hawes said, was also vital to Iowa City Pride members.

Past showings include Rafiki, a love story between two women in Kenya, and, most recently, Saturday Church, which follows a teen boy exploring his gender identity and expression with the support of drag queens. In addition to Pride at FilmScene showings,
They, the story of a 14-year-old person debating whether or not to transition, was shown as part of FilmScene’s Spotlight series.

“We wanted not to make [the genre] separate, but to make sure there was a spotlight, a showcase on LGBTQ cinema,” said Fons.


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‘Stonewall Uprising’ — video still

It is also important to FilmScene to show a variety of themes in these stories, not tragedy, as is common in queer cinema. The subjects of the films may not always be LGBTQ+, said Fons, to allow for a queer perspective on all kinds of tales. The filmmakers are queer as often as FilmScene can possibly ensure, but there is always an LGBTQ+ focus.

“[We don’t want] a Hollywood-ized version of what queer cinema is or what it should be,” Fons said.

“It helps remind us where we’ve been; it helps us understand what has happened,” Hawes said. “Film puts you there, like you’re living it.” Hawes saw this play out especially when Pride at FilmScene hosted a three-film series on the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s, including the films Life, Above All, Philadelphia and How to Survive a Plague.

Next year, once FilmScene has moved into its larger space in the Chauncey building and the next schedule of films and programs is created, both organizations hope to move Pride at FilmScene’s screening time to a more convenient slot so as many people as possible can attend. Currently the films are scheduled once per month on a Monday night at 6 p.m., but Hawes hopes for a time later in the evening or on a weekend.

Coming up later this summer, Pride at FilmScene will bring The Happy Prince in July, about a reflective Oscar Wilde at the end of his life, and A Kid Like Jake, about parents who navigate raising a 4-year-old transgender child.

‘Stonewall Uprising’ — video still

There are plenty of Pride Week events following the screening of Stonewall Uprising, starting on June 11 with The Big Gay Bar Crawl, which will start at 5 p.m. at the Iowa City Yacht Club and end at Deadwood from midnight until 2 a.m.

On June 12 from 7-9 p.m., Iowa City Yacht Club will host Drop the Mic for Pride, an LGBTQ-centric poetry and spoken word event.

Next, on June 13, the I.C. Kings, a troupe of local drag queens, will put on a Pride-themed performance at Studio 13 from 9:30 p.m. to midnight.

June 14 will bring the Iowa City Pride Picnic at Upper City Park from 5–7 p.m., where there will be free food, including vegetarian and vegan options, provided by Shakespeare’s Pub and Grill and HyVee. On the same day, the Pride Pub Quiz will be hosted at Deadwood from 8–10 p.m., where participants will be quizzed on topics including sexual health, nonbinary and transgender issues, history and Stonewall. More information and registration, which is strongly encouraged, can be found here.

On June 15, the Pride Parade and Festival will take over downtown Iowa City. Events will include Drag Storytime at the Iowa City Public Library at 10:30 a.m., a parade at noon, musical performances both outdoors and at the Englert Theatre, an all-day vendor fair and drag performances, including one from RuPaul’s Drag Race star Ariel Versace.

Lastly, the Pride Post-Party on June 16 at Hatchet Jack’s will allow for celebration via flying hatchets from 6–9 p.m. All proceeds from the Post-Party will go to the Eastern Iowa Lambda Softball Association, Iowa City’s LGBTQ+ softball league. RSVP-ing by filling out this form is requested.

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