As the curtain raises tonight to celebrate thirty years of Outfest, Executive Director Kirsten Schaffer says the country's leading LGBT film festival is more vital than ever and its impact is "immeasurable."
Since its inception in 1982 the festival has entertained over one million people and shown more than 5,000 films, many of which have obtained distribution and been shown around the world. "The ripple effect of that is immeasurable—the number of lives that it has impacted," Shaffer says.
While noting that LGBT characters have become more visible on television and in mainstream film, supporting independent queer cinema is still important. "The characters we tend to see in mainstream venues are mainstream characters, they appeal to a really wide audience, Schaffer states. "What we see at Outfest is a really diverse variety of characters. We see characters from places in the world we're not hearing from very often."
For screening information go to Outfest.org. Watch Schaffer discuss the festival below.