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The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society is launching its newest, four-day film festival, SPECTRUM Film Festival, presenting a world perspective on LGBTQ stories, people and issues with a variety of films, guest speakers, discussions, and a special event focused on LGBTQ youth.  The SPECTRUM Film Festival will be held at the MV Film Center in Vineyard Haven from Thursday, April 27 to Sunday, April 30 with nine different programs over the course of the festival.

The first festival of its kind on the Vineyard, The SPECTRUM Film Festival adds to the MV Film Society’s growing outreach to shine light on subject matters not usually covered by major Hollywood motion pictures and expects to draw moviegoers from around the island as well as from the Cape and beyond.

In keeping with the meaning of the word “spectrum” (or “a wide range”), films shown at the SPECTRUM Film Festival are, indeed, wide-ranging. They originate from India, Chile, Kenya, Canada and the US; cover gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender storylines; combine comedy, drama, romance, documentary genres in both short and full-length formats; and focus on a variety of topics including legal matters, aging, parent-child relationships, religion, cultural changes, illness and suicide.

Guests speakers participating in live Skype interviews currently include lawyer Mary Bonauto (who pled the same-sex marriage case before the Supreme Court), Peggy Rajski (Academy Award-winning director and co-founder of The Trevor Project), Matt Wolf (director of the short film BAYARD & ME) and Bennett Wallace (a transgender young adult whose story is told in the documentary REAL BOY).

Post-show panel discussions will include topics regarding “The Shifting Tides of the LGBTQ Landscape on Martha’s Vineyard,” “Homosexuality and the Bible,” “Growing Up with Same-Sex Parents,” and “Navigating High School.” Participants/moderators appearing live on the Film Center stage currently include Mary Breslauer, Tom Dunlop, Susanna Sturgis, Tony Lombardi, Laurel Redington Whitaker, Ev Wilson as well as Rev. Cathlin Baker and Rev. Bill Clark.

In keeping with the MV Film Society’s Free Youth Screenings (which are offered periodically throughout the school year), there will be a SPECTRUM Youth Event on Saturday, April 29 from 9:30am to 3:00pm focused entirely on LGBTQ Youth programming. Any local student aged 13 to 21 will be provided free admission to this event. Students coming from the Cape will also be provided with free round-trip transportation by ferry (courtesy of the Steamship Authority).

Opening the festival will be the new documentary THE FREEDOM TO MARRY which relates the pursuit of same-sex marriage as a legal right — from Evan Wolfson’s 1983 senior thesis at Harvard to the U.S. Supreme Court decision [Obergefell v. Hodges] in 2015. Following the film, local resident Mary Breslauer will conduct a live Skype interview with her friend and former co-worker Mary Bonauto. Before the film, a “Wedding Album” of local same-sex couples will be shown on-screen to showcase how the right to marry has affected the culture of the Vineyard which prides itself on being LGBTQ-friendly. Participating couples may attend free of charge and can celebrate their legal victory during a dessert/wine reception in the lobby following the conversation with Mary Bonauto.


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