My True Colors Festival To Celebrate National LGBTQ+ History With Diverse Selection Of Stories

Celebrate National LGBTQ+ History Month on October 22, 2023.

By: Oct. 04, 2023
My True Colors Festival To Celebrate National LGBTQ+ History With Diverse Selection Of Stories
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My True Colors Festival (MTCF) is back this year with a program of film shorts in celebration of National LGBTQ+ History Month on Sunday, October 22, 2023 in association with WOW Café Theater in the East Village. The festival's lineup includes five film shorts, a documentary and a film adaptation of a play that reflect diverse stories and cultures within the LGBTQ+ community. Following the screening there will be a talkback with the featured artists who will share the inspiration behind their work and their creative storytelling.

My True Colors Festival's mission is fighting for social justice and cultural diversity through the arts, providing a safe and affirming space for underserved and underrepresented LGBTQ+ and BIPOC storytellers. WOW Café Theater is a collective that for 40 years has provided women, trans and non-binary people with a community and safe space to create artistic works.

"Providing inclusive and welcoming spaces is critical to fostering understandings of gender identity and sexuality in safe environments," says Carolyn M. Brown, a member of WOW's collective and principal of True Colors Project, the producer of MTCF. "Preserving stories by and about LGBTQ+ people is extremely important, especially now in the wake of mounting anti-LGBTQ+ laws, book bans, and the war on drag across the nation."

Since 2021, anti-LGBTQ+ laws proposed or passed (over 100) have escalated. Gender-nonconforming and transgender women of color continue to face staggeringly high levels of fatal violence, according to recent news reports. "A stark reminder that while significant progress has been made, there is still much work to be done to ensure LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people, can live safely and with dignity," says Brown. Equally alarming, as of 2023, more than 2,500 books with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and LGBTQ+ themes have been banned or challenged in 5,000+ schools and libraries nationwide.

"Our community has expressed time and again that representation matters. Seeing characters that look like them or have had similar experiences is vital to developing a sense of identity and self-worth," Brown says. "So, it's vital we continue to safeguard erased, suppressed or threatened stories and histories."

MTCF is proud to present as a part of its lineup the documentary i-3: BLACKOUT (running time 1:18), which follows five strong Black gay men who share their compelling experiences about dealing with and discovering the intersections of their identities of being Black, a Black man, and a Black gay man in America. I-3 BLACKOUT captures stories of crippling disappointment of rejection for being who they are by family, the black community, and the gay community. Yet, the five men all found the strength to overcome adversities and to reclaim their power.

"This thought-provoking documentary delves deep into the influences of family, race, the Black community, and religion, offering a profound exploration of self-discovery and identity," say filmmakers Ladu Pearson and Eugene Robinson Jr. "We hope audiences walk away with a new or deeper commitment to fostering a world of compassion towards LGBTQIA+ people of color and their journeys of living in and navigating a society that doesn't fully see them as people."

MTCF's showcase this year features films from a diverse group of artists, telling stories that celebrate our culture, our identity, and our resilience. Here is a rundown of the festival's 2023 lineup:

Oct 22 1PM - 3PM

Ditmas written by Glenn Alterman and directed by Ben Rauch: This film of the short play by Glenn Alterman explores gender and gender identity. In this warm and tender story, two strangers who meet at a bar find a connection they never would have imagined. Alterman's plays have been performed in over 200 venues in over 30 states, throughout Europe, and in Asia. He holds the record as author of the most published original monologues for actors.

i-3: BLACKOUT by Ladu Pearson and Eugene Robinson Jr.: This documentary explores the intersectionality of identity of being Black, a Black man and Black gay man. It is a journey of self-discovery and how one navigates the influences of family, race, the black community, and religion. Meanwhile, defining sexuality, spirituality and carving out spaces within professional, social, and gay communities. Robinson and Pearson are the founders of SIB Production (STORIES IN BLACK), a multidimensional production company dedicated to exploring and elevating the narrative of being a Black Gay man in America.

La Cena by Jaime E Tejada: After finding out her only daughter, Guadalupe, is a lesbian, Maria, a devoted Catholic, invites Guadalupe and her girlfriend over for dinner, leading to an interesting evening. Will Maria come to accept her daughter, or will her beliefs get in the way? Award-Winning film written, directed, and produced by Tejada, a student at the time attending George Mason University.

Lovie Dovie by Francesca Brescia: Animated short about marine life enthusiast Dovie St. James who must come to terms with her sexuality when she is unexpectedly charmed by the new girl in her class. A Pratt Institute graduate, Brescia specializes in stylized illustration and animation, but is always looking forward to new challenges and tackling different projects.

Macaroni Soup by Alayna Y: Animated short about a young woman who falls in love with a waitress in a greasy, yet-nostalgic Hong Kong-style, café. But a language gap divides the two - or is there something more? Alayna is a digital artist and animator who specializes in making soup. That is, she throws (the figurative concept of) people, places, and things that make up the world around her into a simmering pot of creations.

Made In Heaven by Yiqing Zhao: Narrative film short about Serena, a closeted lesbian, who accidentally finds her mother trying to reconnect with an old boyfriend. She sends her girlfriend to be her mom's assistant at work and, only to realize her secret can no longer stay hidden. Zhao is an award-winning actor, filmmaker, and life & career coach for creatives. She made this short film with a team of 14 brilliant women-identifying artists.

OCT 22 4PM - 6PM

The Man I Love by Elwhy Jones and Philip Reissman: "Once In A Lifetime The One Comes Along." A witty play infused with music, a story of gay love, sexual exploits, politics, and survival against police brutality in 1930s New York City. During the depression a Colombian immigrant must choose between his wealthy sugar daddy and his true love-an aspiring writer from rural America-all while local authorities focus on a new target and public enemy in post-Prohibition New York City. This "pandemic" recorded play was first presented as a virtual performance as part of the 2020 My True Colors Festival.

Tickets are available online for $12.51 at Eventbrite and at the door for $15 (59-61 E 4th St #4, New York, NY 10003).

About True Colors Project (TCP)

True Colors Project is a social enterprise that is dedicated to developing and producing LGBTQIAGNC+ themed performances and content through theater, digital, film, and events designed to entertain, educate, and empower audiences with practical expressions of love and empathy. TCP strives to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive arts scene for all storytellers by eliminating barriers to participation related to age, race, gender, social class, sexual-orientation, identity, disability, nationality, and religion.