N.C. Gay & Lesbian Film Festival returns

Award-winners include viral short film 'In a Heartbeat'

DURHAM, N.C. — The second-largest LGBTQ film festival in the Southeast United States returns to the Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham from Aug. 10-13. This year’s North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (NCGLFF) continues a tradition begun in 1995, awarding LGBTQ filmmakers in a range of categories.

There are two ways to buy tickets for the NCGLFF. A ten-pass, running at $85, allows the ticket-holder to view 10 different film screenings and can be purchased online or in person. Individual tickets are also on sale in person or over the phone by calling the Carolina Theatre box office: (919) 560-3030.

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One award-winning film featured at NCGLFF this year is the YouTube sensation “In a Heartbeat,” an animated short that tells the story of a young boy’s first crush on a male classmate. The short’s directors, Esteban Bravo and Beth David, created the film as their senior thesis project at Ringling College of Art and Design. The filmmakers knew how important their message was to LGBTQ youth and community representation.

“From a business standpoint, it makes sense why studios are afraid to portray LGBT characters, just because there’s still part of the population that’s not accepting,” Bravo told The Guardian. “But as leaders of children’s content, it’s really important for them to represent these people because not showing LGBT characters leads to a lot of internalized confusion as kids grow up.”

NCGLFF has announced its Jury Award winners, and “In a Heartbeat” tied for the title of Best Men’s North American Short alongside the film “Monogamish,” directed by Carlton Daniel. Other award winners include:

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“Apricot Groves” by Pouria Heidary Oureh (Best Transgender Feature), “Signature Move” by Jennifer Reeder (Best Women’s Feature), “Center of My World” by Jakob M. Erwa (Best Men’s Feature), “Ryans” by Natalie Heltzel and Rain Valdez (Best Transgender North American Short), “Two Birds” by Caitlin Stickels (Best Women’s North American Short), “Dusk” by Jake Graf (Best Transgender International Short), “Sisak” by Faraz Arif Ansari (Best Men’s International Short), “Little Doll” by Kate Dolan (Best Women’s International Short), “Lily” by Graham Cantwell (Best Women’s Long-form Narrative Short), “Call Your Father” by Jordan Firstman (Best Men’s Long-form Narrative Short), “Bayard and Me” by Matt Wolf (Best Documentary Short Subject), and “Nidal” by Tarek Turkey and “The Son I Never Had” by Pidgeon Pagonis (tied for Best Transgender Documentary Short Subject).

Even more films than those award-winners will be shown during the festival. To view showtimes and learn everything you need to know about the 2017 NCGLFF, download the festival guide online. Since the 2016 event set records for attendance, number of films submitted and films chosen, it may be smart to book tickets sooner than later.

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