The first festival came about because Aaron Casserly Stewart, Parsons city commissioner in 2017, had wanted to honor Gilbert Baker, the creator of the Rainbow Flag. Gilbert conceived of the idea for the Gilbert Baker Film Festival with a group of his friends. The Festival was to be a celebration of LGBTQIA + Pride in his old stomping grounds of Parsons, KS. Knowing that Parsons is a town in rural Southeast Kansas, Gilbert wanted to have an event that could showcase the accomplishments of the LGBTQIA + community without a parade. Unfortunately, Gilbert died in 2017 before the first film festival was held.
The committee working with him proceeded to hold the first festival. It was a small festival but it was a beginning. The town responded to requests to fly the Pride flag and showed support through attendance. Labette Community College provided space and a picture of the flag raising ceremony graced the cover of the local paper, the Parsons Sun.
In 2018, a group of people who want Gilbert's dream to reach its potential began working towards having another Film Festival. It is our hope that this event will honor Gilbert's memory and worldwide legacy. In 2019, we coordinated with the Parsons High School Class that Gilbert would have graduated with if he had stated stayed in Parsons. They are having their high school reunion on the weekend of the Festival. The committee decided that holding the 2019 Gilbert Baker Film Festival in October would afford his classmates the opportunity to attend both events.
The 2020 Gilbert Baker Film Festival begins the tradition of holding the festival the third weekend in September (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) annually from 2020 on. The 2020 festival will be held at the Parsons Public Library in Parsons, Kansas.
The main goal of the Gilbert Baker Film Festival (GBFF) committee is to hold a festival worthy of Gilbert's worldwide legacy. As of 2020 the festival will be held annually on the Third Weekend in September (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). We want to create awareness. The WHERE WE CALL HOME: LGBT PEOPLE IN RURAL AMERICA report published by MAP in April 2019 "suggests that between 2.9 million and 3.8 million LGBT people — or 15-20% of the total US LGBT population — live in rural areas around the country. " The Gilbert Baker Film Festival is held in the heart of Rural America.
We basically started over in 2019 with a new format and website. Each year we hope to grow and improve. We are also working with the Gilbert Baker Estate who have been a great help.
ALL SUBMISSION FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE
Language: All submissions will be assessed by English speakers. If the submission is in a language other than English and speech is necessary for the experience, subtitles or other means of speech translation will be required.
No premiere requirement
Jury and Organizers
Chele Landers, Rev, Jennifer Dawson, Scotty Zollars, Dan Forbes, Les Hammett
PO Box 342
Parsons, Kansas 67357
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