Gilbert Baker Film Festival


Years running: 7 (since 2017)

Gilbert Baker Film Festival

An Int'l LGBTQIA+ film festival.


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.


  • Best in Festival
  • Best Feature Film
  • Best Short Film
  • Best Feature Documentary
  • Best Short Documentary
  • Best Animation Reel
  • Best Animation Feature
  • Best Web Series
  • Best Music Video


  • Gilbert Baker Film Festival accepts submissions for feature films, short films, feature documentaries, short documentaries, animation reels, animation feature film, web series, music videos. All submissions must have an LGBTQIA focus or address gender identity or sexual orientation issues
  • All feature narrative, feature documentary and animation feature submissions must be 60 minutes or over in length. 
  • All short film narrative, animation reels and short documentary submissions must be over 10 minutes and under 60 minutes in length.
  • Web Series should be at least 10 minutes long.
  • Music Videos must be under 10 minutes



  • Short films, Web Series, Animation Reels, and Music Videos that are available on YouTube, Vimeo or other media services are indeed eligible.
  • No production year limit

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.  




Premiere Requirements

No premiere requirement

Jury and Organizers

Chele Landers, Rev, Jennifer Dawson, Scotty Zollars, Dan Forbes, Les Hammett



United States

Official Website



PO Box 342
Parsons, Kansas 67357
United States


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Dates & Deadlines
  • Opening Date
    August 17, 2023
  • Earlybird Deadline
    September 21, 2023
  • Regular Deadline
    October 12, 2023
  • Late Deadline
    November 02, 2023
  • Notifications
    November 08, 2023
  • Event Dates
    15 December 2023 — 15 January 2024
Categories & Fees
  • Earlybird Deadline — $5
  • Regular Deadline — $10
  • Late Deadline — $20
  • Earlybird Deadline — $5
  • Regular Deadline — $10
  • Late Deadline — $20
  • Earlybird Deadline — $5
  • Regular Deadline — $10
  • Late Deadline — $20
  • Earlybird Deadline — $5
  • Regular Deadline — $8
  • Late Deadline — $10
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