Level Ground Film Festival brings together LGBT and evangelical communities
By Carl Kozlowski 02/26/2014
The times they are a-changin’, as 17 states have gay marriage, and the world’s largest evangelical Christian seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, has had an official gay student’s group called OneTable since 2012. After a successful first year of events and integration on campus, OneTable made a bold creative outreach in 2013 by creating the world’s first faith-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) themed film festival.
With the success of that endeavor behind them, they decided to go larger this year and raised $40,000 from an Internet fundraising campaign in addition to corporate sponsorships to create Level Ground. The fest is the first anywhere to mix LGBT issues with those of evangelical Christians, and its impressive slate of films and easier public accessibility should combine for supercharged discussions.
The fest will include two major award winners from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards, “Bridegroom” and “Geography Club,” as well as free Legacy Screenings of groundbreaking gay-themed films such as “Philadelphia” and “We Are Here,” a documentary about the earliest days of gays caught in the AIDS crisis in San Francisco.
Two lunch galas remain at the Linege Dance studio, with the world premiere of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” featuring lunch and a discussion with filmmakers from noon to 1:30 p.m. today. Two shorter films, “Kiss Me Softly” and “Am I Not Your Girl,” are featured tomorrow with both also screening between noon and 1:30 p.m. Both lunch galas are $20 each and are located at Lineage Dance, 89 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena.
Meanwhile, two dinner galas and a closing night gala remain, with tonight’s premiere of “Desire of the Everlasting Hills” featuring a full dinner and discussion from 7 to 10 p.m. at Jones Coffee, 693 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Friday’s dinner gala features the California premiere of “Kidnapped for Christ,” also with dinner and discussion from 7 to 10 p.m. at Jones Coffee.
The closing night gala spotlights the 1992 film favorite “Fried Green Tomatoes” with its director Jon Avnet heading the discussion with speakers including the festival’s production team, headed by Chelsea McInturff and Samantha Curley. McInturff is an openly gay current Fuller student, while Curley is a straight advocate for LGBT rights who graduated from Fuller last year. It’s held at Armory Center for the Arts, 145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena.
Together, their efforts have sparked a needed discussion about bridging the gaps between the mostly progressive LGBT community and largely conservative evangelicals, Here’s hoping their efforts will grow stronger in future editions.
The Level Ground Film Festival runs through Sunday at various Pasadena locations. For more information and tickets, visit onlevelground.org.