Culture and Character: The Massimadi Afro LGBTQA+ Film and Arts Festival

Photo by Noom Peerapong on Unsplash

Running from February 11th to March 11th, the Massimadi Afro LGBTQA+ Film and Arts Festival brings together a collective of unique and engaging films that showcase immense talent and culture. The emphasis on exclusively promoting Black artists and members of the LGBTQA+ community continues the crucial drive towards representation. When mainstream media is plagued by a lack of diverse representation, ensuring a dynamic view on a static stage is crucial. It creates a platform for local QPOC artists to showcase their art and gives them a voice to reach a larger audience. The importance of the festival allows for others to be inspired, to see people on a screen who look like them and who have similar stories. It becomes suffocating growing up with a lack of representation in the content you consume every day. Millions of people of colour and members of the LGBTQA+ community can attest to the loneliness that comes with growing up with minimal portrayal of someone who looks like you. It’s so important to promote and to engage with film festivals like Massimadi, whose creators give immensely talented marginalised artists a platform. This festival allows them to tell a story that is true to them and to engage with audiences who ache to see these stories on a bigger screen.

Millions of people of colour and members of the LGBTQA+ community can attest to the loneliness that comes with growing up with minimal portrayal of someone who looks like you.

Black History Month is not only a time to reflect on the importance of Black history and culture, but to be actively engaging with Black media and content. It’s our duty to actively support these films that embrace Blackness and engage with important themes within the Black community. The Massimadi film festival, providing free access to a range of films by Black artists, is catered toward anyone and everyone who wants to support and give these indie films a chance. As allies, watching and supporting this output of content can do more than just add a view to the watch bar, but can help us actively and more accurately understand stories we are not naturally exposed to. 

With the range of films that are offered at the festival, there are bound to be a few that spark your interest. Below are a few that caught my eye: 

Shea (2021) 

A three-minute short film showcasing a vibrant saturation of blues and greens. This is a visually stunning film with a powerful narrative outlining self-discovery and interconnectedness. The alluring visual design coupled with thought-provoking spoken word creates an all-encompassing experience for three minutes. 

Gemmel & Tim  (2021)

Gemmel & Tim is a documentary film that takes a darker route, diving into the subjects of loss, drugs, and murder. As it follows the true story of the murder of two gay Black men at the hands of a white businessman, this film is told through stories of their life and death by their family and the people closest to them. This piece may not be for the faint of heart, but its tough subjects and real-life inspiration make it an important work. 

Well Rounded (2020)  

This film engages with multiple personal stories of triumph and tribulations while set to whimsical animation. The combination of the heartfelt and intense narration accompanied by a dream-like set creates an immersive experience that delves into your heart. Following the stories of BIPOC LGBTQ+ members, this documentary gives a voice to those who may feel underrepresented in the media. 

Interacting with BIPOC media means recognizing the reality of the queer Black experiences they shed light on

With the wide range of films and genres featured at the Massimadi film festival, there are some that are guaranteed  to catch your eye. While some titles deal with tough subject matter, we must remember that these stories are rooted in truth and lived experiences. Interacting with BIPOC media means recognizing the reality of the queer Black experiences they shed light on. As we head into the last stretch of Black History Month, partaking in the festival provides a unique way to open our eyes to Black stories and Black voices.

To access these films, head to the Massimadi main site here. All films are available for viewing free of charge. Check it out!

 

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