Wicked Queer Film Festival returns in person


Photo: Sheen Hui

By Hannah Nguyen, Managing Editor

The Wicked Queer Film Festival will return in person from April 7–17 after being virtual for two years.

“There’s nothing that beats an in-person screening,” Executive Director Shawn Cotter said. “There’s something wonderful about sitting in the dark with a group of people. It’s like sitting around the campfire telling stories.”

The Wicked Queer Film Festival is an all-volunteer organization established in 1984 by film programmer George Mansour. He saw a gradual increase of queer representation in movies and decided to put together a film festival with the Museum of Fine Arts to celebrate queer filmmaking. 

Due to the pandemic, the festival moved its entire program––both shorts and features––onto xerb.tv. There were virtual parties and Q&As over Zoom with directors from all over the world. 

“We had great attendance online and it really was a way to bring the community together during hard times,” Director of Programming Katie Shannon. 

Now on its 38th edition, screenings for the upcoming festival will be held at the Bright Family Screening Room at Paramount Theatre, the ICA, and the Brattle Theatre.

Cotter said the best part about being part of the film festival is that it provides a platform to share stories that are familiar to him and also not his own. Small film festivals are more likely to properly represent marginalized communities.

The festival had to split their shorts programs to some in-person and some virtual attendance due to spacing and venue availability. They also had to cut down programming from 50 films to 33.

Wicked Queer collaborates with other film festivals and cultural organizations, including Boston Latino International Virtual Film Festival and Boston Asian American Film Festival, among others, to reach out to and connect with communities that can play a part in the festival and help diversify it.

“I want Wicked Queer to be for us and by us and by us it means everybody,” Cotter said.

Beyond the festival itself, Wicked Queer embraces its all-volunteer system that provides opportunities for filmmakers to get involved. 

“If we went away, what would we be left with as far as representation and screening films?” Cotter said. “A lot of the times, Wicked Queer is the first stop on a filmmaker’s journey because we do show a lot of first-time filmmakers—students, older people who are making films for the first time. We have a lot of program spaces for filmmakers.”

Tickets are available for purchase on Wicked Queer’s website.