Film festival emphasizes art over orientation

Titles can be misleading. Clip: Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival will showcase films about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual (LGBT) community, but that is not what solely defines it.

The festival is different from a pride event, said Chuck Henson, the executive director of Clip.

“We are not a one-day festival that’s about being gay,” he said. “We’re an art fair and film festival. We are LGBT content as far as that is concerned, but we are by no means exclusive to the LGBT community. Everyone and anyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.”

The event is in its 19th year and is the sixth-largest LGBT film festival in the country. Clip is also the 25th largest public event in Tampa, according to the festival’s official Web site,

Events like this take on a life of their own, Henson said.

“After an amount of time they become part of the cultural fabric of any community, which is really what happened with our event, thankfully,” he said.

The festival’s title, Clip, doesn’t have a meaning — it’s about branding, Henson said.

“The event will always be the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival,” he said. “However, the DBA (Doing Business As) name for the festival is the Clip Film Festival.”

The festival received more than 100 film submissions through, which is the same site the Sundance Film Festival uses. The Clip board members selected 10 films and the rest were picked by program director Stephen Mintz. The list includes more than 50 features and 50 shorts that will be shown at the Muvico Baywalk and the Tampa Theatre.

The festival is the longest-running annual event in the Tampa Theatre’s history.

“We are really happy to host this event,” said Tara Schroeder, the theater’s community relations director. “We are proud to have supported this through the years.”

The festival includes documentaries, dramas, comedies and even television shows, such as the British show Sugar Rush.

This year the festival has expanded to include USF. Mintz will give a lecture on campus next week about LGBT films and LGBT images in film.

“We’re going to talk about the genre of queer film and how it went from part of the civil rights movement to the mainstream,” Mintz said. “We are going to talk about how it mirrors society. Other genres, like horror films, they don’t really mirror society, they are made based on just people’s ideas.”

The festival runs Oct. 2-12. For more information about movies, tickets and events, visit Mintz’s lecture will be given at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Grace Allen Room in the Library.