Quand les lesbiennes se font du cinéma

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Why Cineffable? Why the Paris Feminist and Lesbian Film Festival?

A move towards visibility

Being visible is about letting others see us. It is also about seeing ourselves, being aware of our strength and using it. We don't have to ask for the right to exist if we are already here! We are what we show ourselves to be, alone or in a couple, in private places or public places and in our thousands...

The festival is a crossroad of ideas, a catalyst. Together we make it happen: festival goers and organisers, we put on a great show. The festival is a stage, a huge stage where lesbians are at the centre of the universe.

Every year we organise this women only festival. A festival of films by women film-makers, films for lesbians and films by lesbians. The festival is an annual rendez-vous, an empowering moment when we show images of lesbians and feminist perspectives, when we engage in debates, put on an art exhibition, enjoy an opening gala concert and have a party.

The team of organisers owes its ongoing existence to the continuous hand-over and exchange of skills. The organisation itself is non-hierarchical. Tasks are divided up and performed by different groups called "commissions" which meet regularly. The commissions are: programming, logistics, translation, technical, ads/com, catering, secretary, technical, exhibit (visual art), finance and web.

Each year we select a programme of high quality films; films that are diverse in theme, style and country of origin. Often these films are not shown anywhere else. Every year there are prizes and awards for director.

In the spring, we organise a mini-festival, the Best Of Mixed. This annual mini-festival takes place at the MK2 Hautefeuille as part of Lesbian Pride. This event too is about visibility: we want to raise awareness of our festival and bring some great lesbian films to a mixed public.

A Festival of Our Own

The Paris Feminist and Lesbian Film Festival, Quand les lesbiennes se font du cinéma, started in 1989.

The desire to organise a festival grew out of discontent and frustration with the Women's Film Festival at Créteil: despite the fact that THE lesbian film always won the People's Choice Award (prix du public) at Créteil, hardly any space was given to lesbian films and lesbian festival goers.

Over the years, Quand les lesbiennes se font du cinéma has grown in size and reputation. It has moved from venue to venue to accommodate the ever increasing interest and demands of the lesbian public. A public that has grown from a few hundred in the beginning, to 2000 in the year 2000.

It was, and continues to be, a conscious political choice to make the festival a women only event, despite the problems this entails in terms of finance, finding a venue and negative reactions within the gay and lesbian community. The choice is part of the ongoing fight against lesbophobia: lesbians don't only ask for a room of their own, but insist on their right to be centre stage.

The fight against lesbophobia is not the only objective of the festival nor of its organisers. We also want to bring great lesbian films to the public eye. For this reason we organise a smaller mixed festival, the Best Of Mixed, each June, as part of lesbian and gay pride. The B.O.M. takes place in a central Paris cinema and presents a selection of the best films from the main festival.

Well Chosen Words...

Over the course of our many festivals, Cineffable has published articles in the catalog and elsewhere explaining the choices tha:tious, for example the decision to keep the November festival a women only event. Many of us feel that these choices are fundamental to our association, but this does mean that we never reassess our decisions to ensure they are still valid and still represent the choice of the majority. For example unfortunate events during the 15th Festival led us to reassess our position on transsexuals, and more importantly explore how we respond to other women attending the festival who are troubled by the presence of these women who were not born women, but who have chosen to become women.

The texts below have been chosen because they present and explain our position. Living these choices peacefully and positively together before, during and after the festival depends crucially on the mutual respect and goodwill of all.