Woodland Theater welcomes 7th Annual Eau Queer Film Festival

Festival staff hope to shed visibility on LGBTQIA+ community through film

More stories from Nicole Bellford



Eau Queer Film Festival Staff in San Francisco this past June.

Most films showcased in Woodland Theater are shown simply for the pleasure and enjoyment of a cinematic experience. But the 7th Annual Eau Queer Film Festival plans to utilize the art of film for far more than an evening escape from homework alongside a bucket of popcorn.

This film series is here to make a political statement.

Eau Queer Film Festival was founded in 2010 by Associate Professor of Communication and Journalism Ellen Mahaffy and Chair and Professor of Sociology Pam Forman. The duo said they came up with the idea to create the festival to generate LGBTQIA+ influence within the Eau Claire community.

Both Mahaffy and Forman have been involved with other film festivals in the past and felt they could put their previous experience to good use.

“I saw it as an opportunity to take a hobby like film and use it to raise awareness to the community about the LGBTQ movement,” Forman said. “In watching these films, anyone can understand and connect to the challenges the subjects face.”

Mahaffy emphasized the importance of the festival’s ability to connect the university to the overall community.

“We wanted Eau Claire to be a part of a unique cultural experience they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise,” Mahaffy said.  

Executive Directors Mahaffy, Forman and Chris Jorgenson, along with Eau Queer student staff, coined this year’s theme as “Power, Privilege, Protest. It’s personal. It’s political.”

The theme is meant to emphasize the importance of representing the LGBTQIA+ community through personal stories, in light of the upcoming presidential election.

Despite the assumption that the LGBTQIA+ movement is meeting its end as a result of gay marriage being legalized, the executive directors said the festival’s theme intends to shed light on the fact that there are far more obstacles this community must overcome.

Cori Tosch, director of communication for UW-Eau Claire campus PRIDE and co-director of the festival, said any artistic representation of a minority group such as LGBTQIA+ holds political potency.

In reality, any film that represents LGBTQ people is political and living as an LGBTQ person is a political statement all on its own,” Tosch said.

In addition, Tosch said taking part in the festival is her personal contribution to educate others about a community she identifies herself with.

“When I had the opportunity to learn more about my community, I jumped on it,” Tosch said. “I felt like I owed it to all of the other people who were not given the same opportunities I had. Not to mention, it helped me learn a lot about myself.”

Kallie Adell, women’s studies and public relations student and one of three student directors for the festival, said the event has opened her eyes to her own privilege and assess it in new ways.

The Eau Queer Film Festival runs from Oct. 11-15 with several films playing each day. There will be 15 film screenings, including six documentaries, six feature films and three shorts. The films will cover a wide range of LGBTQIA+, racial and ethnic topics.

For more information about the event, visit their website.