UW-Eau Claire campus to celebrate freaQweek

From Oct. 7-12, the GSRC will be hosting the new annual queer film festival, freaQweek.

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Rebecca Mennecke

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UW-Eau Claire campus to celebrate freaQweek

The 2019 cohort of student programmers and senior student programmers in San Francisco for the Frameline Film Festival last summer.

The 2019 cohort of student programmers and senior student programmers in San Francisco for the Frameline Film Festival last summer.

Photo by SUBMITTED

The 2019 cohort of student programmers and senior student programmers in San Francisco for the Frameline Film Festival last summer.

Photo by SUBMITTED

Photo by SUBMITTED

The 2019 cohort of student programmers and senior student programmers in San Francisco for the Frameline Film Festival last summer.

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Freaks. Abominations. Unnatural. Throughout history, the queer community has often been regarded as “freaks,” according to the freaQweek website.

Formerly, UW-Eau Claire’s queer film festival was called the “Eau Queer Film Festival,” but now the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center is rebranding the film festival as a way to reclaim the word “freak,” Aja St. Germaine, an intern at the GSRC and one of the student programmers of freaQweek, said in a previous interview.

“It’s implying that there are a lot of freaks that are still functioning, full members of society, but they’ve just been pushed aside to make way for what society views as ‘normal,’” she said. “It’s a very intersectional way of putting it, almost. Because who are you to denote what ‘freak’ means?”

From Oct. 7-12, the GSRC will be hosting a series of “robust” queer films, involving a screening at the Eau Claire State Theater as well as a queer concert and LGBTQ+ admitted students day, according to the freaQweek website.

“freaQweek is going to be filled with a whirlwind of powerful emotions,” Sarah Ferraro, a student programmers of freaQweek, said. “The hurt of those who have been hurt, the pride of those who have pride, and everything in between.”

Ferraro was one of several student programmers who was a part of a cohort of students who attended the Frameline Film Festival — the oldest and largest queer film festival, Christopher Jorgenson, the director of the GSRC, said in a previous interview. While there, students viewed a series of queer films and decided which ones to bring back to UW-Eau Claire for the film festival.

“Before being a part of freaQweek, I had a lot of shame in my queerness, but this experience has changed my life so much and filled me with love and acceptance,” Ferraro said. “I recently came out to my parents because I didn’t care if they accepted me because I accepted myself. It’s all because of freaQweek.”

Annie Titus, a senior student programmer for the event, said the cohort selected the films to bring back to Eau Claire for “their relevance to our university audience” as well as “social aspects that we are working through as part of society.”

“Each one is not only pretty to watch but has a strong message connected — whether international or social in scope — each film brings a conversation to campus that allows us to expand our world beyond that of the upper Midwest,” Titus said.

Events will include:

11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 7 — Queer Concert

7 p.m. on Monday Oct. 7 — freaQweek Films Opening Night: The Infiltrators

12 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8 — Through the Intersectional Cracks

3 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8 — Changing the Game

5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8 — Decompress and Express: Regarding HIV and Drag

7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8 — Changing the Game

9 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9 — LGBTQ Admissions Day

12 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9 — Sharing Your Queer-est Truth: A Five Part Series

3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9 — Seahorse

5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9 — A Dog Barking at the Moon

7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9 — Straight Up

12 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10 — Student Presentations

3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10 — Burn the House Down & Fabulous

5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10 — Sell By

7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10 — One Taxi Ride

11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 — National Coming Out Day

12 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 — I’m Coming Out! I Want the World to Know [Who I Love.]

3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 — No Box for Me. An Interbox Story & Ponyboi

5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 — The Garden Left Behind

7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 — For They Know Not What They Do

11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 — A Queer Hodepodge

1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 — Queering the Script

3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 — Before You Know It

5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 — Song Lang

7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 — Gay Chorus Deep South

“I hope students experience films that open their minds and their hearts to those who have gone through much more than we have,” Ferraro said. “To feel grateful for the revolution we are in now, to challenge our privilege and to accept ourselves for who we truly are.”

The film festival is intended to be “entertaining” but not “easy,” according to the freaQweek website.

“It demands of attendees an examination of racism, White supremacy, anti-LGBTQIA+ predjudice. It requires critical self-reflection, offering opportunities to unpack and mitigate implicit and explicit biases, while laying bare the ways in which we either reify (sic) and perpetuate systematic oppression, or work to interrogate and dismantle it. freaQweek embraces discomfort as an important component of substantive change.”

More information about freaQweek can be found on the freaQweek website at www.freaqweek.com.

Mennecke can be reached at [email protected]

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