CineSLAM 2009

20 06 2009

This year’s 4th annual Gay Film Festival in southern Vermont has expanded to two events, with an opening night in Brattleboro at the Hooker-Dunham (139 Main Street) and a full Saturday afternoon of shorts at the Organ Barn in Guilford. Sponsored by The Kopkind Colony and scheduled to screen in both Brattleboro and Guilford, the festival marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which is considered the beginning of the modern day Gay Movement. CineSlam is programmed by local Emmy-Award winning filmmaker, John Scagliotti, who has a number of films coming to CineSlam from around the country and this year many outside of the United States.

Scagliotti said, “On this 40th anniversary of Stonewall we hope to show the variety and depth of the glbt community in terms of filmmaking from around the globe. The gay film festival circuit is now very much an international fixation and there are presently more than two hundred glbt film festivals attracting more than 2 million people into theaters in all industrial countries as well as many now in developing countries like Lebanon.

Scaglioitti added, “ I was pleasantly surprised to be asked to have one of my films in the first gay festival in an Arab country a few years back. We in southern Vermont are really excited to be part of this global phenomenon.”

Friday’s “Opening Night” at the Hooker Dunham theater (7pm) will include international films like “James” by Northern Irish filmmaker Connor Clements having just arrived from showing his film at the San Francisco Film Festival. In Clements’ film, the main character, James, is a young man struggling as an outsider and is surprised by his favorite teacher’s response when he tells him he is gay. Also that evening CineSlam presents a excerpt from the new feature film City of Borders about Jerusalem’s only gay bar. Last year as a short it won the festival’s Chessie Award (best short) and then director Yun Suh went on to make it into a feature film which just won the prestigious Teddy Award at the international Berlin Film Festival. The evening ends with “Gay Penguins,” an animated short by New Yorker cartoonist Arnie Levin who will be in attendance for the festival. After the opening night films there will be a Pride Dance at the American Legion Hall in Brattleboro. (9 pm).

The next day, Saturday, Jan 27th the Kopkind Colony moves the festival to Guilford’s Organ Barn for three sessions of cutting edge short films (starting at 1pm ) followed by a delicious BBQ. The second session of films that day is a collaboration with the Out in Connecticut Film Festival and their program director, Shane Engstrom, will show some of his favorites from last month’s Hartford festival including Kali Ma. This light hearted film about a tough reality (gay bashing) shows the audience what a suburban Indian mother can do when she finds out her son is the victim of a vicious bully, and she delivers her own brand of vigilante justice. Starring popular Bollywood star Kamini Khanna (Monsoon Wedding), “Kali Ma” plunges us into a battle of mythic proportions, where we discover the secrets that divide mothers and sons and the love that binds them together.

Other international films will include Celestial Brides. Here filmmaker Parthiban Shanmugam takes his camera to explore the world of eunuchs (hijras) in India. Richard Davis, just back from Lima, Peru, films a determined group of glbt folks as they go about building a new community center in that capital city. Not everything is from overseas as Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson will also present a fun look at the Transgender March in San Francisco and Burlington, Vermont Filmmaker Alisan Segar’s and I am me provides the audience an intimate look at the relationship of a lesbian mother and her adopted Ethiopian son. There will also be a historical journey back to the “Harlem Renaissance” as filmmaker Robert Phillipson “Takes the Gay Train” into that creative community during the 1930’s.

The festival will have a number of filmmakers in attendance. Besides Levin and Clements, CineSlam will introduce filmmakers from Brooklyn, Atlanta, and Los Angeles to the audience. The BBQ following the Organ Barn sessions will give the audience plenty of time to talk with the visiting filmmakers about their films.

This year many of the CineSlam filmmakers will have the opportunity to win the Chessie Award which will be announced at the BBQ. The winner of the Best Short, named after the Chessie Foundation, which is financially supporting the festival, will receive a cash prize of $750 and an invitation (expenses paid) to present their winning film on Pride of the Ocean Film Festival (sailing out of New York May 30, 2010 for seven days of films screenings and ocean cruising) .

There is limited seating at both the Hooker Dunham and the Organ Barn in Guilford, so it is advised to make reservations. Both CineSlam film events call for separate reservations. For Opening Night (June 26th, 7pm) at the Hooker Dunham one can call 802-254-9247 ($6 tkt) and to make reservations for the Organ Barn day (Sat. June 27th 1pm to 6pm) of three film sessions plus a BBQ ($10 tkt) one should either go the website ( where all the films are listed and make a reservation or by contacting John Scagliotti at Once a reservation is made directions to the Organ Barn in Guilford will be sent via the email or call John Scagliotti at 802-254-4859.

The Kopkind Colony, a nonprofit project based in Guilford, VT, which brings together political journalists and activists, was launched eleven years ago as a living memorial to the late Guilford resident and journalist Andrew Kopkind. The Kopkind Colony organizes seminars for its resident participants and hosts a number of free public events. Next month on Sunday, July 19th, Kopkind will present in the Organ Barn the new film William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, by his filmmaker daughters, Emily and Sarah Kunstler, which just won raves at The Sundance Film Festival.

John Scagliotti, creator of In the Life.

John Scagliotti, creator of In the Life.

Our Lives, Our History – Celebrating 40 Years since the Stonewall Riots

4 06 2009

Kick off Pride in Vermont with the grand opening on Gallery Walk Night, Friday, June 5th (5pm to 7pm) of a special art installation:

“Our Lives, Our History – Celebratin

g 40 years Since the Stonewall Riots.”

Includes a special historical visual remembrance by David M. Hall of some of the famous LGBT pioneers like Audre Lorde, Barbara Gittings and Amistead Maupin. Also the opening of the GrassRoots Wall “We Were Here!” with memorabilia from LGBT people, their families and friends in the local area.

It takes place at the Hooker Dunham Theater and Gallery, 139 Main Street. Brattleboro, VT (refreshments will be served).

Sponsored by The Kopkind Colony’s CineSlam

“I don’t think such a thing has been presented before in the area. My hope is that this presentation will get some folks in the archive preserving local history field in our local towns to begin to see GLBT lives and stories in rural America and all the great things they have done as something worthy of preserving in a serious manner.

It is my belief that we are still considered somewhat marginal when it comes to what is important to be saved and honored in rural America. I would say that GLBT marginalization is not only a symptom in the straight community but also part of the GLBT community itself. It is hard even in these times to break that feeling that our history and lives are not quite that important when it comes to saving our legacy. After so many hundreds of years of being invisible and dishonored by the major institutions of our societies, it is a very difficult task to rebound. But many are doing it.

In big cities we do have major archives like the Hormel Center in SF, the New York Public Library, Lesbian Herstory Archives, One Institute at UCLA, and Homodok in Amsterdam’s Public Library. But those took a determined effort by the many employees and activists and historians in those areas. As Audre Lorde said, “Everything we do must contribute to the struggle, because everything they do is grinding us into dust, and we will not be ground.”

So we start somewhere here in Brattleboro with this presentation and I appreciate all the folks who contributed and helped make the exhibition so wonderful. As well as the hard work that David M. Hall put into designing the historical posters.

I hope everyone reminds their friends to come and see it on Opening Night.”
-John Scagliotti

John Scagliotti, creator of In the Life.

John Scagliotti, creator of In the Life.

Kopkind Harvest Event w/ Laura Flanders

4 06 2009

Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride in the stretch ahead – and no one has been tracking the political mood and the balance of forces more closely than the sparkling Laura Flanders, the featured speaker at Kopkind’s annual harvest fundraiser, a “late brunch” tapas feast, on Sunday, October 12, at 2 pm at the Organ Barn at Guilford, 158 Kopkind Road.

A longtime print and broadcast journalist, Flanders is the voice of “RadioNation” on Air America, and the host of Her latest book, Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics From the Politicians, follows the trail of small ‘d’ democrats across the country battling for social and economic justice, political representation, human rights and people’s power. She has been following the electoral campaigns and the economic crises through all their twists and turns, bringing a unique perspective from the grassroots to the commanding heights.

In her previous work on WBAI in New York and on Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting’s radio show “CounterSpin”, she covered everything from Reaganism to gay liberation, the wars in Central America to the wars in Iraq, labor, feminism, sex, media and more. Her books include Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species and Real Majority, Media Minority: The Cost of Sidelining Women in Reporting. She has written in numerous publications, from The San Francisco Chronicle to The Nation.

The first Harvest event, in October 1998, launched the Kopkind Colony as a living memorial to the late journalist and Guilford resident Andrew Kopkind, who wrote on politics and culture with a matchless style and depth for national and international publications until his death, in 1994. The project, which brings together journalists, activists, documentary filmmakers and the broader public, puts on summer retreat/seminars for its resident participants and hosts film screenings and lectures for the community.

This year’s event will celebrate ten summers of political and creative exchange at Kopkind, and will also honor the project’s founder and administrator, John Scagliotti, on his sixtieth year. Scagliotti, a documentary filmmaker who was Andrew Kopkind’s longtime companion, has been a pioneer in news radio and gay media, the creator of public TV’s “In the Life” and the maker of such landmark historical films as Before Stonewall and After Stonewall.

“We are so glad to have Laura with us this year to bring sense to this exciting-dangerous-maddening time”, said JoAnn Wypijewski, president of the Kopkind board. “But also sensibility, because she has the kind of radical energy that is fundamental to our project here, a spirit of resistance but also passionate, playful engagement, which John embodies and for which we are so grateful, especially in times like these.”

Tickets for the Harvest Late Brunch tapas feast are $30 which will help Kopkind begin its work for the another decade.

For reservations and directions, e mail or call 802.254.4859.