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Hot Date: Queer Film Festival

The Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival unveils a new project to raise awareness about AIDS

By Jennifer Hilliker

AIDS is a fairy tale.

Undertow

It may not end with a princess meeting her prince and living happily ever after, but a new project called AIDS as Catalyst has been deemed the heart of this year’s Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival, May 27 to June 4.

This annual festival celebrates queer cinema and includes 47 movies about GLBTQA culture (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and allies). AIDS as Catalyst is a festival-within-a-festival, as it includes films about AIDS, panel discussions and art installations running May 30 and 31.

“HIV/AIDS and queerness are part of Calgary’s urban fabric, and we need to talk about that,” says Ted Kerr, an AIDS as Catalyst co-conspirator and HIV activist.

“I fear that younger people think HIV/AIDS has nothing to do with them, and I hope that this conversation and these films will change that. [Some people] think that just because the [AIDS] crisis is over, the conversation should be over, and it’s not. I’m so happy and excited to have a platform to talk about it.”

As part of the project, Kerr contributed a photo installation called the One on One Underwear Project, images of men embracing their bodies—a statement that the GLBTQA community is ready to move forward from the AIDS devastation. Another installation by Calgarian Keith Murray features 500 glow-in-the-dark condoms, helium and LED lights, meant to illustrate how many people will die of HIV/AIDS every 90 minutes, the approximate time of a movie at the festival. Both installations can be viewed from May 29 and 30 at the old Fiasco Gelato in Kensington, 207 – 10 St NW.

Dancing to Happiness

“I think the reason queers have such a connection to art is largely due to HIV/AIDS,” Kerr said. “We use our art as a tool for social change. As an artist, nothing has activated me more than HIV/AIDS. It has shaped me as a gay man and helped me understand my place in the world.”

As for the rest of the festival, Programming Director Jessica Dollard says there is something for everyone.

“This festival is more diverse and international than ever before, rich with content from Canada, Australia, Sweden, China, USA, and a few surprises from Israel, Peru and Argentina.”

For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit www.fairytalesfilmfest.com.

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