“For Filth:” An evening celebrating short films that are “queer, Southern, and crazy”

Are you a Southern filmmaker who has made a queer themed/angled film in the South that runs under thirty minutes long? “For Filth,” a new one-night special event at the tail end of the Out on Film Festival, which runs from October 2nd to the 9th, is the perfect venue for y’all to submit (for all the technicalities and stuff visit the Facebook page). Its $15 entry fee is considerably less than most film festivals, so whatcha’ got to lose?

“For Filth” marks the first collaboration between Out on Film, an organization and festival devoted to Atlanta LGBT filmmaking since 1987 and Legendary Children, a co-op of drag artists who strive to “showcase drag's power to build communities of queer acceptance within the South.” Talk about doubling the fabulousity!

Out on Film’s Jim Farmer and Legendary Children’s Jon Dean very graciously give me the dirt on this special night.

No, restricting this event to Southern filmmakers is not to spite the Yankees. (I have it on good authority that Yankees and other outsiders can submit to the rest of the Out on Film festival.) Farmer and Dean assert that there is a cultural distinction in terms of how the queer identity is shaped in the South.  Since Christianity is so ingrained in Southern culture all the way from bumper stickers to whom we elect to office, coming out and living one’s sexuality honestly and comfortably is far more difficult here. Naturally, that dynamic “finds its way into a lot of films from Southern filmmakers,” notes Farmer.

According to the description on the Facebook page, submissions should be “dedicated to experimental cinema and all that is queer, southern, and crazy.” This leaves a lot of room for creativity. They are open to a wide range of submissions from animation, to those “shot on a cellphone, shot in a studio, or shot in the backroom of Inserection on a Tuesday night.”

What does “For Filth” mean? (Don’t feel stupid, I too had to ask). Turns out it is an integral concept in LGBT culture. Filth refers to the rawness, a sense of danger that perpetrates the best queer art. That is why the festival organizers argue that Filth is the apropos theme. Cult filmmaker John Waters, an auteur of everything audacious and crass, remarked “If someone vomits watching one of my films, it's like getting a standing ovation.” Dean confesses that “When I go to the theater or to a gallery, I don’t feel satisfied unless the work has made me a little bit uncomfortable.” One of the finest compliments you can give a drag queen is to say “she is painted for filth!” in reference to her bitchin’ makeup.

The reasons for submitting and attending are the same: community. According to Farmer, Out on Film events are more than just going to see short films. “It’s seeing a movie with people like you, in a safe environment, and experiencing it together” says Farmer. That said, there’s no reason that straight people can’t feel transported by the films as well.

If you long for the old-fashioned days when moviegoing was an extravaganza, you’re in for a real treat, as “For Filth” is going retro, but with a modern twist. According to Dean, popular drag artists Brigitte Bidet and Ellisorous Rex will emcee in addition to performances by various members of the Legendary Children troupe AND an opening number extravaganza. Dean promises that it will “get your popcorn popping.”

Submission ends on August 15th. If you haven’t even started, you might want to wait this out. But if you’re sitting on a film that meets these criteria, why wait?!