Tag Archives: Fairy Tales Film Festival

Fairy Tales @ 20

It does seem true that as one gets older time slips by more quickly…

Thus, it is astounding to me that the Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival is on its 20th iteration. Significantly, they have produced their own feature documentary to mark the occasion called: OUTLIERS: CALGARY’S QUEER HISTORY. The film will premiere Friday, May 25th at 7 PM. We were ever so pleased to support them in this mammoth undertaking. When the Calgary Gay History project started in 2012, we hoped it would lead to a community of local queer historians and OUTLIERS makes manifest that ambition – we couldn’t be happier.

Additionally, Fairy Tales is close to my heart, as I was present in year one (along with colleagues Kelly Langgard and Trevor Alberts). I have watched it blossom into the confident adult it has become – this year growing itself into the Calgary Queer Arts Society – an excellent move for the organization.

So here are some of my fondest Fairy Tales memories from the early days.

The poster for Fairy Tales #1 was done by the accomplished Calgary artist Lisa Brawn (famous now for her woodcut art); it remains one of my favourites.

Fairytales One

Fairytales poster from 1999 (a little worse for wear on my bulletin board).

Brenda Lieberman, arguably Calgary’s most notable film programmer, began working on Fairy Tales in 2000, while she was staff at the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers (CSIF) and continued on with the festival as their talented volunteer programmer until 2006.

Kevin and Brenda

Kevin Allen and Brenda Lieberman at a Fairy Tales Fundraiser at Money-Pennies. From Outlooks Magazine, May 2002.

The festival grew and broke away from the CSIF to become its own non-profit society on January 30, 2004. Gordon Sombrowski (now my husband), who had been on the programming committee for a couple of years, stepped up to become the Society President, a role he served until 2010.

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Festival Preview from FFWD Magazine June 3, 2004 (we sure miss do FFWD)!

Fairy Tales always has had clever graphic design, but there does seem to be a preoccupation with food-themed images. Here is a tasting:

 

 

Congratulations to everyone, past and present, who sustained Fairy Tales to age 20. We are decidedly looking forward to opening night on Friday!

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Backdating queer cinema in YYC

The Calgary Gay History Project is very cognizant of the various queer film fests that have stampeded through town in years past. Our contemporary Fairy Tales has by far the longest staying power: the 20th annual festival launches in May 2018.

Previous incarnations include The Fire I’ve Become Film Festival and repertory cinema programming at the Plaza. However, at the Glenbow Archives last week, we stumbled across the Calgary Film Society, a non-profit society which ran art film programming from 1946 – 1987, screening their international film series at the Jubilee Auditorium in their later decades.

The Calgary Film Society’s fall 1981 program, had a unique screening series called the Celluloid Closet, which they projected at the University of Calgary’s Boris Roubakine Theatre. The series only cost $12 and featured five gay films from the 1970s.

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Calgary Film Society’s 1981/1982 program

1981 is relatively early for publicized gay cultural programming in the city. Consequently, the Calgary Film Society could be considered edgy in its programming. Yet, Fortune in Men’s Eyes, which had been adapted from the stage, might have been familiar to Calgary audiences then, due to its staging by the also edgy Loose Moose Theatre Company in March 1980 at the Pumphouse Theatres.

Fortune in Mens Eyes

Promo Film Still from Fortune and Men’s Eyes (1971)

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YYC Gay History Busting Out Everywhere

It seems you cannot swing a purse these days without hitting someone working with Calgary’s gay history – we think it’s fabulous…

Yesterday, we were interviewed for a queer history documentary project as part of the Fairy Tales Youth Queer Media Program. Tonight, we are at the University of Calgary as part of a public history discussion for the Bow River Graduate History Conference. Tomorrow, we are in East Village’s Loft 112 for the next chapter of It’s Getting Drafty In Here – hope to see you there!

The Calgary Gay History research collective is tossing around other programming ideas for this spring – stay tuned to this website for developments. You might be happy to note our Jane’s Walk is back in 2016. Please join us Saturday, May 7th at 10 AM for the Beltline Gay History Walk. If you have missed earlier iterations of the walk, then we hope you will be able to join us (hopefully it will not snow again on us as it did in 2014)!

QHP Walk one

May 2014 Jane’s Walk – we had an intrepid crew of 15 walkers, despite snow.  Photo: Michael Wright 

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