Monday, October 31, 2005

SASOD Film Festival

"Painting the Spectrum - A Celebration of Love"A screeing of films which explore different aspects of gay and lesbian love

This was held every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during October 2005

The venue was at Sidewalk Cafe & Jazz Club, Middle Street, Georgetown

Download the final report

We have other items on this blog. Please browse through the archives to find them.

Please note that links are provided for informational purposes. SASOD is not responsible for the content of the external links.
Monday , October 3rd

My Beautiful Laundrette (UK) The academy award nominated 1985 film is a story of an ambitious Pakistani Briton and his white lover striving for success and hope (97 mins) more..
(available at 3H CD & Video Club)

Tuesday , October 4th

little man (US) Writer/director Nicole Conn’s enthralling non fiction film about parental love and the ‘little man’ born to his two mothers (112 mins). more..
Donations will be taken as part of Sidewalk’s First Tuesday support for Help & Shelter

Wednesday , October 5th

When Night is Falling
(Canada) Patricia Rozema's film is a passionate and compelling--if racially problematic--love story between two women. ( 92 mins) more..

Monday, October 10th:

Fire: (India) Deepa Mehta’s controversial and critically praised 1995 film confronts love between women . (104 mins) more..
(available at 3H CD & Video Club)
Tuesday , October 11th

Touch of Pink (Canada) : Alim is an Ismaili Canadian who lives in London, thousands of miles from his family, for one very good reason--he has a boyfriend. ( 95 mins) more..
(available at 3H CD & Video Club)
Wednesday , October 12th

1) Coconut/cane and cutlass (Canada/Guyana) Incorporating a rich, poetic style with elements of dance, personal history, and ethnographic documentary, Michelle Mohabeer reflects on her Guyanese heritage, exile, and sexual and cultural identity. (30 mins) more..

2) Child Play (Canada,Tobago) is a surreal allegory about colonial rape explored through the psyche of the molestation of an older woman (when she was a young girl of ten --by the spirit of a child molester, Georgie de Roote) (12 mins) more..

Contact Third Eye Films (Michelle's production company) at

3) Dakan ( Guinea) Mohamed Camara's debut feature is a simple story of how two men fall in love and who must try to overcome the town gossip, parental rows, and even violence which their romantic relationship provokes. (90 mins) more..

Monday , October 17th

1) Darker Side of Black (USA,Jamaica) An exploration of the homophobia expressed by reggae and rap artists against gays and lesbians. Inludes interviews with rappers Shabba Ranks and Buju Banton (55 mins) more..

2) Songs of Freedom (Jamaica) takes us inside the world of Jamaican gays and lesbians and tells compelling stories of individuals courageously carving out meaningful lives, despite the taboo against their sexual identity. (75 mins ) more..

Tuesday , October 18th

Latter Days (US) A sexually agressive, homosexual, party animal falls for a young Mormon missionary promoting fireworks from their respective friends and families., (107 mins) more..
(available at 3H CD & Video Club)

viðrar vel til loftárása (Iceland) , music video from Icelandic band Sigur Rós about two boys (7 minutes) more..

Wednesday , October 19th
Kali’s Vibe (US) Kali's Vibe brings us stories of African-American women and men that are seldom seen on the screen.It all begins when Kali discovers that her girlfriend Crystal is playing another lover on the side and the tarot tells Kali that she "must release everything that is comfortable and familiar. (92 mins) more..

Monday, October 24th:
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (USA) Winner of numerous awards, this is a post punk neo glam rock musical based on the hugely successful off broadway hit and follows the life story of a transsexual German rock star ( 95 mins) more..
(available at 3H CD & Video Club)

Tuesday , October 25th & Wednesday , October 26th

Angels in America (USA) The 2003 HBO adaptation of Tony Kushner's prize-winning play which became the defining theatrical event of the 1990s, an astonishing mix of philosophy, politics, and vibrant gay soap opera - the winner of 5 golden globes, another 34 wins and 25 nominations. The film would be shown in two parts, each of about 180 mins each more..
(available at 3H CD & Video Club)

This Film Festival would not have been possible without the support of many people around the world who gave support, nominated films and even donated films.
Thanks must be given to :-
Michelle Mohabeer who loaned a copy of her film Coconuts/Cane and Cutlass and who recommended her ‘best cinematic work’ Child Play.
Nicole Conn who donated her film little man to the Festival
Phillip Pike who discounted the cost of his film Songs of Freedom and who loaned copies of Kali’s Vibe and Dakan.
Achal Prabhala in India who will be sending films to be shown later.

Some films have been lent by 3H CD & Video Club, 61 David Street, Kitty,
email 3hcd at networksgy dot com

email suggestions to sasod_guyana at yahoo dot com .

Monday, October 24, 2005

Review of Film Festival - Guyana Chronicle 23 October, 2005

This is from the Guyana Chronicle
On the inside looking in
-- A frank look at SASOD, Spectrum and the sexual-preference debate in Guyana

SOME of my best friends are gay. Seriously. That’s mainly how I found myself at the launching of the SASOD Film Festival two Mondays ago at the Sidewalk Café and Jazz Club in Georgetown.

SASOD – the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination – is currently hosting `Painting the Spectrum’, A Celebration of Love, more specifically gay and lesbian love. The festival consists of the screening of films which feature homosexuality or bisexuality as one of the major themes.

Another important reason why I went is that I had at the time been researching a human interest article on what it is like to be homosexual and bisexual in Guyana. I have had a longstanding interest, I confess, in the issue of these two sexual preferences/choices/states of being. This interest was sparked after picking up a book, several years ago, in the poetry reference section at the National Library, `The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse’.

I found inside that book some of the most personally disturbing and some of the most beautifully crafted poetry I have ever read. From Sappho to Ginsburg, from the pornographic to the sublime, that anthology gave me a glimpse of a parallel human world, possessing all the human beauty and grotesquery that my own offered.

But far more interesting, however, were the few comments scribbled on the front inside cover of the book, alternately for or against different issues, ranging from the appropriateness of the book in the National Library or the sinfulness or lack thereof of homosexuality. I made it a habit of always leaving the book out on a desk and then checking it whenever I went back to see how the debate had progressed. The last time I checked, almost all the inside covers and the two flyleaf pages in the book were overtaken with writing.

It should be said, at this point, that I can tender the fairly inconclusive fact that I live with a beautiful young woman with whom I have a handsome (his mother’s genes) son as admittedly evidence that I am heterosexual. And that my interest in homosexuality and bisexuality is partially academic; and partially out of a perhaps misdirected sense of social justice I have when it comes to the prejudice against gays and lesbians in the Caribbean, Guyana in particular.

Of course I have my prejudices when it comes to gay people. I believe that I am, for example, hardwired to wince whenever I see two men showing public (much-the-less private) displays of affection. No amount of personal tolerance or openness to dialogue is going to change that. Maybe continued exposure might eventually desensitise me, but I don’t feel as if I’ll ever be ready for the marathon session of ‘Queer as Folk’ that that would require.

My prejudices against lesbians are less clear. In fact, I’m not sure if I have any real prejudices against women who prefer to be with other women…except one which I will deal with soon, and which can count as a general prejudice against anyone who deviates too far from the ambit of ‘normal’ heterosexual activity. I suppose my self-confessed ambiguity of judgment concerning lesbians stems from two things: a general societal ambivalence when it comes to women with ‘Sapphic tendencies’ in Guyana; and the ménage-a-trois fantasy that a significant number of men have.

My general prejudice when it comes to same-sex relationships – inclusive of lesbian ones – concerns not any aspect of the sexual act itself but an important corollary, human longing for continuation of species, the desire for parenthood. As open as I am vis-à-vis the issue of legally sanctioned same-sex marriages, I am yet to find any sort of comfort level concerning the parenting of children by same-sex couples.

Why? My argument, simplified, is that non-heterosexual activity is a deviation from the norm – a human deviation I should add, but a deviation all the same. When it comes to children, we should, in my opinion, give them the benefit of the norm (male-female parenting) from birth, since sexual-orientation, while not completely about the actual sex, is primarily about sex, something that is ideally reserved for mature adults. In my opinion, same-sex parenting threatens to skew the development of a child’s sexuality by presenting the deviations (and I do not mean this in any pejorative sense) that are homosexuality and bisexuality as the norm itself.

The Cowardly Lion
Now back to the subject, Spectrum. What was personally interesting to me is that all three films that SASOD screened the first week of the Festival touched separately on the areas of male homosexuality, lesbianism, and same-sex parenting – as if deliberately catering to my general prejudices as outlined above. (See Spectrum mini-review). What was shocking is that the promised discussion about sexuality and the politics about sexual preference in Guyana never happened.

I know a bit about SASOD. During the 2003 furore concerning the proposed inclusion of a clause banning discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual preference, a group called SASOD was at the vanguard of the gay/lesbian defence side of the debate.

The group now calling itself the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination started out then as Students Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination, with University of Guyana Law student, Joel Simpson penning most of the letters. The letter-writing campaign was a courageous, almost leonine move then, as Spectrum can be considered as sort of a courageous, almost leonine move now.

From what I’ve seen of the current membership of the new SASOD, the intellectual calibre of the group’s membership – inclusive of the continued presence of Simpson – has not been lowered. They are all above-average intelligent young professionals working with government, private sector, and the international donor community. That is why their inability to stimulate open discussion after each screening is mind-boggling.

At the end of the screening of the third film, one active SASOD member got up and queried whether the movie was nice.

“Was the photography good?” he asked the audience. After a few seconds of non-committal grunting, the proposed discussion petered out. In fact, the most valuable feedback the group got from the audience the entire week was garnered from a badly-designed questionnaire distributed after the screenings.

If anything, Spectrum seems to have simply started the chain of events that will lead to an inevitable shouting match between the group and its opponents, the opponents doing most of the shouting. Evidence enough of this is the scathing letter written by a Roger Williams and published earlier this month in the Guyana Chronicle. Excerpts of Mr. Williams’ October 7 letter:

“Did SASOD receive permission from the Censor Board, and the Police, for the public screening of this pornographic material? Was the fact that the advertisement of this sleaze came only one day before the “festival” started of any significance? Are our children, and communities, at risk?

Contrary to SASOD's flyer, the evidence illustrates that it is a sordid life in the gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender community. Same sex relationships are notorious for the volume of partners involved, used, abused and dumped in the process, and the disproportionate levels of disease they foist upon society….

Guyana’s criminal law prohibits same sex intercourse … for good moral and medical reasons.”

When this article was originally written, I had predicted that SASOD’s response would be well-articulated, well-written, well-researched and…extremely timid. In a letter published in Guyana Chronicle, Monday 10th October, SASOD response begins:

“Film is a visceral artform…”
Luckily for SASOD, one of their biggest opponents in 2003, Bishop Juan Edgehill is now current Chairman of the Ethnic Relations Commission. I am willing to wager that although Edgehill’s fundamental[ist] position on gays in Guyana – he has the dubious honour of being dubbed Guyana’s anti-gay crusader by several gay/lesbian/transsexual websites – has not changed, it would not do well for the him to be preaching equality on one issue, and intolerance on another.

Still, the debate on homosexuality in Guyana has always been – and from SASOD’s latest ‘volley’ against Williams – one in which the anti-gay activists shout through a megaphone, while SASOD & Co. speak in hushed whispers. But even more importantly – as I mentioned to one of the organisers of Spectrum – on the anti-discrimination side, there has never been any personalisation of the issues.

In addition to knowing about the group, I actually know some of the members of SASOD. I am willing to stake my [perhaps over-inflated] reputation as a journalist that SASOD membership is comprised largely – almost exclusively – of either homosexual or bisexual persons, i.e., people with a vested, personal interest.

My friend – the Spectrum organiser – rationalised that personalisation is going to take away from the objectivity about the debate on human sexuality in Guyana…which I say is bunkum. SASOD can squeak on about inclusivity and tolerance and non-discrimination until the cows come home.

While there is an abundance of intelligence, of intensity towards their ‘cause’, what is common to SASOD’s members and by extension the society itself, is a surfeit of cowardice in regards to representing their position. Until one of its members is brave enough to come out of the closet publicly, to shout “I am gay/lesbian, hear me roar!”, they might as well end all the upper-crust, pseudo-intellectual experimentations, the half-hearted posturing…which is essentially all that Spectrum is.

If not, they’ll continue to be where they have always been when it comes to their place in this society: on the inside looking in.

Painting the Spectrum
– A Mini Review

Monday – My Beautiful Laundrette
The first film shown was `My Beautiful Laundrette’ a quirky drama set in London during the mid nineteen eighties. The film stars Gordon Warnecke as ‘Omar’, a British youth with Pakistani heritage and Daniel Day Lewis as ‘Johnny’, his childhood friend turned punk whom Omar enlists to help him renovate and run a his uncle’s launderette. Despite the automatic wince whenever Omar and Johnny kiss, I was objective enough to notice that `Laundrette’ is a beautifully shot and scored film with a plot that is just complex enough drama to be dubbed as ‘human’ or ‘realistic’ but with mediocre acting by most of the cast with the exception of Lewis and Rita Wolf (Tania).

`Laundrette’ is a poignant love story in which the “wrongness” of Johnny’s and Omar’s affair comes less from its status as a homosexual relationship than the fact that it is an interracial/intercultural one. The seething racism between the Pakistanis and the white Londoners dwarfs any angst that might have come about as a result of the two men being together. Aesthetic considerations aside, one of the highlights of the film was an appearance by Guyanese-born actor Ramjohn Holder, (`Pork-Pie’ of Desmond’s fame) as a scruffy, poet delinquent in his rent to Omar’s uncle.

Tuesday – `little man’
Tuesday, I missed the screening of the second movie, `little man’, by Nicole Conn but went online to look it up anyway. The film is a documentary about the tension that develops between Conn – a lesbian – and her partner when their child being birthed by a surrogate mother is born over three months early. According to online articles and reviews about the film, Conn skilfully follows the initial complications, the birth and the quarrel between her and her girlfriend Gwen whether or not to abort the child. According to one SASOD member whom I spoke to subsequently, unlike `Laundrette’¸ there was actually some post-screening discussion about this film. Notably however, it was about the morality of abortion as opposed to morality of the lesbian relationship around which the film is centred.

Wednesday – `When Night is Falling’
I missed most of the third film `When Night is Falling’, but fortunately I had seen it before. The film is around an uptight religious studies student-teacher, Camille who goes through an existential epiphany of sorts when her dog dies. She realises that she might not be all that hot under the chemise for the man she is about to marry, Martin, and may in fact be falling for an alluring female circus performer she had just met. Again, as was the case with `My Beautiful Laundrette’, there is sensitive writing, a nice plot, good cinematography but sub-standard acting. The added allure of this film is its sensuality though both between Camille and Martin and Camille and Petra.

My favourite scene in this film was when Camille tries to confess her Sapphic sins to a patronising church elder.

Reverend DeBoer: Yes, I think we have been guilty of homophobic cruelty, and, excluded people like you, in the past.

Camille: People like me.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Film Festival Report - Week 3

Media Release – Week 3 of the SASOD Film Festival

The aspects of tolerance of gay and lesbian love were explored during the third week of the SASOD film festival running at the Sidewalk Cafe in Middle Street, Georgetown, Guyana. Isaac Julien's documentary “A Darker Side of Black” examined the violence and the explicit lyrics which emerged in dancehall and hip hop music. In the documentary, Buju Banton uses religion to justify his call to kill homosexual people, while church leaders and other artists and cultural critics reject the homophobic views. Academics in the documentary suggest that many lesbian women find the feminine sexuality liberating in dancehall music, while some gay fans suggested that the homophobia hid repressed homosexual desires of the singers. The documentary Songs of Freedom looked at the lives of gay and lesbian people in Jamaica and is the first of its kind in the Caribbean. Some members of the audience found the documentaries too long, while others felt that the documentaries had greater impact to raise consciousness than showing conventional feature films. Tuesday night, SASOD screened a 7 minute music video Vidrar vel til Loftarasa from Icelandic band – Sigur Ros. The imagery of the two boys being torn apart left many stunned, whilst other members of the audience admitted that they did not have a clue what was happening. The film Latter Days is a love story between a Mormon missionary and an out and proud gay man. This film was a favourite with the entire audience. One man said he thought it was the best film of all he had seen in the festival. One woman said that even though she enjoyed it, she worried that it showed too easily that a man could be seduced away from family and beliefs. Other people thought that there was no seduction, and that the film depicted the importance of not trying to deny one's true feelings. The film Kali's Vibes on Wednesday night showed a story of a lesbian woman who leaves her lover and then falls in love with a man. Many members of the audience thought the film was good, that the acting was good. Most members of the audience were surprised at the ending, one man saying he did not expect that SASOD would screen a film which showed the flow of sexuality – not only from heterosexuality to homosexuality, but also in another direction of homosexuality to heterosexuality. Another woman said that the film , while a beautiful film, did a disservice to her gay and lesbian friends who struggled to change their sexuality. Other members of the audience thought that there was a important message, that sometimes people fall in love with individuals and personalities rather than sex and gender.
The SASOD film festival continues into the fourth and final week with two important films. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a rock musical which The six hour film Angels in America on Tuesday and Wednesday night stars Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and others, and it looks at issues such as HIV/AIDS, homophobia, politics and liberation. More details are available on the SASOD website at

Sunday, October 16, 2005

SASOD Film Festival - review 'A darker Side of Black'

(This was written by someone who wanted to remain anonymous)

The recently concluded film festival by SASOD-Guyana
was very edifying since it focused on many issues
affecting the gay and lesbian community in the region
(the Caribbean) and internationally. I was fortunate
to view the documentary ‘Darker Side of Black’ which
is an exploration of homophobia expressed by reggae
and rap artistes against gays and lesbians.

It is obvious that some reggae artistes in the
Caribbean have become crusaders in propagating hatred,
wide spread condemnation and damnation of homosexuals
through explicit violent lyrics and obscenity. This is
very perilous for Caribbean societies that see a
constant challenge to their democratic ideals (esp.
individual freedoms). Further, in Caribbean societies
that serve to build and strengthen its plurality the
rights of minority groups (in this case the gay and
lesbian community) must be recognized and respected
and given a chance to exist with state respect and
legal protection.

The content of reggae and dancehall music noting that
most artistes are of Caribbean origin sends a signal
to the international community that Caribbean people
generally accept and welcome the torture and
criminality against homosexuals more so in the
Caribbean. This is the wrong perception and one that
must be altered.

The reality is that there is an existence of
homophobia in the Caribbean like any other region or
country. However, ‘songs of hate to death’ by some
reggae and dancehall artistes in the Caribbean
reinforce this homophobia. Why is this so?

Well, based on my analysis of the documentary four
over-riding themes can be cited for the so-called
‘homophobic nationalism’ in the Caribbean.

* Black Patriarchy – The reality that we live in a
male dominated and constructed society (the Caribbean
in specific context) with the black male exhibiting
and exhorting a strong level of machismo. Therefore
any tendency or lifestyle that counters this (being
homosexuality) is an attack on the masculinity of the
black male and his superiority over women in a
patriarchal society that subordinates them (women).

* Reggae & Dancehall music – Whether fortunately
or unfortunately a favorable amount of music by
artistes of the above genre are products of the
abovementioned society noting most of these artistes
are men. Hence, it is not surprising that the music
reflects the orientation of the society/environment of
which the dwell. This is a society that is intolerant
of homosexuals. However, some of these artistes
advocate zero-tolerance of homosexuals with crass,
flagrant and grotesque citation of violence towards
the annihilation of human being of such lifestyles.

* Religious Fundamentalism – I am no religious
theologian but my wit affords me to make this
commentary for I believe in God (Christian) and from
my exposure to religious text. We all know the
religious argument of homosexuality. However, some
denominations (in the context of Christianity)
exercise moderation with homosexuals (the individual:
the sinner) but not with homosexuality (the act: the
sin). The exercise by some Christian denominations I
believe is to ensure homosexuals have some acceptance
in the church with the hope they can reform. What has
been observed of recent in the Caribbean like other
countries globally is the rise of churches that
exercise religious fundamentalism.

This fundamentalism, in my view, sees an all out
campaign against homosexuals and homosexuality by
church groups of such practice to ‘cleanse’ the
society of this ‘pestilence’. This serves to further
aid in the victimization and stigmatization of
homosexuals. It is hypocritical how some churches
approach this issue with fervor unlike societal treats
and ills such as AIDS, poverty, criminality among
others and cases of fornication and adultery among its
congregants. It is obvious that you will see an
uprising by citizens and some churches towards
recognized gays and lesbians that live in there
communities than towards recognized drug lords that
poison the minds of youths and destroy families and
communities with illicit drugs.

* Rastafarianism – Like religious or Christian
fundamentalism practices by some churches,
Rastafarianism has declared zero-tolerance on
homosexuals and homosexuality. Note that some
dancehall and reggae artistes in the Caribbean that
produce music of homophobic lyrics are practicing
Rastas or are supportive of the Rastafarian culture.
The ideology of the Rastafarian Movement is highly
condemnative of the Western culture (the US and
Europe) based of its enslavement of the African people
and the underdevelopment of Africa among other issues.

The Rastafarian Movement generally condemns the
existence of homosexuals and homosexuality. But when
it comes to African community they are of the view
that it is a Western perversion that serves to destroy
the morality and integrity of the African community
(in the Caribbean).

It is lucid that the above four themes do not exist in
isolation. They serve to entrench the deep resentment
that exists in some sections of the Caribbean against
homosexuals. Amidst this homosexuals are peacefully
co-existing with their tolerant heterosexual and
homophobic heterosexual counterparts in the Caribbean.
Noting the abovementioned themes some homosexuals have
resorted to ‘solitary bliss’ whilst others publicly
articulate the right for legal protection against
discrimination and other related intolerance.

SASOD-Guyana has displayed valor in being daring to
the peculiarities that serve to make the advancing of
the rights of the gay and lesbian community a
challenge. The task ahead of advocacy for the gay and
lesbian community is challenging due to years of
Caribbean culture and tradition that is ignorant
against homosexuals. This taboo can be broken and it
has started with some incremental steps and
achievements. The mere fact it is a debated issue is
indicative that the issue of homosexuality being a
taboo in the Caribbean will diminish with other
significant changes being a corollary to this

Report of SASOD meeting of 15 October, 2005

A larger number of people met and gaffed about different things..

1) Film Festival
Going good , except for the quality on Wednesday. Only way to fix that would be to watch all films in advance. Publicity needs to be a bit more widespread, given the challenge of the lack of funds. Other venues suggested for other nights as part of a regular programme. Sidewalk confirmed for at least one night in the month, and a Saturday night.

UNAIDS offered support for activities against homophobia. SASOD members will be going with others to seek support for
a) campaign against hompohobic lyrics
b) office/centre for counselling,meeting

3) Homophobic lyrics
The campaign against homophobic lyrics will be taken to the Minstry of Culture, YOuth and Sports and to the Ethnic Relations Commission.
The promoter of the last Beenie Man show is a member of the Government.

4) Reading from the spectrum.. same sex love in poetry,prose writing
Saturday 19th November at Oasis Cafe, Carmichael Street, Georgetown

Next meeting will be first Saturday of November,5th,

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Film Festival Report - Week 2

Media Release – SASOD Film Festival – Week 2
“What will people say” was a recurring cry from families of gay and lesbian people depicted in the films screened during the second week of SASOD's Film Festival which continued at the Sidewalk Cafe in Middle Street. The films during the second week looked at the confrontation between sexuality and culture . On Monday night, Deepa Mehta's Fire was shown. Fire is a story of two women in loveless marriages who turn to each other as their husbands become more distant. One older woman said that the film was fantastic rather than very good as recommended by a friend. Another woman admitted that she never thought of same sex attraction in the context of emotional survival in a patriarchal scenario, and could not understand why the women did not go and find other men. Another gay affirmative man, felt uncomfortable watching the film saying that while the film confronted patriarchy and dealt with the religious issues which are used to oppress women, he wished that the director could have balanced that by also using some of the religious themes which also liberate women. Tuesday night's Touch of Pink, a comedy, was enjoyed by the audience of about 40 persons, especially by the woman who the night before did not support homosexuality and who admitted that she was starting to see things differently. One person regretted that the stereotypes of South Asian people, and of gay men were overdone. Another man cried at the ending. A mother also cried during parts of the film in which the mother confronted her son's sexuality. On Wednesday night, technical difficulties limited the enjoyment of Michelle Mohabeer's Coconut/Cane and Cutlass. Many people felt that the film's imagery was good, others said that they did not understand the film. Another woman said that she empathised with the identity conflicts of Guyana, India, North America, woman, lesbian. Many were surprised at the Guyana scenes, especially at the sound bite of late poet, Mahadai Das. The second film Child _ Play from Michelle Mohabeer was enjoyed by all. The film is a surreal allegory about colonial rape explored through the psyche of the molestation of an older woman (when she was a young girl of ten --by the spirit of a child molester. This film is described by Michelle Mohabeer as he best cinematic work to date. Some thought the acting could have been better, but were impressed by the story and the imagery. Mohammed Camara's Dakan. a love story of two men in Guinea, was the third film shown on Wednesday. Some people recalled the similarities in the dilemma faced by the mothers in Dakan and in Tuesday night's Touch of Pink “I want grandchildren”. Some people felt uncomfortable with the lengthy scene of the failed spiritual healing to cure the homosexual disease. A pastor dropped in on his way home, and expressed concerns that the laws were being broken at Sidewalk. He felt that the festival's theme ; A celebration of gay and lesbian love' was not an invitation to an honest discussion of the issues to remove discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Another priest who was there with his wife said he enjoyed the films which he had seen. A second lay preacher and his wife said that even though the films were a bit slow , they supported the idea of the film festival to continue to remove prejudices. The film festival continues on Monday 17th October at Sidewalk with two documentaries around homophobia and survival in Jamaica. Details are available at .

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Feedback on the film festival... +ve and -ve

Letter in Kaiteur News, Chronicle 7,8 October...
Where does Guyana's descent
> into lawlessness end?
> Dear Editor,
> Under the noses of the police, the Ministry of
> Education and the Guyana Council of Churches, an
> organisation called SASOD (Society Against Sexual
> Orientation Discrimination) on October 1 circulated a
> flyer to advertise the holding of a "festival of
> films" celebrating various aspects of gay and lesbian
> "love", inviting the public to attend viewings at the
> Sidewalk Café.
> Did SASOD receive permission from the censor board,
> and the police, for the public screening of this
> pornographic material? Was the fact that the
> advertisement of this sleaze came only one day before
> the "festival" started of any significance? Are our
> children and communities at risk? Enquiring minds need
> to know. Further, Christians of every race and creed
> are now to understand the importance of advocacy and
> protest, and vote with their pocketbooks and
> patronage.
> Contrary to SASOD's flyer, the evidence illustrates
> that it is a sordid life in the gay, bisexual, lesbian
> and transgender community. Fuelled by the aberration
> of not being able to produce offspring, there is a
> demonic drive to recruit at all costs. Same-sex
> relationships are notorious for the volume of partners
> involved, used, abused and dumped in the process, and
> the disproportionate levels of disease they foist upon
> society. That SASOD's effort is the newest attempt to
> influence the hearts and minds (provide a process of
> recruitment) of the insecure and the young is not lost
> on the Christian community. A few days ago, courtesy
> of Paul Rondeau's law review, we considered the
> strategy being mimicked by the GBLT community in
> selling homosexuality to Guyanese. Readers should now
> assess the incisive critique of Judith Reisman's
> review (she destroyed Kinsey's fraudulent views on
> sexuality) of the recruitment process now being used
> by SASOD: " Crafting Bi/Homosexual Youth" , 14 Regent
> U. L. Rev. 283, 326 (2002; (
> ).
> Specifically, therefore, we need to place this latest
> effort at corruptness in its current legal context.
> Guyana's criminal law prohibits same-sex intercourse .
> for good moral and medical reasons. This includes
> offences in relation to sexual activity between males,
> such as s. 351 (gross indecency between males), s. 352
> (attempted buggery), s. 353 (buggery) of the Criminal
> Law (Offences) Act, Chapter 8:01, and offences in
> relation to prostitution, such as s. 356 of Chapter
> 8:01 and s. 165 of Chapter 8:02 (keeping a common
> bawdy house) and s. 166 of 8:02 (loitering for the
> purposes of prostitution . because this is what the
> "festival" represents). Yet we have an organisation,
> SASOD, which challenges each of these laws with
> impunity with its "offerings". Rastafarians should
> also note that Shabba Ranks and Buju Banton will be
> vilified at this "festival", consistent with Reisman's
> prediction of "demonisation" on page 5 of her review.
> SASOD must not be allowed to proceed, and must be held
> accountable to the existing law.
> It follows also that parents, aware of this influence
> and agenda of efforts like SASOD's on a new Education
> Act, and armed as they are with the knowledge that
> scarcely eighteen months ago they were called upon to
> march in the streets of Georgetown and protest outside
> Parliament against the inclusion of: sexual
> orientation as a fundamental constitutional right,
> must now prepare for action again.
> Roger Williams

"I am very happy to know that SASOD has hold such a
nice Film Festival


Marcelo Ferreyra
congrats on an amazing festival
Alissa Trotz
Take heart, there are bound to be narrow-minded bigots as that letter
most clearly expresses. I do hope you and the group are
not daunted --I think the 56 year old woman that would like to see a film
festival continue and raise the consciousness is great and this is the kind
of voice that you all should focus on. I am so glad that you are doers it
takes courage and tenacity to be and do what you are in a place where
narrow mindedness seems to spread like a disease in small pockets and if
nothing new challenges that way of thinking, living and being then it can
spoil the potential for a wonderful place and people............"

Michelle Mohabeer
Y'all are doing such good work!!!

My heartfelt congratulations!!!

Phillip Pike


Great Start.

Again, congratulations on your film festival in
> Guyana. I wish I'd been able to attend it. Hopefully
> some day we will be able to do something like that
> in
> Belize. But bravo to you guys and keep the fires
> burning.
> Best regards
> Javier

Monday, October 03, 2005


Painting the Spectrum 5 : Celebrating Love in all of its Diversity

Sidewalk Cafe, Middle Street, Georgetown Guyana
Programme starts at 7pm each night

Admission is FREE. All films are intended for mature audiences unless otherwise indicated

Monday 1 June Brother Outsider : The Life of Bayard Rustin

A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. He brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the American civil rights movement, and helped mold Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence.
Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. Five years in the making and the winner of numerous awards, BROTHER OUTSIDER presents a feature-length documentary portrait, focusing on Rustin’s activism for peace, racial equality, economic justice and human rights
Film donated by the Bayard Rustin Film Project

Tuesday 2 June Karmen Geï
Senegal/Musical/ French and Wolof with English subtitles
Karmen Gei is the African adaptation of Bizet's popular opera Carmen. The conflicts between conventional morality and sexual freedom, between constraint and liberation, between complacency and passionate self-abandon, which are always present in iterations of the Carmen myth, will here acquire a very African political dimension, as well as a very modern one in terms of its sexual politics. Karmen is (85 mins)

Wednesday 3 June Le fate ignoranti/ His secret life
Italy:Turkey / Drama/ Italian/English subtitles
This beautifully involving film is another triumph from Director Ferzan Ozpetek in which he explores the sub rosa aspect of the lives of his characters. Antonia is happily married to a handsome Italian man (Massimo) who dies suddenly in an accident, leaving her bereft and lonely. Massimo's friends at work bring Antonia his belongings and in opening the office clutter she discovers a painting ("The Ignorant Fairy") which has an inscription on the back that it is from a lover of seven years. Antonia is convinced that her husband has had another woman and sets out to confront her, only to discover that the lover was a man (106minutes)

Monday 8 June Dreams Deferred : The Sakia Gunn Story
USA/ Documentary
This documentary tells the little known story of Sakia Gunn, a 15 year old student who was fatally stabbed in a gay hate crime in Newark, New Jersey. Sakia was a homosexual woman of color who dresses in masculine attire but does not necessarily identify as either lesbian or female-to-male transgender. Sakia was stabbed while waiting at the bus stop, after rejecting advances. What lessons does her murder have for the way in which we perceive youth violence and violence against girls who reject violent masculine advances? (71 minutes)
Film donated by Third World Newsreel

Tuesday 9 June Dostana (2008)
India/ Comedy/ Hindi/English
Abhikshek Bachan and John Abraham play Kunal and Sameer, two straight guys who pretend to be a gay couple to secure an posh Miami apartment, but both of them fall for their gorgeous room-mate Neha, hilarity ensures as they strive to convince one and all they are gay! Secretly they are trying to win Neha's heart! (120 minutes)

Wednesday 10 June Toul Omry / All my Life
Egypt/ Drama/ Arabic with English subtitles
For Rami, all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, as long as he keeps to himself. But when his longtime lover leaves him to marry a woman and his best friends drift away, he comes face to face with the harsh realities of life as a gay man in Egypt. Against the backdrop of the choreographed crackdown on gay men and the notorious Queen Boat arrests of 2001, he plunges into a world of loveless friendships and spirals downwards to his ultimate downfall.(120 minutes)

Monday 15 June Milk
USA / Drama
Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant directs Academy Award winner Sean Penn as gay-rights icon Harvey Milk. Mr. Milk (1930-1978) was an activist and politician, and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in America; in 1977, he was voted to the city supervisors' board of San Francisco. (128 mins)

Tuesday 16 June bi the way
USA / Documentary
Bi the Way had its World Premiere at SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX. The film is an enjoyable and entertaining documentary about the changing nature of sexuality and sexual identity in America today and how the next generation is redefining its sexual mores. The directors travel across the country talking mostly to young people about their new definitions of sexual identity. It is an eye-opening film, because it really begins to break down our normative dichotomous definitions of heterosexuality and homosexuality. (85 mins)

Wednesday 17 June The Sum of Us
Australia / Comedy
Happy Father's Day!!!! A widowed, beer-drinking ferry driver who is looking for Ms Right and his rugby-playing, beer-drinking, gay plumber son both search for love and romance. Starring Russel Crowe, this film tells the story of a father son relationship and the difficulties they encounter as they try to intervene in each other's lives (100 mins)

Monday 22 June
Spectrum Celebration - An evening of poetry, prose, drama acknowledging the struggle and the achievements.
Featuring a reading from Beautiful Little Lies , a play by Judith Rudakoff

Tuesday 23 June Straightlaiced: How gender's got us all tied up
USA/ Documentary
With a fearless look at a highly charged subject, Straightlaced unearths how popular pressures around gender and sexuality are confining American teens. Their stories reflect a diversity of experiences, demonstrating how gender role expectations and homophobia are interwoven, and illustrating the different ways that these expectations connect with culture, race and class.
From girls confronting media messages about culture and body image to boys who are sexually active just to prove they aren’t gay, this fascinating array of students opens up with brave, intimate honesty about the toll that deeply held stereotypes and rigid gender policing have on all our lives.
Film donated by Groundspark

Wednesday 24 June The World Unseen
South Africa / Drama
The film is set in Cape Town, South Africa during apartheid in 1952 and is based on the novel by Samin Sharif. The films stars Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth as two Indian South African women who fall in love in a racist, sexist, and homophobic society. This film has a background of beautiful music set around the same time.

Monday 29 June
Coolie Gyal
In this coming-out story, an honest and sincere letter is read from a daughter to her parents. A familial montage is incorporated with a heartfelt narrative filled with the expectations and anxieties of a young woman. Renata Mohamed is a Toronto-based Indo-Guyanese filmmaker born in the British Virgin Islands.( 7 minutes)
Contributed by Director Renata Mohamed

Blu in you
Canada/Tobago / Essayist Documentary
Directed by Guyana born Michelle Mohabeer PhD
BLU IN YOU is an essayist rumination mediated through the lens of a female observer (Melanie Smith), who watches the staged conversations between a visual arts curator (Andrea Fatona) and a writer (Nalo Hopkinson). These conversations bridge historical and contemporary representations of the black female body, subjectivity and sexuality exploring various thematics from a cultural history of violence and spectacularization (embodied in the figure of "the Hottentot Venus") to discussions of art, representation and celebrated cultural icons (Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge and the figure of the muse Jeanne Duval), to a contemporary black queer female erotic body and sexuality.
Film donated by Dr Michelle Mohabeer

A domicilio
Spain/ Drama
Rosa has thought of everything, she’ll treat Flor to a sushi dinner; they’ll drink white wine and listen to music. Both know what they are there for. However, things not always go as planned and some words, some time together can make them reconsider the prejudices they have about themselves and about one another
Film donated by director Mariel Macia

Tuesday 30 June Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom
USA / Comedy
Noah and Wade invite their friends to Martha's Vineyard (Massachusetts) for their wedding. This feature-length version of the TV show gives the characters a chance to learn more about each other - and themselves - while living in close quarters. Relationships are tested and there are plenty of surprises. (101 minutes)


With the support of

For arranging the delivery of films :-

Scheherazade Khan
Stacey Gomes
Dion Small
Greg Jagroo
Sherlina Nageer