HOUSTON – The 23rd Annual QFest, is happening this week, and it's the best chance to see in Houston films by, about and of interest to the LGBTQ community.
This year the festival will show 21 features including critically acclaimed movies and documentaries like “Cassandro, the Exotico!,” "Paris is Burning,” and “Tarnation."
Kristian Salinas oversees the creative direction and operational management of the festival and explained 5 things to know about the festival and what happens behind the scenes .
1. What is the purpose of the festival?
A: QFest is a citywide film festival dedicated to promoting the arts as a powerful tool for communication and cooperation among diverse communities by presenting programs by, about and of interest to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
2. Who curates the films shown during QFest?
A: I oversee feature film selection, including Centerpiece and Competition sections. My colleague, Michael Robinson, oversees short film selection and the short competition section, and Stephanie Saint Sanchez and I collaborate on special events and revival screenings.
3. How many months it takes to prepare the festival?
A: QFest takes up to 12 months to plan and prepare. So as soon as August rolls around, we are already considering programming direction for the following year.
4. How much has the festival changed in the times since you’ve started working here?
A: The opportunities for queer-identified filmmakers have increased exponentially over the last 23 years. However there are still persistent issues concerning access to the means of production and exhibition.
5. What is the most popular or successful film you’ve shown in recent years at the festival?
A: "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark" presented "Elvira's Haunted Hills," one of our best attended programs. The after party at Rice Media Center was especially wild!
QFest runs through Wednesday, July 31, in seven locations throughout the city. Tickets start at $10.
To see Salinas's complete interview and his lists of five movies you can't miss this year, watch the video above.