InterMedia at ITV Studios

gay, LGBT, media, queer

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We arrived at the ITV Headquarters on London’s Southbank after being whisked down on a scenic journey from Manchester by Virgin trains, and met up with rest of our friends from February’s festival and after networking for a while took our seats in the audience, as the sun set over the Thames, for an important discussion with InterMedia‘s members about some of the lastest anti-bullying campaigns.

ITV Creative and Stonewall have been working together to tackle homophobic bullying with their School Sponsorship Anti-bullying project, and Stephen Barber and Grivas Kopti talked about work they had done creating a poster to highlight people’s perceptions of LGBT issues and discussing homophobic phrases. ITV has also produced a video featuring employees such as Sonia, who works on This Morning, to encourage people to speak up for support whilst they’re at school. Working in partnership like this they produced Vines and Instagam videos that really had the ability to reach the younger generation with an important message.

Following on from the encouraging words from ITV we heard in a video message from Shaun Dellenty who founded Inclusion For All, a new initiative the deputy head primary school teacher had devised to train teachers on how to communicate the impact of the negative use of the word gay in schools. ITV isn’t alone in the work it is doing with schools and Hannah Kibirige from Stonewall talked about their campaign No Bystanders to impress on people that words leant at school carry on into adult life. Stop it at the start and don’t be a bystander is their powerful message.

Hailing from Manchester and also having done the LGBT Heritage Walk of the rainbow tiles in the city centre we knew the tragic tale of Albert Kennedy and the trust formed after his death. AKT formed in 1989 after Kennedy, a gay man, fell to his death from a city centre car park after being pursed by a homophobic gang, and aim to provide a range of services to meet the individual needs of those who would otherwise be homeless or living in a hostile environment.

When Stephanie Fuller from AKT stood to talk about the charity, even though she felt apologetic she may bring the room’s positive mood down, we knew what she had to say was important as many in the room being based in London may not of heard of the charity. There is still work with LGBT teens that is still vital and ongoing and even Stephanie said, when she recently started in the job that she was surprised at the level of need for support that still continues today. She told us how one recent outing by a school teacher resulted in a young boy being stabbed, and then kicked out of home.

These days pupils can be easily outed through social media and the lack of representation of LGBT people in the media means there are no positive role models for this younger generation. Visibility is very important which is something we aim to continue to support through our next Queer Media Festival events with queer film screenings and conversations with LGBT media professionals. Things will change even if it is not as fast was we would like but together we are heading in the right direction.

Many thanks to InterMedia and ITV for a fantastic worthwhile event.


To London for the BFI Flare Festival

gay, LGBT, media, queer

We have always had a massive interest in LGBT films and have been for many years avid fans of the BFI Southbank’s wonderful London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival now renamed BFI Flare but not only was the name different but we were lucky enough to be attending this year as delegates. There aren’t so many LGBT films screened in Manchester so our trip down meant we were lucky enough to get to see several films in what is always a sold out event.

This was a great opportunity for us to watch new and archive films and attend the industry seminars to learn from established festival programmers on how they find content, decide what to schedule and how they make choices through the plethora of shorts we could view in the viewing gallery.

We were very keen to see the short films and discover what had been submitted and this year the films had been placed into sub strands of Hearts, Minds or Bodies and it was anyone’s guess which one was going to light our senses the most.

The first set of shorts we saw were the Hearts as there was three sets of compilations in that section that explored close encounters, the heart’s desire and the tangle of relationships and as we watched the passion in the stories we were drawn in to these fantastic films.

After hours of watching all of the shorts submitted to BFI Flare we noted down those that had us captured, taken and had told a story to us which is important for a festival inspired by the TEDx talk by Chocolat writer Joanne Harris, where she described the power of stories and how they have the power to effect incredible changes. Watching all those films wasn’t a chore it truly felt a privilege as we got to travel the world and into different people’s lives and see things they saw and feel how they felt and it was an incredible journey of love, pain, frustration, or new hope and all other emotions too many to detail all in the snap shot that is a short film.

The best compilation of shorts we watched was the You’re The One, Aren’t You? that combined shorts featuring the couple next door that wants to try swinging to the lonely astronaut longing for love, these were funny and tender films that all proved that relationships are never easy.

Photo credit: QueerMediaUK