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Out in Alabama

Documentary about the brave Alabama communities that embrace LGBT rights makes its world premiere. 

Alabama filmmaker Bonnie Blue Edwards’ “Out in Alabama” premiered earlier this month at Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, California. A journey into the lives of LGBT members in Birmingham, Alabama, the film is still fundraising for a feature-length version and will make its Southern debut at Crossroads Film Festival in Jackson, Mississippi, on April 2.

Focusing on Libertee Belle, the first-ever official drag queen, and Joshua Glenn, a Christian who’s been abandoned by his family after coming out, “Out in Alabama” is also a celebration of the friendships formed at Pride events. The film is the longtime project and directorial debut of Edwards, who is originally from Alabama and got her start through the storytelling juggernaut The Moth. She was an associate producer on the feature film”Assisted Living,” executive produced by Kevin Spacey, and the romantic comedy “Stereotypically You,” starring Aaron Tveit, also doing the film festival circuit this year.

Despite a stark conservative atmosphere, Edwards wants to show that the state of Alabama has cultivated communities with an active LGBT presence, complete with an annual gay pride parade and pride week celebrations, a bustling nightlife, community-funded resources for LGBT youth, program funding for gays and lesbians, inclusion in Civil Rights exhibits and more. “Out in Alabama” provides an intimate view of the people who courageously defy prejudice, allowing intolerance to dissipate into understanding. The film also illustrates how we all survive with the simple kind help of friends, family, and sometimes even strangers.

Why make the documentary? The film’s Kickstarter campaign page says: “Because we are members and allies of the LGBTQI (and any other letter or person who identifies in that category) community and we want to show that we are thriving. Because time is of the essence, as these stories are happening right now. Because the world deserves to see examples of love and acceptance. Because there is someone somewhere who needs to see this film to know that they are not alone and that they belong. Because there is someone who will see it and will then understand. Because love is love, and all human beings are human beings.”

See “Out in Alabama” Saturday, April 2, at Malco Grandview in Jackson, Mississippi, as part of the Crossroads Film Festival. The short version of the film will be showing in an LGBTQ series on screen C that starts at 5:30 p.m. Edwards and film subject Joshua Glenn will be in attendance to answer questions after the screening. 

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