Painting the Spectrum 3 : A celebration of love
A report of SASOD's Film Festival
Sidewalk Cafe, Georgetown, Guyana
“I have seen most of the films, but will still come”
“what SASOD is doing and has done in the past....with Film festivals like this one is not only
informational,entertaining, but helps us see and understand people of various backgrounds,
culture etc....ones who like ourselves has to feel, see, and go through much more than some of us
just to enjoy life and live theirs as they please.... I rejoice.. with all”
“SASOD's June misadventure at the Sidewalk Cafe..”
“I have never seen any films about this stuff..”
“I have just arrived in Guyana, and could not believe this”
“I am only coming to lime, not to watch the films”
SASOD and its Gay and Lesbian Film Festival : Painting the Spectrum 3
The Society against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) is an organisation which is now
formalised by a Trust Deed. SASOD recognises that its film festival is an important event for
continuing public education and awareness; and for also bringing together like minded people who
are interested in working against homophobia, and in promoting acceptance of diversity.
“..we see the new modus operandi of those sworn to deceive, to pathologically
misrepresent, to recruit because they cannot procreate..”
Letter to the Editors of Stabroek News, Kaieteur News and Caribbeannews headlines
protesting SASOD's Film Festival
Painting the Spectrum 3 occurred at a time when in some parts of the world there was rising
tolerance and acceptance of people who are not heterosexual, while in other parts of the world there
is growing intolerance and hatred. Painting the Spectrum could also be seen as part protest, part
celebration, part recognition. This festival consisted mostly of feature films, many of them classics.
This year there was an experiment in turning one night into a mix of song, film, poetry and dance,
recollection and recognition, and this worked well.
This report summarises the experience of Painting the Spectrum 3.
Thanks up front..
Painting the Spectrum 3 would not have been the same without the support of the following
individuals and organisations who contributed in different ways to help with the publicity of the
Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable...know
that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and
sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as
outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It
is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master's tools
will never dismantle the master's house.
Management and Staff of Sidewalk Cafe and Jazz Club , http://www.ariantzesidewalk.com
The Scene, Stabroek News
Oasis Cafe – http://www.oasiscafegy.com
For the films
Nhojj, for sharing his “Intimate Evening with Nhojj”
Sean Drakes, for Vale of Cashmere, and Devil's Day
Sridhar Rangayan for permission for Gulabi Aina
Richard Fung for Sea of Blood
Adaora Mwangu for sending Rag Tag, which was unfortunately damanged in transit
Earl Fowlkes, President/CEO of the International Federation of Black Prides, Inc who donated the
ticket to bring Kei Miller to Guyana from Jamaica
Kei Miller for enlivening our Celebration and Recognition 2007, along with Philip, Paul, Issaiah,
John, Althea, Rasheeda, Travis and other performers and readers
Professor David Plummer for giving a lecture on Stigma and Discrimination, with the support of
Stacey Gomes who co-ordinated all logistics during the film festival.
And of course, the audience who attended and who gave support in other ways. The success of this
festival could not been without the faith in God, in doing a good thing.
The programme for Painting the Spectrum 3
The programme for Painting the Spectrum 3 contained a selection of feature films, documentaries
and experimental shorts. The countries covered in this programme are Cuba, New Zealand, Canada,
India, Trinidad & Tobago, UK, USA, Taiwan and France. Other films were offered from Nigeria
and Turkey. The festival programme resulted in 3 documentaries, 9 feature films and 4 short films.
The diversity of the programme can be measured on the gender identity of the main subjects of the
films. In most cases, the films with male subjects dealt with male homosexuals, while those with
female subjects dealt with lesbian themes.
“..what about us women thou few we are, we love you guys but we need to see more of
us, both in the movies that you choose to show and at the festival...”
The shortage of films around female subjects is due to the unavailability of films easily for the
programme and SASOD will ensure that there is greater balance in the next film festival.
Films and the screening rights for films were donated by directors and owners of the work and
SASOD, and some films were bought and donated. A few films were on loan.
“..I would love to share "An Intimate Evening with Nhojj with you..”
From Sean Drakes
“..I'm willing to send you "The Devil's Day" and "Vale of Cashmere" as they are
From Sridhar Rangayan, Gulaibi Aina
“you folks have a great line-up of films and we are proud to be part of it. “
From Richard Fung
“Give me the address to send the film (Sea of Blood) .. “
The Trinidadian films added a Caribbean flavour to the film festival – this included at the last
minute, Sirvival which will be shown again.
The film programme is in Annex 1 to this report.
SASOD agreed that the film festival would remain non-competitive and free – for entrants and for
the audience. There were attempts to collect donations, but that did not work out. The budget was
spent to print the flyers which were done on risograph. PK donated the colour posters.
SASOD believes that it would be necessary to organise a budget and funding for future events,
especially when donations and visitors are going to be invited. Ruel Johnson offered support to host
Kei Miller, whose ticket was arranged by Earl Fowlkes.
Location and time for screenings
"Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the letter from Roger Williams.
Sidewalk Cafe has always recognized and respected the right of each individual to
their own opinions. In addition we have stood firmly against all types of
discrimination by one group against another- African, Indian, gay, straight, brown
eyes, blue eyes-.where does it begin where does it end.
As an organization we do not promote any particular preference or persuasion. We
merely support the principle that no one should be discriminated against because
of race, colour, creed, political or
sexual orientation. This we do within the boundaries of the law. I believe it was
Christ who said, what you do to the least amongst us, that you do unto me."
Letter published in Stabroek News, Sunday 3 June, 2007
Sidewalk Cafe agreed to host the film festival, this time though without being a co-sponsor. The
audience was comfortable and the numbers ensured a cosy atmosphere for the films. The venue of
the cafe also allows for purchase of food and drinks. Sidewalk Cafe also had to respond to a call for
Christians to boycott it because of the hosting of the film festival.
The formula of Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights worked well since it gave the organisers
enough time to in the week to organise publicity and to give people choice for the nights. The rainy
season intervened, but fortunately the raindrops spared the patrons who were attending the festival.
Many supporters were in classes at various tertiary institutions so noted that they could not attend.
Publicity and public response
Could I have one of these posters for my cubicle?
I heard about it on the radio, and since I work in HIV, I thought I should come and see..
I am a nurse..
I saw the blurb in my email, and it looked interesting, and even though it rained, I
thought I should come
I thought that you guys had Nhojj live tonight
Posters were printed and put up in strategic places, while press releases in the newspapers for the
entertainment sections helped to publicise the event at low cost. SASOD had recognised that
advertisments did not work in the newspapers since the ads would have to be large and noticeable
and compete for attention.
The discussions on the Radio and the Television news item helped to encourage persons to attend
who wanted to know more. Some people who say the press releases, did not know understand what
the film festival was about, or did not know where the venue was located. Some people said that
they were scared to come to see the films, because there would have been protests or people
The film festival was discussed in the following media :
Kaieteur News, Entertainment Section, 25 May, 1 June, 8 June, 15 June, 22 June, 29
Guyana Chronicle, Pepperpot 27 May, 3 June, 10 June, 24 June,
The Scene, Stabroek News, 26 May, 2 June, 9 June, 16 June, 23 June
CWTV Channel 2 News, Interview aired on Thursday 31 May
NCN Radio, Lets Gaff, 7 June, 2007
NCN Radio, Lets Gaff, 26 June, 2007
Also Caribbean Beat Blog at http://www.meppublishers.com/online/caribbean-
There was one letter printed in protest at the film festival. There was discussion on
http://www.guyanapalace.com . The programme was also published on the SASOD website. Flyers
were distributed in public venues like Oasis Cafe and at the University of Guyana.
What did people think?
hey just wanted to say i think it's really great what ur group is doin for gay ppl in
guyana,u guys give gay ppl a reason 2 socialize n meet other gay ppl.thanks a lot u guys
last night's show was great....i did enjoyed it...myself and J.. had a blast
this film is kind of slow, I dont understand what is happening...
Can I get a copy of the films?
Painting the Spectrum offers a safe and open space for gay and lesbian people to meet and mingle
and it became evident for this film festival, judging by the number of people who just dropped in to
give support and not necessarily to see the film. At the same time, many other people came to see
the films on a larger screen.
The opening film Fresa y Chocolate, screened to about 35 people, mostly expatriates who were
interested in the Cuban films. One woman said she grew teary eyed towards the end. Rain poured
the day when Wedding Banquet was screened, parts of Georgetown were flooded, and about 25
people came and all of them felt that it was worth it. One woman said it was the first time she was
seeing a 'gay film'. One man said he had to leave during the love scene in Fingersmith. Technical
difficulties prevented the ending of We are Dad, while the audience found Richard Fung's Sea of
Blood moving. One woman said her mother was also dealing with a terminal illness and she found
an identity with the film. The film Gulaibi Aina saw an audience of about 40 people, most of whom
found the film funny and interesting. The film was screened twice since it was a short, and some
people said that the second time round it was better. One man who was there with his girlfriend said
he was a bit stunned by it. Another man found that it was over the top with the reinforcing of
stereotypes of gay people. Hilary Swank's performance as Teena Brandon in Boys Don't Cry
touched the audience, some of whom came to see only that film in the whole festival. One woman
said she could not see the point of Some prefer cake, while others found parts of it funny and
enjoyed it. Mambo Italiano was very popular. Juste une question d'amour was also enjoyed by the
audience. Some found the film Heavenly Creatures disturbing and that it characterised lesbians in a
bad way. Better than Chocolate is a replay of a favourite film, and some of the people who had seen
it before were glad to see it again. The films shown on Celebration and Recognition were all well
received and the final film, Kinky Boots screened to the largest audience, and ended the festival on a
Celebration and Recognition 2007
Nhojj's film was about music, while Sean Drakes' film, Vale of Cashmere integrated poetry, and the
Devil's Day was about dance and about painted bodies. It was an opportunity to do something
different, and to also say thank you to those who contributed to the film festival. The evening
started with Nhojj's film. Jason led a short reflection. Poetry was read by Althea, Rasheeda, and Kei
Miller read some of his poems and his prose. Flo.river also asked to read a poem. There were other
readings of progress in different countries on human rights for gay and lesbian people. Travis,
Phillip and John sang at different points. Paul decided to do a dance to Tanya Stephens DVD. Isaiah
also did a dance. The Vale of Cashmere was screened . Many found it fascinating, though some
could not understand some aspects. The Devil's Day ended the evening and this proved a fantastic
Tribute was paid to Sidewalk Cafe, Oasis Cafe, Danielle Campbell, Akila Jacobs, Neil Marks,
Mondale Smith, The Scene, Nerissa Pearson.
Just wanted to say that tonight was really really really great. Im glad that the event was
very well attended. All the participants were brilliant, and I must commend SASOD on
an excellent evening.
Kei was brilliant I thought. And like you already mentioned, Paul and Isiah should be
commended for their wonderful dances on such short notice. Great Job guys, keep it up
The idea of having a night with a difference during the film festival is popular, and SASOD will
work on integrating this into future film festivals.
Preparing for Painting the Spectrum 4...
“goodday its good what u guys are doing for us but still we are being fight down by
society i hope we as homosexual can be one with unity and fight agaist sexual
discrimination . thank you and keep the good works up with those interesting films i do
enjoy them .”
“People would like to stay back and chat about some of the issues in the films”
“Are you guys hooked into the network of International LGBT film festivals?”
“I have started to collect a few films for your next film festival”
“Can you show some of these again?”
The increase in the audience size, the recognition by the media of the SASOD Film Festival as an
important cultural and entertainment event in Georgetown's calendar, and the interest by different
people who have identified films for future screenings, show that SASOD has to continue to
develop the festival. It is the only festival of its kind in the English speaking Caribbean. Sidewalk
Cafe has a business interest as well, and once the event proves feasible, then there is no doubt that
the festival will continue as one of SASOD's activities to raise awareness and to educate while
Other ideas of doing satellite events will make the festival much more interesting and will increase
the outreach. SASOD has considered doing a documentary of the film festival, but the opportunity
was lost due to unavailability of a camera to get the clips.
SASOD 15 July, 2007
Annex 1 : The 2007 Programme
Friday June 1
Fresa y Chocolate (Cuba/Spain/Mexico) Comedy/Drama
Diego, a cultivated, homosexual and skeptical young man, falls in love with a young heterosexual
communist full of prejudices and doctrinary ideas. First come rejection and suspicion, but also
fascination. Fresa y chocolate is the story of a great friendship, that is, a great love between two
men, which overcomes incomprehension and intolerance. This film was produced in Cuba and is
recognised as one which had criticisms of the Government. Winner of an Oscar for Best Foreign
Language Film, and other awards(104 minutes) Ratings : 16+
Monday June 4
Hsi Yen - Wedding Banquet (Taiwan/USA) Comedy/Drama
Ang Lee's funny film is about Simon and Wei-Tung who are a gay couple living together in
Manhattan. To defer the suspicions of Wei-Tung's parents, Simon suggests a marriage of
convenience between Wei-Tung and Wei-Wei, an immigrant in need of a green card. When Wei-
Tung's parents come to America for the wedding, they insist upon an elaborate banquet, resulting in
several complications (106 minutes) Ratings 16+
Wednesday June 6
Fingersmith (UK) Drama
Susan Trinder (Sally Hawkins) has been brought up in a house of thieves in London. She gets
sucked into a plot by a family friend. She becomes Maud Lilly's (Elain Cassidy) maid so as to get
her to marry Mr Richard Rivers. They plan to put Maud in a mental asylum once she marries so
they can claim access to her $40,000. The plan becomes a nuisance when Susan mistakenly falls in
love with Maud. (181 minutes)
Friday June 8
Sea in The Blood (Canada) Documentary
Sea In The Blood is a personal documentary from Trinidad born, Richard Fung, about living with
illness, tracing the relationship of the artist to thalassemia in his sister Nan, and AIDS in his partner
Tim. At the core of the piece are two trips. The first is in 1962, when Richard went from Trinidad to
England with Nan to see a famous hematologist interested in her unusual case. The second is in
1977 when Richard and Tim made the counterculture pilgrimage from Europe to Asia. The
relationship with Tim blossomed, but Nan died before their return. The narrative of love and loss is
set against a background of colonialism in the Caribbean and the reverberations of migration and
political change. (30 mins)
We are Dad (US) – donated by Director Michel Horvat
Heartfelt documentary about two gay men in Florida who are foster parents to children with
HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses (68 mins)
Monday June 11
Gulabi Aina - The Pink Mirror (India)
Screening rights donated by Director Sridhar Rangayan
A unique film coming from India where homosexuality is still taboo, The Pink Mirror (Gulabi
Aaina), is a colorful funny look into the Indian homosexual closet.
It pits two Indian drag queens against a westernized gay teenager in a battle to woo a handsome
hunk. It's a clash of the east and west. Who will win? The drag queens who are expert in the art of
seduction with their wit, innuendo and cunning or the young teenager who is saucy, slutty and sly?
Wednesday June 13
Boys Dont Cry (USA) Drama/True Story
The story of the life of Brandon Teena, a transgendered teen who preferred life in a male identity
until it was discovered he was born biologically female.
Hilary Swank Oscar's winning performance of a girl who wanted to be a boy is a moving tribute to
the people who feel trapped in bodies different from their minds (118 minutes)
Friday June 15
Some prefer cake (USA) Drama/Comedy
Filmmakers Jeannie Kahaney and Heidi Arnesen created this comedy-drama starring Tara Howley
and Kathleen Fontaine as a pair of San Francisco friends struggling with relationships and
professional challenges. Kira is a would-be stand-up comedienne embittered over the fact that her
sister, also a comic, has a flourishing career in comedy, while she is reduced to writing jokes for her
sibling -- her own unfunny act failing to generate much success. A lesbian, Kira grapples with her
frustrations by engaging in a series of one-night stands with other women, but her combative,
acerbic nature keeps any long-term affairs at bay. Her best friend is Sydney, who's dealing with her
own stunted aspirations to be a food and restaurant critic, and who deals with her lack of any
heterosexual romance by choosing to eat rather than date, asserting that in any choice between
chocolate cake and sex, a woman will always choose cake. (118 minutes)
Monday June 18
Mambo Italiano (Canada) Comedy
Angelo Barberini is the oddball son of Italian immigrants Gino and Maria, who inadvertently ended
up in Canada rather than the States. Angelo shocks his parents by moving out on his own without
getting married, and shocks them further still when he reveals that he's gay. But his boyfriend,
policeman Nino Paventi isn't as ready to come out of the closet -- especially not to his busybody
mother, Lina. (88 Minutes)
Wednesday June 20
Juste une question d'amour (France) Romance
Just a Question of Love follows the whirlwind romance of two young men in different stages of
coming out. The film paints a heartbreaking portrait of the difficulties that befall a relationship
when one man lives proudly out of the closet, while the other has created a double life to please his
parents (88 minutes)
Friday June 22
Heavenly Creatures (UK/ New Zealand) Romance
Based on the true story of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker, two close friends who share a love of
fantasy and literature, who conspire to kill Pauline's mother when she tries to end the girls' intense
and obsessive relationship. (99 mins)
Monday June 25
Better than Chocolate (Canada)
Two attractive young lesbians, Maggie and Kim, meet in Vancouver, develop a passionate romance,
and move in together. Maggie's well-meaning but naive mother Lila gets divorced and decides to
move to Vancouver and join the household. Complications ensue as the conservative Lila learns the
truth about Maggie, Judy, and their diverse group of friends.(101 minutes)
Wednesday June 27 "Celebration"
A special evening of film, music, dance, poetry and reading.. we celebrate acceptance of diversity.
An Intimate Evening with Nhojj (USA)
Donated by Nhojj
Nhojj started singing as a child in Guyana - the home of his parents, he sang in churches, on radio
programs and eventually performed for the President. His father, a minister moved his family to
Trinidad where Nhojj joined a quartet, eventually touring the country and again performing before
the President. At the age of 18, he moved to New York City and would eventually graduate with
honors from NYU with a BA in Economics. With education out of the way Nhojj could settle down
to what he really wanted to do - music. This DVD features a musical performance by Nhojj. His
second CD -someday peace love & freedom will be available for sale.. donated to SASOD.
Donated by Director Sean Drakes
The Devil's Day (Trinidad)
The dancefloor is a sacred sanctuary where we release, reaffirm and renew with dance-- and a little
hot paint. Shot at J'ouvert in Trinidad (8 minutes)
Vale of Cashmere (USA)
Public space.. increasingly an oxymoron, public parks taken for granted by straight folks are secret
outlets for black same-gender-loving men, where , sometimes, life is the price of the ticket (12
“ From a Guyanese visitor to Prospect Park "With Prospect Park..people go because it's different,
not because there's a lack of gay spaces...but I know the park, nature can have a telling effect when
mixed with the possibility of adventure and sex...the only thing is that it's usually cheap and empty,
but I like to observe all the same."
Friday June 29
Kinky Boots (USA/UK) Comedy
Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots is a comedy which challenges prejudice and intolerance. After
the death of his father, Charlie Price must find a way to save his family's failing shoe factory , or his
entire town would be left out in the cold. Charlie finds help in an unlikely ally - female
impersonator "Lola", and together they would hatch a plot to save the factory. (107 minutes)