FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PACE’s 7th NLGLFF opening weekend reception to feature nationally recognized filmmaker Robert L. Camina and Upstairs Inferno — the forgotten New Orleans story about the largest gay mass murder in U.S. history
Shreveport LA — 20 August 2015 — On 24 June 1973, an arsonist set fire to the Up Stairs Lounge, a gay bar located on the edge of the French Quarter in New Orleans LA. The result was the largest gay mass murder in U.S. history. Thirty-two people were killed and some bodies were never identified. One-third of the New Orleans chapter of the Metropolitan Community Church were killed in the blaze, including two clergy. The primary suspect was never charged with the crime. The tragedy did not stop at the loss of lives. There were also the delayed injuries: lost jobs, fear, public ridicule and severed families. The devastation was compounded by the homophobic reactions and utter lack of concern by the general public, government and religious leaders. The fire permanently altered lives and was the root of many lifelong struggles.
Despite the staggering historical significance, few people know about the tragedy. So PACE is very pleased to announce that award-winning filmmaker Robert L. Camina will bring his 2015 documentary about this tragedy, Upstairs Inferno, to our 7th North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, running 18-24 September 2015 at the Robinson Film Center in downtown Shreveport. The film is narrated by New Orleans’ own New York Times Best Selling author, Christopher Rice.
Robert L. Camina will be the special guest at our festive Opening Weekend Reception from 6 – 7:30 PM, Saturday 19 September 2015, and will conduct a Q & A following his 7:45 PM documentary film Upstairs Inferno. On Sunday afternoon, 20 September 2015, Camina will conduct an extended Q & A on filmmaking following another screening of his film. A third screening will take place later in the week.
Camina is best known for his film, Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, a documentary about the controversial 2009 police raid of a Fort Worth, Texas, gay bar, which resulted in multiple arrests and serious injuries. The raid sparked an uproar, resulting in historic changes, transforming Fort Worth into a leader in LGBT equality. The film, narrated by TV icon Meredith Baxter, opened to rave reviews and a media frenzy in March 2012. Since the premiere, the film has screened at dozens of film festivals (including the NLGLFF) and garnered multiple awards, including 5 “Best” film awards. After the film’s debut, Camina was invited to the White House for President Obama’s LGBT Pride Month Reception in 2012. The U. S. State Department also screened Raid of the Rainbow Lounge to a delegation of visitors from Europe participating in the Department’s International Visitor Leadership program. The North Texas U.S. Attorney asked Camina to speak about and screen the documentary for her office. It was also screened at the Library of Congress.
Our opening weekend films and Saturday reception will also feature additional filmmakers to be announced soon!
Reception tickets can be purchased online beginning 24 August 2015 at the film festival website nlglff.org for $25 ($30 cash at the door). All film tickets will be available from the Robinson Film Center (617 Texas Street, Shreveport LA, 318-459-4122, www.robinsonfilmcenter.org) starting 1 September 2015. Watch the web sites for announcements of additional films and special events during the festival. Both the opening weekend reception and film (tickets purchased separately) are expected to sell out.
For more information about PACE, north Louisiana’s leading advocacy organization for the LGBT community, go to www.pacelouisiana.org. For more information about the film festival, visit nlglff.org.
Gary McCollister, Film Festival Chair
David Hylan, Film Festival Celebrity Chair
Adrienne Critcher, PACE Political Director