Birmingham SHOUT: The Little Gay Film Festival That Could
There's something to be said about an LGBT film festival that endures the test of time in the heart of the deep South. Although we've made great strides nationally in the past few years with acceptance and awareness, it still can be quite a challenge to work, live, and thrive openly in the southern states. Of course, it's always getting better, and Birmingham SHOUT is one of the annual events in the region that contributes to that change; it's the little gay film festival that keeps on going.
Now in its ninth successful year, Birmingham SHOUT is closely affiliated with the Birmingham Sidewalk film festival, co-founded by original MTV VJ, Alan Hunter. This year's event happens August 23-24 in different theaters throughout the city. Below, check out highlights of some of the films featured at Birmingham SHOUT for 2014, including To Be Takei, a humorous and moving film about the legendary Star Trek actor, activist, and pop culture icon, George Takei.
Birmingham, Alabama is sometimes overlooked by LGBT travelers because of its location near the larger gay meccas of Atlanta, New Orleans, and Nashville, but Birmingham offers its own set of unique cultural attractions and LGBT-centric events. If you're headed to the "Magic City" for the SHOUT and Sidewalk film festivals, be sure to check out these essential Birmingham destinations, full of historical and cultural significance in this vibrant southern town.
The stunning Alabama Theatre is an example of the large opulent venues built during the golden age of movie palaces in the '20s and '30s, including a Mighty Wurlitzer organ and ornate interiors.
The burly and bare-bottomed Vulcan (god of the forge) statue is Birmingham's crown jewel, representing the city's long history of iron and steel production.
The 16th Street Baptist Church is a legendary beacon in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. Spike Lee's 4 Little Girls documentary masterfully tells the story of when the church was bombed in 1963, which killed four young girls inside the building. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is also located near the famous church.
Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton are just a few of the many jazz legends to have graced the stage of the beautiful Carver Theatre, operated by the distinguished Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.
A legend in its own right, the Quest is one of Birmingham's longest-running LGBT entertainment venues, and is Alabama's only 24/7 dance club.
Audience members enter one of the many venues used for film screenings during SHOUT.
Volunteers participate at Birmingham's Sidewalk film festival, set to coincide with SHOUT.
Sidewalk and SHOUT participants receive lots of appropriate schwag during the events.
The Birmingham SHOUT and Sidewalk film festivals rely heavily on volunteers and crowd funding to produce the annual events. To help them continue bringing amazing films to the region well into the future, visit their Indiegogo page here.
Photos of Birmingham courtesy of Andrea Krauss