It was 20 years ago that B. Ruby Rich coined the term "New Queer Cinema" to describe the early-'90s revolution in gay and lesbian filmmaking (and yes, they were all shot and released on actual film). It's truly amazing that two decades later audiences have such unprecedented access to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) films via the vast array of new exhibition platforms extending far beyond the traditional movie theater (or as they say in Great Britain, "the cinema"). Today's New Queer Cinema is a genuine multiplex of digital delivery platforms, traditional broadcast, satellite and cable on-demand channels, DVD, Blu-ray, and more. Want your movies downloadable, streaming, HD, mobile? You name it (just get them from legitimate legal sources, please -- don't get me started on the scourge of online movie piracy).
Given my 26 years of work as founder and CEO of Wolfe, the top exclusive distributor of LGBT movies in the world, I'm thrilled to announce that we're taking things yet one step further to help LGBT audiences gain better access to all these wonderful and vitally important films.
For the past several months Wolfe has been working behind the scenes on an initiative to secure an "LGBT" category heading as part of all digital distribution platforms. This undertaking is just the latest highlight in Wolfe's ongoing mission to facilitate the broadest possible access to our rich cinematic heritage. This month we're thrilled to have achieved not just one but two success stories. I personally want to thank the folks at Hulu.com and YouTube Movies for their vision and leadership in launching new LGBT category headings on their platforms, to help LGBT viewers find the films they need to see.
You can browse these categories at the following links:
Take a look and you'll see how exciting it really is.
At first glance this may seem like a small thing. I'm here to tell you that the addition of these four little letters has far-reaching impact. For LGBT youth who are just coming out, this kind of accessibility to diverse and affirming images can have an enormous impact on their self-esteem, serving as a much-needed counterbalance to the bullying and harassment that so many of our young people must navigate. For LGBT people who live outside major urban areas and aren't lucky enough to have access to LGBT film festivals, these films can be a sociocultural lifeline. For anyone who has ever felt isolated or alone in their gay identity, access to films that reflect and celebrate our lives can truly be a lifesaving experience.
We've been proudly and diligently doing this kind of cultural advocacy work since we first started our company back in 1985. Lobbying mainstream video retailers to create actual sections for gay and lesbian movies was kind of a radical idea back then. It was not always easy to convince them, but gradually, over time, the "gay and lesbian" category has become a recognized industry category, right alongside "fitness," "reality TV," "independent," and other niches. We're very proud to have been part of making that happen at such platforms and retailers as Best Buy, Amazon, Netflix, and others (whom we also gratefully acknowledge for their longtime support and inclusiveness). We also want to thank our colleagues at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for providing us with guidance and support as we have been engaging in these efforts.
Please stay tuned for ongoing progress in this initiative, and look for announcements of new "LGBT" categories on other digital delivery platforms (as a matter of fact, Wolfe's LGBT films are currently available virtually everywhere, including not only YouTube Movies and Hulu but iTunes, Xbox, Cinema Now, Blockbuster.com, Vudu, Amazon Instant Video, PlayStation Store, BuskFilms, OneMoreLesbian, and more).
With the greatest respect and admiration for LGBT filmmakers everywhere: Welcome to the New Queer Cinema!
Follow Kathy Wolfe on Twitter: www.twitter.com/wolfevideo