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Tampa Film Festival Drops ‘Gay and Lesbian’ from It’s Name

By Duane Wells, GayWired.com

The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival which attracted moviegoers from more than 50 cities in Florida and more than 30 outside the state in 2006 has decided to drop ‘Gay and Lesbian’ from its title altogether in 2008. Next year’s festival will instead be called ‘Clip Film Festival,’ a move that is expected to broaden the event’s audience appeal. The question however is what does a broader appeal mean?
"The name we chose was brave because it took a leap of faith in its simplicity and because it is such a dramatic departure from the long name we've had for the past seven years," said Christopher Constantinou, Friends of the Festival Inc. president, in a release. "During brand development focus groups, people responded with tremendous positive energy to this brand direction. They overwhelmingly told us that the new name reflects a persona of a friend, something they wanted around."

A friend or something that has been neutered to attract more straight moviegoers one wonders? Sort of like Paul Lynde or Jim J. Bullock on the Hollywood Squares? An amusing asexual thing meant to be enjoyed but not fully recognized? The organizers say ‘no’ arguing that this name change has been long overdue.

"There have been many false starts over these past few years, but we kept moving ahead because the reasons for change were just too compelling," Constantinou said in the release. "In fact, we realized we needed more than a name, we needed a brand - something that can represent the qualities of diversity, inclusion and community. And it needed to convey the excitement of what the festival is all about."

Although "gay" and "lesbian" is being removed from the film festival's name, Constantinou said the annual event, which includes a year-round film outreach series, would continue to be focused on gay and lesbian themes.

Well that’s good news at least. One hopes that other annual events associated with the festival like the popular Frisky Friday Women’s Party and Saturday Surge Men’s Party don’t suffer a similar identity crisis and morph into ‘people’s parties’ -- because that would be a self-loathing tragedy, would it not?

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Bravo! This is a world class event. I'm happy to see them take this step to be more inclusive in a world where there is way too much division. I hear Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival will still be the tag line for the film festival each year... The new name is a parent company thing.... to include all of their year-round programs outside the film festival.

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