Atlanta LGBTQ Online Film Festival Kicks Off With ‘Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America’ Documentary

Junior, Mari, Cheyenne and Subhi face the odds as they begin new lives in the U.S.

Tom Shepard/Unsettled

Out on Film, Atlanta’s LGBTQ film festival, has partnered with Georgia Equality, a statewide organization working to advance fairness, safety, and opportunities for the LGBTQ throughout Georgia. They are presenting an online film festival starting June 11 that’s free and open to the public. “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes spoke with Jim Farmer, the festival director of Out on Film, and with documentary filmmaker Tom Shepard.

The first film that will be shown in the festival will be “Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America.” It will premiere on June 11 at 7 p.m. here. The documentary follows four LGBTQ people seeking refuge in America. Subhi, from Syria, and Junior, from Congo, are refugees. Mari and Cheyenne are from Angola; they are asylum-seekers.  Shepard says that LGBTQ refugees face a multitude of hardships, “LGBTQ refugees find themselves at much higher risk for isolation because they don’t have those initial footholds into the culture.” The countries that they are fleeing have outlawed homosexuality, either making it a prison sentence or punishable by death.

Other titles in the series include “Changing the Game,” Michael Barnett’s look at the challenges transgender high school athletes deal with, and “The Gospel According to Andre,” Kate Novack’s examination of the life of iconic fashion editor Andre Leon Talley. Gabrielle Zilkha’s “Queering the Script” stars such as Lucy Lawless and Angelica Ross join with the voices of numerous fangirls in a fast-paced history of queer women’s representation on contemporary television and the extraordinary impact of activism on diverse fans.