8/12/2016 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Shreveport, LA – August 12, 2016
Small Town Rage: Fighting Back in the Deep South will premiere at PACE’s 8th North Louisiana Gay & Lesbian Film Festival at the Robinson Film Center in downtown Shreveport, LA, on September 10th, 2016. This will be the first time that a film has premiered at the festival. Small Town Rage is the story of the men and women who fought against deeply ingrained prejudices in northwest Louisiana during the early years of the AIDS pandemic as they sought to bring attention to this disease that was killing so many of them, their friends, and their loved ones. ACT UP Shreveport staged protests, crashed meetings, and raised their voices. As their individual stories will attest, their actions may not have made them popular, but their courage did lead to changes in the way local hospitals, government agencies, and even the public at large responded to the AIDS epidemic.
Interviewed in the film about why he thought there was so much bigotry and discrimination against people living with AIDS, local ACT UP activist Robert Darrow, said “Because the right people were dying, homosexual men!” In a heart-rending interview, Darrow’s parents discuss the harsh words they received from their pastor as they sought some comfort from him.
Small Town Rage first – time filmmakers, David Hylan and Raydra Hall of Shreveport, funded their documentary through a Kickstarter campaign and a generous gift from Broadway Care / Equity Fights AIDS, which represents the American theatre community and is one of the nation’s leading industry – based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant – making organizations.All funds raised went into the production and promotion of the film—Hylan and Hall took no compensation.They were humbled by the experience of researching the history of ACT UP Shreveport and conducting interviews with the members and their families:
“I could not be more honored for us to be able to tell ACT UP Shreveport’s story of courage, bravery, and strength.” ~David Hylan
“We have put our hearts and souls into this film and hope we have conveyed the courageous acts and selflessness of ACT UP members.” ~Raydra Hall
The film shows that ACT UP Shreveport, in addition to effecting change at the time, had a lasting legacy in the creation of The Philadelphia Center, still today northwest Louisiana’s primary resource center for HIV / AIDS outreach, education, and client services.The Center’s first executive director was Darrow, and many ACT UP members became its first employees.
The documentary is narrated by Lance Bass who rose to fame as the bass singer in the band NSYNC, and is now a pop singer, dancer, actor, film and television producer, and author.Having grown up in Mississippi, Bass is very familiar with the Deep South’s attitudes towards gay people so he was a perfect choice to narrate the film.
Because of expected high demand for tickets to the premiere, Small Town Rage will screen twice on Saturday, Sept. 10th at 5:00 pm and 7:30 pm.The extended time of 6 – 8:30 pm for the opening weekend reception will allow attendees of either screening to enjoy our annual reception.Those at the first screening can attend the reception afterwards from 7 – 8:30 pm, and those at the second screening can attend the reception beforehand from 6 – 7:30 pm.Filmmakers Hylan and Hall, as well as several principals in the film, will be attending the reception.Hylan and Hall will introduce both screenings, and a panel discussion with Hylan, Hall, and former members of ACT UP Shreveport will follow the second screening.Reception tickets can be purchased online at nlglff.org beginning Monday, Aug. 22nd; all film tickets are available from the Robinson Film Center beginning Tuesday, Aug. 23rd.
As quoted in The Shreveport Times, our film festival chair Brad Campbell said about Small Town Rage: “Many people aren’t aware that Shreveport was on the cutting edge of reform during the AIDS crisis. …The final product is a triumphant film that spotlights the defiant perseverance of these hometown heroes during a time when the President wouldn’t even utter the term AIDS.”
Watch our film festival website nlglff.org for more information about our festival which runs Sept. 9-15. Following the festival, The Times will sponsor an after-party at the Robinson Film Center on Friday evening, Sept. 16th where award winners will be announced. For more information about PACE, “People Acting for Change and Equality,” Northwest Louisiana’s leading advocacy organization for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, go to pacelouisiana.orgor find us on Facebook at facebook.com/pacelouisiana