Bethlehem, PA, May 22, 2023 – ArtsQuest and Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center are partnering to present the Lehigh Valley LGBTQ+ Film Series, a year-round monthly exhibition of queer cinema from the past and now. The screenings will be free to the public and take place at the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks and the Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Community Center. The partnership kicks off on June 1 at 7 p.m. with the groundbreaking film “Desert Hearts” at the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas, a screening that will feature an in-person appearance by the film’s director, Donna Deitch.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with ArtsQuest to amplify intersectional queer stories in films and create an affirming environment where LGBTQ+ folks can build community,” said Ashley L. Coleman, Executive Director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. “Expanding access to cultural experiences like this film series are vital initiatives that benefit our community.”
“ArtsQuest is ecstatic to be working with Bradbury Sullivan to shine an even brighter light on queer cinema,” Ryan Hill, Senior Director of Programming at ArtsQuest, said. “I’m particularly excited that the hard work of ArtsQuest’s curators and staff, including next month’s appearance by Desert Hearts director Donna Deitch, can be seen by a larger group of potential movie-goers through this partnership.”
“Desert Hearts” has, over the years, come to be seen as one of the most important films in queer cinema, with The Globe and Mail referring to it as “one of the first and most highly regarded works in which a lesbian relationship is depicted favorably.” The Lesbian Film Guide said of the film “It is no exaggeration to say that in 1985 ‘Desert Hearts’ was the film many lesbians had waited for all their lives. For the first time in cinema history here was a movie which was an unashamedly romantic lesbian love story, aimed primarily at a lesbian audience.”
Dietch will lead a Q&A/talkback after the free screening on June 1.
The second movie in the series, “Flee”, will take place at the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center on July 8 at 3 p.m..
“We’re looking forward to attending the launch of this series at ArtsQuest while they show “Desert Hearts” on June 1,” said Community Programs Manager, Deirdre Van Walters. “This series will be a great way for LGBTQ+ community members to build community and we can’t wait to watch “Flee” with them at our Center.”
“Flee” is a Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and is directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, telling his story of his extraordinary journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan. This film tells the story of Amin Nawabi as he grapples with a secret that he has kept hidden for 20 years and threatens to derail the life he has built for himself and his soon-to-be husband.
Check back on ArtsQuest.org or BradburySullivan.org for more updates to the Lehigh Valley LGBTQ+ Film Series schedule as the year progresses.
ArtsQuest’s mission is to provide access to exceptional artistic, cultural and educational experiences using arts and culture as key elements of economic development for our urban communities. ArtsQuest™ supports this mission via the presentation of performing and visual arts, film, arts education classes and outreach, youth programming and cultural events. Through festivals such as its flagship event, Musikfest; the Banana Factory Arts Center; and the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks arts and cultural campus, ArtsQuest’s programming reaches more than 1.9 million people annually. The organization’s programs and events, of which over 50% of are free to attend, have a combined economic impact of more than $136 million annually in the region.
About Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center (BSC) provides a vibrant, inclusive space in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley for all the region’s LGBTQ+ residents and allies. BSC facilitates the Pennsylvania LGBTQ Health Needs Assessment, addresses barriers to care through LGBTQ+ health programs, produces affirming community programming, organizes Lehigh Valley Pride and makes the Lehigh Valley more equitable through their LGBTQ+ Education Institute.