The who’s-who of Joburg’s gay and lesbian community attended the opening of the 12th Out In Africa (OIA) International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival – the country’s most successful film festival – last night. The event was held at the city’s Rosebank Zone Mall and included a premiere screening of the Academy Award winning film, Brokeback Mountain.

Event organiser Nodi Murphy thanked sponsors for their support, noting that while a film festival is by its very nature elitist and expensive, ‘inclusivity’ is a vital component of OIA. This year funding has been secured from the Cultural Initiative Fund for 3000 people, who might not otherwise have been able to attend, to be provided with transport and tickets to the festival. She dedicated this year’s festival to Peter Busse – well known activist and supporter of OIA – who died earlier this year.

As the guest speaker, Gerald Kraak from The Atlantic Philanthropies warned the GLBT community on being complacent about the funding of its organisations – including the festival itself. He noted that the vast majority of funding for GLBT organisations came from international donors – adding that many grants will end within five years. He called on local lesbians and gays – especially those with businesses and material means – to help sustain these initiatives and organisations.

This was followed by a screening of three shorts films – Ndim Ndim, Wanted, Tai Chi for Tipplers – produced by the festival itself, and then Brokeback Mountain.

Out in Africa runs in Joburg (Rosebank Cinema Nouveau) until 26 March and in Cape Town (V&A Waterfront Cinema Nouveau) from 23 March to 9 April. To see the full OIA line up, visit the OIA website at www.oia.co.za. Mambaonline is official media partner for the Out In Africa film festival.

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