The Out In Africa South African Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (OIA) has appealed to the LGBT community to support the festival to ensure that it can continue to exist.

Continue reading to find out what you can do to help.

OIA, now in its 18th year, was launched in 1994 to celebrate the inclusion of the clause prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the South African Constitution and is now one of the largest film festivals in South Africa.

Partnered with Nu-Metro theatres it hosts three annual festivals, screening both local and international gay and lesbian films.

However, thanks to the poor economy and the withdrawal of a major international funder of LGBT organisations from South Africa, the festival is facing a difficult future.

It is also STILL awaiting response to a proposal to the National Lottery for renewed funding, submitted over a year ago.

OIA says that it needs a minimum of three million Rand a year to achieve all the planned annual activities and aims to raise at least a third of this from the LGBT community.

“A million isn’t, well, shouldn’t be, all that hard to raise,” said OIA Director Nodi Murphy, referring to the 8333 Trust which aimed to get 8333 people to donate R120 a year to the festival.

“We began this a few years ago using the simple equation of dividing 1 million by 120 – being a monthly donation of R10 for a year – and arriving at 8333. We have had a modicum of success. Now we have upped the ante and are asking for R240 a year. It really isn’t a huge sum for individuals to afford.”

By becoming an 8333 member you would support the three main festivals in Johannesburg and Cape Town – collectively adding up to 30 features and numerous shorts over the year.

In addition, you’ll be helping to make the five satellite festivals in Ermelo, Kimberley, Mafikeng, Pietermaritzburg and East London, and the strong possibility of Port Elizabeth as a sixth in 2012, a reality.

OIA’s Nodi Murphy

And think of the event’s other good work: OIA has contributed to the development of a queer South African film industry through multiple filmmaking workshops, ensuring diversity and representation. To date 20 short films have been made and they have screened at over 60 film festivals worldwide.

Since 2004, OIA has also delivered a wide selection of queer films to communities and countries where no queer literature is available and where, more often than not, gays and lesbians are punished for their sexual orientation.

For details on how you can join the 8333 Trust (it’s really easy) visit the 8333 page on the OIA website here.

Lunch Box Media, the pink media advertising and marketing agency, recently joined forces with OIA and has also urged all corporates and brands to take advantage of the (very affordable) print, branding, screen and online opportunities available in connection with the event.

“Not only will you be getting valuable high impact marketing to a captive audience, but you will also be helping to keep this valuable community festival alive,” said Lunch Box Media’s Donovan Steyl.

For marketing opportunities with the festival contact donovan@lunchboxmedia.co.za.

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