Bethlehem film fest returns with new support

The fourth-annual LGBT Film Series at SteelStacks returns to Bethlehem in August with a lineup that includes several award-winning films.

The festival runs Aug. 27-Oct. 4 at the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem. Lineup highlights include “Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine,” “The David Dance,” “Liz in September” and more. The event kicks off with the Golden Globe-nominated “Kinky Boots.”

Tickets are $10, $8 for students and seniors and $7.50 for members.

The event, made possible by TD Bank, the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Pride of the Lehigh Valley and ArtsQuest, is designed to raise awareness about LGBT issues.

“The festival is both entertaining and informative for people of all ages,” said Mark Demko, senior director of communications at ArtsQuest. “We wanted the lineup to highlight and celebrate LGBT themes through documentaries as well as ‘regular’ movies.”

New this year is the addition of two back-to-back short films. Both are 20-30 minutes each.

“We’ve never taken a chance of showing two titles in one night,” said Ryan Hill, ArtsQuest programming director of cinema and comedy. “But we think audiences will love both films.”

Also, thanks to TD Bank, a pre-festival reception will be held on the opening night.

“We have never had the corporate support before like this,” said Hill. “TD Bank has been a big supporter of other ArtsQuest initiatives, but they are really promoting equality and wanted to help spread awareness for LGBT issues. They’re an incredible partner.”

Hill said the festival has continued to grow over the past few years, and he is expecting 500-750 people to attend this year.

Part of the festival’s success can be attributed to a fresh lineup every year.

“We like to kick things off with a classic like ‘Kinky Boots’ and make people aware of what else we have to offer,” said Lauren McAloon, ArtsQuest performing-arts coordinator. “We look at a lot of other film series around the world to keep things as new and interesting as possible. For this film series we like to have a balance between documentaries and regular films.”

For a complete screening schedule and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.steelstacks.org/event/1582/lgbt-film-series-presented-by-td-bank/#daystimes.