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Porn-fest raises ire

Regina is up in arms over gay films & talk

A rightwing MLA was on her feet every day for more than two weeks in the Saskatchewan legislature, attacking a grants to a gay film fest.



“Mr Premier, do you think this taxpayer’s dollars should be used to support pornography in Saskatchewan?” asked the Saskatchewan Party’s June Draude Apr 28.



Queer City Cinema 2000, a Regina queer film and video festival that ran from May 8 to 13, received funding from the Saskatchewan Arts Board and SaskFILM, both arms-length agencies backed with provincial cash. It also received a $500 donation from Sask Tel, a provincial crown corporation.



There was a pornographic component.



Draude and other members of her party dragged themselves to the fest..



“It was degrading, demoralizing and dehumanizing,” she told the legislature. “I was absolutely appalled by what I saw at this so-called festival.”



Draude also attended the panel discussion on pornography, along with 120 other people. She did not speak.



The Saskatchewan Party is a reincarnation of the scandal-written Tories.



Regina artist Gary Varro organized and curated the festival.



“Regina doesn’t really have a festival that shows different types of queer expression,” says Varro. “This festival provides an opportunity for queers in Regina and Saskatchewan to discuss issues of community attitude and allows viewers to see different images of being gay or lesbian.”



You Are What You Beat focussed on “erotic expression, addressing issues surrounding pornography and primarily, erotic/explicit imagery that has evolved over the years and that has been embraced broadly by media artists and audiences alike at numerous queer film festivals worldwide,” says Varro.



Then there was the discussion Community/Porn: What’s Up With That? It drew an extra dose of wrath from Draude.



“So, Mr Deputy Premier, it seems that we have a bunch of porn stars coming to Regina to promote porno movies sponsored by the Sask Arts Board, SaskFILM and Sask Tel.”



Some 20 picketers, of the group Christian Truth Activists, demonstrated. They were met with a counter-demonstration.



Even some in Regina’s gay and lesbian community objected to the festival, or the inclusion of a discussion on pornography. Their argument echoed those who decry Pride parades which include drag queens, leather men and bare breasted lesbians.



Varro says the outcry scared away some potential festival-goers. But he noted that the festival packed at least one venue.