Communications Office: Stephen Mease
Champlain College is proud to recognize one of its own in the Vermont International Film Festival (VTIFF). Robert Barracano, assistant professor of filmmaking, and his team of students over the past year, are debuting their film "Worst Thing About Coming Out." The film will premiere at the Main Street Landing Film House on Friday, Oct. 11 at 2:30 p.m. October 11 is also National Coming Out Day.
The film tells the story of 17 adults, all of whom speak about their experiences with coming out to their parents and close friends, but have different stories and point of views. After the premiere of this film a panel discussion titled "Self Identity + HOME: Our Selves in Community" will welcome the participants of the film as well as experts in the field of identity and diversity. They will be taking questions and speaking about the film in the Film House on the Third Floor of the Lake and College Building at 60 Lake St. at 3:30 p.m.
"Every person has a unique way of how we handle the discovery and realization that we are different from most of the people around us, and yet, there are themes," said Dr. Kim Fountain of RU12?, who has been involved with LGBTQ organizations for nearly 20 years and will sit on the panel. "From holding it in to jumping out with a marching band behind us, telling one person at a time or announcing on Facebook, attempting suicide or working at an LGBTQ non-profit, coming out, going back in, coming out, coming out at 5 or 95 - it's all part of LGBTQ cultural storytelling."
The feature length documentary is derived from the interviews on the Worstthingaboutcomingout.com website, an online repository for queer community coming out stories, aimed at serving queer folk that are still in the closet.
"We all know stories about people whose coming out was fraught with difficulties," continued Fountain. "We also know stories of people who led lives in the closet and suffered."
This touching and inspiring film and website provides a safe environment where people can share their stories in hopes of bringing comfort and reassurance to others and pride of identity in themselves. The screening of this film is free, with a recommended donation of $5. As part of the Vermont Filmmakers' Showcase the event is sponsored by Ben & Jerry's, the Vermont Arts Council, and Champlain College.
"Coming out, or choosing not to, or 'partially' coming out-is a deeply personal moment(s) that I would hope that everyone could control, but that rarely seems to have any semblance of control," added Fountain. "Barracano's film helps to normalize all these feelings. It helps to cultivate a sense of belonging and understanding. In a culture that is rapidly shedding its heterosexism, being in the closet can be even more distressing because there is less tolerance for it within the LGBTQ communities and yet for many individuals, there are real consequences for coming out. Barracano's film helps to shed light on these tensions. It is a film that is coming about at a crucial moment in LGBTQ history. If the social trends continue, coming out will lose its current meaning and Barracano's film will have captured this culture's moment of transition."
In addition to teaching at Champlain, Barracano has written horror films for Hollywood and also done TV work. "Worst Thing About Coming Out" is his most recent project, which has gone global after the link to the site was Tweeted by actress Eliza Dushku.
The VTIFF is an annual 10-day festival that takes place from Oct.11-20 on Burlington's Historic Waterfront. This year, VTIFF will showcase 37 feature length films as well as over 40 short films at multiple locations in Burlington, such as ECHO Aquarium and Science Center, Main Street Landing Film House and Black Box Theater, and The BCA Center on Church St. Special events will also take place at Signal Kitchen on Main Street. The festival is best known for the Vermont Filmmakers' Showcase, the largest juried selection of Vermont-made films. This year's main themes are Sport & Film, Artists in Action, Water, Food and Film, Identity, and a Spotlight section that showcases a selection of the best of world and US award-winning films. This year marks the VTIFF's 28th Anniversary, making it Vermont's longest running film festival. For a full schedule of events, visit VTIFF.org.
Tickets to the VTIFF can be purchased online at VTIFF.org. Tickets will also be available at ECHO during business hours and during evening screenings. Look for the printed festival guide in the Sept. 25 issue of the Seven Days paper, and they are also available at the Festival offices at 230 College Street in Burlington. For most screenings, tickets are $10, $8 for seniors, $5 for children and students, with the exception of the Vermont Filmmakers Showcase selections, which are by donation. A Festival Gold Pass is also available for $120, which gains access to most films and events, with the exception of Lunchtime Shorts at The BCA Center, which include lunch from Kountry Kart Deli.
For more information, contact Orly Yadin at 802-660-2600, or e-mail her at email@example.com
Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Quebec and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 60 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 379 Colleges: 2015 Edition. Champlain was named a "Top-Up-and-Coming School" by U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges and is ranked in the top tier of 2014 Regional Colleges in the North. For more information, visit www.champlain.edu.