Updated: Saturday, 8th August 2020 @ 1:39pm

Queer Media Festival shows stories can 'change the world' for LGBT History Month

Queer Media Festival shows stories can 'change the world' for LGBT History Month

| By Alex Watt

Queer Media Festival will return to Manchester this weekend, following the huge success of last year’s inaugural event, in celebration of LGBT history month.

Organiser, Jamie Starboisky, 31, says he set up the festival, which takes place on Saturday February 7 at Contact, after being inspired by the power of storytelling.

The festival will feature 25 guest speakers who work in the media, alongside short films and live performances.

Jamie told MM: “The idea behind the festival is basically because I attended TEDx in Salford and one of the people giving a talk at the time - Joanne Harris - was talking about the power of storytelling and how stories can change the world.

“That got me thinking about how more people could learn more about the LGBT community by hearing their stories, across a number of different platforms. 

“So I thought, wouldn’t it be great if we created an event which represented the number of various different LGBT stories and celebrating people who are successful in their chosen careers, people who are role models, people who are at the top of their field.

“Hopefully through this event there will be examples of both of those things and people will be inspired to create their own content, see positive stories, and feel more accepting towards the LGBT community.”

The 31-year-old organiser is a journalism graduate currently studying at the University of Salford.

With previous experience working for organisations like Sky News and the Metro newspaper, as well as internships in Hollywood and London, Jamie recently worked on a campaign highlighting Russia’s anti-gay laws ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Speakers at the ‘relaxed and conversational’ chat show style event include Anna McNay from DIVA magazine, ITV News’ Paul Brand and Rikki Beadle-Blair, director of FREE.

INSPIRE: Queer Media Festival director Jamie Starboisky says he hopes people will create their own content after attending the event

Vinny & Luke from YouTube’s V-Squared channel will also be presenting ‘Queer Xtra’ with backstage interviews and vox pops, while the Queer Vine Machine in the foyer will give audience members a chance to get involved on social media.

In addition, the University of Salford’s Media City UK studios will feature the newsroom of ‘Queer Agenda’. Students and LGBT journalists will work together on the day to create a TV news round-up, the pilot episode of which will be broadcast live at the festival later in the day.

A documentary crew is also set to follow the team to capture the behind-the-scenes making of the news show.

The event is a big undertaking and Jamie says he has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support he’s receive from the entire community, including organisations such as Manchester Pride, Canal Street Online and the University of Salford.

Jamie said: “What’s been really phenomenal is the fact that people were saying that the LGBT scene had really fragmented, especially because you’ve had the deaths of many bars and clubs that people might have gone to. It’s all moving online and there’s not really the same community.

“But this event has shown that there is a lot of strong, positive, goodwill in the community because there are over 25 speakers coming from all across the country. It’s phenomenal the support that we’ve had.

“This has come about, not just because I thought it was a good idea but because people have shown an interest and the interest is there after last year’s event. People were keen for more and that's how it got real momentum.”

The festival will ‘celebrate short form content’ and the BSL interpreted day will showcase a number of short films including ‘Alone With People’, ‘What’s Your Sign’, ‘The Language of Love’ and ‘Brace’, and Jamie encourages people to come and support the event.

Jamie added: “It’s important because people who are interested in the LGBT community can just come and have a good day.

“This event is very unique because it's got all these different people who work in all different mediums. I mean, when would you ever come across anyone who's working in TV, film, radio, plays, poetry, transmedia and technology?

“We've got all those different mediums covered so even if you're not LGBT, you can still come to the event and see some of these people who are exceptional professionals in their careers. And you get the chance to speak to them and see some amazing films too.”

The entire event will be streamed live on Youtube.

Tickets for the 11am-6pm Queer Media Festival event are £15 (£10 concessions) and available online at contactmcr.com or by phone on 0161 274 0600.

Main image courtesy of V Squared, via Youtube, with thanks.