The 12-day-long festival includes photography exhibits, film premieres, theater performances, workshops, panel discussions and much more. Among the array of activities is a screening of the newly released Cuban film, VIVA, presented by the Latino Pride Center. Other screenings include the acclaimed film Mala, Mala and the New York premiere of Romeo y Romeo, directed by Luis Caballero and produced by Selenis Leyva, of HBO’s “Orange is the New Black.”
“I joined Luis Caballero in the development of Romeo y Romeo because I believe in telling diverse stories that are inclusive of all regardless of sexual orientation, race or beliefs,” Ms. Leyva said. “As advocates, it is our social responsibility to help fight stigma and homophobia within our community.”
FUERZAfest’s photography exhibit will highlight the history and struggles of the LGBTQ community from the 90s to the present. The theater competition will feature one-act plays that dive into universal LGBTQ issues. Legendary drag artist Barbra Herrwill close the festival with her heart-wrenching show I’m Still Herr! a hilarious one-woman cabaret performance detailing her struggles and survivals.
“We’re so excited to bring FUERZAfest to JDBC. As part of our firm commitment to civil rights, we have a history of championing LGBTQ rights and, in particular, combating homophobia within the Latino community. FUERZAfest will build on these efforts through the arts in a one-of-a-kind festival. We encourage everyone to partake in the festival activities, and engage in the ongoing dialogue around social issues affecting Latinos in the LGBTQ community.” Jose Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation.
True to the Hispanic Federation’s mission, FUERZAfest celebrates the Latino LGBTQ community of the city while addressing the challenges it faces head on. Though New York City is home to over 100,000 LGBTQ Latinos, many still struggle with securing services that meet their needs within their own communities. A recent report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NACVP) found that anti-LGBTQ hate crimes have been on the rise in New York City for the past five years. Above all, FUERZAfest is committed to heighten awareness of these social issues, including the prejudices stemming from ignorance and homophobia that threaten the LGBTQ community.
Amidst celebrations and conversations, FUERZAfest is the conduit for the LGBTQ community and its allies to come together to spread the light of hope for a society free of homophobia and transphobia. It promises to be an engaging and enlightening event for all.