Thursday, August 13, 2009

Word is Out, Landmark of LGBT Cinema

Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives

Mariposa Film Group: Peter Adair, Nancy Adair, Veronica Selver, Andrew Brown, Robert Epstein, Lucy Massie Phenix (U.S., 1977)

Mariposa Film Group members in person.
Quite possibly as relevant today as it was on its debut over thirty years ago, Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives is widely considered the first feature-length documentary on gay and lesbian identity. The film presents a diverse group of twenty-six gay and lesbian individuals who describe their struggle to live a decent life in America despite prejudice, discriminatory laws, and society’s unwillingness to treat them with respect and equality. Interviewees include such noteworthy individuals as poet Elsa Gidlow, professor and political activist Sally Gearhart, inventor John Burnside, civil rights leader Harry Hay, and avant-garde filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky. Peter Adair conceived the project and shared the producing, directing, editing, and photography efforts with five other filmmakers, dubbed the Mariposa Film Group. Among them were Adair’s sister Nancy Adair, who later wrote a companion book for the film, and Rob Epstein, who would go on to direct the Academy Award–winning The Times of Harvey Milk.

Print courtesy of UCLA Film and Television Archive.

The Pacific Film Archive Theater is located at 2575 Bancroft Way (between Telegraph and Bowditch) in Berkeley. Advance tickets are available by calling (510) 642-5249 or visiting

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