Culture Against Prejudices: Gay Movie Nights in Cluj-Napoca

    Our society is based on a series of unwritten moral rules, which tend to tell people what to do and how to act outside their homes. One of the categories which are highly affected by these moralities is LGBTQ people.

    In order to fight people’s stereotypes about gay people, PRIDE Romania Cluj organizes a festival called “Gay Movie Nights” every year. This year was no exception and the festival took place between 15th and 21st April in six different locations: Urania Palace, Cinema Arta, British Council, Centrul de Cultură Urbană Bastionul Croitorilor, Reactor de Creație și Experiment and Club Delirio.

    “Gay Movies Nights” festival also includes photo and art exposition, ecological initiatives, social events in parallel with debates and discussion about LGBTQ members, discrimination and HIV infection among LGBTQ in Romania.

    Most of the festival organizers were young people studying or working in Cluj-Napoca

    The idea of creating such a festival appeared in Lucian Dunareanu’s mind back in 2004. The first edition of the event took place in a small basement and lasted only for three days. As the time passed by, the festival became bigger and more popular, so now it lasts for a week and takes place in many locations simultaneously.

    Each year, thousands of people from all around the world send their movies to be projected to the organizers of the festival. This year the organizers received 916 movies from 87 countries, but only 74 were projected. The organizers claim that for a movie to be selected, it has to pass a rigorous set of rules.

    It is already the 13th edition of the festival, which tries to cover a specific subject related to LGBTQ. This year’s edition is strongly related to friendship, while the one in 2018 focused on LGBTQ people and coming out.

    “By giving free access to the festival, we to try to bring more people to the event and show them what gay people are going through in their life. The movies which are projected cover such topics as intimate life of LGBTQ people and may go even to the point when it shows what are the legal issues they might experience”, – stated Sebastian Ivan, one of the organizers.

    Despite the fact gay people are still a controversial subject for Romanian society, the festival didn’t have to deal with critics. Moreover, the organizers say that they are receiving a lot of help in order to organize the festival.

    “Gay Movie Nights” is trying to make more people loyal towards LGBTQ, but some of the participants think that it is not going to make a big change in the society.
    “I am not sure this festival is going to change people’s perception regarding gay people, but it is still a good opportunity for members of LGBTQ to meet and have a little bonding together”, – says one of the participants.

    More and more European countries accept gay marriage and gay couples themselves, while Romania still has a lot of debates regarding the subject.

    Many people also claim that being gay is a mental illness, which can and should be cured.
    “I think the biggest obstacle is the way gay people are perceived in public in a patriarchal and nationalist society, where reality and diversity are seen as different from what they really are”, – says one of the participants.

    The primary idea of “Gay Movie Night” is to show the problems which the minorities go through. LGBT is a controversial subject in Romanian society, so by projecting different movies based on gay theme, the organizers tend to make more and more people loyal to LGBTQ.