Open Spaces: Windows to a View
Queer Films Saved Us (2021) - Kevin Allen
The Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival premiered in Calgary on June 17, 1999, and has become a treasured annual event ever since. The LGBTQ2 Festival has a history of engaging talented local artists to design its festival poster. Over the years, Fairy Tales accumulated a backlog of visually iconic posters that served as both marketing vehicle and artwork. This is a curated retrospective of those beautiful posters. They assert—on the walls, streets, and bulletin boards of Calgary—that queer people were here and always have been. The 2021 Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival, produced by the Calgary Queer Arts Society runs May 13 - 30, 2021.
Seeing ourselves represented on the big screen was alchemy and moved LGBTQ2 rights forward when public funding for queer cultural events was considered controversial. Festival organizers routinely got harassing phone calls and hateful mail but kept going defiantly.
Fairy Tales posters would paper the streets every year at festival time, asserting that we were here too—claiming space in our city. This exhibition is a retrospective of those assertions: stylized, beautiful and proud.
About the artist
Kevin Allen is the Research Lead of the Calgary Gay History Project, a research collective working to uncover and preserve stories from Calgary’s LGBTQ2 past. The Project achieved national recognition at the Governor General’s History Awards, and its research has been covered in both local and national media. Kevin was the inaugural Historian in Residence at the Calgary Central Library in November 2018, where he launched his local bestselling book, Our Past Matters: Stories of Gay Calgary. Kevin was one of the founders of the Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival.