7th Annual Desperado Film Festival entertains on opening night

Rachel Thompson, Fine Arts Editor, Puma Press

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“…Make sure that there’s still drama and make sure it’s still a movie, but it doesn’t have to be based on their sexuality.””

— Akron director Brian O'Donnell

Paradise Valley Community College’s 7th annual Desperado LGBT Film Festival opened Jan. 29 and will continue throughout the weekend.

The Desperado LGBT Film Festival officially began in 2009. According to the event’s official website, www.desperadofilmfestival.com, “The festival’s mission is to showcase quality films that are related to the experiences of the LGBT community.”

The first film to kick off the festival was “Akron.” There was also a post-film discussion held after with the director Brian O’Donnell and lead actor Matthew Frias.

“Akron” is a film about two college freshmen, Benny and Christopher, who fall in love with the support of their family and friends. As their relationship progresses, a past tragic event that happened between their mothers comes into view. “Akron” is a unique independent film that takes on the story of love and adds a twist of family drama.

Before starring in “Akron,” lead actor Matthew Frias had a spot in an episode of MTV’s show “Awkward” and a role in the 2014 film “The Game Stands Tall.” He also completed another role in the film “By Way of Helena.” Post-“Akron,” he is filming “Bad Kids of Crestview Academy.”

On why he decided not to build drama in his film around an LGBTQ relationship, filmmaker Brian O’Donnell said, “…There doesn’t have to be shame, there doesn’t have to be homophobia… I think it’s important that people see this. Make sure that there’s still drama and make sure it’s still a movie, but it doesn’t have to be based on their sexuality.”

For more information about the Desperado and a schedule of film showings, please visit http://www.desperadofilmfestival.com

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7th Annual Desperado Film Festival entertains on opening night