The Calgary Gay History Project is very cognizant of the various queer film fests that have stampeded through town in years past. Our contemporary Fairy Tales has by far the longest staying power: the 20th annual festival launches in May 2018.
Previous incarnations include The Fire I’ve Become Film Festival and repertory cinema programming at the Plaza. However, at the Glenbow Archives last week, we stumbled across the Calgary Film Society, a non-profit society which ran art film programming from 1946 – 1987, screening their international film series at the Jubilee Auditorium in their later decades.
The Calgary Film Society’s fall 1981 program, had a unique screening series called the Celluloid Closet, which they projected at the University of Calgary’s Boris Roubakine Theatre. The series only cost $12 and featured five gay films from the 1970s.
1981 is relatively early for publicized gay cultural programming in the city. Consequently, the Calgary Film Society could be considered edgy in its programming. Yet, Fortune in Men’s Eyes, which had been adapted from the stage, might have been familiar to Calgary audiences then, due to its staging by the also edgy Loose Moose Theatre Company in March 1980 at the Pumphouse Theatres.