New Online Model Connects LGBTQ+ Media to Global Audience

Outfest UCLA Legacy Project When its theatrical home closed its doors due to the pandemic, the UCLA Film & Television Archive shifted public programming to an ambitious new online screening model, the Virtual Screening Room (VSR), which is presented live with real-time engagement between audiences, guest filmmakers, and scholars. What began as a challenge provided an opportunity to present archival treasures to a wider, global audience. 

Among these treasures are holdings from the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the largest publicly accessible collection of LGBTQ+ moving image media. Drawing from the collection, the Archive has thus far curated eight of its 56 VSR programs with media exploring LGBTQ+ life, art and representation, from the silent era to the present decade. Screenings included Different from the Others (Germany, 1919), the earliest known sympathetic portrayal of a gay protagonist, a film that miraculously survived Nazi Germany; and In the Life (U.S., 1992–2012), the first nationally broadcast news series focusing on LGBTQ+ people and their fight for equal rights. 

These eight VSR programs averaged 216 unique viewers each, engaging 1,735 viewers around the world—countries including Brazil, Hong Kong, Israel, Poland, Russia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam—many seeing these stories for the first time. 

“As a young trans person,” commented one viewer, “I was able to feel a connection to a filmic past I never knew existed before.” 

Meaningful connections like this one are made possible by the continued support of The Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation, a longtime funder of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project Screening Series. 

“Our partnership with the Kuehn Jr. Foundation has produced dozens of screenings of LGBTQ+-centered works over the last decade and has enabled the Archive to bring leading LGBTQ+ media makers and historians to the theatrical—and now virtual—stage,” said Archive Director May Hong HaDuong. 

Recently, support from the Myra Reinhard Family Foundation and Kuehn Foundation made possible the digitization of LGBTQ+ short films. “We look forward to bringing these films and past restoration projects to the big screen for a shared, in-person experience, while extending our reach across continents through our online screening model,” said HaDuong.