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“New Hope Celebrates” its LGBTQ+ community


An event created by New Hope Celebrates, “Queer Cuts: New Hope” on Sunday screened five films created by LGBTQ+ filmmakers at the Bucks County Playhouse.

According to New Hope Celebrates, “These five filmmakers were grantees of the Creative Hope initiative, a competitive grant program funded by IPG Mediabrands.”

Daniel Brooks, the founder of “New Hope Celebrates,” was one of the minds behind the idea. His organization is “dedicated to promoting our communities as a culturally diverse destination- not just for the LGBTQ+ community, but for all who believe in community.”

The films include “Trans Heaven, Pennsylvania,” directed by Hansen Bursic, which explores New Hope’s iconic gay bar “The Raven” and “Ben in Bloom,” directed by Natalie Jasmine Harris, a documentary about the coming of age of Central Bucks South graduate Ben Busick.

The filmmakers each heard about the opportunity uniquely, and were given a prompt to choose for their film.

Some filmmakers, such as Kase Peña, had never heard of New Hope prior to “Queer Cuts.”

“Everyone was so willing to help,” Peña said. “If they couldn’t, they brought someone back who could. You may not find, in another place the support that I have personally speaking, that I have found here.”

The event was followed by a discussion after the films’ initial screening that was moderated by “Queer Cuts: New Hope” Executive Producer Brendan Gaul.

“With everything happening in culture right now, anti-trans legislation to Drag bans, to ‘don’t-say-gay’ laws, we just think it’s more important than ever to support queer artists and queer storytellers and, more importantly, to make sure that our stories find audiences,” Gaul said.

Filmmaker Natalie Jasmine Harris, says this opportunity really boosted her confidence as a filmmaker.

“If we have support and confidence in ourselves, we can really tell stories anywhere and find community,” she said.

Lance Weiler, a filmmaker who recently attended Doylestown’s Bucks Fever FilmFest last month, is working closely with young people who go to the “Rainbow Room” in Doylestown to develop their skills as amateur filmmakers. Armed with their iPhones, they’re making films centered around queer ideas. For Weiler, its a way to encourage them to be “architects of the future instead of victims.”

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