The Pink Lobster Film Festival came back for a fifth time this March but, like everything else, it had to be moved completely online. Pink Lobster is New Brunswick’s first and premier LGBTQ+ film festival, committed to celebrating and showcasing stories of LGBTQ+ communities from around the world to Fredericton.

“The festival’s goal is to highlight LGBTQIA2+ stories, giving audiences a chance to see themselves represented in films, and providing a communal film event,” said the organizers.

They noticed the lack of a LGBTQ+ film festival in the province and decided to fill that gap in the New Brunswick film community. 

This year’s festival was different from previous years’ in more ways than one. Usually they allow short film submissions from around the world and then use a jury process to make official selections, but only feature films were available this year for streaming online.

The organizers explained that “This year was a little different due to COVID. We will be running a scaled-back version of the festival: there will be no shorts category and our feature films will be streaming online. This allowed us to focus our planning efforts though, and we have been advertising the festival online. In the feature films we sought out, we looked to what has been acclaimed at other LGBTQIA2+ festivals around the world and then weigh that against what New Brunswick audiences might be looking for. Positive representation and interesting, human stories are a key.” 

While the crowds, food, and the general ambience of communal movie-going was greatly missed, there was still a lot to be said for this year’s festival.

The fifth year anniversary of the festival marks the first time that viewers will be able to watch the films on their own time, at their leisure. This also helped widen the scope of the festival and brought in larger audiences. 

The festival’s lineup was made up of three films: Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly-Glenn Copeland Story from the United Kingdom, Two of Us from France, and Dating Amber from Ireland. 

“Our selection of award winning and critically-acclaimed films was a definite highlight. Keyboard Fantasies has won awards on the festival circuit, Two of Us was France’s official submission for the Best International Feature Film category at this year’s Academy Awards, and Dating Amber is an Amazon Prime original that you can catch early.”

The festival is supported by UNB, the City of Fredericton, and the NB Film Co-op, for all of whom the organizers are thankful. 

“For now people can enjoy the films from the comfort of their own homes. Hopefully by next year we can all gather at the movie theatre again,” they said.