In Italy Now We Have the First LGBTQ Audiovisual Archive

Sometimes I think I fled Italy only because our cinema -- post-Fellini, Pasolini and Rossellini -- doesn't show the reality that we're living. How can a boy who's gay, and is fighting for the right to be gay, remain in a country where the whole concept "LGBTQ" doesn't exist? Where, if a boy loves another boy, or if a girl kisses another girl, the only place for them is a B-list comedy? As though gay love needed to be buried under laugh tracks. Repeatedly. As though we, gay lesbian and trans, were unworthy of stories of any subtlety or real feeling. Stories with any truth to them.

I've been thinking this over for a while, and to me it seems that, while for the past six years Italian literature has sought to free itself of writing that can only demonstrate a sense of guilt, at the same time Italian cinema remains far from free to tell our stories. What are the producers, filmmakers and ministers of culture afraid of? I only see clichés and stereotypes on television and in the theaters. We deserve better. However, something innovative is actually happening. It is the LGBTQ Audiovisual Archive, OUT-TAKES.

I discovered an historical Archive whose mission is the global and systematic collection, restoration, conservation and digitization of the audiovisual memory of the movement for civil rights for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer. The Archive collects heterogeneous materials self-produced by amateur filmmakers and videomakers which up until now have been conserved by private citizens, by some documentation centres or within thematically defined archives that are not open to all. It's as if the world of art, though incapable of giving us an authentic look at the present, can at least look back and tell us where we came from and why, in Italy and the rest of the world, revolutions have been so important.

The LGBTQ Audiovisual Archive is the first European entity that aims to recover, preserve and promote the audiovisual heritage shot and recorded by those who were part of the same movement. The idea of the Archive was born thanks to the development of the doc "A Noble Revolution," which tells the life story of Marcella Di Folco and of her activism in the Italian LGBTQ movement. Thankfully, Italy is populated by enlightened citizens endowed with a great capacity for resistance. This is why the Archive has been recognized as a "major initiative as part of the activities to prevent and combat discrimination" by UNAR, National Office Against Racial Discrimination - Department of Equal Opportunities of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

It makes me happy to know that, when I decide to return to my country, a fundamental trove of LGBTQ historical memory will be there waiting for me. But it's just a start. I want more.

Written by Filippo Brunamonti
Edited by Nicholas Benson