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“Maybe these films were the beginning of people freeing themselves personally and creatively, thinking I can do that, I can have sex with someone of my own sex,” says Ira Sachs of the films he and Butt magazine editor Adam Baran curate for the Queer/Art/Film series, screened monthly at New York’s IFC Center. “We wanted to pick films that gave these artists dreams of what they could be, both as gay people and as artists,” he adds. The result is one of New York’s most important and diverse film series.

Says Baran of James Bidgood, one of the many film pioneers to present and discuss seminal works, “When he was making his film Pink Narcissus, it was something between beefcake photography and a kind of pornography—and it’s art.” To which Sachs responds, “It’s an art series as much as it is a film series. Someone said to me that the program gives them an idea of what queer is that’s larger than what we think it means today,” adds Sachs.

“I think the more time-specific something is, the more universal and timeless it becomes,” says Baran of the films, but these words could just as easily describe the series itself. If we’re going to support and admire gay filmmakers of the past, why not let ourselves fall into the magical, sometimes turbulent, worlds they envisioned? What could be more New York than that?

Next up is The Films of Act Up on September 13. Click here for the complete schedule.

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