Sie Film Center Hosts Queer Camp Movie Night

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Are you the kind of movie buff who wants to respond to the screen? Maybe you’ve been kindly escorted out of an Alamo Drafthouse for talking too much, or you’ve been muffled more than your fair share of times. The New Movie Night Hosted by Andy Scahill, CU Assistant Professor of Film Studies in Denvermaybe your movie aisle.

On Tuesday, September 13, Scahill is hosting a “New Interactive Queer Camp Movie Night” called Rainbow Worship. It’s a once-a-month gathering at the Sie Film Center that invites everyone to quote and sing along to the films, all of which were chosen for their delicious queer cheese. Events not only include the films themselves, but also drag performances, contests, giveaways and more. Rainbow Cult starts with Gorgeous Drop Dead, the 1999 pageant comedy starring Kirsten Dunst and Denise Richards. The movie starts at 7:30 p.m., but happy hour will run from 5-7 p.m., where you can not only enjoy an adult drink, but also a pre-show with your very own tiara and sash.

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Rainbow Cult’s first film was Beverly Hills Troop; Gorgeous Drop Dead comes on tuesday september 13

Andy Scahill

“Cinema should be a shared experience,” Scahill insists. “During quarantine and COVID, we’ve all been isolated, watching TV alone.” One of the important differences between film and TV, says Scahill, is that “film is something you do together, something you often do with strangers. You are in the dark and you are weighing your reaction to something on the screen against that of others. And there’s something cathartic about laughing together. One of the things I like about cinema is that it engenders these kinds of experiences.

Scahill has therefore partnered with drag artist Electra Dupri to establish an ongoing event intended to host experiences where people – especially in the queer community – could come together to experience cinema in a celebratory way. “I knew I wanted to do a cult movie night, but I wanted to do something different,” he says. “I didn’t just want to organize a series of films.”

Scahill says he modeled the concept on the midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with their raucous energy, audience participation, and spirit of pure, pure fun. But he wanted to branch out into other kinds of films — often similar campy in nature, but new movies given the same adoring treatment. “The films we’ve chosen have a sort of currency in the gay community,” says Scahill. “We’re already talking onscreen whenever we do a meme, for example, or a reference or a line in conversation. There is an exchange there.

The first film in the series was released in August, when Rainbow Cult launched with the film Beverly Hills Troop. The 1989 Shelley Long comedy about a socialite and Girl Scout leader is a gay community favourite, even among those who have never seen it before. “It’s funny,” Scahill said. “There are people who quote lines from movies without ever having seen those movies – maybe even without knowing the origin of those things they say.”

Scahill says he has a list of over fifty films he’d like to screen with Rainbow Cult, but “it’s been kind of an education.” Some films are out of circulation, too expensive or voluntarily reserved for other uses. “I wanted to use Hocus Pocus for October,” says Scahill, “but since Disney has a sequel to this release, they have a hold on it.

Still, that leaves plenty of movies to showcase under the Rainbow Cult banner that should be a lot of fun. Apart Beverly Hills Troop and Gorgeous Drop DeadScahill is preparing the 1992 black comedy Death becomes her for the October selection, and hopes to program the legendary 1975 documentary gray gardens at one point. “Films like that that were made to be campy, or are camp afterthought,” says Scahill. “These are the types of films that we focus on and are passionate about.”

Rainbow Cult events aren’t just for fun, they’re also for a good cause. Profits from each movie night go to support a good cause in the queer community. “I wanted to give back a bit,” says Scahill. Profits from the first films will be used to establish scholarships for CampVuwhere LGBTQ+ youth, especially gay youth of color, can enjoy over 61 acres of pristine nature about an hour south of Denver in a safe and accepting environment.

“It all depends on how you would watch this movie at home with a group of friends,” Scahill concludes. “It’s the community experience that we want to provide. Just to gather and laugh together and enjoy movies again.

Andy Scahill and Rainbow Worship present Gorgeous Drop Dead7:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 13, Sie Film Center, 2510 East Colfax Avenue.

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