LGBTQ Voices in Comedy panel at CCFF

The Chicago Comedy Film Festival, sponsored by Columbia College Cinema and Television Department, will present a panel of films and guest speakers around the topic of LGBTQ voices and conversations in the comedy film industry.

The program is made possible by a grant from Columbia College’s academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion department.

It will serve the LGBTQ film and comedy community within both the Columbia College student body, alumni and the public.

The panel will take place Thursday March 19th at 6pm at Columbia College. The web series Centered and the short film Straight or Alive will screen before the panel. Tickets are free to the public. More info here.

Advocate and showcase
“It is extremely important to our festival’s mission that we advocate and showcase the vast amount of talent and opportunity available in the industry to LGBTQ persons,” the CCFF explains in a press release issued today.

Entering its 10th year, the Chicago Comedy Film Festival initially began to support comedy filmmaking as a vital art form. From its founding, the CCFF has championed diverse voices because, the release continues:

“We have grown to recognize over the years the lack of representation in this medium.

Though we are seeing more efforts being made to create safe spaces for the LGBTQ community to produce content that is recognized as mainstream, we believe that the industry still has a way to go. Most recently, after much complaint about Dave Chappelle’s special where he called transgender persons “confusing” and Sebastian Maniscalco’s distasteful opening at the VMA’s stating that safe spaces are for sensitive people, we are seeing that there are still comedians being given a platform to perpetuate discrimination and intolerance on television.

Comedy television shows such as Transparent and Glow highlight LGBTQ experiences and are Emmy nominated and award winning, but we still have a lot of work to do in entertainment and comedy.

According to the 2018 GLAAD report, ‘Comedy is no longer the genre with the most LGBTQ-inclusive films from major studios. GLAAD counted 20 films as comedies with five (25 percent) being inclusive.’

We believe that young people need to be reminded that the industry can overcome these embedded practices and there is room for everyone to be a part of industry without push back. By showcasing high quality films and giving a platform to LGBTQ artists to speak about their experiences, we will hopefully inspire emerging filmmakers to go after their own stories.

We hope to ignite a positive and open discussion about the challenges that LGBTQ persons have endured, why comedians are still allowed to perpetuate homophobia, and what the future holds for up and coming LGBTQ comedians. Our hope is to see a measured increase in audiences perceptions of their chance to succeed in the industry.”


Meet the panelists
Gobbie Dixon is an Atlanta based actor, writer, and improviser. They are the co-creator and writer of Centered Web Series which has been featured at ClexaCon, the NYC Mental Health Film Festival, the LA Lift-Off Film Festival, and more. Spending 5 years in Chicago, Gobbie toured the seas with the Second City aboard the Norwegian Dawn and is an alumnus of the Second City Outreach & Diversity’s NBC Bob Curry Fellowship. They can be seen in the upcoming short film, Love Dump, and web series, Welcome Back. Instagram: @gobbiedixon.

Edward Vera is a first generation Filipino-America writer, director, and actor from Las Vegas, NV. He graduated with a degree in film and theater and also completed the Harold Ramis Film Program as part of the Second City. He’s spent the better part of the last decade traveling the world and growing up. Through his experiences, he aims to create content that addresses queer and feminist issues through comedic film and storytelling.