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Bending the Lens:
20 years of the London Lesbian Film Festival

The London Lesbian Film Festival is a registered non-profit organization which aims to portray the richness and diversity of lesbian experience and to strengthen our communities. The Film Festival (LLFF) is held annually in London, Ontario, Canada, a 3-day event: ‘a celebratory gathering at which we project our images, challenge our politics and reflect on our lives’. It is organized by a volunteer group of local lesbian, bisexual and queer women, The Reeling Spinsters, who collectively manage the programming, raise the funds and organize the screenings and extensive festival events.

In 2010, the LLFF received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to produce a video documentary to celebrate, preserve and share the 20-year herstory of the festival. ‘Bending the Lens, 20 years of the London Lesbian Film Festival’ follows the story of a volunteer collective who managed to carve out a sense of belonging for queer women in a conservative city by organizing an annual lesbian film festival.This film has become an ode to the values of collective organizing as a means of community building and a microcosmic version of a broader history of struggles within queer women’s communities over the last two decades.This wider history is suggested through montage sequences of stills from films and videos screened at The Festival over the last 20 years. Approximately sixty film stills from several sources appear over the course of the 33 minute video.
The documentary premiered on April 20, 2012 at the 21st London Lesbian Film Festival.