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The Out In Africa South African Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (OIA) was launched in 1994 to celebrate the inclusion, in the South Africa Constitution, of the clause prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The Festival set out to address the lack of visibility of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex individuals (LGBTIs) in South African social and cultural life after decades of apartheid repression, to counter negative images of LGBTIs that prevail in traditional and religious communities, and to serve as a platform for discussion and debate about the situation of LGBTIs in a newly founded democracy.
The purpose of the Festival is to showcase films from around the world, and to stimulate and promote a home-grown film industry. As a socially conscious movement with a political purpose, OIA must generate images and representations of its own community that promote a sense of belonging and pride – films that explore our particular identity, lifestyles and concerns. OIA has organised 5 filmmaking workshops producing South African content – 22 short films have screened at over 52 international Film Festivals.
Through its high public profile (OIA garners tremendous coverage in the mainstream media) OIA continues to counteract embedded homophobia by providing positive images of LGBTI people. While the Festivals assist in the creation of communities and the strengthening of related organisations, ancillary events, that include filmmaking workshops, help develop personal growth, leadership skills and career opportunities.