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Texas gay bar raid subject of film set to screen at Utah film festival

A documentary film chronicling the 2009 police raid on a gay bar in Fort Worth, Texas, and its effects on the community is set to screen at a Dixie State College film festival. The screening of Raid at the Rainbow Lounge will be held Sept. 8, 1 p.m., the closing day of the DocUtah Film Festival.

The second annual film festival will attract more than 300 submissions from 42 countries and screenings will be held around St. George, Utah, Sept. 5-9.

On the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, which prompted a national movement igniting the gay rights movement in the United States, Fort Worth police officers and members of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission raided a newly opened gay bar. Several people were arrested and later released for public intoxication and one man, Chad Gibson, was beaten by police and received a severe brain injury while in custody. Later, police officers claimed bar patrons made sexual advances which merited the reaction. Eyewitness accounts challenged this charge and Mayor Mike Moncrief issued an apology and three TABC employees were fired.

“I think it’s important for people to realize that events like what happened at the Rainbow Lounge are still happening in our lifetime. This is the kind of world members of the LGBT community are forced to live in: a world flourishing with fear, homophobia and intimidation,” said Robert L. Camina, the writer, director and producer of Raid at the Rainbow Lounge. “However, in the wake of the raid, Fort Worth city leaders and members of the LGBT community ultimately took significant steps to create a better world for all its citizens.”

The screening will take place in an area not unlike Fort Worth and its message is important for queer and ally alike, Camina said.

“That being said, I do not believe this is just an LGBT film.  Especially poignant in an election year, Raid of the Rainbow Lounge showcases the power of activism, the catharsis that can come from crisis, and how people can grow. I personally learned a lot during the making of the film and I hope it inspires others to get involved in their community.   While city leaders across the country need to be held accountable for the safety and well being for all the people they represent, members of the community also need to speak up and initiate change,” Camina said.

For more information about the film, go to raidoftherainbowlounge.com and for film festival information, go to docutah.com.

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