PRESS RELEASE: Pride Of The Ocean Cruise 2018

LGBTQ Filmmakers Hit High Seas: Pride of the Ocean Festival Highlights Gay History, Trans Characters in Film, Plight of LGBTQ People in Caribbean

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – More than 60 LGBTQ filmmakers, directors, writers and cinema fans from across the country departed Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 25 aboard the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas on the 11th annual Pride of the Ocean Film Festival.

Founded by Emmy Award-winning documentarian John Scagliotti (“Before Stonewall,” “In the Life”), Pride of the Ocean features LGBTQ-produced shorts, documentaries and features along with intimate discussions and workshops with the filmmakers.

A focus of the program is the importance of preserving LGBTQ history through film. Scagliotti created “In the Life,” the first LGBTQ-themed television newsmagazine that premiered in 1992 and was broadcast for two decades on PBS. His film, “Before Stonewall” was one of the first to document gay history before 1969.

“We’re here to discover together what we can do as artists to preserve our history,” said Scagliotti, “and we’re especially fortunate to collaborate with the leaders of three preeminent LGBTQ libraries and archives.”

The executive directors of the Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Fort Lauderdale, University of Southern California ONE Archives and GLBT Historical Society of San Francisco are all onboard to participate in panel discussions about the wide range of historical resources available for filmmakers, including film and tape, photographs, oral histories and documents.

Chris Rudisill, executive director of the Stonewall National Museum and Archives said, “Our work really goes hand in hand. Everything in our archives has a story and working with filmmakers offers an opportunity to explore those stories.”

In partnership with the Center for Independent Documentary, “CineSLAM” workshops offer filmmakers the opportunity to pitch future projects and receive critical feedback on sizzle reels and rough cuts from producers, funders and critics. Executive Director, Susi Walsh, is moderating the workshops.

“Many of the shorts that are workshopped are often excerpts from longer films that are being developed. The feedback from our workshops help filmmakers clarify their subject matter with both potential audiences and the funding community,” said Walsh. “Past participants have even met funders for their projects on their cruise.”

Sam Berliner, an independent filmmaker and director of Translations: the Seattle Transgender Film Festival, is leading discussions about the historical appearance and evolution of transgender characters in film, assisted by Sam Feder (“Kate Bornstein is a Queer & Pleasant Danger”) and pioneering trans scholar and filmmaker Susan Stryker (“Screaming Queens”).

While the ship is docked in Jamaica, an island infamous for bloody anti-gay violence, participants will remain onboard for two screenings: Scagliotti’s “Dangerous Living,” which explores the daily perils of life for LGBTQ people in Third World countries, and Bahamian filmmaker Kareem J. Mortimer’s moving 2011 drama, “Children of God,” set in his own country where homophobia still remains rampant.

“It’s changing slowly, but unfortunately, murderers still get off because of ‘gay panic’,” Mortimer said. “A close friend of mine was killed violently (during filming) and I knew I had to confront that in the film.”

Pride of the Ocean Film Festival is funded by a generous grant from the Chessie Foundation and supported by The Pollin Group, a leading travel agency that specializes in meetings and festivals on cruises.

Next year, Pride of the Ocean will sail from New York City, June 8 – 15, just days before the city celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, considered the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. In addition to screenings and workshops, the program will also delve into the stories of LGBTQ veterans and first responders.

For more information, go to


The official world premiere of PATERNAL RITES will be at DOC FORTNIGHT 2018 - MoMA’s very prestigious International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media. The film will screen at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on Saturday, Feb. 17th at 4pm with director Jules Rosskam, producer Marc Smolowitz and other special guests from the film in attendance. Tickets go on sale February 1st and can be purchased on the MoMA website here.


'A Call To Remember: The David Schaecter Story' Premiered at the Miami Jewish Film Festival! The film premiered to a sold-out house, and was followed by a Q&A with David Schaecter (the subject of the film), two of the producers on the project, Michael Berenbaum and Dennis Scholl, and the director, Ken Winikur.To learn more about this film, click here.


THE PEACEMAKER Is Opening In NY on February 9th! The award- winning and critically acclaimed documentary THE PEACEMAKER, will open in New York at Cinema Village on Friday, February 9, 2018 ahead of a wider release. Tickets can be purchased here. There will also be special Q&A's with Padraig O'Malley and various partners which will be listed on the film's Facebook page and website.


FROM BAGHDAD TO THE BAY to premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival! The film has already received great press coverage in both the San Francisco Chronicle/SF Gate and the NBC Bay Area News. See the four screening times below, and click the link to purchase tickets. You can also visit the film's page on the CID website here.

Saturday, March 3rd at 5pm (Redwood Century 10)

Sunday, March 4th at 7:25pm (Redwood Century 10)

Saturday, March 10th at 4pm (The Hammer Theatre)

Sunday, March 11th at 3:15pm (The Hammer Theatre)

Tickets Available On The Cinequest Website

CID Welcomed Into The UP Innovation + Learning Network!

We are thrilled to share that CID was accepted into the UP Innovation & Learning Network! UP is the Mass Cultural Council's Universal Participation Initiative which seeks to break down the barriers that prevent full civic participation in the cultural sector of the Commonwealth.

CID will be taking part in immersive workshops in universal design principles to steward ADA compliance, access plan implementation and engagement strategies. We are looking forward to sharing what we learn with you!

To read more about this initiative, click here.




In 2004, a diverse group of filmmakers, media arts organization representatives, film/video union and business owners gathered at the home of Lyda Kuth to map out the state of the film and video industry in Massachusetts. We realized that building a strong and vibrant media ecology in our state would require all of us working together, finding solutions to attract new sources of support for the industry and helping one another. We identified a significant opportunity offered by the Massachusetts Cultural Council – The Adams Arts Program—which was designed to provide funds and technical assistance to efforts that include cultural organizations and artists in the design of community and economic development strategies. CID submitted a proposal to this visionary program on behalf of a consortium of partners in the field- and we received the essential seed funding that made the development of the Massachusetts Production Coalition(MPC), and all of its programs and initiatives possible. Simply put, MPC would not be the organization it is today, and the work of developing our industry would not have experienced the success that it has without the support of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. From 2005- 2017, CID administered the Adams Arts Grant on behalf of our field.

Some highlights of the impact this funding created:

  • Research and writing of 2 industry economic impact studies
  • Funding for staff and administrative support
  • Hosting the 2007 National NAMAC conference held in Boston with hundreds of representatives of the media arts field from around the country attending
  • Quarterly MPC Member Meetings
  • Seminars and workshop training programs (including a retraining program with the state division of unemployment)
  • Annual Mass Media Expo events
  • Campaign to support local commercial production
  • Print and production guides

These initiatives have supported and brought together the very broad spectrum of film, television and media industry members in the state. And they have been essential to boosting the economic climate for the robust film and media community we now have. To put this in perspective, since 2013 through MPC's Adams Arts funded programs alone, this has generated attendance of over 7,000 admissions to quarterly MPC Meetings; regular workshops and seminar programs, and the annual Mass Media Expo.  2017 is the final year of the Adams Arts program as the Mass Cultural Council pursues new initiatives to advance a cultural economic development agenda. We are incredibly grateful for MCC's support through these formative years. We look forward to furthering our industry's work, continuing to be a leading creative economy generator for the Commonwealth while enriching its cultural assets.

At the Mass Media Expo on November 4 th , we were thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize and thank this early and crucial supporter of the MPC and our industry. CID’s Executive Director (and an MPC founding board member) Susi Walsh, and IATSE local 481 Director Chris O’Donnell presented a plaque to the MCC and Adams Arts Program Officer Meri Jenkins. The Massachusetts Cultural Council has been the very best kind of supporter. We are especially grateful for the guidance of our program officer Meri Jenkins, who accepted this recognition on behalf of MCC. In her remarks presenting the award, Susi Walsh said “Throughout their support Meri asked the hard questions, inspired us to base our vision on real data and hard facts; but most importantly she also asked us to dream, encouraged us to take risks, and be bold in our work.” The plaque is inscribed with our thanks: “With our deepest appreciation of your longstanding support and commitment to the Massachusetts Film and Media Arts community.” In her remarks, Meri Jenkins said “I believe the policy is written by the people who do the work, not by government. Our role is to support the creative ideas of the people who do it. Not to tell you the way we think you should do it. It made sense, and I hope it made a difference. And I hope out of it comes some work that will be truly phenomenal."


"Getting High" premiered at the (In)Justice For All Film Festival in Chicago in April. A Note From The Filmmaker, Victor Silverman: "Given the current efforts of the Justice Department to reemphasize punitive responses to problematic drug use, we need discussions around alternative forms of intervention as much as ever. To that end, I am now making 'Getting High' available for free viewing on Vimeo. Please share the link below with your friends, social networks and organizations. Stream the film here


"A Call To Remember: The David Schaecter Story" will be premiering at the Miami Jewish Film Festival on January 14th.Click here to read more about the film.


THE BUDDY SYSTEM, the (not so) little documentary that could, keeps chugging along, building awareness and compassion for the autism community. The film has screened at multiple festivals across the country, won “Best Film” at AutFest and was chosen as the closing night event at the U.S. Autism & Asperger Association World Conference (Autism activist, Dr. Temple Grandin was the key note speaker and it was an honor to spend time with her). We had an extra special experience at the Global Peace Film festival in Orlando. We attended shortly after Hurricane Irma wreaked her havoc and felt privileged to bring light and life to a community that was still recovering. We were also fortunate to have brought Cubby, a young autism assistance dog, along with us, because he brought comfort and many smiles to festival attendees. We’ve also been doing local community screenings at area libraries and schools and will have our Washington, D.C. area premiere this month at the Alexandria Film Festival. We’re about to kick off a year-end fundraising effort and are working towards a Gala Screening during Autism Awareness month in April 2018, which we will be followed by general distribution of the film on a television network and/or streaming platform. The “Be A Buddy” educational initiative is in development and designed for use in schools and support organizations. We’re still actively seeking supporters, sponsors, underwriters, and advisors, so if you’d like to help—in any way, please feel free to get in touch with director/producer Megan Smith-Harris at:


Tim McCarthy's "Voices Combating Homophobia" in Uganda is completed! The film will be showing in Provincetown, MA soon - stay tuned for details!


Jonathan Skurnik of The Youth & Gender Media Project has been traveling to colleges and conferences to screen his films about trans and gender expansive youth, accompanied by professional development trainings on how to create more inclusive classrooms for all children, regardless of their gender identity or expression. In addition, their film Creating Gender Inclusive Schools recently won the award for Best Documentary at the CMG Film Festival in West Hollywood.