History

Founded in 2000, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP) is the first film and media arts organization in the world for, by, and about/of queer and transgender African Descent/Black, Native American/Indigenous, Asian, Chicanx/Latinx, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander, Southwest Asian, North African/Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, South Asian (SWANA/AMEMSA), and Mixed-Race, people of color. QWOCMAP began over 20 years ago, when award-winning, San Francisco-based, queer immigrant Asian filmmaker Madeleine Lim received funding from California Arts Council to conduct a series of free workshops for emerging queer women of color media artists. Since then, our Filmmaker Training Program has nurtured the creation of over 465 new films, the largest catalog of QTBIPOC films in the world. These high impact films shatter stereotypes and bias, reveal the lived truth of inequality, and address the vital, intersecting social justice issues that concern our multiple communities.

In 2003, we presented the first free screening of QWOCMAP films, which drew standing-room only crowds to the SF LGBT Community Center. In 2005, our free annual one-night screening expanded into a 2-day Queer Women of Color Film Festival. In 2006, our Film Festival expanded to a 3-day weekend event and clearly outgrew our venue. In 2007, we moved our Film Festival to the Brava Theater, which doubled our seating capacity, yet we still turned away hundreds of people. In 2020, we presented our first-ever virtual Film Festival, and livestreamed screenings to an international audience of over 3,000 households. Our Film Festival consistently attracts capacity crowds and bridges seemingly disparate populations to transform and empower participants, audiences, and communities through art, activism and movement building, which galvanizes grassroots activism, civic engagement, and community organizing to foster systemic change.

In addition to our own screenings, our boutique film Distribution Program distributes QWOCMAP films to Bay Area and international film festivals, universities, and grassroots organizations around the world. QWOCMAP films have screened at the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival, the San Francisco Latino Film Festival, the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival, the Oakland Black LGBT Film Festival, as well as Film Festivals in Los Angeles, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., Toronto, Vancouver, Brazil, Costa Rica, UK, Germany, Italy, South Africa, India, Japan, and New Zealand. Created through our Introductory Workshop, Mónica Enríquez's film A Journey Home, received the 2004 Lesbian & Gay Jury Award from the SF Latino Film Festival. Completed in our Intermediate workshop, Yun Suh's film City of Borders world premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival where it won a Special Teddy Award.

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