Beyond the Screen: Championing Diversity in Film - An Exclusive Interview with Lex Melony

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 by EditorialNo comments

Join us for an exclusive interview with Lex Melony, founder and director of One Fluid Night (OFN). Explore the crucial role of diversity in film and discover the visionary initiatives led by OFN under Lex's guidance. Get ready to be inspired by their commitment to champion inclusivity and amplify diverse voices beyond the screen.

What inspired you to create "One Fluid Night" and establish an LGBTQ+ Film Awards event?

Creating "One Fluid Night" and the LGBTQ+ Film Awards was really about shaking up the scene here. I noticed London was short on regular LGBTQIA+ gigs that were more than just films; we're talking a full-on experience with live performances that make you feel alive. We're all about showcasing stories from every corner of the globe, making it a night where anyone and everyone can connect. It's more than just an event; it's about carving out a spot for our city on the world map of filmmakers, where the community comes alive, shares, and celebrates together. We're here to keep the buzz going, making sure there's always a place for film lovers and makers to meet and mingle, keeping the creative spirit thriving.

Can you share a bit about the journey of bringing this event to life, from concept to execution?

Bringing "One Fluid Night" to life was a bit mad, really. From the spark of an idea at the end of May to opening night at Genesis Cinema on September 8th, we had just three months. It was a whirl of brainstorming, crafting visuals, setting up our online world, and soaking up as much wisdom as we could from the pros. And somehow, amidst the chaos, it all came together, thanks to the incredible support of Debbie, Igor, and Alexey, who were the rock of our team. It was like our own "Around the World in 80 Days" adventure, but for us, it was turning a dream into reality in 90 days. Just goes to show, sometimes you've just got to leap into the deep end and trust you'll swim.

What makes "One Fluid Night" unique compared to other LGBTQ+ film festivals or awards ceremonies?

One Fluid Night really stands out because it's more than just a film night: it's a whole experience. We mix up international LGBTQ+ films with live acts, bringing a bit of everything to the table. It's not just about watching; it's about feeling part of something. We've got this panel of film pros from all over, judging and joining in, which really spices things up. Plus, we're doing this way more often than the usual once-a-year gig, keeping the vibe alive and kicking. It's like we're creating this little hub in London where everyone’. 

How do you select the films showcased at the event? What criteria do you consider when curating the lineup?

Selecting films for "One Fluid Night" is a pretty unique process. It's not just about following the usual festival playbook. Sure, there are some basics you can't skip, but after diving into tons of research, tutorials, and interviews, I realised we had to tailor things to fit our vibe. There's no step- by-step guide out there for this; we had to craft our own. Here's how we do it: it starts with our amazing volunteers. They watch all the submissions and give them a star rating. The top-rated films then move to the next round where our team, including me, dives in deeper. We're looking for diversity, quality, and representation from different countries. We're all about giving any fantastic LGBTQIA+ short film a chance to shine at our awards.

Finally, the shortlist gets to our judges, who are pros from all over the globe. They bring their expertise to the table and help decide the winners in five categories. But we keep one category open for our guests to vote on during the event itself. It's all about community input and making sure everyone's voice is heard.

"One Fluid Night" aims to connect LGBTQ+ actors and filmmakers. How do you facilitate this networking opportunity, and what impact do you hope it has on the industry?

One Fluid Night" is all about getting LGBTQ+ actors and filmmakers to meet, mix, and spark new projects. We set up the perfect scene for mingling before and after screenings, making it easy to strike up conversations that could lead to your next big collaboration. And we're not stopping there. We're also boosting visibility online, spotlighting what's happening, who's attending, and sharing interviews with judges and filmmakers. It's about creating those "aha" moments in person and amplifying them online, making sure our community's talent gets seen and heard far and wide. 

 Hosting an evening of pure entertainment sounds exciting. Could you give us a glimpse into what attendees can expect in terms of performances and specialattractions?

As the Festival Director and founder of the OFN LGBTQIA+ Film Awards in London, I'm thrilled to say that each event we host is a spectacular celebration of queer artistry and storytelling. At OFN, we're dedicated to sharing these films with a wider audience, both online and offline, creating a space where art and diversity flourish side by side. We invite performers to apply and take the stage, providing them a platform to captivate an audience. Attendees can expect a dynamic array of performances, ranging from enthralling dance acts to powerful vocalists, and even mesmerizing drag performances. It's more than just a showcase; it's about building an inclusive community and highlighting diverse perspectives. We extend a special invitation to members of our community within the film industry to help us by remote judging. This is a collaborative effort to celebrate and amplify the voices of LGBTQIA+ filmmakers globally. If you feel inspired to join us in this celebration, we welcome you to apply to become a judge. Let's come together to share these incredible stories and connect winners from across the globe right here in London.

How important is community support and donations to the success of "One Fluid Night"? . Can you tell us more about the impact of these contributions on the festival's initiatives?

I think this is the most complicated and important question for us. We are definitely in need for more supporters and donors, as our individual resources and literally my savings are almost gone. To keep our OFN events running it's vital to get both help from individual/guests/film lovers from within the community and obviously organisations or fundings etc...

As the festival director, what are your long-term goals and vision for "One Fluid Night"?

Kicking things off, my immediate focus is to ensure "One Fluid Night" stands strong by securing some solid partnerships and sponsorships. It's crucial for us to have a firm footing before we dive into grand plans. You know, we need to make sure we're on solid ground before dreaming too big. But speaking of dreams, we've got plenty! We want to bring together filmmakers from all over, both online and at our events like the OFN Awards, which we do every two months, and the FLUID Film Festival, happening for the first time this September. It's all about making a space where everyone can share their stories and get to know each other.

In what ways do you hope "One Fluid Night" contributes to greater visibility and acceptance of LGBTQIA+ stories and lives?

Yeah, so here's the thing: there are like 60 film festivals in the UK, right? And sure, lots of them have an LGBTQIA+ film or two, which is great. But only about 20 really focus on queer stories, and they're just once a year. What sets "One Fluid Night" apart? We're doing this every couple of months, like every 1.5 to 2.5 months. It's not just about adding to the noise; it's about keeping the conversation alive and kicking all year round.

Finally, what message would you like to share with potential attendees and supporters of "One Fluid Night"?

For anyone thinking of joining us at "One Fluid Night," here's the deal: you're not just coming to watch some incredible films; you're stepping into a role where your voice matters. Imagine being part of a crowd that gets to pick award winners, celebrating stories that really hit home. With so many festivals out there, it's rare to find one where you can dive in and participate like this, especially with us doing this every couple of months. It's not just about showing up; it's about being part of something that makes a difference, one vote at a time. So, if you're up for more than just a movie night and want to be part of a community that lifts up LGBTQIA+ voices, "One Fluid Night" is where you want to be.

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