Salt Lake City, UT – Utah Film Center announced today Jade Velazquez as the Festival Programming Director of the 20th Anniversary Damn These Heels Queer Film Festival set to run in person October 12 through 15, 2023 at the Rose Wagner Theater in downtown Salt Lake City and virtually October 15 through 22, 2023. Jade will lead the overall vision and strategy in collaboration with the Director of Film Exhibition, Russell Roots, and Utah Film Center Executive Director, Mariah Mellus.
“As a self-described movie lover I know how important it is to see representation in film,” said Jade Velazquez, Festival ProgrammingDirector. “Curating films with authentic queer stories that uplift and expose slices of life that aren’t normally seen on the screen is what we are striving for. We want to champion queer filmmakers who desperately need a platform to share their authentic stories – Damn These Heels Festival shines a light on these filmmakers’ important work.”
“Serving Utah’s local queer community for over 20 years has been one of our most exciting and fulfilling opportunities,” said Utah Film Center Executive Director Mariah Mellus. “Our goal has always been to offer the space for Utah’s LGBTQ+ community and filmmakers to guide the content and conversations at the festival. Jade’s insightful direction and enthusiasm will serve us well leading the Festival forward.”
For the last seven years, Velazquez has served on the Damn These Heels programming committee, dedicated to bringing the Festival the most dynamic independent films told from underrepresented perspectives and storytellers. Living in Utah for over 30 years, Jade feels strongly about creating a dedicated space for queer people to feel safe, experience the joy of film, and see their stories shared in a public way.
Damn These Heels Queer Film Festival is the longest-running LGBTQ+ film festival in the mountain west and is honored to have major support by Dancing Llama Foundation, Terence Kearns Stephens Charitable Fund, Decoo Academic Foundation, and Project Rainbow.
The Damn These Heels Queer Film Festival Programming committee is seeking Utah-made film submissions for Festival consideration. For more details, you can visit https://filmfreeway.com/DamnTheseHeels.
Utah Film Center
Utah Film Center’s mission is to connect people, stories, and ideas through film exhibitions, artist support, and arts education. We envision a world where all of Utah’s communities feel welcome, valued, and creatively empowered to make the world a better place. By amplifying diverse perspectives and marginalized voices, we believe that we can usher in a richer understanding of our neighbors, fellow human beings, and the world around us. For more information, visit utahfilmcenter.org.