The award-winning film "Inlaws and Outlaws" with director Drew Emery headlines the 6th Annual Gay in Appalachia celebration at Virginia Tech. The film will be screened in the Graduate Life Center on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. 

Emery will lead a post-film discussion. The film is free and open to the public and a reception following the screening is also open to all.

"Gay in Appalachia has become a fall tradition at Virginia Tech that brings the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community together with our allies to explore various issues through the arts," said Jean Elliott, co-chair of the LGBT Caucus and producer of the event. "This is an outreach and education project meant to attract people from across the New River Valley and beyond. It is more important than ever to have a positive rallying point because of the recent surge in gay-related youth suicides and violence.

"Gay in Appalachia has showcased filmmakers, theatre readings, and best-selling authors, with discussions centered around themes of religion, resiliency, and election-year politics. Visiting scholars and artists have addressed packed theatres, delivered numerous class lectures, and participated in round-table discussions with local clergy." 

"Inlaws and Outlaws" is a documentary that weaves together the true stories of couples and singles -- both gay and straight -- into a collective narrative that is both humorous and heartbreaking. "At the top of the film, the cast is introduced one by one, and the audience does not know who's gay or straight or who's with whom," notes Emery. "As stories unfold, stereotypes fall by the wayside, and the audience ends up rooting for everybody."

Writer, director, and filmmaker Emery has created a body of community-centered work while living in Seattle for the past 15 years. After receiving his Masters of Fine Arts in playwriting from the University of Virginia, and winning a clutch of playwriting honors, including the Virginia Playwriting Prize and the Howard Scammon Drama Prize, Drew moved to Seattle and began working with the late great Alice B. Theatre. In addition to co-directing the nation's first national lesbian and gay theatre conference, Drew collaborated with various artists to create "Hidden History: True Stories from Seattle's Lesbian & Gay Elders" and "Language of One, the personal odyssey of a Deaf gay man." "Language of One" went on to a successful Equity showcase production at New York Deaf Theatre, which Drew directed, and a run at the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival, produced by Australian Theatre of the Deaf.

Emery, the founder of True Stories Project LLC, says, "The central belief to all my work is that story is transformative … and the true story has an unassailable appeal. Authenticity is increasingly being sought out by audiences -- and they know it when they see it."

"Inlaws and Outlaws" has won the Best of Fest Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award at the deadCENTER Film Festival.

Presented by the LGBT Caucus of Virginia Tech, Gay in Appalachia has sponsors from across the university.



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