What are the great queer films? The project team of The Queer Repertory aims to answer this question through building a database of films shown at queer film festivals, thus providing a quantifiable claim for a “queer repertory” that has spoken to the LGBTQ+ population over the past 50 years.
This digital humanities project began with extensive archival research led by Jeff Solomon, the Principal Investigator. Gathering these data requires quite a bit of exploration and, well, research, before you can even do the research. Film festivals are events often co-hosted by various groups, so there’s not a central archive to visit. Additionally, organizers are often focused on the event itself, rather than preservation of historical materials, so things like archives of printed programs and updated websites are very difficult to come by.
As a result, the dataset that Solomon has gathered is an incredibly valuable resource for film historians and LGBTQ+ scholars. He has assembled The Queer Repertory project team at Wake Forest University to make this dataset publicly available using the Airtable platform. As a member of the project team, I serve as the project manager to organize the work being done by research assistants, librarians, and researchers.
In the summer of 2021, The Queer Repertory was selected to attend the Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship (ILiADS). During our time at ILiADS, we worked with a DH liaison to develop plans for the next phase of development of the project, which includes pursuing grants for creating an intuitive interface for the database. We very much enjoyed networking with the 2021 ILiADS cohort and learning about their inspiring DH projects.