By: Tess Stuber
The Buffer Festival 2018 LGBTQ+ screening offered creators a chance to share new content that branches out from their regular work. Many artists decided to pursue their own visions, despite the expectations and pressures placed on them as LGBTQ+ creators.
“There’s a pressure to always represent the LGBT community,” said Nicola Foti, creator of the film Space + Time.
Foti explained that some content on his channel always tends to perform better than other content because it’s what his viewers are expecting.
“There’s always this balance of figuring out how much to show off your personal life and how much to follow your creative vision,” he said.
This feeling of being stuck in a certain category was common among many of the creators in the LGBTQ+ screening. In addition to the pressures of creating a certain type of content, the current interests of society as a whole also affect creators’ decisions, said Michael Rizzi, the creator of the film 5 Years Later: Non-Monogamy, Insecurities, & Regrets.
Born in Toronto, Rizzi started making content when he was 18 years old, a time when gay marriage had only been legal in Canada for a few years and was still illegal in many other countries. Because of this, conversations were still about the simple fact of being gay, Rizzi said. Now, the conversation has shifted to topics such as racial representation in media, transgender visibility, and gender identity.
“I find that now gay and lesbian people specifically are finding their way to other types of content,” Rizzi said.
At Buffer Festival, Rizzi took the opportunity to push some boundaries in his own creative world. His usual content focuses on himself, rather than his long-term relationship with his boyfriend, who is featured in this film.
He noted the lack of content that exists about regular long-term relationships in the LGBTQ+ community and the struggles among them.
“I wanted to talk more candid and realistic about the realities of a long-term relationship. Break-ups happen, betrayal happens,” said Rizzi. “Restructuring of a relationship, no one talks about that on their Instagram.”
Rizzi was one of many that branched out at this year’s Buffer Festival. Other creators are pushing boundaries and shedding light on prevalent LGBTQ+ issues.
Stef Sanjati is the creator of the film Bad Words. Her film featured multiple other internet creators who shared their emotional experience with receiving negative comments as a public figure.
Typically, Sanjati makes content about being transgender and her life experiences, but her work for Bad Words was all done behind the camera and did not include any transgender people, a decision she said was quite difficult. She noted that it was time to give a voice to those she had not yet featured since she had focused all of her time on the transgender community.
“I’m very grateful to be able to provide knowledge and resources for trans people or people that want to learn,” Sanjati said. “But I’m also a creator. I’m an artist. I don’t want to be stuck in a niche and not be able to creatively express myself.”