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Columbus film fest to explore aspects of sexuality

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A still shot from ‘Scarlet Road,’  a documentary about Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton (left) and her disabled clients. The film is set to show Nov. 13 at the Gateway Film Center as part of the Columbus International Film + Video Festival. Credit: Courtesy of Susan Halpern

A still shot from ‘Scarlet Road,’ a documentary about Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton (left) and her disabled clients. The film is set to show Nov. 13 at the Gateway Film Center as part of the Columbus International Film + Video Festival.
Credit: Courtesy of Susan Halpern

Sex work, anti-homosexuality movements and views on Islam are all topics of one of the country’s longest-running film festivals this year.

The 62nd annual Columbus International Film + Video Festival is set to showcase local and international films in select theaters around Columbus beginning Thursday through Nov. 25.

“It’s really big this year,” Susan Halpern, executive director of the Columbus Film Council, said. “We show films you can’t see anywhere else.”

For its opening night, the film festival is set to show “Scarlet Road”  — a documentary about Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton and her disabled clients — at the Gateway Film Center.

“It’s a beautiful, touching film,” Halpern said about the depiction of sex work in a country where it is legal.

Immediately after the film’s showing, Wotton is slated to conduct a Q&A session with the audience via Skype.

In a shift in tone for the next day, the film festival is set to make its way to the Canzani Center at the Columbus College of Art and Design to showcase some Saturday morning cartoons for “children of all ages,” Halpern said.

Throughout the festival, local and international filmmakers will make their way to Columbus to discuss their pieces with the public, she added.

Including all of the short movies and cartoons in the festival’s lineup, there will be more than 50 films showcased, Halpern said.

“City of the Damned” and “Campaign of Hate: Russia and Gay Propaganda” both explore the anti-homosexuality movements in Uganda and Russia, Halpern said. Those films are slated to run Nov. 21 at the Canzani Center.

“Campaign of Hate” is an eye-opening experience, said Matt Hendrix, a fourth-year in film studies and an intern at the Columbus Film Council.

“I knew very, very little about the campaign,” Hendrix said. “It was terrifying. It seems so foreign to Americans, but it’s very real in Russia.”

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

On its last day, the festival will aim to address “new solutions to the global problem of waste” with “Racing to Zero,” according to the Columbus Film Council’s website.

Michael Mullen, a fifth-year in film studies and a work studies student at the Columbus Film Council, expressed his excitement for the festival to begin.

“I want to talk to the people behind the film,” he said. “I always find it really exciting to meet them.”

Filmmakers and the public are invited to brunch at ZenCha Tea Salon — located at 982 N. High St. — on Nov. 23, Halpern said.

“This (brunch) gives everyone a chance to talk to filmmakers about their films and filmmaking,” she said.

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