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Pivoting a platform

The Xerb team has been working for more than a year to help film festivals find an online platform to stream their content. (Courtesy of Xerb)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Eric Streeper is using technology to bring people closer together.

As founder and CEO of the Santa Fe-based streaming platform Xerb, he hass used the past year to work with film festivals around the country by bringing each festival’s content to the comfort of living rooms.

“When the pandemic hit, film festivals were left without a platform,” Streeper says. “We pivoted our platform so it works with how a film festival would exist online.”

Xerb is working with two of the most popular LGBTQIA+ film festivals in North America – The Wicked Queer Film Festival in Boston and the Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival based out of Calgary.

In February, Xerb teamed up with the Santa Fe Film Festival for the virtual event.

“Xerb is very excited to be able to host and support the kind of crucial conversations film festivals like these initiate,” Streeper says. “We cannot overstate the importance of giving these strong, welcoming communities a platform to gather online and share their stories.”

The Wicked Queer Film Festival will be hosting its #Gaypril celebration with 17 short film programs for the entire month of April, while their yearly film festival will run April 8-18 and will showcase its feature film selections, in addition to the short programs.

The Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival will run from May 21-30, with the full lineup to be unveiled April 6.

Shawn Cotter, Wicked Queer Film Festival executive director, was looking for a partnership that would bring the world to the festival.

“In these times of rapidly changing technologies, and information being revised and rewritten, the preservation and promotion of storytelling and our histories is paramount,” Cotter says. “Wicked Queer is dedicated to keeping the stories of our community alive through providing a platform where LGBTQ+ voices can be heard and creating a space to celebrate Queer filmmaking at its best.”

Heather Shaw, marketing director of the Calgary Queer Arts Society, says the Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival has been around for more than two decades, facilitating conversations between queer filmmakers and audiences.

“When our festival had to choose between canceling or going digital last year, it was serendipity, fate or whatever word you wish to use that brought us in contact with Xerb,” Shaw says. “With their support, our reach went international and Queer folks who were struggling and isolated were able to engage with feature films, shorts and documentaries that told their unique stories. It was a lifeline for many that wouldn’t have been possible without the team at Xerb. We are thrilled to be partnering with them again this year, and who knows how far and wide these stories might travel for us in 2021.”

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