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“Film is a really good thing to bring people together,” says Naomi Bennett, CEO and Founder of Lesflicks. “‘What did you think of the film?’ ‘Amazing.’ And then as soon as you start to talk about it, you start to find things in common. It also helps people find themselves. You see a lesbian on screen and you go, ‘Oh, my God, now my life makes sense. That’s what I am.'”
Bennett has spent the better part of the past decade helping lesbian audiences find themselves onscreen — first through social website Planet Nation, and since 2019 by building Lesflicks from a local film and events club, started in London, into a global digital streaming platform.
“I moved to London to find my community, to find people like me, other queer women,” the Kent, England, native says. “I’ve always been driven by being part of a community.”
With Lesflicks, Bennett and her team have nurtured an online community of film lovers and filmmakers, as well as a video-on-demand venue with a growing list of films and series that feature stories about lesbian, queer, and bi women. They launched the streaming platform with less than 20 titles just as the pandemic lockdown hit.
“We’re now in a position where we’ve got over 100 titles,” Bennett says. “And we’re now on all the apps. So that’s a great step forward.”
Lesbian films have stepped forward in the mainstream with such recent high-profile releases as Ammonite, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and Happiest Season. Still, countless other films made by, for, and about queer women don’t garner nearly the same visibility. Lesflicks is doing its part to surface the 80 percent of lesbian content that doesn’t feature movie stars or multi-million dollar budgets by releasing a new indie title a week.
The streamer kicks off Women’s History Month and Bisexual Health Awareness Month with the new releases Every Day, a drama series starring Kati Salowsky as a trauma survivor questioning a fast-moving friendship, and Rain Beau’s End, which follows a lesbian couple struggling to raise an adopted child with aggression issues.
The long-term aim for Lesflicks is “to create a fund we can put into and help get films made more quickly, with better budgets,” says Bennett. “But for now, it’s the amplification. We’re doing a lot of work with the grassroots, reaching out to the audience directly, trying to empower them to realize how strong they are on social media [and] how their friends really listen to their recommendations.”
Rain Beau’s End, Every Day and dozens of other film, TV, and web-series titles are available for streaming on-demand at Lesflicks. Visit www.lesflicksvod.com.
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