The first festival came about because Aaron Casserly Stewart, Parsons city commissioner in 2017, had wanted to honor Gilbert Baker, the creator of the Rainbow Flag. Gilbert conceived of the idea for the Gilbert Baker Film Festival with a group of his friends. The Festival was to be a celebration of LGBTQIA+ Pride in his old stomping grounds of Parsons, KS. Knowing that Parsons is a town in rural Southeast Kansas, Gilbert wanted to have an event that could showcase the accomplishments of the LGBTQIA+ community without a parade. Unfortunately, Gilbert died in 2017 before the first film festival was held.
The committee working with him proceeded to hold the first festival. It was a small festival but it was a beginning. The town responded to requests to fly the Pride flag and showed support through attendance. Labette Community College provided space and a picture of the flag raising ceremony graced the cover of the local paper, the Parsons Sun.

In 2018, a group of people who want Gilbert's dream to reach its potential began working towards having another Film Festival. It is our hope that this event will honor Gilbert's memory and worldwide legacy. In 2019, we coordinated with the Parsons High School Class that Gilbert would have graduated with if he had stated stayed in Parsons. They are having their high school reunion on the weekend of the Festival. The committee decided that holding the 2019 Gilbert Baker Film Festival in October would afford his classmates the opportunity to attend both events.

In 2018 a group of people who wanted Gilbert's dream to reach its potential began working towards having another Film Festival. It is our hope that this event will honor Gilbert's memory and worldwide legacy. In 2019 we coordinated with the Parsons High School Class that Gilbert would have graduated with if he had stated stayed in Parsons. They had their high school reunion on the weekend of the Festival. The committee decided that holding the 2019 Gilbert Baker Film Festival in October would afford his classmates the opportunity to attend both events.

The 2020 Gilbert Baker Film Festival begins the tradition of holding the festival the third weekend in September (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) annually from 2020 on. The 2020 festival will be held at the Parsons Public Library in Parsons, Kansas.
The main goal of the Gilbert Baker Film Festival (GBFF) committee is to hold a festival worthy of Gilbert's worldwide legacy. As of 2020 the festival will be held annually on the Third Weekend in September (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). We want to create awareness. The WHERE WE CALL HOME: LGBT PEOPLE IN RURAL AMERICA report published by M.A.P. in April 2019 "suggests that between 2.9 million and 3.8 million LGBT people—or 15-20% of the total U.S. LGBT population—live in rural areas around the country." The Gilbert Baker Film Festival is held in the heart of Rural America.

We are basically started over in 2019 with a new format and website. Each year we hope to grow and improve. We are also working with the Gilbert Baker Estate who have been a great help.

Best in Festival, Best Narrative Feature Film, Best Narrative Short Film, Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Documentary, Best Animation Short, Best Animation Reel, Best Animation Feature, Best Web Series, Best Music Video

Rules & Terms US

Gilbert Baker Film Festival accepts submissions for feature films, short films, feature documentaries, short documentaries, animation features, animation shorts, web series, and music videos. All submissions must have an LGBTQIA+ or gender identity focus.
All submissions must have English subtitles regardless of country of origin.
All feature narrative and feature documentary submissions must be 60 minutes or over in length.
All short film narrative and short documentary submissions must be under 60 minutes in length.
Short films, Web Series, Animations, and Music Videos that are available on YouTube, Vimeo or other media services are indeed eligible.
We encourage films without distribution to submit.
As a general policy we do not pay screening fees. It will be determined on a case by case basis whether to include submissions that require screening fees.
No production year limit
All films must be initially submitted via FilmFreeway.
Filmmakers are required to fill out a completed application form via FilmFreeway.
All submissions will go under review and are selected on the following criteria:
Strength of the story
Quality of narrative and production values
Selected films must submit a H264 or mp4 digital format of selected submission and trailer with either subtitles built in or a separate digital subtitle file. A link to the trailer in the format of YouTube or Vimeo format must also be submitted if selected when possible.
All films submitted must be fully completed by August of the Festival Year. Any Film not completed by Deadline of August 1 of festival year we reserve the right to drop the Film in question out of award selection process and potentially out of program selection process. We do not show incomplete films.
Submission of an entry indicates acceptance of all regulations, guarantee that a screening copy in the format specified will be made available for the dates of the event, and authorization to publicly exhibit the work at Gilbert Baker Film Festival.
By submitting the screening copy you are stating you have the authority to distribute the film.
If screening copy is to be provided by a distributor or agent then entry must be submitted by that distributor/agent, along with any criteria or conditions. We reserve the right to drop the film from the program if criteria or conditions can’t be met.
Submission of entry grants Gilbert Baker Film Festival use of materials and images related to the project for the marketing purposes of Gilbert Baker Film Festival.
Language: All submissions will be assessed by English speakers. If the submission is in a language other than English and speech is necessary for the experience, subtitles or other means of speech translation will be required. We are requiring all submissions, even those in English, to have a subtitles.
Gilbert Baker Film Festival reserves the right to refuse a screening copy of poor technical condition that may be detrimental to the screening.
Competition is open to U.S. and International entries. Please check individual categories for additional requirements.
You may submit multiple entries but must fill out a separate entry form and pay an entry fee for each.
Call For Entries opens on March 1st of the festival year
• Early Deadline -- April 1st of the festival year
• Regular Deadline – May 1st of the festival year
• Late deadline – June 1st of the festival year
Submission must be received by the deadline date
Notification of Festival acceptance status is scheduled to be given to all entrants on or about August 1st of the festival year, possibly as earlier.
If a DVD or Blu-Ray hard copy of selected films is requested by the festival it must be received by September 7th of the current festival year, consideration of a later deadline or other entry formats for international entries at the discretion of the Gilbert Baker Film Festival Committee.
Our facility does not support 35mm, super 16mm, 8mm.
-- Entry fee (must be paid online through FilmFreeway).
--3-Line Synopsis (may be used for Festival Program and website)
--FEATURE-LENGTH FILMS: 250 Word Synopsis (may be used for Festival Program and website)
--COLLEGE STUDENTS: Include proof of student status at the time of production. (Copy of student ID or transcript.)
--YOUNG FILMMAKERS: Include a copy of your state or student id verifying your age at the time of completion of the film. You may submit a letter from a teacher if you do not have a photo ID. You must provide written consent from my parent or legal guardian
--Accepted entries must submit at least one digital, horizontal 300dpi still photo from the film and at least one web-ready still at 72dpi and 560x315 pixels. If selected you may be asked to provide more images related to the submission.
The party responsible for sending film materials bears the cost of transporting selected films. International parcels should be marked ‘For Cultural Purposes Only/No Commercial Value'. Do NOT mail submissions via Registered mail, or other ways that require signatures at the post office. No submission will be signed for & the USPS will return it to you as un-delivered. Include an email contact address with your submission. Acceptance & denial notifications will be via email only.
All shipping and postage costs for the submission package and, if the film is selected for the Festival, for all prints, DVD or Blu-Ray and additional materials sent to and returned from Gilbert Baker Film Festival must be borne by the submitting party. Please include an insured postage paid self-addressed package with the materials that need to be returned. Gilbert Baker Film Festival will not accept Cash On Delivery shipments. Gilbert Baker Film Festival will not absorb any fees incurred in customs. All charges must be pre-paid. Gilbert Baker Film Festival will not accept submissions if customs and delivery fees have not been paid by the submitting party. All international entries must be sent with all transportation charges, duties, and taxes prepaid by the shipper.
The entrant is responsible for the cost of shipping the entries to our office. Due to the volume of entries, we CANNOT return preview discs.
Unless otherwise requested, all submissions will become part of the Gilbert Baker Film Festival archive available for research and educational purposes only. Works submitted will be returned only if accompanied by insured self-addressed postage paid return packaging.
Gilbert Baker Film Festival reserves the right to revoke a selection status if a file or print is received after the asked deadline.
Gilbert Baker Film Festival reserves the right to revoke a selection/award status if it is determined that the submission does not represent LGBTQIA+ or gender identity issues.
Entries will be handled with the utmost care, but Gilbert Baker Film Festival cannot assume responsibility for damage or loss of any film submitted to the festival.
Liability: We cannot accept responsibility for loss, damage or additional charges incurred en route, or due to normal wear and tear, or due to equipment failure. Do NOT send original prints or master copies. Additionally, Gilbert Baker Film Festival is held harmless from any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity or review of any experience.
If submission is selected you will be contacted by a committee member and advised where to send digital copies of the submission.
If requested, DVD/Blu-Ray hard copies of selected films should be sent to:
Festival Submissions
Gilbert Baker Film Festival
PO Box 342
Parsons, Kansas 67357
Gilbert Baker Film Festival aspires to provide the best quality projection possible but will not be held liable for any failure in the technical quality of the projection, internet, software or hardware, nor will fees be refunded in any such case. Gilbert Baker Film Festival assumes that the submitting party or filmmaker(s) or entrant(s) or print source company has insured for damage and loss of the festival print or tape.
Screenings are scheduled during the Festival at the discretion of Gilbert Baker Film Festival. While every effort will be made to adhere to the published schedule, Gilbert Baker Film Festival reserves the right to make changes at any time for any reason. Gilbert Baker Film Festival will not be liable for any costs claimed as a result of a change in schedule.
No film may be withdrawn from the festival program after its selection, and no film may be screened outside the festival venue during the Festival and before its official presentation without the approval of Gilbert Baker Film Festival.
Festival Jury Prizes
Jury prizes for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, Best Music Video, Best Animation Feature, Best Animation Short, Best Web Series. If short-listed for a Jury Prize, additional preview copies of the film must be provided or authorized by the submitting party if requested by Gilbert Baker Film Festival.
Gilbert Baker Film Festival does NOT pay for artist transportation such as travel per diems, airfare, train, hotel, etc. We also do not coordinate travel arrangements with International Cultural Agencies. Please do not ask. If your film is accepted, all transportation and lodging is 100% the responsibility of the artist, including all travel arrangements.
Gilbert Baker Film Festival does NOT pay rental or screening fees for films.
1. I, the representative of the project being submitted (the "Film"), acknowledge and agree as follows in connection with the Film's submittal to Gilbert Baker Film Festival (“GBFF”) for consideration for the Gilbert Baker Film Festival (the "Festival"):
2. I hereby represent and warrant to the Festival that (a) I am duly authorized, on my own behalf and on behalf of all other persons or entities who have any ownership rights in the Film, to exhibit this Film at the Festival, (b) this exhibition will not violate any law or any right or consent of any person or entity and (c) the Film is not subject to litigation nor is it threatened by any litigation.
3. I further represent and warrant that, to the best of my knowledge, the exhibition of the Film at the Festival will not violate or infringe any copyright, patent, privacy right, publicity right, trademark, service mark or any other personal or property right of any person or entity and that my Film does not constitute a defamation of any person or entity. I have paid and will pay in full all license fees, clearance fees, and other obligations, of any kind, arising from the exhibition of the Film in connection with the Festival.
4. If accepted, I acknowledge that the Festival's presentation of the Film does not create any confidential or fiduciary relationship between the Festival and me. I understand that I will not receive any compensation for such exploitation, although some prizes at the Festival may include cash awards. I acknowledge that no obligation of any kind is assumed by or may be implied against the Festival or the GBFF or its Sponsors because of the Festival's selection of the Film. I understand and acknowledge that the selection of my Film by the Festival does not in any way constitute an express or implied endorsement or approval by the Festival or the GBFF the content of the Film or any opinion expressed therein.
5. I agree to indemnify and hold harmless the GBFF, the Festival, the affiliate, subsidiary and parent entities of each, and the officers, directors, employees, committee members, attorneys, advisors and agents of each of the foregoing from and against any and all claims, losses, or liabilities (including reasonable attorneys' fees) that may be asserted against any of the foregoing or incurred by any of the foregoing at any time in connection with the Film or the Festival's use thereof, and/or arising from any breach or alleged breach of any representation made by me to the Institute or the Festival.
6. In the event that the Film is accepted into the official Festival program, myself and all other parties involved with the Film agree that the Film will not associate with nor receive support from corporations during or related to the Film's participation in the Festival that are Official sponsors or supporters of the Festival without prior written consent of the Organizational Committee of the Gilbert Baker Film Festival. Methods of support include: hosting a dinner, party or junket for or in conjunction with the Film, providing media space for roundtable or one-on-one interviews, etc. The GBFF is a non-profit organization that relies on the funding of our official sponsors and supporters to produce the Festival. For an official list of sponsors and supporters, please refer to the contributors list at If you have been approached by a company or corporation that does not appear on this list, they are NOT officially aligned with the Gilbert Baker Film Festival.
7. If accepted, I hereby grant without reservations, to the Festival, and their related entities (a) the right to use footage, stills and/or titles, and information from the Film for promotional purposes and (b) the right to issue and authorize publicity concerning the filmmakers and the Film and to use all associated names, likenesses and biographical information. I also agree to provide contact information for the director and producer(s) of the Film and grant the Festival the right to provide this information to film industry organizations sponsoring Festival events at its discretion.
8. I represent that I am 18 years of age or older, or that if I am younger than the legal age to enter into contracts in my state, I have provided a written consent from my parent or legal guardian. I agree that any controversy arising out of or in connection with my Film and the Festival will be governed by the internal laws of the State of Kansas and conclusively determined by arbitration in the City of Parsons in accordance with the rules of the American Arbitration Association before a single arbitrator mutually agreed by the parties. I hereby waive any and all rights and benefits which I might otherwise have or be entitled to litigate any such dispute in court, including without limitation a trial by jury.
9. I acknowledge that I have read and understood the rules and regulations for submitting a film to the Festival.
10.By submitting a film or screenplay to GBFF, I constitute my full and complete acceptance of the terms hereof. I acknowledge that no oral representations of any kind have been made by the GBFF or the Festiva

Overall Rating
  • Lanca Li

    An amazing community festival and one of the loveliest & most welcoming festival crew I've ever met. So honored to be part of your amazing festival and thanks for everything you guys are doing for the LGBTQIA+ community!

    June 2022
  • Had a wonderful time at this festival. The community here was so welcoming, warm, and responsive. I think one of the best parts of the GBFF is that it is so receptive to a wide variety of content and stories. Experimental film, narrative stories, documentaries, and animation can all find a home here. Although it's a small festival, it encompasses a wide range of talent and filmmakers at different stages in their career. I was honored to be welcomed by this festival and am excited for next year!

    September 2020