The fourth Pride of the Ocean LGBT Film Festival sails for Glacier Bay, Alaska, in August with over twice as many passengers as the preceding third cruise. On board the Norwegian Pearl luxury cruise ship, the film festival will host groundbreaking film screenings, seminars, workshops and a wide variety of filmmakers and special guests.
Only a Few Cabins Remain on the only LGBT Film Festival at Sea
Anticipating the leap in size this year, Program Director John Scagliotti and Cruise Director Jim Pollin planned for more cabins to be available for the expanding audience of 2013.
“Our cruise has leaped in size every year,” states Pollin, “and this year we knew we would see another burst of interest for our first West Coast departure.”
“We are delighted that our growth even surpassed our expectations.”
As the passenger list expanded, Pollin ensured the group had the space they needed. “Interest has been so high, the railroad car reserved for the group shore excursion in Skagway on the White Pass Railroad sold out. We quickly added another car, and that sold out as well.”
Pollin and his team accommodated the growing group, but at this point there are only a few more cabins that can be reserved. “There is a limit to even our ability to corral additional cabins,” laughed Pollin. “We can offer a last few cabins, but as of the end of May, our group will be closed.”
World Class Programming Meets Luxury Cruise Travel
Program Director Scagliotti, well-known for his many firsts in the LGBT community, from creating the first gay radio program in 1973 to the first gay TV series on PBS, anticipated increased interest this year, but was also pleasantly surprised by the size of the response. “Pride of the Ocean has distinguished itself as a world-class film festival combined with a luxury cruise vacation, and people are responding.”
After traveling on a previous Pride of the Ocean cruise, New York Times travel writer George Gustines remarked, “The true delight of the trip was the friends we made on the cruise.” Scagliotti believes this to be a driving factor in the increase in passengers. “George saw the heart of what Pride of the Ocean offers, that being an engaging, smart group of people who you want to spend time with on board a beautiful ship.”
With partners such as filmmaker Andrea Meyerson, who also started the nationwide lesbian travel organization Women on a Roll, community excitement from LGBT travelers built the audience. “We watched our numbers climb through word of mouth–the very best form of recruitment that tells us we’re on the right track,” said Scagliotti.
Meyerson will be honored on board with the prestigious “Body of Work” award, for her contributions to LGBT film with her series of LAUGHING MATTERS documentaries about trailblazing LGBT comedians, and her dedication to the LGBT community.
Along with Meyerson, Yoruba Richen will be on board screening her highly anticipated film, THE NEW BLACK, about the complicated relationship between the civil rights and gay rights movements, utilizing marriage equality as a lens for examination. Special guest, national marriage equality advocate Michael Crawford, will host a panel after the showing.
Passengers will also get a sneak peek at Nancy Kates’ documentary for HBO, REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG. The documentary about the cultural icon will show on HBO at a point later in the year still to be determined.
Cheryl Furjanic will screen her recently completed BACK ON BOARD, the story of Olympic diving legend and highly visible gay athlete Greg Louganis. Often referred to as the best diver of all time, Louganis will be joining the Bon Voyage party in Seattle, at which Pride of the Ocean passengers meet the night before setting sail.
“Our guests will meet Greg, and hear about our exciting plans for 2014,” says Scagliotti. “We always look forward to releasing announcements about the following year at our Bon Voyage.”
Another exciting year, and beyond, is in the wings. “With John’s plans for next year and 2015, we know we will keep growing,” says Pollin.