Appalachian Queer Film Festival Returns to West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOAY) – The Appalachian Queer Film Festival is making its way back to screens in West Virginia after a short hiatus.

The festival starts this weekend and lasts from Friday to Sunday at the Floralee Hark Cohen Cinema in Charleston.

Organizer Jon Matthews says the festival opened successfully in Lewisburg in 2015, but lost funding after a 2016 study by the Koch Brothers criticized the festival. That study said taxpayers would find the films “objectionable.” Matthews says the festival was targeted for the word “Queer.”

The festival fought to stay alive in hopes to opens minds in and about Appalachia. Matthews said it took time and effort to gain the support it needed.

The festival is open to anyone who would like to attend.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at