Tampa, Orlando residents create expansive LGBTQ film database

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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If you can’t name over 1,000 LGBTQ-focused films, Tampa Bay’s Brandon Taylor and Orlando’s Brock Cornelius would like to change that. The business partners—via the Orlando Entertainment Group, LLC—have created GayMovieDB.com, which they describe as the most comprehensive and easily navigable internet database available for films of interest to the LGBTQ community.

Launched in June 2018, GayMovieDB seeks to detail the whole of LGBTQ representation on film and make it easily accessible for users to discover new and interesting titles. The resource highlights selections from the silver to the small screen, listing over 1,150 full-length feature films, over 50 short films, 20 television series highlighting over 70 seasons and including data on over 9,000 celebrities. The project began with Cornelius, now the venture’s managing director. “I realized a while ago that this didn’t really exist,” he says. “With a background in web design, I said, ‘why don’t we just create it ourselves?’” That led him and to code the entire website and bring in Taylor, who wrote its copy and now serves as creative director.

“Brandon and I had previously collaborated on a different project, 1Heart1Pulse.com, which was an online memorial for the victims of the Pulse Orlando tragedy,” Cornelius says. “Besides that project, he’s also written multiple short stories and five full-length novels; I trust he knows what he’s doing!”

“My business partner is also my best friend,” Taylor adds. “He started this, made sure he could do it exactly as he envisioned and then got me involved. I compare it to the Internet Movie Database but strictly for LGBTQ movies; that’s the easiest way to explain it.”

The site’s goal is to shine a spotlight on rare and often difficult to find LGBTQ films and make them accessible to larger audiences, LGBTQ and non. Its content is discoverable in a number of ways: guests and a growing number of registered users can access selections by browsing full-length movies, short films, television shows or celebrities. They can search using any of those perimeters, by genre or specifically for film trailers.

Titles can also be filtered based on a user’s particular interests. There are sub-sections for content featuring gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender themes—or visitors can narrow content by filtering for selections featuring bears, drag and more.

Taylor says GayMovieDB’s importance lies beyond its penchant for entertainment, however. “If I had access to something like this when I was younger I wouldn’t have been so scared to come out,” he says. “I was outed and it did not make my life easy.

“Seeing that being LGBTQ is more acceptable in today’s world can definitely help younger generations,” he continues. “A website like this exposes the possibilities of what can happen after you come out.”

Films are chosen based on their level of LGBTQ inclusivity and representation; they have to feature an LGBTQ plot, subplot or characters. Each entry is rated by its Queer Factor, GayMovieDB’s proprietary system for scoring how much of a title’s content is relevant to LGBTQ issues. The score is determined by the website’s creators and registered users.

Each film receives a one through six, represented by a different color of the LGBTQ rainbow. If a title has only a small LGBTQ subplot, the duo advises, it would score a one on the scale and receive only the color red. If over 80 percent of the title’s plot is related to LGBTQ interests, it would receive a six—represented by red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple; the full range of colors.

“If there’s one gay character in the film, it would be a red,” Taylor emphasizes. “If it’s full-on ‘Queer as Folk,’ it’s a six.” He adds that the ratings are not indicative for how good or bad a title may be; users can independently review and save films from their respective pages or on the website’s message boards and forums.

While the site features higher-profile films like 2018’s “Love, Simon”—a favorite of Taylor’s detailed in his five favorite selections—GayMovieDB also seeks to emphasize lesser-known titles. The database allows content creators to submit their own short films to be featured amongst the listings. “There are so many undiscovered works,” Taylor says, “like student films from colleges. I’ve used the website to discover so many new options.”

Many other features are forthcoming, he says, like the expansion of its film festival listing. Area celebrations like the Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival are featured to allow organizers to specify their event’s selections and venues, or even to purchase tickets. The duo is also hard at work on the database’s forthcoming companion site, GayBookDB.

Favorite Flicks

Creative Director Brandon Taylor provides his five favorite LGBTQ films featured on GayMovieDB.com, as presented on the database.

Shelter (2007)

Action, Drama, Romance
Rating: 8/10 | Queer Factor: 6
Forced to give up his dreams of art school, Zach works dead-end jobs to support his sister and her son. Questioning his life, he paints, surfs and hangs out with his best friend, Gabe. When Gabe’s older brother returns home for the summer, Zach suddenly finds himself drawn into a relationship he didn’t expect.

Geography Club (2013)

Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rating: 7/10 | Queer Factor: 6
At Goodkind High School, a group of students of varying sexual orientation form an after-school club a as a discrete way to share their feelings and experiences.

Akron (2015)

Drama, Family, Romance
Rating: 8/10 | Queer Factor: 6
Benny, a college freshman at the University of Akron, Ohio meets and falls for fellow freshman Christopher at a football game. With the support of their families and friends they embark on a new relationship. But a tragic event in the past involving their mothers soon comes to light and threatens to tear them apart.

Hidden Kisses (2016)

Foreign, Drama, TV Movie
Rating: 8/10 | Queer Factor: 6
Nathan, 16, lives alone with his father Stephane. A newcomer in high school, he is invited to a party and falls in love with Louis, a boy in his class. They find themselves out of sight and kiss each other, but someone takes a picture of them. Soon, the photo is published on Facebook and a storm overtakes their lives as they face bullying and rejection.

Love, Simon (2018)

Comedy, Drama, Romance
Rating: 9/10 | Queer Factor: 6
Everyone deserves a great love story. But for seventeen-year old Simon Spier it’s a little more complicated: he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online.

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