The MultiCultural Center will host a very special “sweet sixteen” party tonight: The Santa Barbara Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Film Festival kicks off its annual festivities for the sixteenth year in a row, showcasing a slew of provocative and humorous movies on campus and at the Metro 4 Theaters downtown over the weekend.

Thursday’s films are a collection of mixed short movies that cover a wide array of LGBTQ topics. This program is designed especially for students, not only because it is on campus, but because it also happens to be free. The films range from a Brazilian take on cowboy love a la “Brokeback Mountain” in Jean-Baptiste Erreca’s “Cowboy Forever” to a gay take on cooking shows in Andrew Klayman’s “Cooking with Kay.” The showings begin at 8 p.m.

Opening night happens Friday at the Metro 4 with Carlos Portugal’s “East Side Story” headlining at 9 p.m. Patrons who stick around until 11 p.m. can also witness Richard Kimmel’s “Schwarzwald: Black party-the movie you can dance to,” which turns New York City’s infamous and legendary Black Party into an electrifying, allegorical fairy tale.

Saturday boasts several big movies, including the very well-received Jonah Markowitz film “Shelter,” preceded by Men’s Shorts starting at 5 p.m. and the Jamie Babbit film “Itty Bitty Titty Committee.” A reception will also begin at the Dance Center next to the Wildcat Lounge on 11 W. Ortega St. starting at 9 p.m. to celebrate the sixteenth year of the festival with wine and fine desserts.

Women’s Shorts will start off the festival’s closing at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, followed by a controversial Israeli-Palestinian love story called “The Bubble” that plays at 4:30. The festival’s closing night film is titled “El Calentito” and it will play at 7 p.m.

No matter what your orientation, check out the festival for some exciting and entertaining films that will not disappoint.