The Santa Barbara LGBTQ community will host the 19th annual OUTrageous Film Festival this weekend.

The Pacific Pride Foundation supports the festival, which includes an opening event tonight at the UCSB MultiCultural Center Theater and screenings at the Metro 4 Cinema in Santa Barbara. The showings feature a variety of entertaining and educational films, including some that might otherwise not be widely viewed.

According to Alfredo Del Cid, fourth-year sociology major, some of the films being shown at this year’s festival address hot topics that have recently impacted the LGBTQ community. Del Cid said the film screenings are an effective way to publicize issues.

“The event promotes visibility of the community. A number of the films that are being shown are about things that have been happening recently. We’re showing films that depict us, but slowly, so we don’t put anyone in particular in the spotlight,” Del Cid said. “I think it’s important to be outspoken about [issues at] these events so we can address them and work on fixing them.”

Jerry Schwartz, who co-founded the festival in 1992 and is a current grant writer for the Pacific Pride Foundation, said the festival fulfilled a need to screen underground LGBTQ films.

“The advent of the video rental system, and movies like ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ have allowed all of us to have access [to] films more readily than before,” Schwartz said. “But there’s still a need to show foreign or short films and documentaries that have LGBTQ content.”

Del Cid said the event will bring members from various LGBTQ groups together.

“Both the LGBTQ communities on campus and in Santa Barbara are active, but we don’t collaborate much. So when we have the opening of the festival at UCSB, it networks more and makes more connections,” he said.

Danielle Stevens, legislative counsel liaison to the A.S. Queer Commission, said he also hopes the event will help heteronormative attendees gain insight on the challenges of being LGBTQ.

“I feel that it’s important for other communities to understand the issues the queer community faces,” Stevens said. “It’s cool the festival is going on, and I hope students who aren’t as well versed will become more aware of the issues.”