The story of QFest begins in 1996, when a group of maverick arts organizations collaborated and created The First Annual Houston Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, better known as The HGLFF. Inaugurated by Loris Bradley of DiverseWorks, Liz Empleton of Rice Cinema, Sarah Gish of Landmark Theatres, and Marian Luntz of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The HGLFF would soon grow to include Steve Buck of The Angelika Film Center and Andrea Grover of The Aurora Picture Show. In its early years as a multi-venue annual event, The Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) served as the festival’s non-profit fiscal sponsor. The first co-presidents of the HGLFF were Gudrun Klein and Andrew Edmonson, followed by Margaret Zigman and Ernie Manouse. In 2005, Margaret Zigman became the festival’s President.

In 2006, the festival’s tenth anniversary, under then-Board President Sixto Wagan, Rob Arcos, formerly of Landmark Theatres, was named Festival Director and Kristian Salinas was named Program Director. Now charged with creating its own program, the festival condensed its previous two week run into a five-day weekend. In 2007, led by new Executive Director Kristian Salinas, The HGLFF’s 11th year launched with its new name – QFest. With its new name, QFest sought to explore and showcase all creative expressions celebrating the Queer experience. Inspired by the spirit of its maverick founders, QFest aspires to be a vanguard for all things Queer: both an incomparable event for the community, and an inspiring experience to be shared by all.

QFest Board of Directors

Kristian Salinas
Board President/Artistic Director
Kristian’s involvement with QFest dates back to the beginning, where he served on the Festival’s first Advisory Committee. An RTF graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Kristian has worked in just about every facet within the arts and entertainment industry. Best-known to Houstonians as the Artistic Director of the venerable Rice Cinema, where he staged one of the first completist Charlotte Rampling retrospectives, Kristian has also worked for MFAH Films, Landmark Theatres, SWAMP, Reinhart Marketing, and The Angelika Film Center. Having spent almost eight years in Los Angeles, Kristian was the Senior Programmer at Outfest 2003: The 21st Annual Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. He also enjoyed a successful freelance career as a copywriter, publicist, online marketing specialist, and festival-programming consultant. Kristian most recently served as the Executive Director of Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts, where he worked on behalf of artists and arts organizations throughout the State of Texas, and just recently returned to SWAMP to serve as its new Associate Director.
Michael DeVoll
Vice President/Secretary
Michael is a long-time supporter and aficionado of independent film. He holds a BFA in Photography/Video from the University of Houston and worked, for a time, at a non-profit photography organization. He then made a transition to education, teaching video production at a private school. He finally landed in counseling and, as a Licensed Professional Counselor, has worked both in the education sector and private practice. Michael also serves on the board (and is past president) of the Houston Diversity Coalition and the Justice & Peace Council at Christ Church (Episcopal) Cathedral. He is also past-president of the Texas Association for LGBT Issues in Counseling, a division of the Texas Counseling Association. Michael believes strongly in the mission of QFest because he sees it as a way for people, and especially young people, in the LGBT community to see positive portrayals of themselves in media. Michael lives in a multi-racial household with his partner of 13 years. To maintain a balanced life, Michael sings in the parish choir of Christ Church Cathedral and runs in Memorial park as often as he can, but not as often as he’d like.
Rachel Boyle
Rachel BoyleRachel has been involved with QFest since 1998, engaging with community outreach efforts and special programming. This is her second year as a QFest board member and officer. Reaching a seventeen year employment anniversary date at Rice University’s Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts, Rachel organizes and promotes all departmental events and exhibitions, and assists the Rice Cinema & Rice Theater programs. Additionally, Rachel is responsible for the daily departmental operations such as purchasing, vendor contracts, supervising student employees, student advising and faculty support. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys a variety of hobbies: reading, going to the cinema and theater, camping, art and cooking. She has a strong interest in anthropology and human rights issues. Rachel shares her home with her partner of more than 20 years, Heather, and their little family of 3 small dogs (Annie Bell, Isobel & Scout).
Stephanie Saint Sanchez
Festival Administrator
Raised in Beaumont, corrupted in Houston…Stephanie Saint Sanchez is a “by any means necessary” media artist, movie maker, and instigator. As founder of La Chicana Laundry Pictures she has made over 25 award winning, genre-bending shorts. She also started the Senorita Cinema Film Festival, the only all Latina Film Festival in Texas. She is a recipient of both The Southwest Alternate Media Project’s (SWAMP) Emerging Filmmakers Fellowship and Lawndale Artist Studio Program, and created and directed the official QFest trailers for 2013 and 2014. Look for her alter ego DJ ESteff to be spinning them fun fun records at various QFest events throughout the year.