ClexaCon is the place to be for celebrating LGBTQ women and characters in TV, film, web series, comics, books and more. And this year was no exception!
The convention, which took place in April 2018, more than doubled its audience and tripled its vendors and artists for the second year. The focus of the event is to connect and to empower LGBTQ fans and content creators.
Along with building a community from around the world, they also hope to empower media creators to produce and distribute more positive LGBTQ content, providing educational resources for the community to aid in the push for better representation. ClexaCon strives to lay the foundation for improved visibility within the media while encouraging more LGBTQ women to participate in creating the stories they desire.
There were so many great things happening not just for cable shows like Wynonna Earp and Legends of Tomorrow, but also for web series which showcase the world of queer women. Reunion, world premieres, and tapings were all a part of the convention and connects the fans directly with the next group of creators.
It was at this convention last year where I was inspired to write again and to create content that my community was wanting. With new technology and equipment, creators can now make content for an audience on multiple online platforms without needing a big budget or big celebrities starring in them.
The convention itself also is a great networking place for content creators and those in the production industry to meet, collaborate, and create.
Tello films, one of the event’s sponsors, was at the event in spades with multiple panels, staged reading of a new series (more on that later), and even recorded a live episode of Happy Wife, Happy Life while there.
“We had been toying with the idea of doing a live shoot of Happy Wife, Happy Life and when ClexaCon announced they were coming back to Vegas, it was a no-brainer,” Bridget McManus, star of the web series and VP of Development at tello films, said. “The ClexaCon audience is full of smart, talented, charming queer people and they brought the ideal energy to our show. Now I want to shoot a live episode there every year!”
After an amazing first convention, ClexaCon 2018 came back full steam ahead in its second year with more guests, more panels, and even more reunions. The trailblazing series Anyone But Me had a 10-year reunion at this year’s event, which sparked a whole new generation of audiences to fall in love with Aster and Vivian.
Lead actresses Rachael Hip-Flores, Nicole Pacent, and creator Tina Cesa Ward were surprised to see a full house in their panel room despite the series being on Hulu now for three years.
“I honestly couldn’t think of a better place to have had our Anyone But Me 10-year reunion than at ClexaCon. I don’t believe I have ever been somewhere with so many ABM fans in one place, and the feeling of shared excitement was palpable,” Pacent told me.
“I was so moved throughout the entire weekend as people came up to me and shared what ABM meant to them and how it played into their own personal journeys, and in many ways I felt like I was rediscovering just how important our series was when it came out,“ Pacent admitted. “I was proud and grateful all over again to have been part of it, and to get to share that feeling of celebration with Tina and Rachael and so many wonderful fans.”
That celebration feeling was felt all over the convention, despite some growing pains and long lines. Many were so excited just to be at the event that everything was basically a moment of joy. Being around that many people who are like you gives that sense of safety and purpose, that you can experience the joy of celebrating fandoms and characters that we see on screen who represent us in a positive way.
Another positive thing that ClexaCon does at this event is host a film festival for feature films, short films, documentaries, and web-based series. This year, the winner of Best Web Series was given to Thank You Come Again by writer Chelsea Steiner.
“I wanted to premiere the series Thank You Come Again at ClexaCon because in many ways it was the kick in the ass I needed to finally make this thing. I’ve been a writer for 10 years now and while I’ve sold projects I’ve never had anything produced,” Steiner said.
“I felt so inspired by ClexaCon 2017: meeting other content creators, watching great stuff, and realizing how badly our community needs content,” Steiner articulated. “I left that con feeling like I HAD to make my series happen, and hoping I would return next year with finished show of my own. And I did!”
Steiner was not the only one who left ClexaCon 2017 empowered to create their own content. There were a number of creators who came back this year with series, shorts, documentaries, and other types of content who were also inspired the same way.
With so many impactful panels filled with encouragement and advice from content creators, what comes next is something we are all looking forward too.
“I will basically echo what I told Holly Weinberger, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Clexacon — The event these women have created is truly extraordinary. The conversations in the rooms of every panel I was a part of were fascinating, surprising, and inspiring, and the energy pulsing through the entire convention was just so exciting,” Pacent gushed. “Essentially it rocked, and so did everyone that attended. I’m still basking in the glow of it all, and already counting the days until next ClexaCon.”
Aren’t we all?!