The sixth annual Spectrum Film Festival runs this weekend, from May 6 to 8 at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center in Vineyard Haven. There are seven films on this year’s lineup, ranging from hard-hitting documentaries to light hearted romantic comedies.

“One of the common themes in all these films is the search for love and the search for acceptance,” said Richard Paradise, executive director of the film center.

The Spectrum Film Festival was started by the late Bob Dutton, former managing director of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society who passed away from cancer in 2020. He saw it as a way to add a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community to the film society’s diverse menu, Mr. Paradise said.

Family in Transition screens May 7 at 5 p.m.

“His memory lives on in this Spectrum Film Festival,” Mr. Paradise said. “It just comes from Bob’s vision to do good things and to be understanding of a wide range of people.”

One of the goals of the festival is to normalize LGBTQ+ stories, Mr. Paradise said. Many of the films feature plot structures which are familiar to audiences — coming of age stories and dramedies, for example — but tell those stories from points of view which are seldom represented.

“The approach was to find quality cinematic representation of stories that we’re all familiar with from going to the movies, but just told from an LGBTQ perspective,” Mr. Paradise said. “By showing these stories, I think people become better informed and have a better understanding.”

Aside from Nelly and Nadine, a documentary about two women who fall in love in a Nazi concentration camp, the films are light, Mr. Paradise said. Summer of ‘85 is a coming of age story about two boys who fall in love at a French beach. Ma Belle, My Beauty, is a romantic drama about a polyamorous relationship.

Nelly and Nadine screens Sunday at 4 p.m.

Many of the films take place near the ocean, which Mr. Paradise said he hopes will appeal to the Island community.

“The films are beautiful to watch...the cinematography is gorgeous,” Mr. Paradise said.

Mr. Paradise said he hopes the films pique the interest of a variety of Islanders.

“These films are not meant just to be for the LGBTQ community to come and watch,” he said. It’s for everyone to watch. However you classify or identify yourself, I hope that the cinematic aspects of the films will stand on their own and that people will want to come and see these stories and be a part of it.”

All films will be shown in-person with some available for online screening. For schedules and tickets, visit