Dozens of film-goers turned out to Camelot Theatres for the Cinema Diverse: Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival on Thursday.
Twenty-two features and 38 short films are set to screen over the weekend.
"We do have a wide-variety of films, from gay bashing to gay marriage," said Festival Director Michael Green.
Controversy is not uncommon to the LGBT community. However, Green warns there's a fine line between free speech and hate speech.
"It's really a sad setup for disaster," he said.
Green says that line was crossed in the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims," which triggered anti-American protests and violence across the Muslim world and created caution in the film industry.
"I certainly think actors moving forward are going to be very careful of what they take," said Green.
An actress in the film says she was tricked into appearing in the film trailer and is now receiving death threats. A Los Angeles judge denied her request that would force YouTube to take it down from its site.
Filmmakers at the LGBT festival, like Jean-Pierre Bergeron, say it's a shame if the message behind the film wasn't conveyed.
"I just think you need to be very upfront with your actors. Whatever is not clear on the page must be communicated somehow," said Bergeron.
Green says the anti-Islam film should not be a reflection of America, but it is a reminder.
"I think it speaks directly to the power of film. Film is sight, sound and emotion. It really can change the world," he said.