Nearly 9 years ago, I began attending the ReelOut Queer Film + Video Festival. I have never missed one installation of ReelOut since then, and this year will be no exception. The festival brings together many people that I don’t see very often, and shares some really amazing films and videos from across the globe. These pieces explore queerness and all the issues surrounding it from different angles and perspectives. There are dramas, crazy documentaries, comedies, and the list goes on. I am so excited for the return of ReelOut, especially considering the fact that it’s turning 10!
Throughout the first 10 years, ReelOut has seen its fair share of good times and bad. There have been many instances where volunteers were hard to come by, as well as times when local publicity was hard to secure (yes, I’m talking about you, Mr. Toupée). But somehow there was always a core group of people that stayed the course, and provided a great selection of films and videos for everyone to watch. All that hard work and dedication has made ReelOut the 2nd largest Queer Film Festival in Ontario, and the longest running in Kingston.
I can hardly believe ReelOut is turning 10 years old! I can still remember the first film I attended at The Screening Room. The place was packed to beyond my imaginable limit, and afterwards it seemed like everyone left for coffee as a single group. That coffee shop was filled to capacity. You realize quickly that ReelOut is a real coming together of the queer community in Kingston, and that it’s a time for celebration.
A special treat for the 10-year anniversary of ReelOut is the Centrepiece Gala: Kingston is Still Burning. Taking a name of one of the first queer documentaries in Kingston, “Kingston is Burning”, we are taken on a journey of queer films created by Kingstonians during the past 20 years. I have a small roll in one of the films, although it’s not from 20 years ago, I’m much much younger than that!
After the screening of the Centrepiece Gala, I’m organizing the live entertainment portion, as it seems I have always done. I do my little part by squeezing on a pair stilettos and a wig to entertain the masses. But every time I get on that stage, I realize that ReelOut does more than any single person could ever do. I am humbled by the fact that ReelOut fosters and supports community and relationships. ReelOut is the reason that I’m there on my little stage lip-synching to other people’s songs, and it is the reason why everyone is in that little movie theatre with me. I love ReelOut, and I hope it goes on for many more years to come.
Be sure to check out the ReelOut Queer Film + Video Festival programme guide.