The show must go on — lockdowns notwithstanding — for ReelOut’s first Summer Queer Film Showcase starting Friday, Jun. 4, 2021.
With two virtual feature films focusing on unique LGBTQ+ stories, ReelOut’s Executive Director Matt Salton said that the festival “could tide people over… to see great stories.”
“We’re all worn-out [from the pandemic]. This is the second year that we’ve had to forgo Pride celebrations,” Salton said.
The Summer Showcase, according to Salton, will show how far the LGBTQ+ community has come, and how far the community feels it needs to go moving forward.
The Intangible Queer
The first feature is called The Intangible Queer — an hour-long, part live theatre, part movie about a “search for the self, strapped with the realization of identity within our immediate surroundings,” according to ReelOut’s press release.
With a very Kingston-centric cast, everyone involved in the filming of the movie (with one exception), lived and worked in Kingston at the time the movie was made.
Inspired by the movie Mulholland Drive, The Intangible Queer tells the story the opposite way — by focusing first on all the characters at the beginning of the movie, and a gradual zooming out to hone in on each character’s life.
The movie’s artistic director, Kemi King, hopes that viewers of the film will “let go a little bit, and to focus on something,” as there is no narrative arc and no tangible answers.
Originally a live theatre piece, King said they’ve had to change the format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. King explained that understanding the movie will be different for everyone watching it.
“You have to be in the moment. It’s an experience… don’t think too hard, because you’ll get lost. You will learn more about yourself,” King said.
“[Most of us] want to have concrete answers. Why can’t we just allow ourselves to be?”
A definition of words used in the movie is also included. “We also don’t want it to be inaccessible to people,” King added, noting that those looking for “concrete” answers after viewing the film might be helped by accessing a 67-page document on the website.
“We break down all the different scenes, we talk about different characters, we ask actors to describe how it felt for them to embody the characters.”
The Intangible Queer’s artistic directors are Kemi King and Lisbet MacLean, and features Erin Ball, Evelyn Poole, Caitlin Kelly and Stephanie Fung.
Limestone City Pride Shorts
The second feature film Limestone City Pride Shorts is a curated celebration of LGBTQ+ stories and histories in the Kingston community from 1995 to 2018.
“Three documentaries and one narrative based on a true story tell the stories of humans looking for a place to live and love right here in Kingston,” the press release stated. Filmmakers included in this program are James Fowler, Sandra Jass, Isaac Alfie, Jonathan Davies, and Josh Clapp.
Festival ‘lit a fire‘
Salton recalled watching his first movie at a ReelOut festival years ago.
“As someone who was recently coming out and someone interested in film, these two combinations lit a fire within me,” Salton said.
He started volunteering in 2000 and has been involved in the organization ever since.
“(It’s) this really cool idea of showcasing lives that are often never seen authentically in film,” Salton said of the festival’s appeal.
Salton has been at the helm of ReelOut for the past 13 years. An original ReelOut collective member, Matt was also the festival director of Calgary’s FairyTales Queer Film Festival for three years, and was the co-director and founder of the Slimebone City Horror Film Festival.
ReelOut is a non-profit organization that exists to celebrate queer media arts. Tickets to the shows cost $13 per movie and will be available until August 31, 2021.
For tickets and information, visit https://www.reelout.com/