Family-friendly reel

Reelout 13 is moving away from Queen’s campus and now offers queer films geared towards young families

Kink Crusaders will play on Thursday night, revealing a behind-the-scenes look at the annual Mr. Leather competition.
Kink Crusaders will play on Thursday night, revealing a behind-the-scenes look at the annual Mr. Leather competition.
Credit: 
Supplied

From its humble beginnings at a rundown bar on Princess Street, to its current venue at the Screening Room, the 13th annual Reelout Queer Film Festival has increased its international exposure. This year will include more than 40 international films. Reelout, an 11-day-long festival, has a campy vibe this year, with the 30 films utilizing the popular type of humour.

“It’s historically something that queer audiences have embraced,” Matt Salton, director of Reelout, said. “A lot of queer filmmakers utilize intentional camp.”

While the festival has traditionally occurred on both Queen’s campus and at local venues like the Screening Room, this year the festival won’t take place on campus at all.

“Obviously we want to keep a very strong Queen’s presence, but we felt, based on the audience feedback that those not at Queen’s find it a bit daunting,” Salton said, adding that Queen’s students didn’t view the on-campus events as a natural fit for the festival.

“We thought this would bring the magic back,” he said.

Though Salton still expects the Screening Room to attract the average 2,000 attendees, there are drawbacks to the decision he said.

“The theatre only holds 56 seats, and if we weren’t a charity and we were in it to make a profit it wouldn’t be feasible to keep it there,” he said.

Venue isn’t the only change the festival has made this year. On Feb. 4, the festival will offer a short-film package aimed at a younger audience.

“There are a lot of young queer families with children,” Salton said.

Because of Reelout’s timing, Salton said it’s one of the first queer film festivals every year.

“Most film festivals gear up in the summer time,” he said. “We’re able to get a lot of premieres and we’re also able to celebrate the best of 2011.” Salton said Reelout originated as a joint project with Kingston’s OPIRG in 1999.

“It was originated as a collective that felt the need to raise the profile and visibility of the queer community,” Salton said. “They did test screenings at the local gay bar at the time.” After audience surveys found that Kingstonians wanted more opportunities like Reelout, the festival was incorporated in 2004. OPIRG Kingston director Kavita Bissoondial first attended Reelout five years ago.

“Reelout when it began was actually run out of the Grey House,” Bissoondial said.

Now, OPIRG’s main involvement in the festival is financial, contributing between $750 to $1,000 to the annual festival.

Reelout offers queer filmmakers the chance for their work to be recognized and showcased outside of their hometown.

Of the films screening this year, two are by local filmmakers Rebecca Anweiler and Francoise Doherty.

“Art has always been a part of resistance and gives people a chance to represent themselves,” Bissoondial said. “Art is the form that’s most accessible for people to do that.” Bissoondial said there’s nothing like Reelout in Kinston.

“Kingston actually has a really huge LGBTQ population,” Bissoondial said. “To have this event happen every year is really necessary, it’s a chance for us to represent ourselves.”

Reelout 13 runs from Thursday until Feb. 5. For ticket times and prices see reelout.com.

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