Garnering a global reach

Last year, the Reelout Festival reached new distances being able to travel to help Ankara, Turkey with their festival

Sophia Takal and Amy Seimetz star in Coffee and Pie, a women’s short being shown at the Screening Room on Saturday as part of this year’s Reelout Festival.
Sophia Takal and Amy Seimetz star in Coffee and Pie, a women’s short being shown at the Screening Room on Saturday as part of this year’s Reelout Festival.
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The annual Queer Film and Video Festival has gone global, reaching Turkey in its travels last year.

Festival Director Matt Salton said last year was one of the Festival’s proudest moments in its 13-year existence as organizers were able to help start up the first queer film festival in Ankara, Turkey.

“We showed Canadian short films in Ankara and we were actually able to send one of the filmmakers from Toronto to Turkey for the Festival,” Salton said.

Taking 15 minutes to talk to me in between workshops on a busy Sunday, Salton said this year’s festival has had over 300 submissions.

“Our programming committee had to pick only 80 films to show.”

Cutting down the list of films to show was especially difficult this year with the high volume of submissions that came to the festival, Salton said.

It’s clear this year’s Reelout Festival is just as popular as ever.

“We have over 33 filmmakers coming and engaging with audiences this year,” Salton said. “And we have over 80 films from 12 different countries.”

The 10-day Festival runs until Sunday and Salton said since the festival is turning 14, a new theme was chosen to match that.

“We thought since we’re working with so many great community partners and we’re turning 14, let’s do it for teens,” he said. “We have a lot of young queer filmmakers with a lot of stories to tell.”

Along with this year’s Reelout theme, Salton said the people behind the festival plan to carry the theme of youths even past the dates of the festival.

“We’re trying to get Reelout in Schools off the ground, so we’ll be visiting local area high schools and showing films in April and starting a discussion about bullying,” he said.

Salton said even though films aren’t shown on campus and are now mostly shown at the Screening Room downtown, students are still fundamental to the Festival.

“We have large support from student opt-out fees. In fact, without the support of those opt -out fees, the festival would really be suffering,” he said.

It’s students and youths who can help to ensure that the film doesn’t become extinct, Salton said.

“We’re hoping more people in this age of downloads and online films realize they’re missing out on the whole point of the film Festival.”

Salton said the community Queer Film Festival still has a place in today’s society even with the strides that have been made in regards to human rights issues.

“Kingston is a small city that prides itself on being liberal, but it’s still a conservative white town,” he said. “There’s still a lack of visibility of queer lives on television and mainstream films.” “This gives the queer community 10 days to be the star and to shine.”

The Reelout Queer Film and Video Festival runs until Sunday at various locations. For a schedule of events, go to www.reelout.com/Reelout14/.

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