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Reelout Celebrates Fifth Anniversary In A Big Way!


Kingston's queer film and video festival has come along way from its humble beginnings. What was once an evening of short films shown in the less than stellar accommodations of Club 477s back room; reelout has now become a major event spread out over five days in three different locations with over a dozen short films and seven feature-length films.

"Who knew when we started this that it would become such a success?" says Marney McDiarmid one of reelout's original organizers. " This event is so significant to the Kingston community regardless of one's sexuality. Film and video have always been a vital part of queer cultural expression. As queer themes and characters increasingly find their way into mainstream film and television, however, it is important not to let the work of independent artists slip from view."

Festival organizer Emily vanderMeulen says, " Reelout gives us a forum for highlighting important issues from the past and challenging ideas for the future."
While indeed reelout has strived to be politically and socially conscious it has always meant to be about fun. Festival organizer Matt Salton says, " Every year we've based the festival around some sort of theme. Last year's theme was "hot docs" and while it was the most financially rewarding festival to date, some areas of the community had a hard time getting excited over an entire film festival programmed with documentaries regardless whether they were about gay rights in Ontario, the Hasidic and Orthodox gay community, or a lesbian Tupperware salesman. This year we have strived to showcase more feature-length films that border on mainstream but still lean towards the independent fringe."

"Our primary concern last year," Salton says. " Is we sold out of every screening at the Screening Room leaving people high and dry. This year we decided that a bigger venue was going to be required to meet the demand. We love the Screening Room and we have had a lovely partnership with them since the beginning and will continue to do so but it's kind of like we are leaving the nest and branching out into something bigger. A lot of films we are screening this year are distinctively downtown and will appeal to the Screening Room crowd. Saturday nights programs will all be held at the Screening Room as well as Thursday night's screening of Ziad Touma's techno-pounding eye candy odyssey Saved By The Belles. All the rest of our films will be screened at the Etherington Auditorium on Queen's campus and there will be a special screening and panel discussion based around the film Apples and Oranges directed by Lynne Fernie at the central branch of the Kingston Public Library at 2pm on Saturday. We also are proud to announce our opening Gala Party will be at the Grad Club on Friday 10pm and our Closing Night Party at Tango Tapas Bar at 9pm on Sunday.

Apples and Oranges : Homophobia and Bullying is an eighteen minute animated film aimed at 8 to 12 year olds that addresses the harmful effects that homophobic name calling can cause. This will be a free event and will be followed by a panel discussion lead by Allison Cope, an educator for HIV/AIDS regional services, Dr. Magda Lewis from the Faculty of Education, and Irene Chisholm vice-principal of Centennial Public School.
I Exist is a feature-length documentary by Peter Barbosa and Garret Lenoir that won the best documentary feature award at the 2003 New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival that focuses on the personal stories of middle-eastern Christians, Jews and Muslims all of whom face the nature of homophobia from the culture at large and their own communities. This film will also be followed by a panel discussion and will be shown on Thursday evening at 7pm at Etherington Auditorium.

The other exciting specialty program is Children of the Rainbow by film maker Duane Ghastant' Aucoin who will also be reelout's honorary guest director this year. Festival Organizer Hilton Bertalan had the opportunity to be in attendance for the screening that won Aucoin the Audience Favorite Award for Best Feature at the Out On Screen Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Vancouver last year. " I was overwhelmed by that experience," Bertalan says. " In my heart I wished we could have shown something like that in Kingston but thought it would be too complicated to maneuver. Children of the Rainbow isn't so much a "film" but more of an experience that benefits from musical performances and native dance. It is a performance piece in every sense of the word." Bertalan got his wish and with the assistance from the Four Directions Aboriginal Center, Kingstonians will be able to see the work as intended with full interactive participation. Children Of The Rainbow will be the closing film of this year's festival and will be screened at 7pm at Etherington Auditorium.

Another find from Vancouver's festival was the Canadian feature Girl King by Ileana Peitrobruno. Festival Organizer Nadia Guidotto uncovered this buried treasure of lesbian erotica on the high seas and affectionately refers to it as " The Pirates Of The Carrilesbian". The film itself is pure camp and features many stunning women in and out of male pirate drag. GirlKing will be screening at 9 30 pm on Saturday night at the Screening Room.

Also at the Screening Room at 7pm is reelout's most beloved program of women's short films. This year's entry is entitled Sweet Tarts and features sexy, and sweet films from Canada, the US, Sweden , the Netherlands and Australia. One short film is the critically acclaimed D.E.B.S from director Angela Robinson, a highly energetic spy spoof featuring catholic school girl special agents thwarting evil. It features Tammy Lynn Michaels ( Melissa Etheridge's wife) and is currently being developed as a feature-length film.

Wednesday's line up of films at Etherington consists of the documentary Radical Harmonies and the feature You'll Get Over It. Radical Harmonies won the best documentary at the San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and features vibrant performance footage, in-depth interviews and archival material that chronicles the evolution of the women's music scene. This film will be preceded by musical drumming group, "Get In The Car". You'll Get Over It is a teen coming out movie for grown ups and features brilliant performances by its young cast. The story revolves around a young swimming star, his girlfriend, his best friend, and the new boy at school who challenges the athlete's closeted way of life.

Thursday night in addition to I Exist at Etherington Auditorium, reelout will be screening the Canadian Feature Film Saved By The Belles at the Screening Room at 9 30 pm. The film, directed by Ziad Touma is about a beautiful amnesiac who is taken in by a family of club kids who help him discover his true identity. This movie is fast and furious with lush visuals and a pulse-pounding soundtrack and will feature Kingston's own electronica diva Miss Typhanie prior to the screening.

Reelout's gala film this year will be the epic BBC production of Tipping The Velvet directed by Geoff Sax. The Gala Premiere costs ten dollars which includes admission to the Gala Party at the Grad Club after the show and will be screened at Etherington Auditorium. Based on the award-winning novel by Sarah Waters, Tipping The Velvet is a melodrama of breathless, corseted, Victorian pleasure. Nan, a village oyster girl falls in love with a gender-bending music hall chanteuse named Kitty.

Tickets are $ 8 per program with the exception of Tipping The Velvet which is $10. Apples and Oranges is a free event. Festival Passes are $50. Opening Night Gala tickets are $5 just for the party and can be purchased at the door. Closing Gala at Tango is free with ticket stub.

Advanced ticket sales can be purchased at either of the following locations March

Zap Records
340 Princess Street
547-9949 (cash only please)
Classic Video
40 Clarence Street
JDUC Queens University