REELOUT started in 1999 in the backroom of Kingston’s only gay bar. The founder: Marney McDiarmid, held screenings to see if a weekend-long queer film festival would be of interest to the people of Kingston, and if it could be a success. Luckily: it was! And in 2006, the festival received the Queen’s University Human Rights Initiative Award for their contributions to the community.
What makes REELOUT so special is that it isn’t JUST a 10-day film festival. It’s also a charitable organization, and works yearlong going into schools or wherever else they are needed to help educate people about gender diversity. They have films focused on bullying that they can take into the schools in Canada, and also have a library of all their films so that those who feel alone and confused can come in and watch films to help education them, and not make them feel so alone.
REELOUT’s organizers realized that film is an incredibly powerful medium: one that can reach the masses more than any other. It is a way for people to learn more about themselves, about the queer community, and about the LGBT history: which is a really rich, and somewhat tragic one, filled with so many incredible stories that haven’t been heard by many.
REELOUT is the 2nd largest LGBT exhibitor in Ontario, Canada. They pay all the artists exhibited and charge no submission fees! It prides itself on, not only the celebration of queer media arts, but also on bringing together and creating dialogue between members of the queer communities in Kingston, as well as between the queer community and Kingston community at large. They focus their programming on issues of not just sexuality, but also on issues of culture, class, ability, age, race, and more. It provides exposure to a broad range of international artists that would not normally receive exposure, and they also provide a forum for artists to discuss film and video making to help promote and encourage the creation of more projects like the ones exhibited in their festival.
You can check out their website to find out the festival program and information, as well as ways to donate and keep the spirit of REELOUT and all the incredible things they do alive! Just go to http://www.REELOUT.com/REELOUT12/ for more details!