The Reel Queer Film Fest crew includes Jillian Wedel

Reel Queer Film Fest set to launch in Victoria

Victoria Film Festival adds another genre of movies to its repertoire

Victoria is about to get a little more queer, thanks to the efforts of the Victoria Film Festival.

Just in time for Pride Week, the festival has partnered with Out In Schools, the Camosun College Student Society and Victoria Pride Society to present the first Reel Queer Film Festival, June 28 to 30.

The festival is open to all and will explore “the world of queer” in a lighthearted and engaging event at the Vic Theatre. Four major films are featured including Margarita, She’s a Boy I Knew, Jihad for Love and Beyond Gay.

The event also features six cult classic options for two nights of “Reel Queer Roulette” and four special youth shorts.

“Part of our mandate is to celebrate different philosophies and lifestyles and we really spent a lot of time looking into quality films that showcased that,” says festival director Kathy Kay. “I don’t think that queer cinema is widely represented here, and this is, at least, a start.”

From the eye-opening journey through the life of Vancouver filmmaker Gwen Haworth and her male-to-female gender transition in She’s a Boy I Knew, to Vancouver filmmaker Bob Christie’s celebrated Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride, there promises to be something for everyone (Christie will also attend the screening via Skype).

While fun is the basis of the festival, there’s a more serious side to the event and awareness is its focus.

“I think the entire community will benefit [from this festival],” says Camosun’s Daphne Shaed, director in the student society. “The advocacy work I do is always directed at those who do not have the opportunity, either through identity or exposure, to be informed about the experiences of otherness in a society that privileges the performance of hegemony.”

Jillian Wedel, regional facilitator of Out In Schools, is responsible for the youth component of the festival. Her efforts to “work towards ending homophobia/transphobia in schools and communities” utilizes the power of film to inspire and create social change.

“We are very excited to be a part of the youth portion of Victoria’s Reel Queer Film Festival in order to further our goals of promoting diversity and cultivating a climate of acceptance among the youth in our communities,” Wedel says.

The youth films originated from a handful of short films shot for the Out in Schools roster, as well as the winning films from its Rise Against Homophobia short video contest.

Kay says the response she’s received from the community has been real affirmation to VFF’s decision to host the event.

“The more people who find ways to show their support of diverse communities, the more awareness can be brought to that need. This is really just the periphery for us, but it’s an evolution.”

For a full list of showtimes and ticket prices, visit victoriafilmfestival.com.

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