Rainbow Reels returns to KW

Showcasing a variety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer (LGBTQ) themed material, the eleventh annual Rainbow Reels Film Festival kicks off on March 2 at the Princess Twin theatre in Uptown Waterloo.

Originally launched on the University of Waterloo campus, the festival has found a new home and wider audience at the Princess Cinemas in recent years.

The event is organized through the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group and aims to celebrate diversity in the Kitchener-Waterloo community.

The Cord spoke with Laurier graduate student and project co-ordinator at Rainbow Reels Kate Klein, who has attended the festival before and “really loved it.”

This year, a new process was introduced for selecting the films to be shown. A new “participatory process” was put in place, where audience members screened trailers and voted on which pieces should be included in the 2011 line-up.

“It makes me feel really happy that we did it that way, because it feels like a community selection process, so that was pretty cool,” Klein said of the new approach.

Some of the highlights of this years program include 8: The Mormon Proposition, a documentary about the Mormon Church’s involvement in California’s controversial Proposition 8. Klein described the film as “a creepy, tell-all film” that reveals new documents detailing “how the Mormon Church worked against queer rights in the state.” It will be shown at Thursday night’s gala event.

Klein also admitted to being “super stoked” for the few episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation that will be screened on UW’s campus. Some of the creators will be present to discuss the current storyline that involves a transgendered character.

The actress who portrays this character will also be sending in a video message so that audiences will “get to hear what her experience was bringing that character to life and making history, in a way.”

The festival provides an important outlet for everyone to learn about diverse lifestyles. Klein explained, “It’s really difficult to find good, queer representation in films these days in mainstream media,” so Rainbow Reels provides the opportunity to “bring lesser known, newer, up-and-coming queer films to the forefront” of the KW community.

Further commenting on the impact the festival has on the community, Klein stated that even for those who don’t identify as queer, there’s “access to those kind of stories that you don’t typically get to see.”

She concluded, “Overall, these stories are important and it’s important for people to have a space to talk about queer lives and identities and stories and issues. The arts and film are a really powerful way of doing that.”

Rainbow Reels runs from March 2 to 6 and tickets are available through the Princess Cinemas and Encore Records.