Reeling out the rainbow

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Instead of spreading out the red carpet, the K-W area rolled out the rainbow carpet to welcome “Rainbow Reels,” the local trans and queer film festival, May 9 to 11.


The event unofficially began at the University of Waterloo with a screening of <em>Yes or No</em> at the GLOW Centre, and the festival then took place predominantly in the Princess Twin Cinema in Uptown Waterloo with other events going on throughout the weekend in Uptown Waterloo. The events included a dance party at the Legion and live performances.


Emily Arden, one of the organizers for Rainbow Reels, explained that this LGBT festival has been going on for 12 years. This was made clear by the large poster boards in the basement of the Princess Twin Theatre documenting Kitchener and Waterloo&rsquo;s gay history, which Rainbow Reels has had a hand in.


Queer festivals are an important part of queer history and when asked why we need these festivals Arden said, &ldquo;We have a large queer and trans community in KW that need representation, especially on screen and on film&rdquo; and that &ldquo;even just [having] a place to get together, see each other, and see that we exist is important.&rdquo;


In Kitchener-Waterloo, which has previously held the title of the city with the highest hate crime rate in Canada, it makes sense to construct a strong community through sharing the struggles and joys of queer people in a safe space.


When asked about which movies would be playing, everyone in the room during the interview resounded with a hopeful chorus of <em>Imagine Me and You</em> and <em>Breakfast with Scott</em>, two well-known queer films.


Arden assured that &ldquo;some classics are <em>Imagine Me and You</em> and <em>But I&rsquo;m A Cheerleader</em>, but we have current, modern films happening. Our oldest film is from around 2012; we make sure to only get the films that people don&rsquo;t have access to. If it&rsquo;s not on Netflix we try to get it.&rdquo;


As well, Arden said that, &ldquo;a lot of the movies are documentaries so we are learning a lot about our community. Anyone else who is coming to the film festival will learn a lot. We encourage everyone to come.&rdquo;


The energy at the event itself followed the tradition of welcoming, and warm acceptance. Performances and videos flowed through the weekend all with an overarching theme of community building.


There was even a special event on Mother&rsquo;s Day that, as Arden put it, was &ldquo;a sort of tea deal from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday with family-orientated movies and people from the community coming together.&rdquo;