Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Calgary’s queer film fest branching out with new program

Reels on Wheels brings film & discussion to churches, youth groups

Organizations in Calgary that are hungry for information on queer issues can now order queer films “to go” as part of a new program called Reels on Wheels.

A new initiative of Fairy Tales Presentation Society, Reels on Wheels partners with community organizations in Calgary, like churches and youth groups, to host public and private screenings of queer films.

“Some people might think ‘You already have a film festival, why are you doing this?'” says Reels on Wheels coordinator Pam Rocker. “The difference is we bring [the films] to them.”

The goal of the program is to help organizations educate their members on queer issues and to raise the profile of queer films.

“A lot of people are well versed on the politically correct terms,” says Rocker, “but they may not necessarily have access [to], or even the awareness of what kind of films are out there, and what kind of stories can be told to open up discussion on things that are more sensitive, or that they themselves may not be that articulate about.”

Reels on Wheels will work with organizations and groups to determine their needs in terms of queer diversity education and suggest a film that would address these needs. Reels on Wheels will then deliver the film as well as the necessary equipment.

“I think there’s a lot of room for us to continue to grow and hear from the community and say, “What do you need? What kind of films would open up discussion for you?'” says Rocker.

Reels on Wheels will take its first film out into the community on March 26 through a partnership with Hillhurst United Church. The evening will feature a public screening of the documentary Fish Out of Water — a film that dissects the seven Bible verses used to condemn homosexuality.

“Silence has power,” says Joanne Anquist of Hillhurst United Church. “So our community must be educated about issues involving marginalized people.”

Anquist says Reels on Wheels is a natural fit for Hillhurst United Church. Hillhurst is a member of Affirm United, a collection of congregations that actively invite persons who identify as queer to participate in their congregations and communities.

“They [Reels on Wheels] have resources and an audience that we don’t have, and when our missions intersect, why not partner? We need ideas on how to be a more welcoming community, and Reels on Wheels opens up possibilities,” says Anquist.

The screening on March 26 will be followed by a panel discussion on queer issues.

“I think that, as powerful as story is, the most that we learn in life is from each other,” says Rocker. “And so hopefully we can foster the relational stuff to happen — that we create environments where people feel safe to talk, and where they can take something away that maybe they didn’t know before, and talk to other people about it.”

The screening of Fish Out of Water is open to the public and will take place at Calgary’s Hillhurst United Church in Kensington (1227 Kensington Close NW) at 7pm on March 26. Admission is free.