Reel Q Film Festival kicks off this week

Pittsburgh’s vibrant film community blossoms in the fall as the city plays host to a series of unique opportunities for cinephiles. This week marks the beginning of a great season for film as the Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Society presents the Reel Q LGBT Film Festival. Just on the heels of National Coming Out Day, Downtown’s Harris Theater will be showing exclusive programs of the latest and most vital work in LGBT cinema this week. There are a number of films to choose from, and this might be your only chance to see them.

Monday and Tuesday

Monday and Tuesday evening’s programs are made up of collected short films, with women’s pictures showing on Monday and men’s on Tuesday. The women’s program features six different films, including a musical, a period piece, and a celebrated work from Japan. During the men’s program, filmmakers from Canada, Australia, Germany, Spain, France, and the U.S. will be represented in nine different shorts.


Wednesday night will be the Pittsburgh premiere of Mary Lou, a film that has been described as an Israeli spin on Glee. A young gay man sets out for Tel Aviv to find his mother, whom he claims left him to become a backup singer for the famous Svika Pick. Mary Lou will be presented with English subtitles.


Following another evening of short films on Thursday, Friday’s program is dynamite. The celebrated British work Stud Life will play at 7 p.m. It features one of the most applauded performances in recent LGBT cinema from T’nia Miller. Stud Life will be followed by the new biographical movie Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean at 9:30 p.m. James Dean, one of the most legendary figures in American culture, has always seemed elusive, but in focusing on the period just before his launch to fame, actor James Preston illuminates his conflicted, closeted youth.

The true beauty of Reel Q is the opportunity it affords. LGBT cinema is, unfortunately, still well outside the mainstream. However, these films don’t aspire to play in multiplexes, and they use that to their advantage. They’re films you won’t be able to see anywhere else, and they deal passionately and firmly with the most contested social issue in America. Reel Q gives us the chance to see these pictures the way they’re meant to be seen — as a social event. Many of these films may never find distribution outside the internet, so take some time this week to support a vibrant community and a growing slice of film culture.