June 2, 2023


Sticky floors littered with crunching popcorn, concession stand candy and the aroma of butter in the air set the tone for The Rainbow Reels Queer Film Festival at Princess Twin Cinema in Waterloo.

Filling theatres for the 13th year, the festival aimed to entertain, celebrate and educate patrons and supporters about the lives and issues of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities.

“Most films that you see don’t show LGBTQ people –they show people in more normative relationships or with more normative sexualities,” said Suzie Taka, the 2013 project co-ordinator. “This is a celebration of being queer as well as a way to make it more widespread and open for everybody.”

Running from March 13 to 17, the festival presented 11 handpicked movies ranging from a comedy called Codependent Lesbian Space Aliens Seek Same, to a documentary about Audre Lorde, a lesbian feminist who played a big role in the Afro-German feminist movement.

“They’re not all gay, they’re not all lesbians, they’re a variety of different queer sexualities,” said Taka about the movies, adding choosing them is a fun but time-consuming process.

Orchestrated by the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, a social and environmental justice non-profit organization, entrance fees are not for monetary gain.

“We’re really lucky that we’re supported by a lot of local organizations,” said Taka. “We sell tickets to cover our costs and that’s it.”

Organizers are accustomed to seeing film buffs, those who identify with LGBTQ, lots of students and a wide age range come through the doors every year.

“It’s kept going because it’s become important to a lot of people,” Taka said.

The celebration really began on March 14 with a screening of a comedy called Gayby and a gala that followed at the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery.