Ditch Netflix: Go see Reel Q Film Festival

On Friday October 13th, Pittsburgh’s own LGBT film festival, Reel Q, will be kicking off downtown! From the perspective of 2017 it can be hard to appreciate the value of media representation for our community. The premier of new season of Will and Grace is a time warp to when two white gay men starring in a network sitcom was the frontier of representation and inclusion.

Last year Moonlight won an Oscar, Transparent won a Golden Globe, and it feels like we have gone a long way. But critical to the success of these prominent shows is a whole community of film storytellers that still rely upon LGBT film festivals to get their stories told.

Attending these films is helping those storytellers and helping our entire community continue reaching out.

What’s Playing

There are a ton of movies and shorts playing throughout the ReelQ Film Festival but here are two from the first weekend I would like to highlight:


Saturday October 14th at 9pm

From ReelQ’s website: An arrogant queer guest staying at a bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere, which is owned by a homophobic “Christian” is not exactly the recipe for a peaceful weekend. Combine the owner’s sexually confused son, the activist’s good-looking husband, and a menacing foreigner and you have the ingredients for a Hitchcockian tale of suspense, which leads to murder.


Sunday October 15th at 5pm

From ReelQ’s website: Chavela is an engrossing portrait of Chavela Vargas, the gun-toting, hard-drinking lesbian singer whose renditions of soulful Mexican ranchera songs make even the coldest hearts melt. Through its lyrical structure, Chavela will take viewers on an evocative, thought-provoking journey through the iconoclastic life of game-changing artist Chavela Vargas. Centered around never before-seen interview footage of Chavela shot 20 years before her death in 2012, and guided by the stories in Chavela’s songs, and the myths and tales others have told about her – as well as those she spread about herself – the film weaves an arresting portrait of a woman who dared to dress, speak, sing, and dream her unique life into being.

For those with a “Short” attention span

If you can’t decide on one story, check out an evening of shorts. There will be an evening of Men’s Shorts, Women’s Shorts and a night called Transtastic (trans shorts, duh). For the full list of movies playing visit the ReelQ website here.


Tickets are generally $9 a film, $6 if you are a student.

Opening night (October 13th) prices are $15 for one film and the opening reception, $25 for two films and the opening reception, with the student prices being $10 and $15 respectively.

Consider purchasing passes if you are going to more than five films and aren’t a student. The lowest film pass ($45) is good for six tickets, and second highest ($70) is good for ten tickets. That is $7.50 a screening or $7.00 a screening respectively. Neither of these two passes include the opening reception.

A pass to all 20 films is $125 per person. It is assumed that this includes the opening reception.


The festival kicks off on Friday 10/13, with Signature Move, an opening reception, and Tom of Finland. Signature Movie kicks off at 7pm, the opening reception from 8pm to 10pm, and Tom of Finland at 9:30pm.

There are four films on next day 10/14, and Sunday 10/15 and again on closing night Saturday, 10/21, 2017 at 12pm, 2:30pm, 5pm, and 7:30pm. During Monday 10/16 to Thursday 10/19 there is one film at 7:30, and on Friday there is two films at 7pm and 9:30pm.


The Harris Theater is the location for all films this year. The address is 809 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 which is between 7th and 9th streets downtown.

Getting There and Parking

Downtown is accessible by numerous buses. Alternatively there are bike share stations at Fort Duquesne Blvd & 7th St, Pittsburgh as well as 10th St & Penn Ave (David L. Lawrence Convention Center) through Healthy Ride. Downtown has plenty of bike racks too if you bring your own. 

If you drive downtown, parking garages are the best way to go. The 9th and Penn Garage or the Smithfield-Liberty Garage are the two closest ones and both will be $5 on the nights and weekends the films are showing.

This article originally appeared on QueerPgh.com. This article is preserved as a part of the Q Archives project. Please consider donating to help preserve Pittsburgh’s Queer history.