Reel Q, Pittsburgh's LGBTQ+ Film Festival

Reel Q, Pittsburgh's LGBTQ+ Film Festival

Learn more about Reel Q and the organization bringing LGBTQ+ films and events to Pittsburgh since 1985.

Header Photo by Mara Rago for Qburgh

Movie buffs are likely familiar with Pittsburgh’s rich cinematic history, but queer and other marginalized community films often fly under the radar. At Reel Q, Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ+ film festival, we’re trying to change that. Allow us to introduce ourselves, our community, and our favorite films to celebrate Pride.

In just the past few years, Pittsburgh has hosted big name queer movie sets like Happiest Season with Kristen Stewart, Mysteries of Pittsburgh (based on the novel by Michael Chabon), The Perks of Being A Wallflower, and local standouts Rehabilitation of the Hill and Thanks to Her, to name a few. By celebrating global and local LGBTQ+ cinema, Reel Q’s mission is to connect the culture and message of these queer films to our Pittsburgh communities and move queer voices to the fore.

Rehabilitation of the Hill

Who We Were, Are, and Hope to Be

As the longest running film festival in the region, Reel Q has been around for it all. We became festival-official in 1985, and shortly thereafter boasted of our “East Coast” premiere of My Own Private Idaho. In 2012, we changed our name from Pittsburgh Lesbian and Gay Film Society to Reel Q in an effort to be more inclusive of the full LGBTQIA+ community. Originally conceived as a local space to showcase independent queer cinema that wasn’t readily available to mainstream audiences, Reel Q has remained committed to that mission, but also upped the ante with the diversity of our programming, partners, and, of course, parties (in the pre and post pandemic times).

This October will mark our 36th annual Reel Q film festival, our landmark series of screenings, which is traditionally a 10 day celebration. As the sixth oldest running LGBTQ+ film festival in the world, we are proud of the longevity of the festival and the friendly audience we’ve accrued over the years. The festival is a whirl-windy blast, featuring meet-and-greets with cast members and directors, panel discussions, queer craft markets and, did we mention the parties? This year’s celebration, scheduled for Oct. 8-16, 2021, is tentatively booked as a hybrid event, offering virtual and in-person screenings, accessible to everyone throughout the region, but stay tuned and follow us on social @reelqpgh for updates. Maybe another drive-in is in our future?

Image Courtesy of Reel Q

Reel Q Events

In addition to the festival, our programming continues year-round. Catch us at City of Asylum for Reel Stories, a free monthly series dedicated to showcasing international queer cinema, with a focus on marginalized perspectives, which will be available in-person (in an outdoor tent) and virtually starting June 30 for the regional premier of "LA PREMIERE MARCHE," and an interview with the film’s directors.

Image via City of Asylum Pittsburgh

For all our loyal readers who have made it this far, we would like to extend a special invitation to you! Come out on Saturday June 26 to True T studios in Bloomfield (4623 Liberty Ave.) for a screening of Fabulous: The Story of Lasseindra Ninja, followed by a director Q&A and an afterparty with live performances and a DJ. 

It wouldn’t be a true Reel Q elevator pitch if we didn’t mention our youth programs, Reel Youth, or P.U.F.F., Pittsburgh’s Underground *Queer Film Festival. These arms of Reel Q really shine as in-person events, so we hope to revamp those events soon!

And it wouldn’t be a VisitPITTSBURGH blog post without a list, so check out our top-10 queer films of all time, as told by our friends at QueerPGH.