Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Reel Pride Experience

Written by Kayleia Southard

Kayleia is a volunteer at the Fresno LGBT Community Center and visited the Fresno Reel Pride Film Festival as a representative of Gay Central Valley.

This was my first year attending Reel Pride in its entirety. Most of the time I was just passing through for maybe a movie or two but never stayed for the community that envelops it.

Most people involved in the festival probably saw me bouncing around at every event trying to take pictures with my phone as much as trying not to fall flat on my face while in heels. It was an experience that was very different than being just an attendee. I was there working and actively trying to soak up as much as I could about the entire experience.From being at the beautiful Engelmann's Wine Cellar to the late nights in the Legends lounge in the Painted Table I had an absolute blast being apart of the parties and events of Reel Pride this year.

One of the biggest things that has stuck with me about the festival was the sense of community that is around it. You weren’t just walking in to see a movie and trying to rush past people for a seat, there were people to talk to and who smiled back when you smiled at them. It was a sense of warmth that just bundles you up and makes you want to come back day after day just to have another taste of the feeling of being a part of a larger community. In the two shows I made it to, everyone wholeheartedly laughed as a group and if you needed to get some clarification on a joke or a line, someone would lean over and explain it to you. Unlike a normal movie, it was a true experience rather than just a source of entertainment.

While being a new member to the Reel Pride community, I never felt like I was an outsider to be questioned. All I received was open arms and smiles from the people whom were happy to have others around them there for the same cause of supporting the great local film festival for years to come.

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