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Reel Pride focusing lens on queer stories

The organizer behind Canada’s oldest 2SLGBTQ+ film festival says the need for the event is greater than ever.

“I think it shows we need to keep doing these things, especially in recent days,” said festival chair Ray Desaultels in an interview on CTV Morning Live Winnipeg.

Since 1985, Reel Pride has aimed to give representation through film to a new reality for queer people, one that puts them at the centre of a story.

This year's festival comes on the heels of a slew of demonstrations across Canada opposing teaching LGBTQ2S+ issues in schools.

Desaultels says recent events have only proven the need for festivals like Reel Pride.

“Somehow it’s become okay to hate again and make it loud and try to take away people’s rights, so it’s important that we hear our voices and we celebrate our voices,” Desaultels said.

The Indigenous-Canadian film "Rosie" will screen to mark Truth and Reconciliation Day at Reel Pride.

This year’s event features nine queer films, a short film competition and an art exhibit of local queer artists.

The event run by The Winnipeg Gay and Lesbian Film Society will screen films from Canada, the United States, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and France.

Now in its 38th year, Desaultels says the festival tells queer stories with a more focused lens, ones that may not get told in Hollywood.

“They’re more specific to the community,” he said. "They focus on one or two people and tell their story. It's not a Hollywood type, but it's a good story, and you learn some surprising things."

Reel Pride chair Ray Desaultels is shown in a Sept. 25, 2023 interview on CTV Morning Live Winnipeg.

- With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagacé Top Stories

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