TJ Murphy, executive director, shares highlights of the organization’s 35 years and some of this year’s virtual programming
TJ Murphy, executive director of Pittsburgh’s Reel Q Film Festival
Pittsburgh’s Reel Q film festival celebrates 35 years this October. In this episode, executive director TJ Murphy highlights some of the organization’s history. Reel Q is the longest running LGBTQ+ film festival in the region (as well as the sixth longest running in the world), and Murphy shares some memorable moments. For him, the festival is about community, coming together, and the conversations that take place with each film. He explains how he stumbled across a flyer at (now-defunct) Pittsburgh Filmmakers and began his tenure with the organization as a volunteer. Learn about what changes are in store for this year’s virtual programming, including Murphy’s can’t-miss suggestions and details on their drive-in movie event on Oct. 17.
Reel Q’s history
Reel Q Founder Rich Cumming is quoted as saying that the major motivation for the festival was the book, “The Celluloid Closet,” by Vito Russo. The book exposes how gays have been portrayed in film over the last 70 years, and focuses on the stereotypes and oppression that Hollywood mainstream films perpetuate. And as such, having an LGBTQ film festival is important and worthwhile; it gives an opportunity to show the issues and problems the gay community faces and to break down these stereotypes.
Another history highlight is Reel Q’s local premiere of “Before Stonewall,” a documentary that details the history of the LGBTQ+ movement in America. It was first shown in Pittsburgh in 1984, for multiple years afterward, and again to a packed house at the Warhol Museum in 2019.
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Join us this Friday at 8 p.m., on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, at @thewarholmuseum for a screening of BEFORE STONEWALL, an award-winning documentary film that offers a fascinating, fast-paced history of the LGBTQ+ community in America. Co-director and producer Robert Rosenberg will appear on-screen for a Skype Q&A following the film. Afterwards, Jellyfish will host a late-night, queer dance party in the museum’s entrance space. Art in Context: Before Stonewall is generously supported by the American Eagle Outfitters Foundation. . #LGBTQ #queer #BeforeStonewall #Stonewall #documentary #film #dance #Pittsburgh
What are Murphy’s can’t-miss films this year?
“All of them,” he jokes, before mentioning “The Rehabilitation of the Hill,” a lesbian love story shot almost entirely in Pittsburgh’s Hill District; “Alice Junior,” a Brazilian film about a transgender teen; the Black Excellence programming, which features six films that highlight queer black experiences all around the world; and the drive-in movie showing “Hellbent” (considered to be the first gay slasher film).
For all the details on Reel Q’s 35 Anniversary Film Festival or to purchase tickets, head to their website.
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👋👋 #reelq35 Pittsburgh's LGBTQ+ Film Festival is going virtual! Join us Oct 8-17th for 10 days of the best in queer cinema right in your own home. Tickets & Passes on sale now at the link in our bio . . . #lgbtq #filmfestival #queer #queerart #pittsburgh #lgbtq🌈 #gay #virtual #eventive #ondemand #pennsylvania #movies #cinema
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