Fresno Reel Pride Comes to Fresno City College


Fresno Reel Pride is Coming to Fresno City College on Sept. 10 and 11. Image courtesy: Fresno Reel Pride Instagram

Story By: Samantha Morales, Reporter

Fresno City College will become the new spot to kick off the 32 Reel Pride LGBTQ and Film Festival on Sept. 10 – 12, months after an opposing statement on the rezoning and repurposing of the Tower Theatre.

Fresno Reel Pride is a non-profit organization that started in 1990, which offers films for allies and members of the LGBTQ community in Fresno.

The organization is now in its 32nd year of operation.

As of recently, the organization has allowed for student and youth films to be involved in Fresno Reel Pride film festivals for free in order for them to know that they are not alone, according to Kathleen Arambula-Reyna, festival director and board president.

“It is about showing people who look and live like us on the silver screen. It is about showing youth that they are not alone,” Reyna said.

Last year, Fresno Reel Pride was only offering streaming services of their films due to the pandemic, but this year they are doing a hybrid event.

Fresno Reel Pride will offer an in-person event on Sept. 10-11 at the FCC campus.

On Friday Sept. 10, there will be two films being shown.

The first film is “No Straight Line”, which is made in a documentary style that follows queer artists making queer cartoons and how it has evolved. The film will start at 6 p.m at forum hall 101.

The second film is “Ma Belle, My beauty,” which is about two women who were formerly in a romantic relationship and then end up meeting up again with plot twists of a polyamorous component. It will start at 7:30 p.m. in forum hall 101.

General admission is a price of $10 for each ticket. Students who show their student ID can get each ticket for $5. More information can be found here

Fresno Reel Pride will also have a feature film being shown called “Summertime”, which is a student collaborative film of poets that will be playing at 7:30 p.m.

There will also be a live performance at FCC’s Old Administration Building from Drew Sands who is a part of Trap Girl, a punk queer band from Los Angeles.

Reyna said that Sands’ presence at the event is the main thing that is different this year because it shows how far Fresno has come as a community.

Sands is transgender woman and with her performing in Fresno is a milestone achievement from how Fresno’s LGBTQ members were out casted to now being showcased, Reyna said.

The feature film and performance are a part of the Reel Pride 32 Kick-Off Party pass that costs $40.

On Saturday Sept. 11, a student only event, five youth short films will be shown along with a feature film, as of now, they are still deciding which films they will show.

The event will start at noon and there will be free pizza from Richie’s Pizza.

Due to the success of streaming last year, Fresno Reel Pride also added the all-access streaming event that will happen the following weekend on Sept. 17-19.

The streaming pass will have an array of men, women and trans short films and feature films to watch at home from Friday to Sunday.

Fresno Reel Pride had previously used the Tower District Theater for their film festivals since the late ‘90s, however, due to the owner opting to sell the historic Tower Theatre to a private organization, which happens to be Adventure Church, it has caused political issues, according to Reyna. 

The potential sale of the theatre brings rezoning of the area that can affect businesses, residents, and community groups, according to an article by The Fresno Bee.

This has caused Fresno Reel Pride and Fresno Filmworks to no longer hold their festivals at the Tower District Theater.

As Fresno Reel Pride was looking for a new home for their festival, FCC’s President Carole Goldsmith, offered FCC as an alternative venue.

Fresno Reel Pride accepted the offer due to the proximity of FCC to the Tower District and how the State Center Community College District has implemented safety procedures of mask-wearing on all of their campuses.

Jade Santiago, a Clovis resident who is planning to go to Fresno Reel Pride for the first time this year, said she is happy FCC opened their doors for the festival.

“It’s great that FCC has partnered with Reel Pride film Festival and given us a great environment to enjoy the films and view the “Constellating Care Networks” exhibition,” she said. 

Santiago heard of Fresno Reel Pride by seeing posts on Facebook promoting the event and is looking forward to socializing and showing her support for the LGBTQ community.   

According to Reyna, FCC is considered to be presenting partners, meaning they are partners that have helped at the highest level possible. Some of the help includes donating the space, coordinating with the two venues and helping students have access to the exhibition on the youth day.

Fresno Reel Pride will also be donating some of the proceeds from sales at the event to LGBTQ organizations at FCC.

Some of these organizations include FCC’s Allied Staff and Faculty Association and LGBTQ+ Spectrum club.

Arien Reed who is the president of ASFA, said they plan to use the funds for their LGBTQ and Trans Ally training program materials, registering to march in the annual Fresno Pride Pride, LGBTQ student scholarships and honor cords for the annual LGBTQ student completion graduation ceremony.

As a new, small, understaffed and under-funded volunteer organization, it is an honor and deep appreciation to be seen and so generously supported by another local LGBTQ volunteer organization,” Reed said.

Reyna hopes that Fresno Reel Pride at FCC will bring a sense of community and belonging to Fresno’s LGBTQ community.

“Our festival, much like other organizations here in Fresno and the central valley, mirrors a demographic that is not often recognized and I think it is important for Fresno’s LGBTQ to be visible and not just to other people looking inward but amongst ourselves too,” she said.

Fresno Reel Pride would like to thank the Fine Arts and Social Science Department, IT crew, Goldsmith, Cyndie Luna, the Dean of the Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts, and Elena Harvey Collins who is the curator of Constellating Care Networks.