Are you a movie fan? If so, the NKY and Cincy Region have you covered! Our region hosts several distinctly unique film festivals each year, including Cindependent, indie films, Over-the-Rhine - “the nation’s first diversity film festival led by people from the disability community"—and the College Movie Festival hosted by Northern Kentucky University, celebrating student filmmaking.
And then there’s OutReels.
OutReels Cincinnati – the NKY and Cincy Region’s LGBTQ+ Film Festival
Now in its twelfth year, the OutReels Film Festival showcases a wide range of LGBTQ+ themed movies—19 in all—including feature films, shorts, and documentaries. This year, the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater (located in Cincinnati’s Price Hill neighborhood) will host the festival over three days from October 20 through 22.
A volunteer-run organization, OutReel’s mission is to “enlighten, educate, and entertain the community through the exhibition and discussion of LGBTQ-themed films.” Film enthusiasts—and Northern Kentuckians—David Wolff (Newport) and Chuck Beatty (Covington) co-organize and co-direct the festival.
“I love movies and I love this community. There are so many exceptional films out there and so few opportunities to see them,” says David when asked about his devotion to OutReels. “After twelve years, Chuck and I are so in-synch, we make a great team. We both feel it is important to have an LGBTQ+ film festival like this in Cincinnati.
This year’s film selections cover the full gamut of the LGBTQ+ experience.
The festival opens on Friday evening with The Mattachine Family (2023), directed by Andy Valentine. This drama explores different ideas of family as seen through the lens of Thomas and Oscar and what happens after the couple must give up their foster child to his birth mother.
Saturday starts with the afternoon's “Everything Under the Rainbow” matinee, presenting a spectrum of short films—comedies, dramas, sci-fi fantasy, and documentaries—covering everything from lesbian/transmasc relationships to LGBTQ+ immigrant superheroes to … an octopus who mysteriously transforms into a handsome young man? (What? I wanna see that one!)
The first feature-length showing on Saturday afternoon is Our Baby: A Modern Miracle (2020) directed by Gussy Sakula-Barry. This documentary shares the story of Hannah and Jake Graf, a transgender couple, as they journey through the challenges and joys of starting a family.
Saturday evening opens with the festival's “Queer Cinema Classic” selection, The Watermelon Woman (1996) by director Cheryl Dunye. This remastered and remixed 2023 version balances a "breezy romantic comedy" with a serious inquiry into the history of Black and queer women in Hollywood.
Also presented on Saturday night is Glitter and Doom (2023), directed by Tom Gustafson. It’s a love-at-first-sight musical—about when Doom met Glitter—with a score by the Indigo Girls. (Yes, those Indigo Girls!)
Sunday afternoon brings the film Lie With Me (2022) by director Olivier Peyon. This romance/drama focuses on Stéphane, an author, who has returned to his hometown after a 30-year absence. Subsequent events cause memories of his first love, Thomas, to flood his mind.
The festival closes on Sunday night with Studio One Forever (2023). Directed by Marc Saltarelli, the documentary recounts the history of Hollywood’s legendary gay disco, Studio One, and today’s efforts to save the building from the wrecking ball.
Experience the fun for yourself at the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater, October 20–22. Tickets are on sale now. Enjoy dinner and drinks, before or after, at the neighboring Incline Public House or Primavista Italian restaurant while taking in spectacular views of downtown Cincinnati and the rolling hills of Northern Kentucky.