Our Mission: Our Priorities:
Gender Reel, is committed to providing a space that embraces and supports all gender identities & presentations.
Gender Reel priorities the experiences of trans and gender diverse people who represent the most marginalized and under-represented parts of the trans/gender diverse community.
Gender Reel dedicates over 50% of it's programming to Trans People of Color. In an effort to reframe the value and worth of trans people of color we screen films, support artists and collaborate with media programs that amplify and center the experiences and voices of trans people of color, in particular black trans people.
Gender Reel, is dedicated to enhancing the visibility of gender diverse and trans people, identities and experiences in film and media. We present narratives in film and media that challenge gender norms, combat transphobia and explore the intersections of gender, gender identity, age, race, culture, sexual orientation, class, spirituality and ability. To this end, we pledge to provide an accessible platform where participants of all kinds feel welcome and embraced.
In 2010, two friends grew tired of not seeing more trans representation at mainstream LGBTQ film festivals and decided to start their own. Together, along with a group of other trans and queer activists, began organizing and planning Gender Reel's first film festival, which took place in the fall of 2011 at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. This first-time event attracted more than 200 people and featured over 15 films about the trans/gender diverse experience.
Following the success of this event, organizers held another well-attended Philadelphia based festival in 2012 at the William Way Community Center. During this same year, Gender Reel's Founder and Executive Director, Joe Ippolito, moved to Saint Paul, MN, bringing Gender Reel with him. From 2013 - 2016, Gender Reel expanded its reach hosting festivals in 8 cities around the country: Portland, Oakland, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Houston, Durham, Omaha and Minneapolis. However, Houston and Minneapolis/St. Paul are the only cities that currently host complete festivals annually, while Philadelphia - as part of the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference - holds a yearly mini festival.
In addition to hosting festivals, Gender Reel, declared the Twin Cities its official home in 2013, released its first documentary, "Growing Old Gracefully: The Transgender Experience" in 2014 and established our non-profit status. However, in 2016, this status was put on hold while additional paperwork was submitted. The Family Tree Clinic, a local sexual health center in Saint Paul, MN, is our current fiscal sponsor.
2020 is our 10-year anniversary. However, due to COVID-19, we will be hosting this festival online later this fall.
©2018 by Gender Reel