Fresno Beehive

Big-city films, small-town feel. Fresno Reel Pride celebrating 30th anniversary

“Adam,” starring Nicholas Alexander, is the closing night film at Fresno Reel Pride, which runs Sept. 18-22, 2019 in the Tower District in Fresno, CA.
“Adam,” starring Nicholas Alexander, is the closing night film at Fresno Reel Pride, which runs Sept. 18-22, 2019 in the Tower District in Fresno, CA. Fresno Reel Pride

In 30 years, the logistics of Fresno Reel Pride have certainly changed, even if the mission — to tell the stories of the LGBTQ community — hasn’t.

“The goal every year, is to elevate those stories,” says Reel Pride vice president and communications director Augie Blancas.

Reel Pride started as the Fresno International Gay and Lesbian Film/Video Festival. At the time, it was one of only six gay and lesbian films festivals in the country.

It was held at Fresno State and showed films that would not be seen in town otherwise.

Quite literally.

Its first year, the festival screened the PBS documentary “Tongues United” after KVPT (and 200 other PBS affiliates) refused to broadcast it.

Early on, the festival struggled some to pull in better films. This was prior to digital projections, when screening a movie meant actually using film, which had to be shipped from festival to festival.

Drama, short films and documentaries

This year’s festival runs Sept. 18-22 and has a collection of more than 40 international films, comedies, dramas, shorts and documentaries — including closing-night film “Adam,” which stars Nicholas Alexander (from the CW show “The Originals”) and is set among Brooklyn’s young LGBTQ community

Several of the films revolve around social justice and advocacy.

“We are the Radical Monarchs” tells the story of the titular group, which was started as an alternative to the Scout movement for girls of color.

“Gay USA” documents the national Gay Freedom Day marches that took place in 1977. It was the first American feature-length documentary about the LGBTQ+ community and was re-released for screenings this summer in San Francisco and New York.

Community outreach

As part of its outreach to the community, Reel Pride makes discounted tickets available to students with ID. It is also offering free entry to the Discoveries Youth Shorts at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Vista Theatre, 1296 N. Wishon Ave.

A full schedule can be see at

Details: Various film screenings, through Sunday. The Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave. and the Vista Theater, 1296 N. Wishon Ave. $10 per film or $95 festival pass.

Other noteworthy events

Electric Fairy Tale, 8 p.m. Friday. Chukchansi Park, 1800 Tulare St. $35, $90 VIP.

Freshwater Pro, 7 a.m. Friday, 8 a.m. Saturday. Surf Ranch, 18556 Jackson Ave, Lemoore. $55, Saturday only. $499., two day VIP pass,

Coco Montoya, 7 p.m. Friday. Strummer’s, 833 E. Fern Ave. $20, all ages. 559-485-5356,

42nd Annual Fresno Scottish Gathering and Games, 9 a.m. Saturday. Kearney Park, 7160 W. Kearney Blvd. $15.

Post Malone, 8 p.m. Saturday. Save Mart Center. $55.50 to $305.50. 559-278-3400,

“Seattle-to-Fresno” Mini Rogue, various show times Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Revue, 620 E. Olive Ave. $12 per show or $50 all-fest pass.

Blues and Roots Festival with Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Civic Center Park, 113 Court St, Hanford. Free. 559-582-9457,

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Joshua Tehee covers breaking news for The Fresno Bee, with a focus on entertainment and a heavy emphasis on the Central Valley music scene. You can see him share the area’s top entertainment options Friday mornings on KMPH’s “Great Day” and read more of his work here.