• Kourinthia Burton


This year marked the 30th Reel Pride Film Festival in Fresno. Reel Pride is designed to being LGBTQ entertainment and cinema to the Central Valley through, "new direction, bold new ideas, and a fresh outlook". Reel Pride is a festival that celebrates often forgotten or overlooked members of our community and is a testament to the beauty waiting to be discovered throughout the Central Valley and beyond.

St. James Episcopal Cathedral sponsored a film this year at Reel Pride that truly celebrated the forgotten beauty of one community in particular. "The Archivettes" directed by Megan Rossman, is a 2018 film that follows the stories of two women working to preserve the history of the Lesbian community. The film aired Sunday, September 22, 2019 at 1:00PM at Tower Theatre.

“It is an honor for St. James to support Reel Pride Fresno. This year we sponsored the film ‘The Archivettes, ’" said Dean Ryan. "The film documents the founding of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in New York City. As a community of faith, we deeply understand the importance of preserving and sharing our stories. 'Archivettes' shares a profound story of the struggles and successes that brought about a remarkable national collection that honors the stories of lesbians throughout America.”

“Our history was disappearing as quickly as we were making it.”

With that realization, Deborah Edel and Joan Nestle co-founded the Lesbian Herstory Archives, the world’s largest collection of materials by and about lesbians. For more than 40 years, through many of the major milestones in LGBTQ+ history, the all-volunteer organization has literally rescued history from the trash. Now the co-founders are in their mid-70s, and the group faces a number of challenges: A transfer of leadership. The rise of digital technology. A renewed call to activism in a politically charged moment.

The documentary explores how this group came together to combat lesbian invisibility and create “a place that says yes.”

"St. James was again a proud sponsor at this year’s Fresno Reel Pride that concluded this past Sunday, " Deacon Terrance said of the event. "Dean Ryan and I were able to attend the film, 'The Archivettes', and interact with the community prior to the start of the film. The Dean addressed the film goers, and thanked them for the privilege of being a sponsor of Reel Pride. St. James Episcopal Cathedral, he explained, strives to be a community committed to love and compassion.

'The Archivettes', is an inspiring film which profiles the Lesbian Herstory Archives that has preserved the various books, cultural artifacts and expressions of lesbian identity, love and solidarity for the past 45 years. The filmmaker gave us a look into the workings of the volunteer-run collective, speaking with its founders and visitors for this expansive and intensely intimate collection.

The theme of the documentary is connection - generational connection in particular. Many of the Archivettes whose legacies inspire the younger archivists are well into their 70’s. As memories fade and members depart, the volunteer archivists contemplate how to honor these legacies, safeguarding and carrying their stories forward to future generations."

Above: St. James' sponsorship ad in the Fresno Reel Pride 2019 Program.


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