Reel Stories is a free monthly film series dedicated to showcasing international queer cinema presented in partnership with Reel Q, Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ+ Film Festival. Starting in 1985, Reel Q’s mission is to increase the availability and accessibility of queer film in Pittsburgh and its surrounding region, highlighting the diverse experiences of our worldwide community. Reel Q is one of the oldest LGBTQ+ film festivals in the world.
August’s screening presents Instructions for Survival, a 2021 documentary directed by Yana Ugrekhelidze. The film centers on Alexander, a transgender man forced to live clandestinely in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. With no way to change the gender on his passport, Alexander is denied access to a proper job and even professional medical care. Despite such obstacles, his secret life is not one of solitude, living with his doting partner of nearly a decade, Marie—a cis woman—and surrounded by a warm, supportive family who have understood and protected him since childhood. With candor and empathy, the documentary follows the couple as they consider seeking asylum in another country—a drastic step that might only be financed if Marie becomes a surrogate mother. Quietly powerful and deeply humane, Instructions for Survival captures both the heartbreak and profound joy of ordinary love in extraordinary circumstances.
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