Who are we?

Gender Reel, is committed to providing an art space that is inclusive of people from all background and experiences. If you are interested in joining Gender Reels Planning Committee contact genderreelfest@gmail.com.

Listed below are the names and bios of the 2017 Festival Organizers, Contributors and Board Members:

2017 Administrative Organizers: 


Joe Ippolito (Founder & Executive Director) 

Joe identifies as a Latino, Italian, Jewish, trans person of masculine experience, who transitioned his gender from female to male 17 years ago. He is a Doctor of Psychology, clinician, researcher, writer, educator, filmmaker and activist. Joe is currently a Faculty Member at Metropolitan State and a mental health professional at Ramsey County's Mental Health Department. Joe has been organizing and advocating for the transgender community for close to two decades. He has been on the forefront of the transgender movement, chairing positions with such organizers and groups as The Philadelphia Trans-health Conference and The American Psychological Association. Joe founded Gender Reel in 2010 and has been acting as Executive Director since. Joe also co-authored a chapter in the book, Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, is writing a book about the socialization of men and founded the Trans Masculine Abuse Project. Currently, he resides in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his partner and 3 animals.







Vega Darling 

Vega Darling is a punk rocker turned filmmaker. He co-founded Atlanta Riot Grrrl in the mid-90’s, managed the first riot grrrl/queercore band out of the American South and wrote several zines in the 90’s and early 2000′s. Vega has spent 20 years creating space for the underdogs. He has organized feminist, queer, trans, and punk festivals, events, and conferences including Philadelphia Trans Health Conference (2004-2009) where he designed the first of its kind trans youth and family programming, Ladyfest Bay Area (2012), and Gender Reel Film Festival in Oakland (2013). Currently he is the Program Director for Gender Reel Film Festivals, and the Director of the riot grrrl documentary, GRRRL. 







evelynEvelyn Friel (Webmaster)

Evelyn is an administrative assistant by day, computer programmer by night. Her days are kept busy with work, two children Patrick and Russell, and partner. 







leeroyLeeroy Joyce 

Leeroy Joyce is a mixed race chef turned film-maker. His history spans activism in high-school to help pass AB537, the California Law that protects California students against harassment based on actual or perceived gender or sexual orientation. He also opened the first Gay Straight Alliance at his high-school, the first one attempted in the 120 years of the history of the school. Leeroy has been involved in organizing events and conferences since he was a young queer himself. From LadyFest Bay Area, to Gender Reel Oakland, Gender Reel Long Beach, and the LATCH Conference. He is currently pursuing a degree in sociology at Long Beach City College, while working on GRRRL, a documentary on the Riot Grrrl Movement.  He lives in Atlanta with his husband and fur-babies, living the dream.





Tammyrae Barr 

Tammyrae is a life-long advocate of fairness and justice for all people; an organizer/activist in the Philadelphia LGBT community, she spans beyond gender, race, religion, and politics and tries to connect the dots to form a path to equality for everyone. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from Rutgers University. She believes the power of visual media transcends the population and is a strong vehicle to helping mainstream the existence and understanding of transsexual and gender variant people.





Venus DeMars 

Venus was born in Duluth, MN. Venus is a performance artist, musician, painter, graphic designer and filmmaker. 










2017 Programming Team: 





 Sasha Alexander (Co-programmer) — Sasha (Special Guest) is a trans-racially adopted, mixed race black/south asian, queer, trans, educator, facilitator, multi-media artist, healer, and community organizer. Over the last 15 years Sasha has built and collaborated with local and national youth empowerment, social justice, and media organizations working for gender, economic, and racial justice. Sasha is the Founder of Black Trans Media, a project addressing the intersections of racism and transphobia by amplifying the narratives of black trans people, creating media for and by the black trans community. Sasha prefers the pronouns he/she/they and that you mix it up.














Olympia Perez (Co-Programmer) — Olympia (Special Guest) was born in Maryland, and raised in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. She is full time student, healer, artist, poet and an educator. She is a trans warrior who currently works in the public health field working to dismantle the failed ideologies that don't serve her Trans community. She enjoys adventures with her husband Sasha <3, she enjoys reading, writing and her time with yellow cats. She is the Content Director of Black Trans Media. Her preferred pronouns are Her-she like the chocolate bar.












Quinn Villagomez (Host & Co-programmer) — Quinn a.k.a. SHIMMER – was born and raised in the Twin Cities area. Quinn dentifies as a Hispanic Woman of Color and a Transgender Woman. Quinn has definitely seen the struggles of being a Minority and faces the criticisms the LGBT Community & Transgender Women face in today's Society; this has not stopped Quinn from following her dreams and straying her from succeeding in her passions. Most recently Quinn joined KFAI Radio as a Co-Host for FRESH FRUIT with RARE Productions. Quinn was featured in an article for City Pages International Women's Day featuring her hard work, dedication, and representation for being a voice for the LGBT Community, a Queer Artist of Color & the Transgender Community. Quinn was chosen as one of 5 Influential Women in the Twin Cities.






Andre Perez — Director, André Pérez, is an oral historian, educator, filmmaker, and community organizer who founded the Transgender Oral History Project in 2007.









2017 – 2018 Board Members:



Jayden H.C. Sampson (Secretary) — Mr. Sampson is a trans man of color, who has been actively involved in trans activism and organizing for the past 17 years. Jayden joined Gender Reel's Board in 2011 and is committed to staying on with the organization until 2020. Currently, he works as a full-time community college Professor. 








422864_10150644737753287_669680325_aWallace Burchette (Chair) — Wallace is a queer identified AFAB person who currently works as an editor and videographer for a Twin Cities television station and is an Emmy award winning videographer. Wallace has been working with Gender Reel for 3 years now and hopes to continue contributing to the program for a while to come.  







Mary Hoffman (Treasurer – Interium) — Mary is a queer identified person who has been volunteering with Gender Reel for the past two years. Ze has a Masters in Social Work, owns their own cleaning business and is passionate about films and trans/GnC issues.  

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