Celebration of life held for local LGBTQ+ activist

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The community said goodbye to a fabulous friend. The celebration of life for Michael Gamilla, a local LGBTQ+ activist, was held at Mary’s Church on Saturday followed by a reception at the Jewish Community Center.

Gamilla served as the program director for ImageOut, Rochester’s film festival for celebrating the LBGTQ community. He died on March 9 after a battle with leukemia. Attendees at his celebration of life wore bright and colorful clothes as Gamilla always did.

“The amount of people here today is just a testament to show the amazing human that he is,” said Issabelle Frial, the niece of Gamilla. “He was just so kind, generous, thoughtful, fabulous, fun, gregarious, effervescent. I could go on and on.”

Gamilla worked as a systems analyst and computer programmer but also had an artistic side, said his bio for Trillium Health. He served as the program director for ImageOut for 19 years. He also introduced the Flower City Flicks Competition, a program to help filmmakers to highlight the voices of LBGTQ people.

Gamilla guided the ImageOut film festival through the pandemic, holding a virtual festival in 2020 and introducing the new ImageOut First Cut Spring Edition which is entering its third year.

The Little Theatre honored Gamilla in 2011 with the Friend of Film Award for his contributions to local cinema. Gamilla was also selected to judge LBGTQ Film festivals internationally including in Toronto, Tel Aviv, Berlin, and Cardiff. He also judged Rochester’s 24-hour Movie Challenge.

The festival’s spring edition will run from April 27 to May 2 and the fall films will run from Oct. 5 to Oct. 15. You can make a donation to ImageOut in memory of Gamilla here.

Gamilla spoke to News10NBC about his role as the Grand Marshal of Rochester’s Pride Parade in 2022.