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Writer and trans rights activist Aoife Martin is an ardent film fan. She has written about trans representation on screen for CinÉireann magazine, recorded guest spots on the 250 Podcast and now will serve on the Jury for the 2020 edition of the GAZE LGBTQ+ Film Festival. Alongside writer Chandrika Narayanan-Mohan, performance artist Stephen Quinn and director Katie McNeice will be going through the selection of films on show during the festival, beginning today and running through to the 4th October, to select the GAZE Film Awards; picking out the Spirit of GAZE Award, Best International and Irish Shorts and Best Documentary to celebrate the best and brightest of Irish and international LGBTQ+ stories at GAZE 2020  

 

Ahead of the film festival, Film In Dublin spoke to Aoife about her Movie Memories, early favourites, the importance of telling trans stories on screen and the power of cinema to bring us closer together.  

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This year’s edition of the GAZE LGBTQ+ Film Festival is a prime example of the quick thinking and compromises that film programmers and festival organisers have had to make in 2020. Usually a fixture of the August Bank Holiday weekend, they waited their time and announced a fantastic programme for 30th September – 4th October. Unfortunately, plans to host live screenings as part of the festival were curtailed by COVID-19 lockdown measures that have been put in place for Dublin, as we’re sure you’re all too aware. The festival, however, soldiers on with aplomb. Aided by the IFI@Home online platform, the programme will proceed, with a great line-up of screenings and events to provide the festival experience. We’ve gone through the full schedule to pick out 5 things at GAZE 2020 you simply cannot miss.

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Director: Hong Khaou Starring: Henry Golding, Parker Sawyers, David Tran, Molly Harris Running Time: 85 minutes


When it comes to culture, identity and family, it’s a given that feelings are going to be complex, even contradictory. Add guilt and grief to the mix and you can get a potent stew of melancholia brewing – a recipe that director Hong Khaou knows very well, and well enough to show that there can be hopeful, joyful moments amongs the stinging pains and numb dejection.

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One of the best things about the raging success of Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite is the potential knock on effect it might have. People who would never ordinarily pay their money to see a subtitled film were doing so, as the critical acclaim drove Parasite into mainstream chain cinemas. This was significant, as such pictures are usually reserved for releases in art house theatres, and although the audiences who usually see them are loyal, they often come in significantly smaller quantities. As an unfortunate but understandable consequence, there can be difficulties associated with getting the right funding to bring international features to Western audiences, on the basis that the people who make the commercial decisions have the “one inch barrier of subtitles” in the back of their minds when sanctioning off projects. Memories of Murder is a reason why the above circumstances are a real shame. While there are always occasions when  directors make their best films early on, Bong Joon Ho’s mystery crime thriller is an example of how many films crawl so others can walk.

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Director: Antonio Campos Starring: Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Sebastian Stan, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke, Haley Bennett, Eliza Scanlen, Mia Wasikowska, Bill Skarsgård Running Time: 138 minutes


 

Based on the novel by Donald Ray Pollock, director Antonio Campos brings together an impressive ensemble cast to tell a story of intergenerational turmoil and malevolent superstition, set against the beautiful backdrop of Coal Creek, West Virginia.

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Culture Night is a big part of the September schedule every year in the fair city of film, and normally this time of year we’d be flicking through the calendar for any and every bit of film-related fun to give you all the heads up for the evening. Culture Night 2020 will be offering a combo of live and online events to spread the joy and try to keep everyone safe and we have a quick guide of the film-related stuff you need to know.

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Director: McG Starring: Judah Lewis, Emily Alyn Lind, Jenna Ortega Running Time: 101 minutes


Released on Netflix in 2017, The Babysitter was a good example of what the streaming platform hopes for with a large amount of their ‘original’ films; fun, watchable, kind of disposable, and with a simple hook to lure viewers in: a murderous babysitter and a crew of high school clichés going after the kid who idolises her for a satanic ritual. It was a winking bit of playtime with horror tropes that new what it was and didn’t overstay it’s welcome, but what kicked it up a notch from ‘grand’ to ‘oh that was actually pretty good’ was Samara Weaving in the titular role, elevating proceedings through sheer force of charisma as she went on to do in Ready or Not and looks set to do in a fruitful career in Hollywood.

This sequel sees the return of some of the kids from the first film, as young Cole Johnson, now in high school, grapples with the events of the original. He’s a pariah in school and his parents doubt his mental health, nobody believing his side of the story. Weaving, now in high demand, is a shadow that hangs over Killer Queen, and while the film carries the same spirit of its predecessor quite well, it also serves as a strong indicator of the Aussie’s talent: it’s quality compared the first one is more or less proportional to the extent of her absence.

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The latest exceptionally animated feature film from the folks at Cartoon Saloon is set to get an Irish cinema release ahead of it debuting on Apple’s streaming platform Apple TV+. Coming this October, Wolfwalkers looks set to delight viewers of all ages on the big screen in Ireland and the UK.

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Director: Charlie Kaufman Starring: Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons, Toni Collette, David Thewlis Running Time: 134 minutes


 

Charlie Kaufman has never been one to shy away from unconventional projects. While his directorial debut came with Synecdoche New York in 2008, Kaufman made his bones in screenplay, penning Being John Malkovich in 1999, while perhaps being best remembered for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind five years later. Throughout this eclectic filmography has been a strong theme of existential uncertainty and metaphysical pondering. There’s also been a fair share of Kaufman’s work being referential to pop culture, sometimes satirical, sometimes more serious. Among these rather confounding patterns however stands a more clear characterisation of Kaufman. That is, his understanding and appreciation of storytelling stems from his impressive communicative abilities in the written form. To those most familiar with his career, he will likely be seen as someone who is best equipped to deliver if he grounds his film in an expertly crafted script. No doubt, this talent is one that Kaufman appears well versed in. Here however, on the back of films like Synecdoche New York that were famously difficult for audiences to penetrate, his task as a more deeply involved film maker requires a more balanced and nuanced skill-set.

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NOTE: The article below references cinemas being open for the GAZE LGBT Film Festival as was the case at time of publication. Per Level 3 COVID-19 restrictions in Dublin announced on 18/09/20, cinemas are not permitted to open. The festival as described below remains available online via the IFI@Home online media player. 

For nearly three decades, the GAZE LGBT Film Festival has brought the best of queer cinema to Dublin, a shared experience of access, advocacy and adulation, sharing great films from Ireland and abroad. Taking place this year from September 30th – October 4th, GAZE 2020 have announced their full programme, a mix of live cinema and online screenings that will open one of Ireland’s biggest film festivals up to a wider audience beyond the fair city of film.

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