As if the attractions at the GAZE LGBT Film Festival this or any year could be limited to a mere five standouts! Still, as one of the standout annual events in the fair city of film, both as a consistently excellent programme of cinema and as one the country’s biggest LGBT gatherings outside of Dublin Pride, GAZE generates considerable excitement every summer and it’s worth looking at why. The mood of film fans is buzzing nicely ahead of GAZE 2019’s Opening Gala taking place tonight, a sold-out screening at the Light House Cinema of the documentary Deep In Vogue. You can get an overview of this year’s programme here, but with so much to choose from in the five days of film ahead, we look at five reasons why you must get yourselves into the screens for GAZE 2019.
A good selection of short films is the backbone of any good festival, and GAZE 2019 is stacked in this regard, with no less than five screenings of shorts packed into the long weekend. First in the lineup is the showing of Men’s Shorts on Saturday 3rd August at 3:30pm, a varied journey from London via Lebanon, to the jungles of Peru straight up to the good outdoors of Canada and beyond. On Sunday, the Women’s Shorts screening takes place at 4.15pm, an exploration of women’s storiesdescribed by festival programmer Roisin Geraghty as about “the strength of that bond, the work it takes to sustain it and what it is to live a life always deserving it.” That’s followed by a showcase of Irish shorts at 6.30pm, always a festival highlight, which provides the local community and the talented filmmakers therein the opportunity to share their stories. This part of the festival is fantastically previewed by Ronan Doyle at Scannain and is well worth a look. On Monday at 1.30pm, a selection of Trans and Genderqueer focused shorts will trans and gendernon-reflect the plurality and diversity of the stories that exist in the world, and last but not least at 3.45pm that day, the Iris Prize Shorts will display reflections on contemporary queer youth, collecting stories of LGBT adolescence. It’s a packed collection of perspectives and festival-goers will surely have to fit in at least one screening of shorts.
It’s more important than ever before to empower everyone to tell their story and record their experience, and smartphone filmmaking can open that chance up to anyone with a phone in their pocket, with the right guidance. Featuring for the second year in a row at the festival, MobDoc workshops aim to do exactly that, teaching young and old about mobile filmmaking. Presented by Deirdre Mulcahy, who has spent the last 12 years training BBC journalists, and Jamie Starboisky, who has spent the last six years curating the UK’s Queer Media Festival in Manchester, MobDoc workshops will take place on Saturday, with a session for Adults at 10am and a Teen Workshop for aspiring filmmakers aged 17 – 19 at 1.30pm. Ticket info is available here.
A Sense of History
Having ran for nearly 30 years, GAZE has overseen a considerable amount of history made in Ireland and abroad for the queer community, and the festival knows well the importance of providing retrospectives, pausing for reflections and linking the past, present and future via the screen. GAZE 2019 celebrates history in some fascinating ways. A screening of Derek Jarman’s Sebastiane at 12pm on the Saturday aims to continue the legacy of the Biograph Cinema of Ireland’s first gay resource centre the Hirschfield Centre, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Another anniversary celebrated at the festival will be an incredible 100th, as GAZE pull amazingly into the archives to screen Different From The Others. A Weimarian tale of two gay musicians who fall in love and become embroiled in a malicious blackmail scandal, the film is the first known depiction of gay characters on screen, film history showing at the IFI on Sunday at 1.15pm. Also on Sunday at 2pm back at the Light House, GAZE will highlight the forgotten histories of Ireland’s lesbian community with the documentaries Invisible Women and The Archivettes —both of which explore small yet revolutionary acts of defiance and resistance. Looking back at queer film history, GAZE 2019 offers a look at two trailblazers, celebrating radical lesbian filmmaker Barbara Hammer and gone-far-too-soon New Queer Cinema alum Marlon Riggs at 4 and 4.30 respecitvely on Sat and Sun in Smithfield.
Craic & Community
Active and engaged beyond its scope as a film festival, GAZE well balances thoughtful and reflective discussion during the festival days with entertaining evening events. Following a screening of documentary Are You Proud? (1pm on Saturday), a discussion will take place exploring Pride’s radical roots, rise in mainstream and heteronormative consciousness, and the complexities around it’s corporatisation. On Monday at 1.30, the festival screens a series of shorts detailing HIV/AIDS activism, to be followed by a panel of Act Up activists discussing HIV/AIDS activism needs at a time when diagnoses in Ireland have spiked in recent years.
Festival-goers are also directed to a number of nightspots taking place during the Bank Holiday weekend, with post-screening sojourns directed towards Cafe Rubis, Mother and Opium’s eye-opening (and closing)ly titled event, Bukkake.
Providing varied programming for viewers of all ages, GAZE 2019 provides a number of screenings suitable for the younger crowd. Apart from the aforementioned teen MobDoc workshop, a showing of Irish coming of age story Handsome Devil is set for tomorrow, 1pm at the IFI,to be followed by a Q&A with director John Butler. For the even younger younger crowd, Monday morning 11.30am will see the Light House screen this year’s Queer Family Film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid. This will be proceeded by Drag Queen Storytime at The Gutter Bookshop. This glamorous and fun literary event is for the little ones as Auntie Poppie provides storytime with a twist – just don’t tell the council!
Tickets and more info on GAZE 2019 are available from the festival’s website here. Film In Dublin wish all a great weekend of film and fun at this year’s edition of one of Ireland’s top festivals.