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.
It’s not always about being swept up in the buzz and awards speculation. Film festivals are a great opportunity to revisit the past of cinema, a chance to celebrate and reevaluate where the medium has come from. With its focus on queer cinema, GAZE knows this very well, and GAZE 2020 has some great selections from previous years to highlight among the vibrant fresh material. Friday 2nd October, 9.30pm will see a showing of Frank Ripploh’s Taxi zum Klo, it’s a dark comedy that has developed into a moment in culture in amber, early 80s Berlin sealed on screen. On Saturday 3rd October, 8.45pm, the festival will host a rare screening of Cheryl Dunye’s seminal work The Watermelon Woman. The first feature film directed by a black lesbian and a game-changer in New Queer Cinema, it’s a clever, comedic, romantic story and a chance to look at cinema itself with fresh and honest eyes.
Helping to develop the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers is another key aspect of the best film festivals. GAZE 2020 is set to partner with Screen Skills Ireland on a new educational and training opportunity for upcoming filmmakers. Tutors Anna Rodgers and John Butler will host a special workshop on developing LGBTQ+ stories in documentary and narrative film. These interactive, virtual classes promise to explore the challenges in telling LGBTQ+ stories and the ways to overcome them, demonstrating visual storytelling, guiding attendees on how to draw from their personal experiences and more. With clear credentials in documentary and fiction, Rodgers and Butler are sure to make great teachers, opening up new and engaging storytellers to those who we may yet see in festivals of the future.
On Saturday 3rd October, 10pm, the festival will welcome SPICEBAG performers Sarah Deveraux and Stephen Quinn for a Welcome Inside the Over-Actor’s Studio at GAZE’s website. From Mommie Dearest to Pink Flamingos , they’re offering a selection of trashy, campy, glorious fun with terrible scripts, live flesh, ridiculous characters and awful acting. giving the in-vogue script reading business the SPICEBAG treatment.
That’s not the only extra-curricular event on offer during the festival. Sunday afternoon will host a pair of drag events that are sure to entertain. At 12pm, Avoca Reaction will be hosting an edition of Drag Storytime, live on Youtube. Families will be invited to join in before settling in for an online movie viewing, with GAZE themselves providing some recommendations. At 2pm, Drag and Draw will host a movie-themed session. Lip-syncs, fast-paced drawing exercises, movie references and some audience interaction, under the tutelage of dream queen teacher Áine Macken, with Bonnie Anne Clyde as the model for the budding artistes out there in the fair city of film and beyond.
Short and Sweet
GAZE has always had a healthy programming of short films, peppering a variety of selections throughout proceedings to provide a diverse range of perspectives and stories, snapshots from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum. GAZE 2020 kicks this off on Friday at 6.45pm with the Men’s Shorts programme, offering an alternative take on the male gaze. Next on Saturday at 2pm is the selection of Experimental Shorts, pushing the boundaries of form, of what is permissible and possible, while utilising a variety of different media and mediums. Then at 4.30pm it’s the Women’s Shorts, offering women’s stories from across the Americas with shorts from the US, Brazil and Canada. Trans and Genderqueer Shorts are set to screen on Sunday at 1pm, showing trans identity through a collection of short films from around the world. Finally at 4pm, the Irish shorts programme will show off an array of local talents, including Shaun O’Connor, Megan K. Fox, Cara Holmes and many more exciting Irish storytellers.
There’s so much essential viewing through this week at GAZE, make sure to check out their website and IFI@Home to see the full selection of what’s on for this 28th edition of one of Ireland’s best film festivals. We may not be able to see it live this year but the best of new and classic international LGBTQ+ cinema is now a click away for the entire island, providing an additional level of accessibility, opening film up all the more, with plenty of great events still to bring us together.