One of the very best festivals in the fair city of film will be returning, expanding and offering even more for film fans in Ireland this autumn. The GAZE International Film Festival has announced a return to in-cinema screenings in September and October, for the festival’s 29thedition, once again showcasing some of the most exciting LGBTQ+ narratives on the big screen today and welcoming some of the most sought after LGBTQ+ films to Dublin.
Running from 29 September to 3 October and hosting 11 Irish Premieres for feature films and 35 Irish Premieres for short films, including European and World Premieres, GAZE opens with the prize-winning and acclaimed genre-bending thriller The Novice, a cinematic treat and what queer cinema is all about. Closing on 3rd October with Vivian Kleiman’s colourful, creative and inspiring documentary about the LGBTQ+ comic scene of the 1980s: No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics, the festival will be packed with screenings, including Q+As with the filmmakers of highly-anticipated punk documentary celebration of the London lesbian scene, Rebel Dykes.
Featuring a diverse, inspiring and exciting range of feature length drama and documentaries, as well as an amazing range of shorts, GAZE aims to promote visibility of LGBTQ+ experiences via some of the best in international cinema. A festival of this calibre is nothing without big screen cinema, so it means the world to get the film reels and the audiences back in to cinema auditoriums to see new and classic works, like the beloved film Beautiful Thing, celebrating its 25th anniversary, and the new Director’s Cut of 1999 cult hit But I’m a Cheerleader.
Through incredible film curation GAZE platforms Queer culture at its best, in all its glorious nuances and subversive contexts. The festival aims to inspire, enrage, encourage, make people laugh and most importantly feel connected with a new delivery of beautiful, topical and compelling films and events.
Following the main festival, in November 2021 GAZE presents its first mini-festival, GAZE West, taking place at the Pálás cinema in Galway. Featuring films from the 2020 and 2021 festivals, a small but perfectly formed treat for audiences in the west of Ireland, bringing you a flash of colour as the days get shorter.
Talking about this year’s festival, Eimhin Walsh, new Chairperson of GAZE says:
“We are delighted to be returning to cinemas this year with the same high quality, engaging, and entertaining programme that our audience has come to expect from GAZE. GAZE is all about coming together to celebrate the power of LGBTQ+ stories, and we are looking forward to welcoming our community back for this year’s festival. The last 18 months have been particularly challenging for the arts sector in Ireland and I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our staff, our voluntary board, our funders and supporters, who have kept the wheels turning to make the 29th GAZE happen”.
In his curated programme for 2021, Head of Programming Seán McGovern says:
“It means so much to be back in the cinemas where we belong. We’ve put together a tight and robust programme, featuring the breadth of LGBTQ+ stories on screen. The best queer stories engage, excite, provoke and entertain and that’s what GAZE 2021 is about. With so many premieres and more shorts programmes than ever, there is really something for everyone. ”
Vicky Godolphin, managing director, Insurance and LGBT sponsor at Accenture in Ireland
“Accenture is delighted to be lead sponsor of the GAZE International Film Festival. As our society slowly emerges from the challenges of the past two years, we believe that it is critical to support the arts, which we know play a role in fostering an inclusive environment. The opportunity for people to come together across the exciting programme is wonderful and we are delighted to work side by side with the team to make this year a great success.”
The specially curated short film programmes will also be accessible again this year on the IFI’s VOD platform, IFI@Home, making the programme more widely available to LGBTQ+ film buffs in their own homes across the country – and for those who are simply unable to get to a cinema to experience the 2021 festival line up.
Get an early look at some of the features that will be on at the festival below:
8pm/8.10pm, Wednesday 29 September
Fresh from an award-winning run at the TriBeCa film festival, Lauren Hadaway’s accomplished debut The Novice will make its Irish premiere at the Festival. Asking at what point human drive becomes a dangerous psychological game, The Novice takes the familiar queer story of self-determination and personal strength and dashes it with the psychological-thriller and flecks of horror. Alex is a young queer college student driven to make it onto her university’s rowing team. Classes, parties, love interests, and even her own state of mind come second to her pursuit of athletic perfection, as those around her powerlessly try to intervene. Hadaway’s cinematic story is tightly wound with a commanding performance from Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan).
8.30, Friday 1 October
Light House Cinema
Spiky, slick and packed with punk, Rebel Dykes is an unapologetic doc that celebrates London’s lesbian scene. A city that many from across the world have called their home, London’s dyke scene was motivated by Greenham Common peace camps, a love of leather, protest and battles amongst the SM dykes and those opposed to it. What united all was a rejection of Thatcher’s brand of rampant capitalism and anti-feminism, and the love of a thriving, anarchic lesbian community. This much-anticipated documentary features interviews with many rebellious dyke-identifying women who made London their own.
No Straight Lines
8pm/8.10pm, Sunday 3 October
Light House Cinema
When it comes to queer expression, the only limits are the imagination. In 1980 the first issue of Gay Comix took that expression to whole new levels. No Straight Lines charts the rise of five pioneers of LGBTQ+ comics – Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse, Jennifer Camper, Rupert Kinnard, and Mary Wings. From Come Out Comix, Brown Bomber & The Diva, to Alison Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For and her crossover hit Fun Home, the impact of these gay and lesbian comics is felt by the new batch of creative queers inspired by these torchbearers. Gay Comix emerged at a time when discrimination was rife, the AIDS crisis was emerging and LGBTQ+ communities were isolated. The comics artists spoke directly to a whole new world of readers.
Stay tuned for more from us on GAZE 2021, as they’re set to make the full programme available from September 1st.