GAZE LGBTQIA International Film Festival back in August

The programme has been announced for the 2023 edition of the GAZE LGBTQIA International Film Festival. Ireland’s biggest queer film festival today unveiled an enormous programme of 115 films from 20+ countries, offering the insight, explorations and experiences of queer stories from all over the world and across history.

GAZE 2023 will be taking place across the fair city of film from August 3rd to 7th.

The packed programme comes during a landmark year, the 30th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland. Among this year’s festival partners is the Red Umbrella Film Festival, who will be offering short films during GAZE 2023 that focus on queer experiences of sex work with exciting variety. The festival is collaborating also across the sea with the Queer Lisboa Festival who offer a selection of shorts, and they’re working with Neuro Pride Ireland to help us move towards better access at GAZE, including a relaxed screening of the Irish Shorts programme. For the first time, GAZE is going by the LGBTQIA moniker, and intersex and asexual stories are among this year’s films. The effort to be intersectional and accessible is clear.

The traditional spots of the Light House Cinema and the Irish Film Institute will be among this year’s venues, but other spots across Dublin will also fall under GAZE’s eye this year. The Stella will be an appropriate setting for a centenary screening of Salomé. This legendary silent film based on the original Oscar Wilde play will screen in Rathmines on Sunday 6th August. The avant-garde and experimental film’s longstanding rumour, which this year’s dearly departed Kenneth Anger helped to spread, was it was cast entirely with gay or bisexual performers.

The festival is also partnering up with the Project Arts Centre, to screen Ungentle written by Huw Lemmey of the Bad Gays Podcast. He’ll be present in-conversation on Sunday 6th August to discuss the film, exploring the knotty and intriguing relationship between the history of British espionage and male homosexuality, juxtaposing anonymous memoir with carefully crafted imagery hinting at symbolic attachments and a lost past.

One of Dublin’s iconic spots will receive tribute on 5th August. In 2002, Clark Harding’s documentary The George focused on the regulars of Dublin’s favourite gay bar as a starting point for a wider exploration of the city’s changing queer scene and gay life in the capital, a film that was shown at that year’s tenth Gay And Lesbian Film Festival. Decades later the film screens again, to mark how much has changed and to celebrate the spot and its local icons.

Whisper it quietly, but one of the most contentious features of the last few years is set to finally screen this summer. Vera Drew’s The People’s Joker was announced for last year’s film festival, only for the film’s legal issues to see it pulled from the programme. Drew draws from the comic book legend for a film that promises “anti-comedy, animation and transsexual clowns, made with the help of over 100 artists and with zero authorisation from DC Comics.” Screening at the Light House on 5th August, presented in partnership with the Small Trans Library.

Sundance selection My Animal is one of the many intriguing features among this year’s offerings. In Jacqueline Castel’s romantic horror, Heather, an outcast teenage goalie in a small northern town, falls for newcomer Jonny, an alluring but tormented figure skater. As their relationship deepens, Heather’s growing desires clash with her darkest secret, forcing her to control the animal within. An exciting synopsis of a story with rising star Amanda Stenberg among the cast. The midnight movie will be showing on 4th August at the Light House.

Films by Jonathan Hughes, Nell Hensey, Katie McNeice and more will offer the Irish perspective on 5th August during the Irish Shorts strand. McNeice’s Lambing has been a long running essential on the Irish festival circuit, a story in which a young father in rural Ireland faces anxiety around gender and bullying when his baby is born intersex.

Other short film strands offer an alluring array of ideas. The ‘Bad Romance’ slate celebrate connections that are complex, messy, petty, sometimes criminal and not always free in tales of love and lover’s revenge. In ‘Mighty Real’, a range of fantasy, sci-fi and horror shorts explore identity through the fantastic and frightening. Inspired by this year’s musical slant, ‘Smalltown Boys’ riffs on the Bronski Beat classic to present a series of accomplished short films that consider what happens when gay and trans men leave town, come home, head for the hills, or seek out their past.

Established in 2007, the Iris Prize is a film and media organisation committed to increasing audiences for LGBTQ+ stories. Hosting an annual festival in Cardiff, it boasts the largest short film prize in the world, a coveted £30,000 award. GAZE is delighted to partner with Iris Prize for a special guest screening, with Berwyn Rowlands programming an exciting array of LGBTQ+ shorts, featuring four award-winning films from around the world. Join us for an unforgettable journey through these powerful and inspiring stories, as curated by Berwyn Rowlands.

The community reaches out and expands for filmmakers and curators alike during this year’s GAZE. On Monday 7th August, the festival hosts a workshop on curating short film. Programmers from GAZE alongside Rowlands from the Iris Prize will share their professional experiences watching, programming and awarding short films in an LGBTQIA context . We will talk about supporting film makers, some of our favourite works, and how practice can be evolved and improved. A pair of Filmmaker Socials across the festival’s main weekend will present a valuable chance to connect, click and check in with fellow filmmakers and film fans. Hosted by Festival Director Greg Thorpe, you can get a coffee, chat about cinema, swap your top tips for the festival, and meet other filmmakers, and all are welcome. If you need any kind of assistance to attend, are feeling shy, or would like to know more before you come along, the festival advises contacting by email for info,

It’s an exciting offering this August and we’re eager to see it. Stay tuned for more on GAZE 2023 from

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