GAZE International LGBTQ+ Film Festival is pulling out all the stops for the big 3-0. Running from September 28 through to October 2 in the IFI and Light House Cinema, this year’s eclectic programme brings us fresh features, beloved classics and powerful documentaries that celebrate art, sex and activism.
The big Irish feature film of the festival is How To Tell A Secret. Screening in the IFI on Thursday, September 29, this experimental documentary, which uses archival footage with verbatim theatre, lip sync and a non-linear film, confronts the complexity of HIV in Ireland with honesty and artistry. Rather than a cautionary tale, the contributors here share their stories about how their lives have continued despite the diagnosis.
Along with showcasing fresh new cinematic voices, GAZE 2022 features guest curations of past classics, including DJ, activist, and community icon Tonie Walsh presenting Gregg Araki’s explosive The Living End from 1992, and Ruth McCarthy, Director of Outburst Queer Arts Festival presenting Cheryl Dunye’s super-hot and hilarious Mommy Is Coming from 2012.
Audiences are invited to dress up and expect carnage for a special late-night screening of John Waters’ transcendent trash opus Pink Flamingos, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year. Showing in the Light House on September 30, you’re not going to want to miss it.
GAZE 2022 will open with the breathtaking Wildhood, a future cinema classic from director Bretten Hannam, a Canadian coming-of-age tale like no other that follows two young First Nations characters in an emotional journey of self-discovery – part road movie, part queer romance.
GAZE audiences also have the chance to curate their own film this year with one feature slot being given over to an audience vote. Select your own queer blast from the past and stay tuned to GAZE social media for how to cast a vote.
Other vital works in the programme include closing night feature Girl Picture by Alli Haapasalo which offers a joyous glimpse of young Finnish queer friendships as LGBTQ+ youngsters grow up alongside their straight friends. It’s raucous and emotional and will make you want to be a teenager all over again.
It’s an incredible time for documentary work. Magnus Gertten’s Nelly & Nadine has wowed audiences across Europe with the awe-inspiring tale of two women who survived the Holocaust, found one another, and built a life together in an era when such things felt truly impossible. It uplifts the viewer beyond what cinema can usually achieve. In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction by Lisa Marie Evans interviews a vast selection of the finest living writers to weave together the most ambitious history of lesbian writing ever attempted. Your bookshelves will thank you. Stick around to join the panel conversation with us afterwards.
Our collective obsession with 80s New York City is supremely catered for by the insanely high drama of Make Me Famous, which follows the party-’n’-paint lifestyle of artist Edward Brezinski as all around him become famous New York artists and he … doesn’t quite. The archival footage of Manhattan at its grimy and glamorous best has to be seen to be believed.
Elsewhere an amazingly high standard of filmmaking is displayed in this year’s Irish Shorts submissions, with so much good material on offer it has been programmed across the festival in dedicated screenings, pre-feature shorts, gallery shows and GAZE Online. Irish filmmaking looks to be stronger than ever. Highlights include Clara Planelles’ First Date, a magnificent black comedy about grief and moving on; Homebird by Caleb J. Roberts which dramatises a touching and tender conversation between father and gay son; while Don’t Go Where I Can’t Find You by past GAZE jury-winner Rioghnach Ní Ghrioghair elevates the lesbian ghost story into high art.
“I wanted the film programme for this anniversary year to reflect two important things: the incredible history and heritage of LGBTQ+ community – the pioneers, survivors and forebears who make our lives as LGBTQ+ people possible – and the roots of the film festival, the art of film itself. We have really dug into and queered these themes to create a selection of films that tell the untold, that celebrate queer storytelling in new ways, and that lean into the magic of LGBTQ+ artists and filmmakers.”Festival Director Greg Thorpe
Beyond the cinema programme, GAZE 2022 will spread across the city and calendar with a selection of new offerings.
GAZE at The Complex brings 10 days of gallery films to Dublin for free, offering new platforms for sharing this year’s incredible international and local output. Running from Tuesday 4 to Saturday 15 October there will be a double programme of new queer film work with evening screenings and up-close in-conversations wtih Irish artists.
Finally GAZE Online gathers up our hybrid festival learning to bring a digital offering to the whole of Ireland encompassing GAZE 2022 highlights alongside online exclusives that perfectly fit the at-home cinema experience.