The GAZE Film Festival 2019 Highlights

Frances Winston writes about some highlights of the upcoming GAZE 2019

Gaze Film Festival: 1st – 5th August, Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield, and various other venues, Dublin

Now in its 27th year, the GAZE film festival is always eagerly anticipated within the community, as it is carefully curated to give audiences the opportunity to see some of the best LGBTQ cinema from around the world.

Last year’s programme was exceptionally strong, and I wasn’t sure they could top it. However, it definitely comes pretty close.

Of course, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, and at the launch party, a gentleman was venting that the opening Gala doesn’t feature a ‘Boy’ film, which was unfair, since the closing gala is a ‘Lady’ film. He felt the opener should be a movie aimed at gay men.

However, I personally am very happy with it, and think that it is a great choice. It is none other than Deep in Vogue – a documentary about the Manchester ball scene. With the huge success of Pose, and the emergence of the divine Billy Porter as a standout star, this is sure to prove popular.

Showing that ball culture resonates throughout the community worldwide, and not just in New York, this features some of the amazing characters populating the Manchester scene, and will have the filmmakers in attendance on the night.

Of course, the opening film is always an event, but the whole programme this year is worthy of mention. Unfortunately, there isn’t room to list everything here. However, at first glance for me several things jumped out.

Different From The Others features the first known depiction of gay characters on screen, and celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. As an added touch, it will feature a live score from pianist and composer, Morgan Clarke. An important piece of LGBTQ history, this promises to be a real treat for movie history buffs.

Also worth a look for fans of classic cinema is the documentary, Making Montgomery Clift, on Monday August 5th. As the title suggests, this tells the story of legendary movie star, Montgomery Clift. A fantastic actor, and stunningly handsome, even a life-changing car crash couldn’t derail his career. But his sexuality was an issue in conservative Hollywood, and the legend goes that he had the slowest suicide in Hollywood. This documentary sheds some light on the truth behind the myths, and is a must-see for all film buffs – not just members of the LGBTQ community.

Former Doctor Who, Matt Smith, stars in Mapplethorpe on Saturday, August 3rd, which chronicles the life of photographer, Richard Mapplethorpe. The artist, who like so many of his contemporaries fell victim to the AIDS crisis, has become something of a cultural icon, and this looks extremely promising.

The fabulous Handsome Devil from director, John Butler, features as the GAZE youth screening this year. Meanwhile, Daniel Day Lewis breakthrough movie, My Beautiful Launderette, was voted as the classic movie that most friends of the festival wanted to see. And their wish was the organiser’s command.

Alongside all these amazing movies, there is a spotlight on Latin Queer cinema, featuring five outstanding films, Socrates, A Girl’s Band, Brief Story from the Green Planet, the Blond One, and Being Impossible.

Latin movies also feature in the shorts programme, which is as strong as ever this year, and always a talking point, as it gives viewers a chance to see the works of many up and coming filmmakers.

The festival is also featuring a retrospective of the work of Barbara Hammer, who died last year. A trailblazer of lesbian, activist, and feminist filmmaking, six of her works will screen on August 3rd.

As always, there are also workshops and discussions scattered throughout the festival, and the closing gala should definitely prove a crowd-pleaser. JT Leroy tells the story of the world’s greatest literary hoax. Starring Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart, this story is proof that fact really is stranger than fiction – if you’re not familiar with the story then google it. It really is bonkers, and should make for a fantastic movie.

The full programme is available at http://www.gaze.ie and with offers available on packages and passes, there’s never been a better reason to hide in the cinema over a bank holiday weekend.

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