Last month’s Dublin Pride was bigger than ever, following the Yes result in the marriage equality referendum. But the end of the Pride festival is always a signal that we’re not far from Ireland’s next biggest LGBT event : Gaze International LGTB Film Festival. The annual event opens on Thursday at the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield. Now in its 23rd year, a lot has changed since it began in 1992, a time when homosexuality was still illegal in Ireland. Each year it seeks to put a spotlight on LGBT cinema, whether that’s films with LGBT themes, films by LGBT artists, or films inspired by LGBT artists.
Gaze’s theme has long been “The Power Of Our Stories”, a theme that rings true in light of the Yes campaign during the referendum last month, and also the passing of the Gender Recognition Bill earlier this month. With this in mind, we have plenty to celebrate this year. We’ve picked five films you can’t afford to miss over the weekend, each of which continues to showcase the power of LGBT stories.
The Amina Profile
July 31st, 8:30pm
Love-story-cum-political-thriller, The Amina Profile follows an online love story between two women, Sandra in Montreal, Canada, Amina in Damascus, Syria. When Syria enters the Arab uprising in 2011, Amina is kidnapped because of her blog about sexuality and Sandra attempts to find her. It’s a film that brings up important questions around identity and the internet.
YesterGAZE August 1st, 12:30pm
Three films: An Saol Gay; Coming Out, Being Seen, Making History; and Gaze – Making History each tell the story of Ireland's route to marriage equality from when campaigns for equality started decades ago. The screenings are followed by a discussion on the filmic past and present of the Irish LGBT community.
Polyester July 31st, 10:30pm
To tie in with the festival closer, Gaze have wheeled out a retrospective screening of Polyester, the film that brought Tab Hunter out of obscurity. Directed, produced and written by John Waters, it's an off-beat satire on middle class America, featuring transvestite actor Divine.
Do I Sound Gay? August 3rd, 4pm
LGBT people are routinely portrayed with "gay voices" in pop culture and Do I Sound Gay? follows director David Thorpe's mission to find the origins of the "gay voice" and his journey of self acceptance. The GAZE screening will be the Irish premiere of the film which also features interviews with various LGBT icons including Margaret Cho and Tim Gunn.
Tab Hunter Confidential August 3rd, 8:30pm
Your last chance to take in a bit of Gaze is Tab Hunter Confidential, which closes the festival. This is LGBT filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz's newest film, a tell-all documentary about Warner Brother's top-grossing star and 1950s heartthrob, Tab Hunter, who was secretly gay. Schwarz will be in attendance in conversation with Dublin International Film Festival director Grainne Humphreys after the screening.
For more see gaze.ie