With over 60 events from today until the 29th, London’s queer film and arts festival, Fringe!, returns for its fifth year with screenings, talks, panels, workshops, performance and parties, taking over 14 venues in East London. This year’s festival features an international focus, with representation from over 20 countries, and brings a packed programme of the most thought-provoking and cutting-edge new work from across the globe.
Fringe! is a not-for-profit film and arts festival run by a team of passionate volunteers and rooted in London’s queer creative scene and welcoming everyone. From feature films to experimental art, workshops to interactive walks and wild parties, Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest 2015 hosts a multitude of events to tickle every one of the senses.
Fringe! Fest was launched in 2011, by a group of queer creatives as a community response to arts cuts carnage. Our mission was to offer a dynamic, representative and unmistakably fresh alternative to other film and arts festivals.
This year Fringe! hosts screenings and events at familiar festival venues including Hackney Picturehouse & Hackney Attic, Rio Cinema, Ace Hotel, Dalston Superstore and Rose Lipman Building, which returns as the festival hub with two screens, an exhibition space and the festival cafe. Fringe! is also proud to announce several new venue partnerships that will see films and events coming to Barbican Cinema, Genesis Cinema, The Glory and Fringe! first foray further north with three screenings at Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham.
Opening the film programme, Peter Greenaway’s Eisenstein in Guanajuato is a high camp, provocative and political biopic of Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein’s 1931 trip to Mexico (24 Nov)
Academy Award-nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, Lithuanian film Summer of Sangaile by director Alanté Kavaïté is the coming-of-age story of two young girls (25 Nov);
Following activists, families and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Maryland, USA, Yoruba Richen’s award-winning documentary The New Black explores the issue of homophobia in Black communities and exposes the Christian right wing’s strategy of exploiting this phenomenon in order to pursue an anti-gay political ideology (27 Nov);
Depicting London’s drug-fuelled queer sex party sub-scene, Chemsex is a hard-hitting documentary by VICE on the ever-changing, fast-paced world of technology, drugs and our relationships with each other (28 Nov);
Berlin’s lesbian sex scene is the focus of back-to-back screenings (28 Nov) with Marit Östberg’s When We Are Together We Can Be Everywhere and Goodyn Green’s Shutter. With star actress Liz Rosenfeld, Östberg presents a loving, honest and personal porn film about making porn, while Green’s Shutter is a mosaic of short, highly charged episodes of queer sexualities which reflect the spirit and freedom of the Berlin scene;
Director Chris Belloni’s The Turkish Boat is a documentary on the first ever Turkish boat that took part in Amsterdam’s famous Gay Pride Canal Parade and follows Turkish-Dutch gay activists Döne and Serdar in their attempt to gain recognition and acceptance within the Turkish community (28 Nov);
Inspirational rugby documentary Scrum, directed by Poppy Stockell, follows the lives of three men as they compete for a position on the team for the Bingham Cup 2014 – an international gay rugby tournament named after athlete Mark Bingham who died on United flight 93, on 11 September 2001 (27 Nov);
Documentary Alex & Ali by Malachi Leopold tells a story of love and loss set against enormous political struggles, exploring themes of immigration, the right to love, cultural differences and competing ideologies. American Alex and Iranian Ali ended their secret relationship when Alex was forced to leave Iran ahead of the 1979 Revolution – Leopold’s heartbreaking documentary begins as his uncle Alex starts to plan a reunion with Ali on neutral ground, in Istanbul (28 Nov);
Director Liz Rosenfeld’s The Surface Tension Series is a trilogy that explores anachronistic strategies of storytelling, filtering history through the lens of queer experience and relationships in present-day Berlin. The work questions the reliability and usefulness of nostalgia and of re-enactment, as well as examining the means by which radical personal history is made (28 Nov);
Women and the Word: The Revival Movie directed by Sekiya Dorsett is a documentary charting the journey of seven Black women across America for The Revival – a slam poetry tour (29 Nov);
The closing film, Dyke Hard, is director Bitte Andersson’s debut feature about a lesbian rock group’s journey to Battle of the Bands – a John Waters-esque Swedish feminist DIY road-movie musical, complete with ninjas, cyborgs, dykes on bikes, roller derby and villains (29 Nov);
Brazil is a special focus at this year’s festival with documentary Favela Gay, directed by Rodrigo Felha, about queer life in Rio de Janeiro’s slums and Gustavo Vinagre’s hybrid documentary Nova Dubai exploring queer sex, urban spaces and gentrification
For the first time, this year Fringe! features full-length staged performance and a focus on technology, art and the body, including:
Mamoru Iriguchi’s 4D Cinema employs black and white classic film clips and newly filmed footage, exploring what is live and what is recorded and fixed eternally on film (25 Nov);
In The Lady’s Not For Walking Like An Egyptian, performance duo Mars.tarrab explode, expand and explore political texts and pop lyrics by 1980s female pop icons to ask questions about power and influence, the female voice, memory and seeing your Dad in tears on election night 1979 (26 Nov);
Playwright and novelist La JohnJoseph presents a brand-new, work-in-progress piece, The Last Night in the Night of Alexander Geist. This uncanny, cinematic two-act theatre piece, sees La JJ exploring new realms of persona, paranoia and persecution. Fringe! presents the first work-in-progress performance (26 Nov);
Baby Lame’s show Video Nasties is an interactive celebration of the bizarre and the grotesque featuring the capital’s most exciting cabaret performers in a programme of performance/lectures, happenings, films, games and late-night dancing (28 Nov);
Portuguese post-porn performance collective Quimera Rosa’s Sexus 3 aka The Violinist questions socially constructed binaries, mixing scenes of cyberpunk surrealism with non-conventional sexual practices in which the performers transform their bodies into instruments through electronic prosthetics. The piece references both Elfriede Jelinek’s The Piano Teacher and Donna Haraway’s concept of the cyborg. Additionally to the performance, Quimera Rosa will also run two workshops prior to the show (29 Nov).
Talks and events:
In addition to post-screening conversations and Q&As, Fringe! is hosting topical panels on ongoing debates on the disappearance of queer spaces and gentrification (28 Nov), LGBT immigration (29 Nov) and the provision of PrEP (HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis) through the NHS (29 Nov).
Full listings HERE