The GAZE International LGBTQ+ Film Festival returns once again in 2022 for a very special 30th anniversary celebration. Not only is it a landmark year, but it is also the first time since 2019 that the festival will be able to operate in-person to full capacity, as Covid-19 restrictions are no longer in place.
GAZE began life as the Dublin Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and presented its first programme in the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in the ‘90s. It is in this venue, as well as in the Light House Cinema, that the majority of the 2022 programme will be screened. However, there will also be a selection of films made available online, in galleries, and at selected special events.
The festival opens on the eve of Wednesday, September 28, with the breathtaking Wildhood, a Canadian coming-of-age tale like no other that follows two young First Nations characters on an emotional journey of self-discovery.
One film sure to catch the eyes of cinephiles is The People’s Joker, the most hyper-modern queer film to ever screen at GAZE. However, for those who prefer to rewind the time and settle down with an old reliable, GAZE has also invited guest curators to select classics for the big screen. DJ, activist and Irish LGBTQ+ legend Tonie Walsh will present Gregg Araki’s The Living End from 1992, while Director of Outburst Queer Arts Festival Ruth McCarthy favoured Cheryl Dunye’s Mommy Is Coming from 2012.
As usual, there are also a fantastic array of documentaries to catch during the 30th anniversary of GAZE, with the likes of Nelly & Nadine, In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction and Make Me Famous all set to screen.
The hugely popular short film programmes must also be mentioned, with the Irish submissions being of a particularly high standard in 2022. Blocks have been curated around the themes of cruising, clothing, imagination and expression, while aemi has selected a number of experimental films to grace the big screen.
Girl Picture by Alli Haapasalo will close the festival on September 2, offering a joyous glimpse of young queer Finnish friends growing up among their straight counterparts. It’s raucous and emotional, and a perfect way to conclude the occasion.
If all of that (and more) isn’t enough, GAZE is also allowing its audience members to vote for the film they would like to see as a part of this year’s offering. The Irish queer community has been invited to submit nominations on social media, and voting will take place over the coming weeks to determine the fate of the Audience Choice feature.
Beyond the cinema programme, GAZE will also host an event as part of Culture Night Dublin on September 23, partnered with The Complex to bring 10 days of free gallery films from October 4 – 15, and launch a digital offering through GAZE Online.
Speaking on the jam-packed programme, new Festival Director Greg Thorpe explained he wanted it “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,” he continued.
Brendan Byrne, the Pride Network Lead at Accenture Ireland, added to this statement, saying: “We’re very proud to once again be lead sponsor of the GAZE International Film Festival… At Accenture, we support our people to be their authentic selves at work every day and we know the vital role that the arts play in fostering an inclusive and innovative environment.”
GAZE International LGBTQ+ Film Festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary in cinemas from September 28 to October 2, and in other capacities until October 15. For more information and to peruse the full programme, visit gaze.ie.
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