GAZE Film Festival awards ceremony closes a phenomenal five days of queer cinema

Celebrating their 30th anniversary, GAZE Film Festival closes off a phenomenal five days of queer cinema with the awards of the best films.

Gaze awards ceremony

The GAZE LGBT+ Film Festival has always brought outstanding movies and talks to the Light House Cinema. This year was no exception, with a range of events from the moving ‘Act Up Ireland: United & Angrier Than Ever’ to the stunning showing of ‘Knife + Heart’. During the closing night on Monday, August 5, the GAZE LGBT+ Film Festival honoured the best films over the five days with awards  in three categories: Best Irish Short, Best Feature Documentary, and Best International Short.

On Saturday, August 3, Ailbhe Smith, activist and feminist, was awarded the 2019 Vanguard Award. The award is given to a person or organisation who has greatly contributed to the LGBT+ community through their art or humanitarian actions. Broadcaster Ursula Halligan presented the award before the screening of ‘The Ground Beneath My Feet’.

During the closing night, Katie McNeice’s sci-fi short ‘In Orbit’ took home the award for Best Irish short film at the GAZE LGBT+ Film Festival, with Sarah-Jane Drummey’s 134 gaining honourable mention. Katie expressed her feelings over the award on Twitter: “Thank you @GAZEfilmfest for this award, for believing in my film In Orbit, and for what you do every year”.

Galway Film Fleadh described ‘In Orbit’ as “a bold sci-fi vision from debut director Katie McNeice, whose capable queering of genre with a flashback lesbian love story stands out”. This perfectly captures the amazing work of Katie McNeice. Her short film brought a bold splash of colour to the screen. 

Sarah-Jane Drummey’s beautiful short ‘134’ receiving honourable mention. Galway Film Fleadh highlighted this film as “much-needed case for self-identification support”. ‘134’ shines a light on the constrictions of the Irish family structure, probing into an area that often gets overlooked. 

Tomer Heymann’s ‘Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life’ received the award Best Feature Documentary. The documentary captures the world of Israeli gay porn star, Jonathan Agassi, as he comes to term with the extremities of his life, going from his time in Berlin to being at home with his mother in Israel. It is an unforgettable story told with such love and commitment to the subject.

‘Deep in Vogue’, made by Dennis Keighron-Foster and Amy Watson, earned honourable mentions for the Best Feature Documentary. This film was a visually stunning piece which brought the Northern Irish soul to the vogue scene as well as diving deep into the spectrum into the Manchester nightlife.  

Exploring the hidden history of the North West England’s LGBT+ past, Alice Smith’s ‘Invisible Women’ won the Best International Short Film. Spanning 50 years, the film explores this untold world through the lived experience of two women, one of whom was an Irish runaway. It’s daring and bold look tracks their journey of rebellion and activism.

Image result for alice smith invisible women

Coming in second, ‘Lasting Marks’, by Charlie Lyne, is a documentary about sixteen men who were put on trial for sadomasochism during the final years of Thatcher’s Britain. It is a fascinating look into the politics and mindset of the era. 

ACT UP Dublin, in conjunction with GCN, hosted a talk as part of GAZE Film Festival called ‘ACT UP Ireland: United and Even Angrier Than Ever’. The panel examined the history and progression of HIV/AIDS activism. GAZE Film Festival continues to provide a vital platform for important discussions and representations of the LGBT+ community.

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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