GAZE International LGBTQ+ Film Festival returned to cinemas earlier this year in what was an incredible celebration of queer cinema. However, the festivities are not yet over, as organisers have introduced a new initiative, GAZE West, which brings five screenings to Galway’s Pálás Cinema.
Kicking off on Friday, November 5, this new addition to GAZE is funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Intergration and Youth, and will help to decentralise the festival and reach more rural audiences.
GAZE West launches with a Friday evening screening of cult-classic But I’m A Cheerleader, a 1999 high-camp comedy starring Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall and RuPaul. The film follows Megan, a 17-year-old cheerleader who gets sent to a conversion therapy camp by her concerned friends and family. However, despite her best attempts, one other patient makes it particularly difficult to pray away the gay.
Saturday’s proceedings kick off with a screening of Rūrangi – a fan favourite from GAZE 2021. The film brings a fresh perspective to the queer homecoming story, as the protagonist returns to his hometown, after finding a new life in Auckland surrounded by LGBTQ+ folk.
Following that is The Night Belongs to Lovers – an electric selection of seven short films containing all the thrills, delights and dangers that come once night falls. Within this block is Dustin, the must-see French film which was a joint winner of the Best Narrative Short award at GAZE 2021.
Queer Éire: New Irish Shorts screens on Sunday, November 7, showcasing the latest and greatest LGBTQ+ cinema that the country has to offer. Viewers can expect to see local heroes, irrational fears, complex family dynamics, the cure for a deadly illness, and more across these eight productions.
The closing film of GAZE West is No Hard Feelings – a unique story of 21st-century immigration while also being a tale of queer joy, friendship, community, love, and desire. This feature originally screened virtually during the pandemic as a part of GAZE 2020, but deserves to be revisited on the big screen.
GAZE West is not only about the films, as other events will be taking place across the weekend. On Saturday, a collective multimedia exhibition, SKIN, will take place in Pálás. The festival will also give interested parties the opportunity to virtually attend a documentary masterclass with IFTA award-winning filmmaker Anna Rodgers on November 7.
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