Queer City Cinema presents Qaleidoscope: Queer Film and Performance on tour

Executive and Artistic Director of Queer City Cinema and Performatorium Gary Varro tells GCN all about the upcoming tour which arrives in Dublin tomorrow.

an image of a person with pink smoke in front of them. The smoke could possible be paint.
Image: via Queer City Cinema

The Queer City Cinema tour “will feature film and performance art by Queer and QTIBPOC artists that explore, question and play with notions of identity and utilize queer artistic expression to propose and investigate diverse ways of looking at sexuality, gender, race and film.”

The Qaleidoscope tour has been described by its creators as “a well-textured assemblage of images, characters, ideas, and realities that collide in fantastical, personal, and playful ways to produce an ever changing, multi-faceted film and performance art viewing experience. Some films will focus on image, sound and abstract narratives; others present information, facts, and queer-forward realities; while others share the pleasure and pain of individual and collective identities.”

We spoke with Gary Varro, Executive and Artistic Director of Q City Cinema about the upcoming tour which is scheduled to arrive in Dublin tomorrow;

How did the idea for this tour come about? 

We have been doing Canadian tours of our main festival programming since 2001, and with a recent revamp at the Canada Council for the Arts (our main funder) we now have access to funds for international touring, so it seemed like a great opportunity to expand our touring scope to places like Scotland, Ireland and England. 

Next year we are going to tour the Balkans (Slovena; Croatia; Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro), funded once more by the CCA. We will be applying to the CCA to tour the Baltic region for 2024. The focus of the tour is centred around QTBIPOC representations and identities, which has always been a mandate of Queer City Cinema in all of its programming since it was established in 1996.

Organisations like Pallas Projects in Dublin, was one of five organisations that I approached as co-presenters/hosts for the tour back in 2020. The process of seeking out willing partners always takes a while, as well as the selection of films, and a long list of other necessary details for a seamless, smooth running undertaking like a tour. All in all, it took well over a year to make this happen. I am thrilled with the result, being able to take our programming on tour internationally for the first time!

Describe the tour, how brilliant is it?

The tour is made up of one 75 minute film program (11 short films in total) that will screen in Glasgow, Hawick, Galway and London and in Dublin, we will also be presenting our Featured Artist – Jessica Karuhanga – who will do a performance art piece as well as an artist talk and Q&A. 

The film program is a collection of documentaries, personal narratives, music videos, and experimental explorations of queer identity and expression. 

In terms of what makes it brilliant, I think that short films are often overlooked for their potential as wonderfully enjoyable and meaningful experiences. They provide the chance to see multiple and diverse representations and expressions in a focused and well textured way.

Performance art is also surprisingly curious and as a live event, is something that audiences can come to experience from different perspectives, literally and figuratively, and is a chance to build a vocabulary for something that they may not be that accustomed to seeing. Exploration and discovery are paramount to the tour.

an image of three people posing together.

What can people look forward to?

Experimentation, providing new ways of thinking about existing queerly and artistic investigations into QTBIPOC identity as well as visually arresting moments all add up to a multi-faceted viewing experience that is once surprising, stimulating, provocative, playful and personal.

In addition to presenting a film festival in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, Queer City Cinema also programs Performatorium – a festival of performance art and related activities such as artist talks and workshops. 

For this tour, we are presenting the work of performance and multi-media artist Jessica Karuhanga. This is an exciting new addition to our tours and Dublin will be the only location on the tour that you will be able to see her perform and give an artist talk. 

If you could pick two events in the lineup that compliment each other well, which two would you pick and why?

Well, I think you know I am going to say that this is a difficult question to answer, because it is! So, of course I’m going to say that the entire program works as a whole and that each film speaks to a cohesive whole. 

The 11 films have been curated in a way to create a well textured screening experience with more accessible insights through queer-forward documentaries, then introducing more visually and sensorial works, some dance and movement, diaristic and playful videos, strange and unusual worlds and tender and moving portraits. 

Definitely the performance by Jessica Karuhanga is a must see and will complement the work in the screening. Her talk is a way to bring further insights into her work and performance art in general. 

I feel that film and performance art are highly complementary – having the ability to transport and take audiences to realms and places imaginary, sometimes harshly serious and personally relevant, sensual and provocative and pleasurable and stimulating.

an image of a person holding their fingers in the shape of an L. Their hand is in focus but their face is blurred.

How would you like people to feel walking away from the tour? What message are you hoping to communicate?

I would hope that these films and Jessica’s performance and talk will give audiences new appreciation of artistically and conceptually focused queer film and performance art. This is work that often does not make it into mainstream LGBTQ+ film festivals, so it’s intention is to make audiences think about queer and QTBIPOC identity as constantly shifting, something that is not fixed, but fluid, contradictory, and always evolving and changing. 

The tour is meant to nudge minds to consider different forms and ways of expressing self, desire, disability, body and image, racism, parent-hood, sexuality, self esteem, kink and sex play. I believe that being queer and QTBiPOC has a welcome and unexplored multiplicity to it and that these artists in this tour are providing ways to help bring that about.

For more information about the Queer City Cinema and their tour, check out this link here.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

This post is sponsored by Queer City Cinema

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