Trans* Stories at Fringe!

Posted on Mon 07 Nov by AlexK / Documentary, Film, Family, Trans, transgender, QTIPOC, gender

by Anna Wates

The representation of trans people on the big screen has changed markedly in recent years, increasingly moving away from outdated, exploitative and negative portrayals towards more nuanced, more authentic stories about trans experience. Every year Fringe! brings films that reflect the growing diversity of trans experiences represented in film around the globe, and this year is no exception, with a stellar lineup of documentaries, features and shorts ranging from the inspiring to the thoughtful, and the hilarious! This year, our weekend screenings fall on TDoR (Transgender Day of Remembrance, 20th November), a day to honour and remember trans people who have lost their lives during the year.

Here are some highlights from the trans films screening at Fringe! next week

A Womb of Their Own
Saturday 19th November, Hackney Showroom

A group of queer transmasculine people speak openly about bodies, birth, hair and other things in this heartwarming documentary shedding light on their varied experiences of pregnancy.

Guru, a Hijra Family
Saturday 19th November, Hackney Showroom

The compelling Lakshmi Ma serves as guru and mother to her seven daughters, providing them with a strong moral compass and spiritual guidance to navigate a society that simultaneously venerates and renounces them. This beautiful and atmospheric documentary offers a unique glimpse into the everyday life of this family of hijras - or third gendered persons - in India. The film is a delicate exploration of the history, mythology, rituals and contemporary experience of the hijra community.

Self-Define Your Gender Paradigm
Sunday 20 November, 5.30pm, Hackney Showroom

Questioning and redefining expectations around gender and representation, this collection of short films bring together thoughts on the body as a landscape of imaginative expanse.

Her Story
Saturday 19th November, Hackney showroom

A web series with a difference, we'll be screening the 6-part first season as a one-hour session of funny, poignant, fresh and authentic revelation on the big screen. Addressing institutionalised transphobia (especially within the lesbian/queer community) through the hopeful first stirrings of love and new friendship, Her Story delivers an important message with a light-touch.

And finally, our closing night film: Suited
20th November 2016, 8.30pm, Genesis Cinema

This empowering documentary follows Brooklyn garment maker Bindle & Keep, who tailor suits are created for all kinds of bodies. The film ends with a heroic, celebratory fashion show, and we hope you’ll join Fringe! on our closing night kitted out in your most dapper attire. With an interpretive introduction by The Drakes, this is one not to miss!



We Are Family

Posted on Wed 02 Nov by AlexK / transgender, Brazil, QTIPOC, Trans, Film, Event, Gay, Lesbian, Family, Academy Awards, Documentary

Whether it is the struggles and triumphs with our biological families or those that we chose and make ourselves, the family has emerged as a dominant theme in this year’s programme. Opening film Viva - Ireland’s entry for the Foreign Language Oscar (in Spanish!) - brings us into the life of a young Cuban hairdresser, initiated into Havana’s drag scene while trying to reinvigorate a relationship with his estranged father. Chosen families also shine through in stories of a Hijra family in India, vogueing houses in the US, and an inseparable band of Brazilian misfit punk queers. We invite you to join us for a Queer Family Sunday Brunch and short film programme all about the ties that bind.

Opening Film: Viva - Tuesday 15 November, Rio Cinema
Dir Paddy Breathnach / Ireland 2015 / 100min

Jesus, a young hairdresser, works at a Havana drag cabaret club to make ends meet. He dreams of one day becoming a perfomer himself. Encouraged by his mentor, Mama, Jesus finally gets his chance to take the stage. But when his estranged father Angel abruptly reenters his life, his world is quickly turned upside down. As father and son clash over their opposing expectations of each other, VIVA develops into a love story as they struggle to understand one another and reconcile as a family. 

VIVA is a moving drama that packs an emotional punch with its portrayal of families, from those we adopt to those we are born into while illustrating the every day struggles of ordinary Cubans and the transformative power of drag.

Powered by SCRUFF 

A Little Lust - Wednesday 16 November - Genesis Cinema
Dir. Veronica Pivetti / Italy / 2015 / 104min 

16 year old Rocco's two aims in life are to get laid and to see his favourite pop star in concert with his best friends, sassy and tomboyish Maria and nerdy and quiet Mauri. When a  bullying incident at school forces Rocco to come out to his divorced middle-class parents their liberal leanings are severely tested. Luckily his two friends stand by him and join him in running away from home (in his parents stolen car) to see their favourite singer in concert, followed hot on their heels by his neurotic mother and eccentric gran to hilarious effect.

Presented in partnership with CinemaItaliaUK

Check It - Thursday 17 November - The Institute of Light
Dir-Prod Dana Flor & Toby Oppenheimer / USA 2016 / 91min

In this spirited and raw documentary, Washington D.C street gang Check It (claimed as the only documented queer gang in the world) are thrown onto the world stage as they struggle to survive and claw their way out of gang life through an unlikely avenue: fashion.

Powered by SCRUFF

The Nest - Friday 18 November - Hackney Showroom
Dir Filipe Matzembacher, Marcio Reolon / Brazil 2016 / 115min

Handsome young soldier Bruno deserts from the Brazilian army to go on a search for his long-lost brother in Porto Alegre. While his brother remains elusive Bruno quickly falls in with a gang of genderqueer bohemians and befriends Stella, one of his brother’s acquaintances. Through these unconventional new friendships Bruno begins to discover himself and explore his sexuality.

Guru: A Hijra Story - Saturday 19 November - Hackney Showroom
Dir Laurie Colson & Axelle Le Dauphin / Belgium/India 2016 / 75min

This moving portrait gives an insightful glance into the daily life of a family of transgender women in India - the hijras, more commonly referred to as ‘the third gender’. The film paints a fascinating portrait of their history, mythology, rituals and place in contemporary indian society, where they are revered in the country’s religious history yet ostracised by society and commonly rejected by their families.

Presented in partnership with Open City Documentary Festival

A Womb of their Own - Saturday 19 November - Hackney Showroom
Dir Cyn Lubow / USA 2016 / 85min

What can a diverse group of masculine-identified, pregnant people teach the world about gender? This touching and optimistic documentary follows queer transmasculine people experiencing pregnancy in the space between gender binaries, with identities in flux. This speaks to the experience of many genderqueer and trans people whose lives are omitted from the societally proposed binary. Fundamental, resistant and evocative, A Womb of Their Own explores the obstacles to self definition that are transcribed both within the body and onto the family by the state.

You’ll Never Be Alone - Sunday 20 November - Rio Cinema
Dir Alex Anwandter / Chile 2016 / 82min

Dance student Pablo lives with his father Juan, a manager at a mannequin factory, in their drab, homophobic suburb of Santiago. He has a secret affair with a member of the neighbourhood's street gang and dreams of starring in his favourite reality TV show with his best friend Mari, while his father struggles to become partner in the company he worked at for the last 25 years. One night, Juan and Pablo's lives change forever, and for the first time, Juan faces the harsh reality his son experiences on a daily basis.

Powered by SCRUFF

Shorts: A Queer Family Portrait + Family Brunch - Sunday 20 November - The Institute of Light

Joyful, emotional, hilarious and provocative, these films explore the bonds we share with the ones we love. Come join Fringe! for a big queer family brunch from 13:00 at Helio’s Cantina at The Institute of Light (a la carte), have your own queer family portrait taken, and stay for a cracking programme of short films redefining ways of thinking about family.

Brunch reservations recommended, screening tickets free but separate.

Documentaries at Fringe!

Posted on Fri 28 Oct by AlexK / Documentary, QTIPOC, gender

As in previous years documentaries are a big part of the Fringe! Programme and following on from that tradition this year’s programme features a varied selection of non-fiction films exploring the lives of queer people. This year’s documentary films particularly focus on two main themes - the exploration of gender expressions around the globe, while a significant portion reveal a rich tapestry of stories by and about queer and trans people of colour. 

Check It - Thursday 17 November - The Institute of Light
Dir-Prod Dana Flor & Toby Oppenheimer / USA 2016 / 91min

In this spirited and raw documentary, Washington D.C street gang Check It (claimed as the only documented queer gang in the world) are thrown onto the world stage as they struggle to survive and claw their way out of gang life through an unlikely avenue: fashion.

Powered by SCRUFF

The Same Difference - Friday 18 November - Hackney Showroom
Dir Nneka Onuorah / United States 2015 / 78 min
Confronting expectations of oppressive gender performance and lesbian-on-lesbian discrimination, this compelling documentary becomes a platform for queer women of colour to discuss hypocrisy intersecting race, gender and sexuality.
A Womb of Their Own - Saturday 19 November - Hackney Showroom
Dir Cyn Lubow / USA 2016 / 85min

What can a diverse group of masculine-identified, pregnant people teach the world about gender? This touching and optimistic documentary follows queer transmasculine people experiencing pregnancy in the space between gender binaries, with identities in flux. 

Guru: A Hijra Story - Saturday 19 November - Hackney Showroom
Dir Laurie Colson & Axelle Le Dauphin / Belgium/India 2016 / 75min

This moving portrait gives an insightful glance into the daily life of a family of transgender women in India - the hijras, more commonly referred to as ‘the third gender’. The film paints a fascinating portrait of their history, mythology, rituals and place in contemporary indian society, where they are revered in the country’s religious history yet ostracised by society and commonly rejected by their families.

The Peculiar Kind
- Saturday 19 November - Hackney Showroom
Dir Alexis Casson / USA 2016

Based on the web series of the same name this illuminating documentary candidly explores the lives and experiences of queer women of color with eye-opening and unscripted conversations.

Kiki - Saturday 19 November - Barbican
Dir Sara Jordenö / Sweden/US / 2016 / 95min

In New York City, LGBTQ youth-of-colour gather out on the Christopher Street Pier, practicing a performance-based artform, Ballroom, which was made famous in the early 1990s by Madonna’s music video VOGUE and the documentary PARIS IS BURNING. Twenty-five years after these cultural touchstones, a new and very different generation of LGBTQ youth has formed an artistic activist subculture. Through a strikingly intimate and visually daring lens, Kiki offers a riveting and complex insight into a safe space created and governed by queer youth of color, who are demanding happiness and political power. 

Strike a Pose - Sunday 20 November - Rio Cinema
Dir Ester Gould & Reijer Zwaan / Netherlands/Belgium 2016 / 83min

It's called a dance floor, and here's what it's for. Strike A Pose is a moving documentary catching up with the dancers of Madonna's Blond Ambition tour and stars of In Bed With Madonna aka Truth or Dare. While the tour came to epitomise Madonna’s commitment to gay liberation and the acknowledgement of AIDS, the gay dancers Salim, Kevin, Carlton, José, Luis and Gabriel soon found themselves to be role models in the gay community.

Suited - Sunday 20 November - Genesis Cinema
Dir Jason Benjamin / USA 2016 / 77min 

Going deeper than fine fabrics and silk linings, Suited takes a modern, evolved look at gender through the conduit of clothing and elucidates the private and emotional experience surrounding it. With heart and optimism, the film documents a cultural shift that is creating a new demand—and response—for each person’s right to go out into the world with confidence.


Looking back and looking forward

Posted on Fri 27 Nov by AlexK / Sexual Health, Documentary, Film, porn, Open Discussion

by guest blogger MK Margetson

London, as a queer city, experienced various changes in identity throughout the last century. In the 1980s during and following the AIDS crisis the queer counter culture mecca of Soho gave itself a makeover in response to the way the health crisis affected the image of gay people worldwide. The following sanitisation of Soho is visible in the constructed image of many of the area’s existing establishments, as well as in the political conviction (or lack thereof) of its current scene which, even if queer, primarily has assimilated into the mainstream. A mainstream gay identity can be identified all around us: on London buses, and corporate-sponsored Pride parades. The BFI Flare festival, whilst consistently reaching the highest standards of critical acclaim in its programme and outreach is also able to be considered a commercial success, rather than a niche endeavour.

In 2011 when its funding was cut, and its length and programme reduced to only a week, a small group of East London queers began commenting on Facebook that another festival could be set up on this side of the city in response. They began Fringe! to meet the gap left by funding cuts, and from then the festival, and the team behind it, has morphed and grown and changed.

In the twentieth century (the century of establishing ourselves as gay people) the Pride movement has been a glorious success: a widespread commercial and consumerist event for Western cities. Gay and some queer people are accepted within the mainstream as “just like everybody else” in 2015. The Gay Shame Movement has been catalysed into responding to the essentialist, apolitical, gay identity they see in the Pride movement. 

Beginning in Brooklyn in the nineties, heralded by speakers like Kiki and Herb, Eileen Myles and Penny Arcade, and developing into a direct action collective and loosely connected party group, Gay Shame became a label under which to deride the corporate presence in queer society. Embracing of counter-culture ideology and avant-guardism, Gay Shame identifies queer people as different to straight people. In particular our experiences and politics cannot be the same as that of straight people, and neither should our image in the world, nor our festivals.

Fringe! has managed to cultivate some impressive alternative credentials throughout its years: its DIY ethos, enacted throughout planning and production stages; its alternative representations of sexuality (from S&M workshops to Chemsex) rather than cultivating a pink washing of the queer image; its programme’s international and interracial focus, which includes works that are critical of their societies, as opposed to being pure prestige pictures; the fully intersectional political identity Fringe! has established: feminism, queer theory, trans* inclusivity, body positive, sex positive, anti-racist and anti-ableist.

The best 5 alternative events taking place in Fringe! this November, from feature films to panel discussions and performances:

  • Liz Rosenfeld presents her Surface Tension trilogy, which repositions famous and infamous women from history as queers in modern day Berlin and, in doing so, queers Berlin’s history. 
  • This year’s Fringe! also welcomes feminist erotica in titles, Shutter and When We are Together… which feature tantalising, original scenes of queer women and non-gender conforming people whose sexualities choose pleasure over convention. 
  • More anti-conventional erotica comes in the form of Fringe! favourite Antonio da Silva, who presents 3 new works dealing with the virtual nature of modern sex, combining pornography, art, and narrative film, as well as perhaps the most alternative erotic offering, documentarist Jan Soldat’s Prison System 4614. All this alongside a sexy programme of erotic shorts, and spanking and shibaru workshops on our Sexy Saturday. 
  • Pushing for PrEP (as well as the reflective documentary Chemsex), as well as other discussions Taking up Gay Spaces, and Sexile, wherein we address the varied material experiences of queer people, from our health, to our location and community, and address them as activists. 
  • Finally the documentary A Queer Aesthetic attempts to define those experiences that unite us, without creating an exclusive ‘unified gay identity’ or identifying a set of essential qualities; A Queer Aesthetic queers the idea of unity in its findings through filmed interviews and documentary footage of its varied subjects. It’s screening alongside An Afternoon with Mike Kuchar, which discussion the radical artist’s life. 

General Idea's Video Works: The potentiality of life unscribed by heteronormative conventions

Posted on Thu 26 Nov by AlexK / Artists Moving Image, General Idea, AA Bronson, Video art, Documentary

Fringe! guest curator Panos Fourtoulakis writes about General Idea and the collective's impact on his work as a curator.

The work of General Idea has had a profound influence on my understanding and interest on what constitutes queer identity and culture. If we define queer as an opportunity to question structures, then General Idea’s practice defines the term. Both through living and working together as a throuple as well as through their large and complex body of work. The group always aided for and became living examples of the idea of "potentiality of life unscribed by heteronormative conventions".

In a collaboration that spanned 25 years, General Idea created a self contained mythological world that fundamentally challenged power structures and aimed at reconfiguring what art is and how it could be delivered. Creating their own universe where culture became the backdrop through which to explore their artistic concerns. The collective played with the ideas of fame and glamour and employed them in order to examine the relationship between culture and nature. While at the same time questioning set ideas of value and morality in general- using whatever media necessary in order to make their message as visible and accessible as possible. Disillusioned of the idealistic promises of the 60s, General Idea replaced cultural terrorism with viral methods. As AA Bronson recalls 
“Utilizing the distribution and communication forms of mass media and specifically the cultural world, we could infect the mainstream with our mutations, and stretch the social fabric”.

The videos on show- selected by AA Bronson, were modelled on prime-time television shows and documentary formats of the time. While watching them, one gets introduced to the main aspects of their practice which was in many ways unconventional in relation to their contemporaries. From Pilot, produced in 1977, where we get introduced to their conceptual body of work up until that point. Such as the Miss General Idea Pageants, FILE magazine as well as their plans for the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavilion. To Test Tube (1979) and the development of their mass media and consumerism oriented thematics. Followed by Cornucopia (1982) a pseudo- historical documentary examining the ruins of the 1984 Miss General Idea Pavilion. And finally to Shut The Fuck Up (1984) in which they intertwine clips from Joker in the Batman series winning a painting contest with Yves Klein’s Anthropometries archival video and their own performances. STFU explores the ambivalent relationship between the artist and the media. All films are defined by a tongue in cheek, ironic camp sensibility.

What I think is very interesting about the works of General Idea and particularly about these four videos is that as time goes by more layers of interpretation are added to them. To be more specific they give us as much information about the time that they were produced as much about the time in which they are being interpreted.  Both thematically as well as in relation to the medium of video, the formats used, and the ways in which these have been developed since then. Furthermore, these archives should not only viewed as sources of information- but also and most importantly sources to theorize about queer experience and possibility.

For all these reasons, I feel very excited that AA Bronson- the last surviving member of the group, will join us for a Q&A after the screening.

General Idea: Video Works, 1977-1984 screens at Barbican Centre on Sunday 29 November at 2pm.

Festival Team Top Fives - Round Four

Posted on Sun 22 Nov by AlexK / Documentary, Film, Trans, Performance, QTIPOC, transgender, sport, gender, queer muslims, workshop

It's only two days until this year's fest kicks off, so here's another edition of top fives. These ones are from Hakeem, Vanessa and Daniele.

Hakeem - Programming Assistant

Naz & Maalik
It’s just so authentic and casual. A charming day in the life of two maybe-almost-boyfriends. The awkward frustration of being young and in love. It's just so great to see the intersection of what it is to be Young, Black, Gay, Muslim men in the United States, so casually, and effortlessly.

Kumu Hina
I love seeing stories about Queer Women of colour in cultures and communities I know nothing about. It’s fascinating to learn about the history of trans people in Hawaii, it’s also fascinating to see the universalities and differences of the queer experience. Kumu Hina is a testament to what is achievable when you are empowered to achieve it.

Game Face
Easily the most nail-biting, compelling and tense doc I’ve ever seen. I was at the edge of my seat all the way through, and genuinely forgot to breathe at least twice. It’s too necessary to see Trans and Queer athletes, as complex and complicated people with lives, loves and families.

The Turkish Boat
It’s affirming and encouraging seeing queer people organise and mobilise. Unlike The New Black, which puts a face and voices to the fight for marriage equality within the African American community, I knew nothing about the Turkish Boat, let alone the Turkish immigrant community in The Netherlands. The film makes such a strong statement about claiming multiple identities; second generation, gay, muslim and proud, it just left me so inspired and excited at all their promise and passion.

Shorts: Flesh + Bone (Free)
Amongst an excellent selection of shorts, Bedding Andrew was just so honest and humble. I dare anyone not to empathise…

Vanessa - arts programmer, performance

Mamoru Iriguchi: 4D Cinema
A creative, beautiful performance that fuses the aesthetics of cinema with delicate commentary on gender, all with a dash of DIY tech.

Closing Party with Fancy Chance & Friends
Fancy Chance is an amazing performer (and winner of Alternative Miss World) and the line-up of female cabaret powerhouses is to die for. This is going to be crazy fun.

The Lady's Not For Walking Like An Egyptian
A high-energy performance, combining 80s pop songs and Thatcher, from two extremely funny ladies. What's not to love?

Making Up Drag Workshop
Explore your drag alter-ego with Vic Sin, who offers a free make-over with a side-order of gender politics.

Women and the Word 
Not only is the film an inspiring take on queer feminist activism, but we've also got a Q&A with the producer, who's coming all the way from the US.

Daniele - Fundraising manager

As fundraising manager, I am delighted that SCRUFF have teamed up with us and are sponsoring this great documentary (which incidentally has several hot rugby players in it!).

Mamoru Iriguchi: 4D Cinema
Beautiful, deeply poetic performance with a quirky, humorous use of DIY technology

Meanwhile in Beirut
Fascinating documentary about being a trans in Beirut

Shorts: Hands in the Dark
Tantalising sexy shorts!

Alex & Ali
The extraordinary, moving story of a forbidden, secret love between an Iranian and an American man, spanning 35 years.  




Documentaries at Fringe!

Posted on Sat 21 Nov by AlexK / Brazil, Documentary, Film, JT Leroy, literature, gender, Trans, QTIPOC, sport, transgender

by MK Margetson

Over the past 4 years Fringe! has consistently brought us outstanding stories of queer life. These stories can inspire us, educate us, remind us of our history and our future, and bring the queer community together through the joys and obstacles familiar to those whose gender or sexuality dares to divert from convention. This year’s festival is no different. Here are some highlights from the documentaries that will screen next week: 

Favela Gay — 26 Nov — Genesis Cinema
Dir Rodrigo Felha / Brazil / 2014

These LGBT people at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder reinvent their lives through music, dance, politics and study. Then, gloriously, Rio’s famous Carnival bring them together.

Kumu Hina — 27 Nov — Bernie Grant Arts Centre / 29 Nov — Rose Lipman Building
Dir. Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson / USA / 2014

Refreshing and irresistible documentary about being true to yourself, fighting for love and through heartbreak, and the struggle to maintain Pacific Islander culture in modern day Hawai’i. Screening with LITTLE ELEPHANT Dir. Kate Jessop / Prod. Bobby Tiwana / UK / 2015.

The New Black + panel — 27 Nov — Hackney Attic
Dir. Prod. Yoruba Richen / USA / 2013

This compelling award- winning documentary accompanies a collective of passionate civil rights activists dedicated to empowering Black LGBT people and a host of other characters in their resolute fight for victory in the Marriage Equality Referendum in Maryland, USA. The New Black screening will be followed by a panel discussion. Confirmed speakers include: Jay Bernard, Dr. Edson Burton, and Jide Macauley.

The Turkish Boat — 28 Nov — Rio Cinema
Dir. Chris Belloni / The Netherlands / 2013

Featuring Amsterdam's famous Gay Pride Canal Parade and the first ever Turkish Boat that partook in the parade; we join the Turkish-Dutch gay activists Döne and Serdar in their attempt to gain recognition and acceptance within the Turkish community. 

The Cult of JT Leroy — 28 Nov — Rose Lipman Building
Dir. Marjorie Sturm / USA / 2014

The truth behind underground literary sensation JT Leroy is gradually exposed in this mind-boggling documentary. Ethically charged, controversial, and confusing, JT's life and death springs open a Pandora's box of powerful questions about literature and culture, identity and celebrity, and the reality of the society we live in.

DOUBLE BILL: A Queer Aesthetic + An Afternoon with Mike Kuchar — 28 Nov — Rose Lipman
Dir Luke Cornish / Australia / 2015 // Dir Oscar Oldershaw / UK/USA / 2015

—Sydney based portrait artist Guy James Whitworth considers the concept of a ‘queer aesthetic’ as he prepares for his 2014 exhibition 'A Queer Aesthetic" and the contributions from other artists provides an insight into the hearts, minds and creative processes of a selection of queer artists practising in Australia today.

—"Movies should have sex appeal," says Mike Kuchar. "It's a basic fundamental quality and helps in making it bearable to watch."

The twin brother of the late George Kuchar (his collaborator the New York underground film scene of the 60's and 70's) welcomes us to his home- a folly of kitschy religious iconography and lurid B-grade movie paraphernalia- to delve into his life and his work, embodying this philosophy of a palpably sexual undercurrents and a lushly lurid aesthetic.

ChemSex + Q&A — 29 Nov — Rio Cinema
Dir. Will Fairman & Max Gogarty / UK / 2015

Sex, drugs and… well more sex and drugs. CHEMSEX is a gritty, raw and unflinching VICE documentary feature about the chemsex sub-scene of London’s queer community. Actual sex scenes and self-confessed ‘slammers’ feature along side medical health professionals and past users to bring together a hard-hitting and timely film in the face of the ever-changing fast-paced world of technology, drugs and our relationships with each other. Followed by Q&A.

Women and the Word + Q&A — 28 Nov — Bernie Grant Arts Centre / 29 Nov — Rose Lipman Building
Dir. Sekiya Dorsett / Prod. Andrea Boston / USA / 2015

A joyous, empowering documentary charting the course of seven black women in a minivan on the road across America with THE REVIVAL, a slam style poetry tour. Absolutely eloquent, insightful and refreshing, we dare you not to want to hang off every word that they speak and drop everything to join the movement. Saturday’s screening is followed by a Q&A.

Paint it Pink + Q&A (free screening) — 28 Nov — Hackney Attic
Dir. Sophie MacCorquodale / UK / 2014

This is the all-singing, all-dancing, no-holds-barred glitterly love-in tribute to the radically inclusive East London club night genderfuck happening. Taking on everything from childhood struggles to redefining drag for ones-self, the result is a kinetic lansdlide of positivity, culminating in Sink The Pink's Summer Ball. Screening with: SERIOUS FUN TRANSMISSION Dir. Angel Rose / UK / 2014 / 2min45 and SINK THE PINK: TRANNYSFORMATION - Ted Dir. Craig Heathcote / UK / 2015 / 2min30

Alex & Ali  28 Nov — Genesis Cinema
Dir. Malachi Leopold / USA / 2014

Director Malachi Leopold's heartbreaking documentary begins as his uncle Alex starts planning a reunion with his long lost lover on neutral ground in Istanbul. This epic romance is set against enormous political struggles, touching on themes as varied as immigration, the right to love, cultural differences and competing ideologies. Screening with: MILKSHAKES & MEMORIES Dir. David Cave / Prod. John McMahon / UK / 2014 / 7min

Game Face — 28 Nov — Bernie Grant Arts Centre
Dir. Michiel Thomas / USA & Belgium / 2015 

Fringe! is proud to present the sports feature documentary GAME FACE. This film tells the parallel story of Fallon Fox, MMA's first transgender pro fighter, and Terrence Clemens, a college basketball player in Oklahoma who happens to be gay. 

Meanwhile in Beirut — 29 Nov — Rose Lipman Building
Dir. Felipe Monroy / Switzerland / 2015

Lea is a 30 year old, trans and lives in the Hamra district of Beirut. In Lebanon, transsexuality is prohibited by law. Working as an escort girl and locked in her apartment at the Hotel Stars, she refuses to be a victim and finds a way to an existence that resembles a 'normal' life as much as possible.

For full programme info:

Festival Team Top Fives - Round Three

Posted on Sat 21 Nov by AlexK / Documentary, Film, Trans, Performance, QTIPOC, Brazil, JT Leroy, transgender, sport, Peter Greenaway, Sergei Eisenstein

In Round number three our audience development team give you their fringey highlights. martha, harry and anna tell you about their picks for the fest.

Martha - Audience development assistant

The Cult of JT Leroy
Just one of the most fascinating and fantastical stories ever told. And it’s recent history. 

Kumu Hina
Incredibly uplifting and brave documentary about a Hawaiian ‘mahu’, or third gender person, inspiring children to be good citizens. Lovely and sweet.

Naz & Maalik
Tender and agreeable coming-of-age story about two young Muslims in post 9/11 New York City, experiencing the first flushes of love.

Shorts: Brazil
All of the short film programmes are pretty enticing, but this one especially promises a lot of diversity, strong voices, colour and life.

Eisenstein in Guanajuato
Peter Greenaway’s newest masterpiece imagines the father of montage editing, Sergei Eisenstein on a queer jaunt to Mexico. Catch it at Fringe! first!


Mamoru Iriguchi: 4D Cinema
This brings to life so much of what excites me about film! Personality and performance and that blurred line between cold tech and warm feeling.

Game Face
Fallon Fox rocks my world.

Shorts: Seven Wonders
Exploring, performing, finding and reclaiming that queer space. 

The Turkish Boat
I remember following this happy story back when it first happened in 2012!

There is something so compelling about seeing these huge, physical guys having soft, intimate moments.

Anna - Audience Development Assistant

Kumu Hina
Hawai'i's powerful and outspoken cultural icon Hina shares her story.  

Women and the Word: The Revival Movie
Fearless and revolutionary, with a rallying cry that reverberates across the Atlantic. A film to celebrate.

Naz & Maalik
Reminiscent of those youthful afternoons which contain a lifetime, this rhapsody for Bed-Stuy captures the many pleasures and pains of growing up. 

Shinjuku Boys
A classic from the feminist archive, the 80s synth and dapper looks do it for me.

Lasana Shabazz presents Fierce!
Enter-taint-ment of the highest (dis)order: performance art, drag and dancing bliss. 

Festival Team Top Fives - Round Two

Posted on Wed 18 Nov by AlexK / Documentary, Film, Trans, Performance, literature, QTIPOC, BDSM, Brazil, porn, Sister Act

Here's the second round of top fives with faves from Muffin, Pierre and Charlie.

Muffin - Head Programmer

When We Are Together We Can Be Everywhere
Everything DIY and dirty combines with all that shimmers to make our lusty hearts sing in this behind-the-scenes of a queer feminist porn in Berlin.

Women and the Word
As inspiring and engaging a road movie as ever was made - touching on every queer feminist topic that needs our attention.

Prison System 4614
Who doesn't go to a holiday camp to be bound, flogged, humiliated and incarcerated. Brutal, tender, and best served up with a nice cup of tea.

Shorts: Flesh + Bone (Free)
A smashing programme of shorts of genderfuckery and embodiedness approached with riotous humour and touching frankness.

Spanking Workshop (Free)
The masterful Alison England joins us for a third year for this intimate intro to sensual spanking. Bring a friend or find one there (I'll be there looking for a partner!) - for an absolutely cracking time.

Pierre - Production Manager

Lasana Shabazz presents Fierce
One night of crazy performance art and drag. Don't miss!

Prison System 4614
Jan Soldat is a rarity showing the vices of our kind like no-one else.

Meanwhile in Beirut
How trans* people live and thrive in Lebanon.

Pushing for PrEP
A film and event every modern queer should attend and discuss.

Nova Dubai
Experimental porn and reflections on gentrification in one unmissable film.

Charlie - Programmer

Reigning from my homeland this Aussie rugby film of (hot) gays playing ball really tugs at the heartstrings.

The Turkish Boat
Set in and on the canals of Amsterdam Pride, Turkish Boat truly puts the spotlight on the rising migrant communities and the realities of sexuality within those communities. Smart, intriguing and inspiring.

Sister Act
I CANNOT WAIT for this. Growing up watching this as a kid was so much camp fun!! Doing it wth friends at 11:30pm on a Friday is going to make it even better.

Shorts: Brazil
Anyone who knows me knows I love a good Brazilian.... erm... film. And this shorts programme is full of them.

Shorts: Sublime InQUEERy
I had such fun with these shorts! The collection ranges from thought-provoking to down right hilarious! Who wouldn't want to see an Italian rock music nun scrubbing floors while the lead singer showers in the confessional booth?

Literary ladies (and gentlemen)

Posted on Fri 20 Nov by AlexK / Performance, Documentary, Event, Film, gender, literature, JT Leroy

by MK Margetson

Sekiya Dorsett’s Women and the Word: The Revival (2015) has its European premiere alongside a second screening over the weekend of Fringe! 15. This documentary captures a resurgence in the visibility of the black feminist voice on the spoken word scene in the United States, by following the community making an effort to produce the events, which prove to be an invaluable platform for both art and community. Spoken word fans will be overjoyed to see the US scene blooming alongside our concurrent scene in London’s spoken word nights: Jawdance and Queer’say by Apples and Snakes, and Lyrically Challenged at Passing Clouds, amongst many others.

The American writers and artists that feature, however, seem to experience a more difficult climate, both financially and societally, than their Brit counterparts. The women are shown to overcome overt homophobia and racism with more regularity than black women in London’s (DIY) poetry scene, and their experience of this is shown powerfully in Women and the Word. In keeping this light-hearted road-movie style documentary light, director Dorsett lets us journey with them as they craft their personal experiences into the written, and then spoken, word, whilst their friendships become evident. The director and many stars of this dynamic document will be present for a Q&A session on Sunday’s screening at the Rose Lipman building. Featuring some of the United States’ rawest poets, this is a show that’s not to be missed!

Marjorie Sturm’s The Cult of JT Leroy (2014) is sure to captivate Fringe! attendees on our busy Saturday in the Fringe! HQ. It explores the curious case of the most popular writer that never really was, and the biggest, most intriguing hoax in literary history. The story of JT/Laura Albert/Savanna Knoop, and the decade-long evasion of their reality from public knowledge is a curiosity impossible by today’s demands, and allows us to view the height of the craze of celebrity during the 1990s. The film simultaneously provokes questions of narrative honesty, deceit, and what it is that an artist really owes to society. With this story one can’t help but consider the different ways in which art is received from different authors, and the ad hominem judgement different authors can receive, which inform criticism of their work.

Situated within the literary pop intelligensia of 1990s USA into 2005/6 when JT’s ‘reality’ was discovered, this fascinating story illuminates the conditions of the era of celebrity at the brink of the age of information. Respected notables such as Joel Rose and Dennis Cooper feature prominently, demonstrating the scale of the intricate reality and character created by Laura Albert, in this almost mystical tale of identity and reality.

Dr Sharon Husband and The Duchess of Pork’s Naked Boys Reading combines two favoured queer themes: literature and the nude form, in a regular night that offers a unique activity in the queer scene. Describing themselves as, ‘Live, nude, and personable’, Naked Boys Reading is a high and low culture mash up. Before the weekend is even underway, Ace Hotel sees a special NBR from the boys curated by performer La JohnJoseph (who also brings his new work-in-progress The Last Night in the Life of Alexander Geist to this year’s Fringe!) on the theme of ‘personality’. Deconstructing the notion, to be precise, as they ask, ‘Who would Norma Jean be without Marilyn?’ Attend and see these boys, and their bodies, reveal the answer.

Women and the Word: The Revival screen on Sat 28th November at the Bernie Grants Arts Centre and on Sun 29th November at the Rose Lipman Building. 
The Cult of JT Leroy screens on Sat 28th November at the Rose Lipman Building. 
Naked Boys Reading: Character Studies takes place on the 26th November at the ACE Hotel.