GAZE International LGBTQ+ Film Festival: a triumph for queer Irish voices

An Irish film festival makes its mark, highlighting the abundance of filmmaking talent in the LGBTQ+ community.

GAZE International LGBTQ+ Film Festival Dublin took place from the 29th of September to the 3rd of October, showcasing feature films and short films at IFI Dublin and Light House Cinema. 

The festival is now entering its 29th year running, and showed 11 Irish feature films and 35 short film premieres, with Q&A’s with filmmakers. 

The festival gave a platform to queer Irish voices, with something for everyone. 

There was great buzz surrounding three films in particular, the acclaimed genre-bending thriller ‘The Novice’ opened the festival, with ‘No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics’ (an inspiring documentary about the LGBTQ+ comic scene of the 1980s), closing. 

There was also a screening of the highly-anticipated punk celebration of the London lesbian scene, ‘Rebel Dykes.’ 

The festival also screened a couple of cult classics this weekend- ‘Beautiful Thing’ was shown, which celebrates its 25th anniversary, along with the new Director’s Cut of the 1999 cult classic ‘But I’m a Cheerleader’. 

The festival held a free storytelling session over Zoom on Saturday afternoon, with Avoca Reaction and Ben Panthera hosting. 

Though GAZE’s Dublin festival has ended, there is still hope for fans who may have missed it. This year sees the launch of ‘GAZE West’, which will take place in November 2021. 

A still from the film SHAME // LESS, by Stephen Quinn, Noel Donnellon and Luke Faulkner, which premiered during the festival. 

The festival will take place at the Pálás cinema in Galway and will feature films from the 2020 and 2021 festivals. 

“We are delighted to be returning to cinemas this year with the same high quality, engaging, and entertaining programme that our audience has come to expect from GAZE,” said GAZE Chairperson Eimhin Walsh. 

“GAZE is all about coming together to celebrate the power of LGBTQ+ stories, and we are looking forward to welcoming our community back for this year’s festival.

“GAZE is all about coming together to celebrate the power of LGBTQ+ stories, and we are looking forward to welcoming our community back for this year’s festival”

GAZE Chairperson, Eimhin Walsh

“The last 18 months have been particularly challenging for the arts sector in Ireland and I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our staff, our voluntary board, our funders and supporters, who have kept the wheels turning to make the 29th GAZE happen”, Walsh added.

 “To be programmed at GAZE is foremost an honour and secondly a pleasure,” said Caleb Roberts, a filmmaker who features in the programme. 

“This year we have the opportunity to show a collaborative work ‘Boxed In‘ in the Queer Eire programme – directed by myself and my partner Peter Young – written, produced, and starring transgender actor Jackson Lennon,” he said. 

“This film was a great opportunity to experience filmmaking across the border, in a much more collaborative space and the chance to work with other trans men in leading roles.” 

For more information on the GAZE West festival, check out their website here.