Queer Media Festival – short films, in-conversations and performances

gay, LGBT, media, queer

Three hosts

Do you dream of getting a job working in the media? Or simply enjoy great storytelling? Book tickets to the annual Queer Media Festival to celebrate LGBT storytelling through in-conversations with over 25 LGBT guests who work in the media. Hear about the journey they have undertaken to make their voices heard from Anna McNay (DIVA magazine), Rikki Beadle-Blair (director of FREE), Tim Macavoy (Director of InterTech LGBT Forum), Addie Orfila (head of production, Hollyoaks), transmedia storyteller Jan Libby and Alicya Eyo (Emmerdale actress) who will be premiering her directorial debut film Brace plus many more inspiring guests. The day is BSL interpreted and showcases several short films (Alone With People, What’s Your Sign, The Language of Love, Brace), and performances by Rebecca Swarray & Pink Triangle Theatre. The chat show styled day will be hosted by film director Mike Buonaiuto (Credence, #LoveAlwaysWins) and journalist Aashi Gahlot (Editor of SHOR LGBT online portal) and poet, playwright and director Cheryl Martin on Saturday 7th February hosted as part of Queer Contact from 11 am to 6pm at Contact, Manchester.

The Queer Media Festival showcases LGBT storytelling worldwide with short films (Alone With People, What’s Your Sign, Brace), performances rsz_qmmflogo2_copy qmfuk resize(Rebecca Swarray & Pink Triangle Theatre) and featuring in-conversations with over twenty five guests who work in the media. Hear how they got started and how you can get your foot in the door from Anna McNay (DIVA), Rikki Beadle-Blair (director of FREE) and transgender YouTube video blogger Alex Bertie plus many more inspiring guests.

Vinny & Luke from YouTube’s V-Squared channel will be presenting Queer Xtra with backstage interviews and vox pops. Plus the Queer Vine Machine Vinny & Luke 2will be landing in the foyer for everyone to transmit positive Vine messages back into the social media sphere.

Whilst the festival is underway across the city at the TV studios in MediaCityUK will be the newsroom of Queer Agenda, a maverick underground queer news round-up whose pilot episode will be broadcast live at the Queer Media Festival later that day. Students and LGBT journalists will be working together throughout the day to put together a news round up through a queer perspective. A behind the scenes documentary film crew will follow the trials and tribulations of the news team, as they aim to get Queer Agenda produced and broadcast in one day.


Each February, as part of LGBT History Month, Contact brings Queer Contact a ten-day festival of events spanning performance genres and including both emerging artists and the best of established UK and international work. The 2015 programme is Contact’s biggest yet and you can see the full programme at this link.

QMF Guests include:


 Addie Orfila has worked in television for over twenty years. Beginning with work experience as a trainee continuity announcer, Addie moved into production by running on various shows including Sunday LiveThe Richard Whitely Experience, A Touch of Frost, Through the Keyhole and Big Bang.  3rd AD work followed and Addie then trained as a 1st AD working on shows such as Heartbeat, My Parents are Aliens, Coronation Street, Barking, Heartbeat and Emmerdale. Freelance work for the BBC and various indies followed and led to her further training as a Production Manager. After a very successful tenure as Coronation Street’s Production Manager, Lime Pictures enticed Addie further along the M62 to become Head of Production for Hollyoaks.  With growing ratings and profile, Hollyoaks is relishing its bold and brilliant storytelling with Addie in charge of two of the show’s most ambitious stunts to date as well as the daily task of overseeing 260 episodes of top notch serial drama.

Anna McNay

Anna McNay is an art critic, writer and journalist who specialises in representations of the body, gender and sexuality. She is Deputy Editor at State media and Arts Editor at DIVA magazine. She reported on the Un-Straight Museum Conference for The Guardian and has also co-authored a review paper in a forthcoming issue of the new Transgender Studies Quarterly. She can be followed @annamcnay



Alicya Eyo has been in the acting industry for over 15 years and has had various television roles in shows such as Band Of Gold, Silent Witness, Casualty, Spooks and most notably Bad Girls in which she had a recurring role for 5 years.

She is now enjoying playing the role of Ruby in Emmerdale.

Despite her vast experience of the film and television industry, {Brace} was her directorial debut.


Chris Holliday

Chris Holliday has been working in radio since the age of 16, with a detour as a thespian and a stint at the Financial Times. He has worked at the BBC as both a Producer and a Presenter – and is currently one half of ‘Chris and Emma at Breakfast’ on Gaydio – the world’s biggest gay radio station. Gaydio broadcasts on FM in Manchester, DAB digital radio in London and on the south coast. It attracts 850k listeners a month – making it the UK’s biggest gay media platform.

Chris has interviewed a wide range of guests from politicians to celebrities. Highlights include – Boy George, Sir Ian McKellan and his teenage idol Tori Amos. He’s travelled the world hosting shows from Vienna, Brussels and Tel Aviv and has presented on stage at various Pride festivals and award ceremonies. In 2014 he hosted the main Trafalgar Square stage for Pride in London. He also manages the outreach projects for Gaydio, teaching radio to a range of community groups.

He’s been known to run a marathon, is married to an American (y’all) and used to play the saxophone in a blues band.

Emma Emma Goswell is an award winning journalist and presenter with over twelve years broadcasting experience. You can hear Emma every weekday morning co-presenting the breakfast show on Gaydio – 88.4Fm in Manchester on DAB across the South and at www.gaydio.co.uk. As well as helping to produce the show she is the stations volunteer co-ordinator and carries out project work teaching radio skills to people in the community. In the past couple of years she has presented shows for BBC Radio Manchester, worked as a journalist for BBC 5 live and been employed as a producer for the Prison Radio Association. As a broadcast journalist  BBC Radio Manchester (April 2007 – January 2013) Emma compiled and read news bulletins, completed live reporting shifts, produced entertainment programmes, news based drive time shows, live debates and phone ins. She also co-presented a treasure hunt type show called ‘Manhunt’ on Saturdays mornings for 4 years.


Elly Barnes was voted No: 1 in The Independent on Sundays Pink List 2011 for her commitment to LGBT in education and awarded a ‘highly commended’ by the TES ‘Teacher of the Year’ 2012.

Elly is the LGBT Schools Advisor for Birmingham City Council and Durham County Council. She is the CEO and Founder of ‘Educate & Celebrate’ and a regular speaker and writer on LGBT issues.

As an experienced teacher, Elly developed her ‘Educate & Celebrate’ national teacher training and resource programme drawing on her experiences of implementing the most effective strategies to create institutional change to make all schools and workplaces LGBT-Friendly. She is currently writing her dissertation for a Masters in Education exploring and researching an inclusive LGBT-Curriculum. The approaches used in ‘Educate & Celebrate’ have been recognised by Ofsted as ‘best practice’ for taking a whole-school approach to tackling homophobic bullying and ingrained attitudes in our schools ‘This approach has been highly successful‘ Ofsted February 2012

“Educating through the curriculum is key to creating an enlightened environment in which our teachers and students can thrive and be who they want to be without fear of discrimination”

Fiona Thompson #1

Fiona Thompson is Dean of the Faculty of Art. Originally from the Midlands, Fiona enjoyed a brief career as a Civil Servant before reading Theology at Birmingham University.  This led to a career in television, first with Yorkshire Television and then freelance as a producer of religious programmes for ITV and BBC. Her TV production work continued until 1999 and she still acts as a programme consultant.

Fiona has continued her studies in theology through the University of Leeds gaining a MA in Biblical and Patristic Theology in 1997 and she was awarded her PhD in Theology in 2005.

In 1994 she joined Trinity and All Saints (now Leeds Trinity University) as a Lecturer in Media with responsibility for teaching television skills as well as tutoring in media theory. In 1999 she was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Media and in 2005 she became Dean of the Faculty of Media, Business & Marketing. Fiona left Leeds Trinity in December 2010 and engaged in academic research and consultancy until she joined York St John University as Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts in November 2011 and was appointed Dean of Faculty in January 2013. Fiona is also Chair of the York St John University LGBT Staff Network which began just over a year ago and has become a major player in the City’s LGBT networks – York St John is one of only six Universities to get top marks in Stonewall’s Gay by Degree guide.

She is Vice Chair of the Royal Television Society (Yorkshire) Committee and a member of the executive group of the Institute of Communication Ethics.

In her spare time Fiona sings with Leeds based LGB choir ‘Gay Abandon’ and leads the offshoot choir ‘Sacred Wing’ which performs an annual concert if sacred music in the inclusive Church of All Hallow’s in Leeds. Oh, and she’s just completed an MA in TV and Radio Scriptwriting…for fun!

GregGreg Thorpe is a Manchester-based writer, DJ, promoter and event organiser. After working in advertising and academic publishing he began as a full-time freelancer in January 2014. Since then he has worked for Islington Mill, Cornerhouse, Whitworth Art Gallery, Central Library, Manchester Evening News, Creative Tourist and others.

His work involves writing and editing, and programming and promoting cultural events. He runs two club nights, Drunk At Vogue, which hosted the launch party for the Manchester International Festival in 2013, and Off The Hook, which won the CityLife award for Best Gay Night the same year.

He has DJ’d at Festival No. 6, GAZE Film Festival, the Northern Quarter Festival, Vogue Fabrics, Queer Contact and Homotopia. He co-hosts The Queer Forum, a TED-talk style speaking event for LGBT people. He is a graduate of the University of Manchester and of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Jackie Hagan

Jackie Hagan was raised by hecklers on broken biscuits and has a very sparkly false leg.  She is about to start a national tour of her solo show ‘Some People Have Too many Legs’, directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair and commissioned by the NRTF and Contact Theatre.  She is a regular performer at cabaret, comedy and poetry nights and is the organiser of award winning monthly spoken word night Magical Animals. She runs a writing for well being project for isolated adults and specialises in working with people with challenging behaviour. Her most recent collection of poetry is available from http://www.flapjackpress.co.uk. She has just been commissioned by Graeae Theatre to write a full length play to be staged at the Everyman Theatre.



London born and bred, Jake Graf is a writer, director, and graduate from the London School of Dramatic Art. Jake’s first film, XWHY, which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in, was nominated for The Iris Prize. Since then, highlights have included several short film roles, amongst them playing the lead in Brace.

Brace is Jake’s third screenplay, which he also produced and starred in. Brace has had great success on the worldwide festival circuit, and was nominated for the Best British Short award at The Iris Prize Film Festival, Jake’s second nomination as a writer. His fourth screenplay, ‘Tender’, which he also directed, is currently in post production, and should be hitting the festival circuit early next year.

Jan LibbyJan Libby first jumped into the world of transmedia storytelling in 2006 with her indie Alternate Reality Game Sammeeeees. The following year she was a staff Writer and Interactive Designer for LG15 Studios on a hit YouTube series, Lonelygirl15. Jan went on to develop the sci-fi interactive television project “36nine” with Kiefer Sutherland’s East Side Entertainment and partner on Book 3 of Eldritch Errors with Brian Clark’s GMD Media.

Her more recent work includes a social story for FOX and Amblin Entertainment’s “The Red Band Society”, a multimedia story for Kevin Williamson’s “The Following” (seasons 1 and 2), an immersive play for “Experiment America” at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, an interactive social/story map for the hit series “Sleepy Hollow” and a very engaging intro for Bad Robot’s “Almost Human”.


Jess Nichols: “I trained to be an English teacher in 2006 at the University of Manchester. I have spent eight years working in secondary education and, since being appointed to the role of Head of PSHEE at Marple Hall School in Stockport in addition to delivering my core subject, I have designed training programmes to empower staff to tackle bullying against LGBT students, created an inclusive curriculum for young people, made LGBT History Month an annual fixture on the school calendar, drastically reduced homophobic attitudes in my school and, this year, my work resulted in the school being awarded ‘Enhanced Accredited Healthy Schools Status’ by the borough for our initiatives in supporting LGBT young people. I also use my expertise to train staff and PGCE students in the Manchester area about LGBT issues. Last year, I shared examples of best practice at the Schools OUT National Conference in Manchester.”


My name is John and I have a YouTube channel: JohnBirdMedia. I am from Liverpool and currently work within the Television industry as well as creating online content.

I started making YouTube videos in the summer of 2011 to add my voice to that of the growing LGBT community within YouTube. I have always felt like the internet was the number one resource for those questioning their identity without having to answer any awkward questions from those around them, it’s some thing that has resonated within me for a long time and I wanted to add my “two cents”, as it were, to that conversation.

I create content for the passion of it – I love having a ‘lightbulb’ idea moment (I even made a video about that!) writing the script, filming it, and editing it all together. The final product, along with any positive feedback is what I love. I have over time received messages from people, either within comments, or privately on Tumblr or my Facebook page, saying how much I inspire them or have helped them with understanding themselves – that is the ultimate feeling.

I would love to continue creating content, building my audience to entertain and inform, as well as being able to attend events such as the Queer Media Festival to interact with similar minded people!

Keith Andrew Eight years in the business, Keith Andrew is a games journalist largely focused on the mobile gaming industry, having written for the likes of Develop, GamesIndustry.biz, GamesTM amongst others, and edited industry focused site PocketGamer.biz for two years. In recent months he’s also opened up to some PR, social media management and general consultancy work.”


Lewis I’m Lewis Hancox: filmmaker, writer, actor and transgender advocate. I starred in My Transsexual Summer (Channel 4, 2011) and since then have pursued my creative ambitions. I’m co-creator of the My Genderation documentary project, telling the stories of the trans community. I have a passion for quirky comedy and love to create sketches and short films. I’ve worked with Hollyoaks, Lucky Tooth Films, Channel 4 and All About Trans. My work has featured on BBC3 online, Latest TV, The Guardian, DIVA Magazine and more. I’m an ambassador for All About Trans and patron for the National Diversity Awards. My goal is to be known for my skills and not just for being trans – I believe the media needs more incidental diversity!

Pink Triangle Theatre picPink Triangle Theatre newly formed in 2010 by a small group of talented Actors & LGBT Community Members, Pink Triangle Theatre has created and now performs shows with powerful messages aimed at tackling homophobia, bigotry, hatred and intolerance. The directors have been described by Rikki Beadle-Blair as “The extraordinarily gifted and spectacularly passionate Jason Bromley & ‘Force of Nature’ Paul Hippie Punk Burgess, the Burton and Taylor of the North”.  Paul & Jason are passionate about tackling homophobia through theatre and discussion.  ‘SHOW ONE’ has played nationally in schools, colleges, universities, prisons and workplaces – changing perceptions, empowering all who see it and effecting social change in a positive way.

Rebecca 3



Rebecca Swarray is a performer, actor and singer, with a background teaching performing arts. She has performed at Greater Manchester Fringe and Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and is currently working on new performance pieces.



RikkiRikki Beadle-Blair is a British actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, singer, designer, choreographer, dancer and songwriter of British/West Indian origin. He is the artistic director of multi-media production company Team Angelica.


ShannonShannon Yee is a biracial playwright and producer living in Belfast since 2004. She has been fortunate to receive numerous awards for her work, including the James Baldwin Playwriting Award, ACNI Minority Ethnic Artist Award, Support for the Individual Artist Award (Arts Council NI), Arts and Disability Award Ireland (2011/2013) and a Minority Ethnic Artist Residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annamakerrig. In 2007, she co-founded and co-produced OUTBURST! Ireland’s only multi-disciplinary arts festival, which continues today in Belfast.

Shannon is currently a HATCH artist at the Metropolitan Arts Centre (Belfast) and is also a member of Agent 160, a UK-wide, female playwright-led theatre company.

Her biggest project to date is Reassembled, Slightly Askew, a sonic arts-based, visceral drama about her experience of nearly dying from a rare brain infection and rehabilitation with an acquired brain injury, made possible by funding from the Wellcome Trust (2013) and Arts & Disability Award Ireland (2011/2013).

In 2005, Shannon and her partner Gráinne, made history as the first public civil partnership in the UK at Belfast City Hall and made a BBC documentary, ‘The Wedding’, which aired in 2006 about the experience.

Information about Shannon’s work is at www.s-yee.co.uk and www.shannonyee.wordpress.com.

Tim Hulk TwitterTim Macavoy is the Director of InterTech Diversity Forum and a Design Writer at Skype. He works in content, UX, diversity and inclusion, hosting and events, and has a background in theatre, comedy, radio, journalism, playwriting, slapstick, leadership, producing and teaching. Then he goes to the pub.

Vinny & Luke

Vinny & Luke are a Bi-National married couple who dated long distance for 7 years before tying the knot in August 2013. Originally from New York, Vinny made the move across the pond to be with Nottingham-based Luke, where they currently reside with their cat, Jasper, and dog, Luna.

The opportunity of starting a YouTube channel (V-Squared) was thrusted upon them when a selection of their wedding photos went mini-viral online through a social media platform. Capturing the immediate attention of a worldwide audience, a suggestion was made to share their story through videos – giving them a unique opportunity to share their ‘fairy-tale’ romance to variety of viewers. With a keen eye for sociology and LGBT representation in media, Vinny and Luke pursued the opportunity to not only share their relationship, subsequently inspiring others, but a way to highlight a new form of representation widely undiscovered in the expanding LGBTQ+ community.

Mike BuonaiutoDirector Mike Buonaiuto has specialised in creating films which promote positive change in the world. Olympic viral ad #LoveAlwaysWins saw 1.5 million views in November 2013 with global movement AllOut.org and encouraged the International Olympic Committee to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay laws. Similarly, UK Equal Marriage Ad, Homecoming saw 1 million views, and launched the UK Out4Marriage campaign, demonstrating a public need to legislate for marriage equality in the UK with the help of the likes of Stephen Fry, Hugh Grant, Richard Branson, Theresa May, Nick Clegg, and many more.



Aashi GahlotAashi Gahlot is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at SHOR, a creative online portal reflecting South Asian LGBTQ lives worldwide. Aashi is also a creative writer, activist, journalist and freelance translator in the world of films and TV. She was chief edit translator for Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna, BBC’s Welcome to India and India’s Supersize Kids, amongst other productions.  Aashi graduated from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) University of London with a BA in History and South Asian Studies.

Aashi believes that our experiences, whether good or bad (and all the in between!) should always be documented into art and words: I believe that nothing can touch the heart and stir the soul as films and writing can. We all carry the same emotions but walk different journeys. Films and words are universal. Films and words create magic. I want this magic to bring equality to the world and peace to every person, regardless of the walk of life they are from.

Short films screening at QMF


Brace 1a Brace 7 Brace

After coming out and leaving his girlfriend, Adam dreams of finding acceptance within London’s gay scene. His burgeoning freedom is soon challenged when he meets Rocky, a handsome stranger who is harbouring a secret that he desperately wants to share with Adam. As their bond strengthens and Rocky prepares to reveal his secret to Adam, their fledgling romance is ruptured by a cataclysmic event that forces the truth to come out in the most explosive manner.

Alone With People

AWP_Promo_Still_1 AWP_Promo_Still_2 AWP_Promo_Still_3

Inspired by Quinn Marcus’s (of MTV’s Girl Code, mtvU’s Quinnterviews) one-woman show Chasing Ballerinas, Alone with People follows Andie, a high school girl growing up gay in Georgia. Too afraid to confide in anyone close to her, Andie seeks the help of a therapist to come out to her family and friends in this hilarious and touching coming-of-age-coming-of-gay tale.

What’s Your Sign

WhatsYourSign_3 WhatsYourSign_2 WhatsYourSign_1

Two friends court trouble when they’re caught checking the same woman out.



When a gay Asian man notices that many gay men are taking a ‘no-Asian’ stance, he tries a group he previously avoided – rice queens, or men only attracted to Asians.

The Language of Love

The Language of Love

During a French exam a teenage boy finds the words to articulate how he feels about his best friend.

Queer Media Festival

Sat 7 Feb, 11am to 6pm. Tickets: £15 (conc. £10) BSL Interpreted

Contact, Oxford Road, Manchester M15 6JA.

http://www.contactmcr.com/qmf / 0161 274 0600

@QueerMediaUK #QueerMediaUK / films, in-conversations, performances

Contact Theatre’s Twitter is @contactmcr and #hashtag for the festival is #queercontact

Contact Theatre’s Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/contactmcr

Direct link for all Queer Contact listings is http://www.contactmcr.com/queercontact


Here are the links to videos some of our guests have made so far to promote QMF;

Vinny & Luke’s video


John Bird Media’s video



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s