Thank You to everyone who made Queer Media Festival 2016 at Manchester’s combined arts centre HOME so amazing.
It was truly a wonderful day and reading the comments on the feedback forms people have left the festival feeling it has been fun, eye-opening, thought provoking, amazing, enlightening, friendly, inclusive, interesting, informative, engaging, inspiring, life changing and life affirming to be amongst like minded queers.
Fantastic job from everyone involved and a big thank you to everyone who came along for making our event such a special success! Favourite quote: “It was much more in-depth and inspirational than I thought it could be”. So we look forward to seeing you all at next year’s festival!!!
“Be proud…whatever it is be proud, because everyone is someone!” Jose Xtravaganza
Friday 1st July 2016, Digital Performance Lab,
University of Salford, MediaCityUK, Salford, M50 2HE
10am to 6pm
Michael Blyth (BFI Flare, London)
Jay Bernard (BFI Flare, London)
Berwyn Rowlands (Iris Prize, Cardiff)
Dagmar Brunow (Teddy Award Jury 2016, Berlin and Hamburg International Queer Film Festival)
Learn different approaches to LGBT film programming, the challenges involved, how to programme for different audiences and discuss what would and would not get programmed.
Participants must be aged between 18 and 25 years old (inclusive) and are welcome to attend however they identify whether that be as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) or hetrosexual.
Participants living outside Greater Manchester must work or volunteer for a film screening organisation in order to attend. Participants living within Greater Manchester do not need to work/volunteer for a film screening organisation. They will have the opportunity to form as a group and programme some of the films for the Queer Media Festival in Manchester in November.
Participants living within Greater Manchester will be able to claim back, on production of a receipt, reasonable travel expenses from Queer Media. Participants living outside Greater Manchester MAY be able to apply for a bursary to cover the cost of travelling to the workshop from their local BFI Film Hub. Contact your local BFI Film Hub for more details.
To apply for a free place on this workshop please use this online form:
How to get to the venue: http://www.salford.ac.uk/mediacityuk/location
Workshop organised by Jamie@queermedia.org.uk
Manchester Metropolitan University’s Humanities in Public Festival continued its frank discussion about sex last week with an event that explored the worlds of ‘chemsex’ and ‘slamming’ parties. The event, hosted and organised by Queer Media Festival director Jamie Starboisky, was entitled ‘Queer Story Showcase: Let’s talk about sex’.
The evening began with a series of short films that address such issues as male prostitution, sex and disability and, in Wham, Bam, Mr Pam, the challenges of being a successful female film maker in the male dominated world of gay pornography.
The audience were then treated to a reading by Manchester poet Adam Lowe before being given access to the world of so-called slamming parties with a screening of William Fairman and Max Gogarty’s feature-length documentary Chemsex. Chemically fueled sex parties, which sometimes last for days, are a trend with which a number of gay men are becoming involved, particularly in London and other major cities. With new cases of HIV on the rise, these parties, many of which are organised online through apps such as Grindr, are a potential cause for alarm amongst sexual health professionals.
The film in unflinching in its depiction of these issues, as it follows slamming party enthusiasts, such as Andrew, Miguel, Enrique and Simon, through a series of drug-fuelled encounters, psychotic episodes and comedowns. To these men, sex and drug-taking have become synonymous and particularly troubling are their stories of deliberately becoming infected with the HIV virus. Once they become ‘pos’, the men no longer have to worry about the risk and are thus able to have sex with men who are already HIV positive. As Andrew says of HIV, “It comes with the territory.”
In the film, David Stuart, Substance lead at London sexual health clinic, 56 Dean Street, works with some of the men involved with chemsex, attempting to find the reasons behind their risk-taking behaviour. In many cases, David believes, the reasons behind slamming parties are complicated and can lie in the sense of isolation and low self-worth that a gay man often experiences in his childhood and teenage years. As one slamming party enthusiast says, “For days you get to feel that you’re worth something.”
Asked about his reasons for screening the film, Jamie told Humanity Hallows, “Chemsex is a very powerful documentary and it’s important that the LGBTQ community are included in discussions about sex.”
Regarding the subject of the film, he added, “Chemsex is not just about gay men who want to be promiscuous. It’s deeper than that and, by showing this film, we can help people develop a deeper understanding.”
The event also included a Q&A session chaired by Maurice Nagington from the University of Manchester. The panel was comprised of David Stuart, along with Staff Nurse from Manchester’s REACH clinic Rebecca Evans, Manchester Met Senior Lecturer in Philosophy Dr Phil Hutchinson and Senior Lecturer in Criminology Dr Rob Ralphs. Issues addressed in the session included the importance of education and the risk of making the gay community feel stigmatised.
Audience response to the film was positive, one audience member describing Chemsex as “brave and honest.” There was also general agreement that the reasons behind participation in chemsex parties ran deep, one man commenting that with the recent legalisation of gay marriage, “We should feel happy and we should feel connected and, on paper, we are.”
For more information about upcoming events in the SEX strand, see the Humanities in Public webpage.
Review by Jacqueline Grima. Photography: Rachael Burns
The Reach Clinic is a free and confidential service for people in Manchester who use drugs during sex and need support or advice. Open every Wednesday 3.30pm to 6pm. Walk in or make an appointment. Tel: 0161 276 5204. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Queer Story Showcase will be at the LGBT Foundation on Sunday 28th February 2016 to mark LGBT History Month with a special event themed ‘We Are Family’ celebrating the family we have and the family we choose – our friends. Starting the event with six marvellous short films exploring the afternoon’s theme followed by a screening of documentary Reel In The Closet. In the feature film by Stu Maddox we discover markable footage made by LGBT people of their hidden private lives from the 1930s to the 1980s found lost in archives or rediscovered on old cinefilms found at flea markets.
The event will include a performance by poet, playwright and singer Cheryl Martin, and the director of the film Stu Maddox himself is flying in from San Francisco to answer your questions and maybe help you discover that lost film footage in your closet.
People are invited to join this exciting film afternoon featuring many queer stories, have conversations, relax and during the networking break make connections with filmmakers. February’s theme is ‘We Are Family’ inspired by the 1979 hit disco classic from Sister Sledge as we celebrate the fact that a family can come in many forms.
This Queer Film Network tour is supported by the BFI Film Audience Network via Film Hubs in Wales, South West & West Midlands, North West Central and London.
Doors open at 12.45pm and the event starts at 1pm.
Get tickets: https://queerfamily.eventbrite.co.uk
When you are invited to film screenings, it can be with dread as the standard is varying to say the least, however I went to the I Love The Nightlife, Queer Story Showcase at the Digital Performance Lab in Salford and was hugely rewarded. The standard of the films on show was exceptionally high.
The eight shorts were a mix of international and home grown talent kicking off with gentle drama, Alaska is a Drag, a gay love story in the unlikely setting of an Alaskan cannery, the hilarious Cruising Electric also deserves a mention, look it up on Youtube, as well as the delightfully bonkers MeTube, a trip into the imagination of a repressed soul.
Documentaries were well served as well with Black Lesbian Handbook delving into lesbian culture and En Vogue proving that 25 years after Madonna brought it to the masses, vogueing is still alive and well.
But it was the Manchester double bill that was truly inspiring. The first piece was Painted by Salford University graduate, Elena Browne. I caught up with Elena before the showing to talk about her delve into Manchester’s drag world.
“Painted is a dragumentary which came from always going down Canal Street” she explains “My friends had an obsession with RuPaul and we binged watched Drag Race so it was natural for it to be my dissertation. The film looks at different types of drag, traditional (Misty Chance), new wave (Cheddar Gorgeous and Anna Phylactic) who have honed their art, and alternative (Danny Beard) who has created a whole online persona.”
The film is beautifully edited and really delves into the personalities of these stalwarts of Manchester’s gay scene. “It took about four weeks of filming and a lot of late nights” she laughs “We had an interesting night at Cruz 101, the Gag Ball which was a leather and fetish night”.
Browne now has an internship at Blakeway North but is definitely a name to look out for in the future.
The second Manchester piece was Mirrors by Neil Ely. This is a subtle piece set in a nightclub toilet focussing on two straight lads who find themselves, for whatever reason, in a gay club. Featuring Shameless star Jody Latham and Skins star Liam Boyle, the tempo and style of this simple film is fantastic.
Ely explained in the subsequent question and answer session “I’d written two scripts before but wanted to take it back to when I was coming out, maybe there is a grey area to sexuality”.
Following the break, it was the turn of London producer, Chris Amos to present Dressed As A Girl, a fascinating and fabulous look at alternative drag artists in London who pioneered the infamous Gay Bingo nights.
Set over a period of ten years, the film by Colin Rothbart delves deeply into the psyche of this group of friends who made an indelible mark on the London scene. We join them at their hedonistic height and follow their stories as they all go their separate ways.
The film is searingly honest in examining what drives our heroes dealing with issues such as living with HIV, substance abuse, damaged upbringings and mental illness, making the viewer fall in love with each person in their own way culminating in a wonderful finale as they regroup for one last bingo night.
I would recommend seeing this film and many of the others, the first opportunity you get and I would definitely keep an eye out for more Queer Media events, watching great quality films in friendly surroundings, what more could you need?
by Chris Park for Canal-St Online
More info on Dressed As A Girl and the other films screening as part of Peccadillo Pictures POUT Tour click here.
Love the nightlife and like to boogie…? Queer Story Showcase will be at the Digital Performance Lab, MediaCityUK, Salford to celebrate queer nightlife on film. Watch Manchester’s drag queens on screen at the premier of Painted – a dragumentary, the debut short film directed by Manchester based filmmaker and University of Salford graduate Elena Browne, 21, starring Manchester based drag artists Cheddar Gorgeous, Anna Phylactic, Misty Chance and Danny Beard.
Queer Story Showcase are excited to have Cheddar Gorgeous joining their Q&A session talking about the film and the Manchester drag scene alongside Dave Haslam, former DJ at the The Hacienda nightclub and author of Life After Dark – A History of British Nightclubs & Music Venues. It is a chance to meet the filmmakers, get your questions answered and enjoy a mesmerising range of over seven short films including Mirrors, written and directed by Manchester filmmaker Neil Ely and the film features Shameless star Jody Latham who locked lips with Skins actor Liam Boyle in his first gay role.
Jody, 32, who played Lip in the Manchester-based Channel 4 series, filmed the steamy scene with Bolton-born Liam at Princess Street gay club Cruz 101, with the film also featuring a cameo by 90s pop star Kavana. “For me it’s breaking barriers – it’s the first time I’ve ever played a gay character,” says Jody who hopes the film will highlight homophobia and challenge people’s perceptions of homosexuality – especially in men.
Travelling up from London to join the Q&A panel, hosted by writer and performer Adam ‘Beyonce’ Lowe, will be producer Chris Amos talking about his award-winning documentary Dressed As A Girl. The feature film about London’s East End drag scene will conclude the film event with outrageous costumes, campness and heart breaking candour.
People are invited to join this exciting film experience featuring over seven queer stories, have conversations, relax and during the networking break make connections with filmmakers. September’s theme is ‘I Love the Nightlife’ inspired by the song from 1994 hit drag queen film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and celebrates that fact that a night out on the tiles really can change your life. Screening as part of Scalarama Festival and POUT Festival from Peccadillo Pictures.
The Digital Performance Lab has one of the largest HD screens in Europe adjacent to the MediaCityUK tram stop and is accessible to wheelchair users. Tickets are £5 / £4 from Eventbrite. https://queerstoryshowcase.eventbrite.co.uk
Queer Story Showcase
Digital Performance Lab, University of Salford, MediaCityUK, M50 2HE
Thursday 24th September. 6.20pm