Queer Story Showcase – I Love the Nightlife

BAME, bisexual, gay, homosexual, lesbian, LGBT, media, queer, transgender

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.

Dave Haslam TwitterQueer 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 Latham and Liam Boyle in MIRRORSJody, 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.

Jonny Woo - Dressed as a GirlPeople 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

Tickets: £5 / £4 concessions


Queer Story Showcase – Political Pride

asian, BAME, bisexual, black, gay, homosexual, lesbian, LGBT, media, muslim, queer, transgender, Uncategorized

Celebrate Manchester Pride at our screening of four international LGBT short films themed around Political Pride screening on Saturday 29th August at 3.45pm. The films include a documentary about eleven year old Melvin who lives in the Netherlands and has come out to his parents; a dramatisation of a gay couple living in the Middle East facing execution; story of a black gay kid coming out on the eve of Obama’s election; and two friends in India drawing parallels between Gandhi’s work attending marches and a gay pride march. Entry is free so join us at our Queer Story Showcase at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School by All Saints Park at 3.45pm. Follow us on Twitter @QueerStoryUK and click on this link to join the event page on Facebook.

Our film screening is part of Political Pride, organised by the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre, LGBT Youth North West, Manchester Metropolitan University and People’s History Museum who have joined forces to programme a weekend of alternative events to take Pride back to its roots.

Political PridePolitical Pride, which takes place on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th August, immediately following the Manchester Pride parade, will include workshops, film screenings, discussions and performances, alongside a series of family-friendly activities. All events will be cost-free and inclusive, and will take place in several accessible locations on and around the Oxford Road Corridor in Manchester.

The weekend will provide a platform for participants to explore the politics of Pride, and to identify and explore some of the most important issues for the LGBT+ community today. Political Pride will provide an accessible and alternative space to the pub and club scene of Canal Street, in order to open up the Pride celebrations to a more diverse representation of LGBT+ people in the North-West.

All activities are free and below is the list of films that will be screened at Queer Story Showcase. Check out the Political Pride website for information on the other activities.

DIRECTIONS: Queer Story Showcase will take place in Lecture Theatre 1, on the ground floor of the Business School (number 4 on this map). The building is fully accessible, and we’ll make sure that the way to the lecture theatre is fully signposted.

Dir: Melissa Osborne, Jeff McCutcheon, USA, 2011, 23 min
A gay African-American teenager grapples with his young identity on the night Obama was elected president, and Proposition 8 – the voter initiative to eliminate same-sex marriage in California – passed.



BECAUSE…Because (Kyunki)
Dir: Avinash Matta, India, 2014, 10 mins
Hindi with English subtitles

When you start believing, you don’t have to be answerable. ‘Kyunki’ is a short journey of a non-believer towards his realisation of faith in queer rights.


Dir: Darwin Serink, USA, 2014, 15 min
Persian, English subtitles
In 2005, the world saw a photo of two young Iranian men being executed for being gay. That image inspired this film about the two men in the hours before their execution.

If you only had a few hours to live, what would you share with the one you love?


Straight With You Daan Bol - Niet Op Meisjes - Still2 Straight With You
Dir: Daan Bol, Producer: Randy Vermeulen, Netherlands, 2013, 19 min

Straight With You is a documentary about eleven-year-old Melvin, who has a secret: he is not into girls. Although his family knows, he’s afraid to tell his schoolmates, as he thinks they might start bullying him. What should he do when the coolest girl in his class sends him a love letter?

Please share, tweet, post and invite your friends to what will be an inspiring and incredible journey through film showcasing queer stories and click on this link to join the event page on Facebook..


North Arts Sector Trust and Foundations Event


As director of the the Queer Media Festival my aim of the day was to understand why Trusts and Foundations fund the arts and how this could ultimately help support next year’s Queer Media Festival in screening more films, and curating more in-conversations and performances.

BALTIC arts centre

What made this event particularly successful was the amount of structured debate and conversation between participants. The day was opened by an introduction and welcome by Adam Lopardo from Community Foundation followed by a brief presentation by Sarah Maxfield of Arts Council who explained: How organisations need to diversify their income streams in order to become resilient. In times of austerity and reduced public funding, competition for funds is high, so arts organisations need to know how to ensure their applications are successful.

Debate began with a panel chaired by Phylida Shaw. The panel included:

Rob Williamson | Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland

Penny Wilkinson | Northern Rock Foundation

Vivien Stapley | Sir James Knott Trust

Each panellist gave an introduction to why they fund culture. Culture may not be the main priority of a Trust or Foundation, but grant givers are humans, and they understand the social benefits that culture can have on areas of deprivation.

“You’re not going to solve the problem but you are part of the solution”

The top 3 things that we learned from this section:

  1. Do include information about the non-arts benefits of arts and culture projects
  2. Do include evidence like YouTube clips, images and case studies
  3. Think about your legal structure, grant givers sometimes insist you are a “registered charity” but, “If your organisation’s objectives are exclusively charitable and income is over £5k, you’re legally an (unregistered) charity”

The second panel of the day:

Clare Wilkinson | Garfield Weston

Dorothee Irving | Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Garfield Weston is the largest family run trust in the UK, with all trustees being a descendent of Garfield Weston himself. The Trust is now actively encouraging applications from the North of England, after a significant decline. There are just two people judging every application.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation gives £6m annually to the Arts. Dorothee gave the group an exclusive overview of the new structure of the Foundation, which now focuses on 6 tiers:

  • Widening participation
  • Education and learning through arts
  • Evidence base and information sharing
  • Youth organisations (not necessarily arts)
  • Migration
  • Ideas fund (open to individuals)

This section allowed the audience to question some of the assumptions of trust fundraising, with some myths brought to light:

  • Arts organisations do not necessarily need a good track record of previously funded projects.
  • They do not need a former relationship with the Trust or Foundation.
  • Knowing someone on the inside does not increase chances of success.
  • Trusts and Foundations do not take into consideration Arts Council funding.
  • Each application is considered independently and judged on a case by case basis.

Attendees were invited to take part in a one-to-one advice session with one of the representatives of a Trust and Foundation. Meanwhile, drop-in discussions were held on the following topics:

  • Using who we know and what we know
  • Success stories
  • How we use our boards to support fundraising.

Some of the key issues that arose were:

  • There is an increased need for core funding, however trusts and foundations tend to favour time limited and measurable projects.
  • A need for feedback from unsuccessful grants
  • How do we articulate where the money will be spent if it is for core funding?
  • Boards need to understand the importance of the role of a fundraiser.
  • Arts organisations need ambassadors

The main lessons I learned from the day were:

  • Do not be afraid of rejection, and to try again.
  • Trusts and Foundations need arts organisations to fulfil their objectives.
  • Do not be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for advice.

Overall the day taught me to be brave, and to understand that grant givers are only human. Ultimately I learned that you need to translate what your event or organisation aims to achieve into emotional and physical outcomes for your participants that Trusts and Foundations can understand and match up with their own objectives. Jamie Starboisky

Held at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Community Foundation on Tuesday 28th April 2015, Tyne & Wear and Northumberland #Northartsfunding

Queer Media Festival Goes to BFI Flare

bisexual, gay, lesbian, LGBT, media, queer, transgender, Uncategorized

Every year in March those working in the creative field of film head to London for the BFI’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film festival: Flare. It is an event we regularly look forward to with the fantastic stories told on screen and the inter-generational creative energy from the LGBT and filmmaking community. Last year we were lucky enough to attend just four weeks after the ending of the first ever Queer Media Festival, which included in-conversations, short film screenings and performances held at MediaCityUK, Salford.

BFI Flare Mike and JamieFresh from February’s finale of the Queer Media Festival’s second year, this year held at the Contact theatre, Manchester, we headed down to London’s South Bank to join our friends, make new contacts and most importantly watch films at Flare. Last year the name Flare was adopted instead of the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival after it was felt the old name was not representative and inclusive enough of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT).

We Are UKFlare has thoughtfully created a wonderful delegate area for people in the industry, press and filmmakers. Featuring a café area, reception desks for attendees, and a viewing area to watch films, it is the perfect place to join in the many talks and round table events held daily. We were honoured to be invited to speak about the Queer Media Festival on the We Are UK panel, the first weekend of Flare, alongside other festival organisers from across the country including Liverpool Pride, Eyes Wide Shut from Brighton, Scottish Queer International Film Festival, London’s Fringe! Film Fest, BFI Flare and the Iris Prize from Cardiff.

This year Flare’s online platform Cinando was a new and welcome addition to the delegate experience, that negated the need to sit through and watch all the films we wanted at the delegate’s viewing gallery. We were now free to enjoy the many networking events, talks, see films not listed on Cinando featuring filmmaker Q&A, and then watch the short films at home as the platform remained available for a few weeks after Flare ended.

BFI Flare 4

All the films at Flare are divided into three streams; Hearts, Bodies, Minds and Cinando featured not just the majority of these but also featured a special Industry Selection of short films only for delegates to view online. We watched the vast array of films that were available online, and it is fantastic to see so many amazing short films being made especially documentaries. It was a shame more short documentary films were not screened for the public to see, as this would have helped us programme them into our next festival based on the audience reaction to them.

BFI Flare 1Of all the feature length documentaries the outstanding ones for us were The Amina Profile, Dressed As A Girl, Save The Tavern and Do I Sound Gay? They all unwrapped the main character featured in the film and explored their story; whether it was Sandra trying to find out the truth about her girlfriend Amina, Jonny Woo nostalgic about his drag past, the former owners of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern reminiscing about the pub’s heyday, or David taking speech classes to sound more masculine.

Watching the characters portrayed it brings home why screening LGBT films is important as for that moment you are drawn into their world, see, hear, feel and understand what it is like for them and for a moment you loose yourself in the silver screen. Viewers may identify with the characters portrayed and it may be helpful to see on screen emotional situations that they have lived through, which gives them great comfort to know that they are not alone in the way they feel, and so no longer isolated and can happily go forward into the world.

Fusion: Celebrated BAME LGBT stories as part of Black History Month

asian, BAME, black, gay, LGBT, media, muslim, queer, transgender

Fusion celebrated the stories of the LGBT Black, Asian and ethnic minority community with conversations with LGBT media professionals, interspersed with LGBT themed short films. Held on 19th October 2014 the event was hosted Queer Media and supported by UK Black Pride. The aim was to inspire positive BAME LGBT stories, role models and promote their visibility in the media as part of Black History Month.


Fusion asked can storytelling really empower people to create positive social change within their community?

About the team

The four hosts for Fusion were (clockwise from top left) Fusion hostsPink News political editor Scott Roberts, freelance sports journalist Jessica Creighton, Ash editor-in-chief and founder of website shorlgbtq.com, and poet, playwright and director Cheryl Martin.

The event was a chat show sofa style format inspired by TED talks, where the hosts introduced short films and interviewed the guests, who have diverse media backgrounds such as; film, TV, radio, news, arts, performance about their career and their intersectionality. Fusion followed the success earlier in 2014 of the Queer Media Festival held on 7th February 2014, on the day the Sochi Games opened at MediaCityUK.

Fusion guests included: Asif Quraishi (UK’s first Muslim drag queen), Eiynah (author of My Chacha is Gay) via Skype, Rudy Katochi (Multimedia journalist for Press Association), Bobby Tiwana (live event producer), Mike Buonaiuto (filmmaker), Aziz Rachid (Head of BBC North West), Phyll Opoku-Gyimah (Director & Co-Founder of UK Black Pride), Mobeen Azbar (journalist and film maker) and Rebecca Swarray (performer, singer and actor).

One thing I have learnt is that we all struggle- we all fail- we all succeed- these things are not as important as having the courage to stand up and try (again!). As long as we keep on trying, nothing is impossible. I feel that people are encouraged to give up more than they are to keep trying 🙂 We are all AMAZING!! – Ash, ShorLGBTQ.com

Fusion: One story at a time we are all changing the world and here are all five in-conversations for you to watch:

UK Black Pride co-founder Lady Phyll and Bobby Tiwana in-conversation with Cheryl and Ash

UK Black Pride co-founder Lady Phyll and Head of BBC North West Aziz Rashid in-conversation with Cheryl and Ash

Film director Mike Buonaiuto and Rudy Katoch a multimedia journalist in-conversation with Cheryl and Ash

Children’s book author My Chacha Is Gay and women’s rights campaigner Eiynah via Skype, alongside journalist and film maker Mobeen Azhar and the UK’s first Muslim drag queen Asif Quraishi in-conversation with Jessica Creighton and Scott Roberts.

Rebecca Swarray, performer, actor and singer, with a background teaching performing arts in-conversation with Jessica Creighton and Scott Roberts.

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



InterMedia at ITV Studios

gay, LGBT, media, queer

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We arrived at the ITV Headquarters on London’s Southbank after being whisked down on a scenic journey from Manchester by Virgin trains, and met up with rest of our friends from February’s festival and after networking for a while took our seats in the audience, as the sun set over the Thames, for an important discussion with InterMedia‘s members about some of the lastest anti-bullying campaigns.

ITV Creative and Stonewall have been working together to tackle homophobic bullying with their School Sponsorship Anti-bullying project, and Stephen Barber and Grivas Kopti talked about work they had done creating a poster to highlight people’s perceptions of LGBT issues and discussing homophobic phrases. ITV has also produced a video featuring employees such as Sonia, who works on This Morning, to encourage people to speak up for support whilst they’re at school. Working in partnership like this they produced Vines and Instagam videos that really had the ability to reach the younger generation with an important message.

Following on from the encouraging words from ITV we heard in a video message from Shaun Dellenty who founded Inclusion For All, a new initiative the deputy head primary school teacher had devised to train teachers on how to communicate the impact of the negative use of the word gay in schools. ITV isn’t alone in the work it is doing with schools and Hannah Kibirige from Stonewall talked about their campaign No Bystanders to impress on people that words leant at school carry on into adult life. Stop it at the start and don’t be a bystander is their powerful message.

Hailing from Manchester and also having done the LGBT Heritage Walk of the rainbow tiles in the city centre we knew the tragic tale of Albert Kennedy and the trust formed after his death. AKT formed in 1989 after Kennedy, a gay man, fell to his death from a city centre car park after being pursed by a homophobic gang, and aim to provide a range of services to meet the individual needs of those who would otherwise be homeless or living in a hostile environment.

When Stephanie Fuller from AKT stood to talk about the charity, even though she felt apologetic she may bring the room’s positive mood down, we knew what she had to say was important as many in the room being based in London may not of heard of the charity. There is still work with LGBT teens that is still vital and ongoing and even Stephanie said, when she recently started in the job that she was surprised at the level of need for support that still continues today. She told us how one recent outing by a school teacher resulted in a young boy being stabbed, and then kicked out of home.

These days pupils can be easily outed through social media and the lack of representation of LGBT people in the media means there are no positive role models for this younger generation. Visibility is very important which is something we aim to continue to support through our next Queer Media Festival events with queer film screenings and conversations with LGBT media professionals. Things will change even if it is not as fast was we would like but together we are heading in the right direction.

Many thanks to InterMedia and ITV for a fantastic worthwhile event.

To London for the BFI Flare Festival

gay, LGBT, media, queer

We have always had a massive interest in LGBT films and have been for many years avid fans of the BFI Southbank’s wonderful London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival now renamed BFI Flare but not only was the name different but we were lucky enough to be attending this year as delegates. There aren’t so many LGBT films screened in Manchester so our trip down meant we were lucky enough to get to see several films in what is always a sold out event.

This was a great opportunity for us to watch new and archive films and attend the industry seminars to learn from established festival programmers on how they find content, decide what to schedule and how they make choices through the plethora of shorts we could view in the viewing gallery.

We were very keen to see the short films and discover what had been submitted and this year the films had been placed into sub strands of Hearts, Minds or Bodies and it was anyone’s guess which one was going to light our senses the most.

The first set of shorts we saw were the Hearts as there was three sets of compilations in that section that explored close encounters, the heart’s desire and the tangle of relationships and as we watched the passion in the stories we were drawn in to these fantastic films.

After hours of watching all of the shorts submitted to BFI Flare we noted down those that had us captured, taken and had told a story to us which is important for a festival inspired by the TEDx talk by Chocolat writer Joanne Harris, where she described the power of stories and how they have the power to effect incredible changes. Watching all those films wasn’t a chore it truly felt a privilege as we got to travel the world and into different people’s lives and see things they saw and feel how they felt and it was an incredible journey of love, pain, frustration, or new hope and all other emotions too many to detail all in the snap shot that is a short film.

The best compilation of shorts we watched was the You’re The One, Aren’t You? that combined shorts featuring the couple next door that wants to try swinging to the lonely astronaut longing for love, these were funny and tender films that all proved that relationships are never easy.

Photo credit: QueerMediaUK

Graphic design: The concept behind our logo

gay, LGBT, media, queer

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Graphic design: The concept behind our logo

The front draws inspiration from 1920s posters, particularly those of the Cannes Film Festival which often featured sleek simple visuals that conveyed the meaning of the event in a minimalist yet colourful way. The skyline is that of Media City UK in Salford, the location of the event. The fan bridge on the left connects to the city via the 7 colours of the rainbow. This symbolises the bridge of understanding and unity that the event seeks to build.

This logo was the result of creating a vintage style poster that feature Media City UK’s skyline. In this logo, it has been given an LGBT twist to symbolise a bridge to LGBT understanding and unity. Features on print media, digital and will be animated for the film festival. Font used throughout is the Nevis font. This kind of font was commonly seen in 1920s posters and so for this poster, it fits right in. Social media imagery sees an exaggerated emphasis on the bridge connectors but the skyline still present. This evolved into the more abstract logo seen at the top. Images and concept created by Tom Simmons

What’s in a name? Welcome to Queer Media UK…

gay, LGBT, media, queer, Uncategorized

Here’s a YouTube clip of our wonderful logo animated into an advert ready for this year’s event.

We hope you enjoyed our inaugural festival in February where we screened a range of 20 short films and our hosts held six in conversations with LGBT media professionals on our sofa on stage and plans are already underway for the 2015 festival to be bigger and better. The fantastic feedback we received as the festival closed was so encouraging to hear and it was a superb opportunity to see just how creative and dynamic the queer community in the North West really is. Photos for the event are available at our Facebook page.

The next big thing we are looking forward to is attending the BFI Flare – the newly renamed London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival which is on 20 – 30 March and we are really happy to hear that the BFI have launched a new collection of some of their LGBT films on the BFI Player, with features, shorts and exclusive content from the festival, plus a special collection of queer classics and rare treasures from the BFI National Archives.

There is an interesting quote on what the BFI thought about renaming the festival queer in one of their blog posts before the new name was announced; “Queer used to really feel like a slap in the face, a hard, harsh word that was like an assault before the trendies took it as a badge of pride. Sexual politics is a febrile, changing territory and badges tell a story about identity too.”

Their blog post explains after the announcement why queer didn’t make the cut; “Although ‘queer’ is used often as a genre term and it’s something a huge number of our audience and wider LGBT community identify with, it was equally clear from audience feedback that a significant number don’t.”

In the North West we found that there is great heritage to naming LGBT events queer such as the Queer Contact theatre festival, the Queer Up North international festival, the bar Queer,  and the Sheffield Doc/Fest with their Queer Screen film strand.  We wanted an identity that would reach out and appeal to everyone as using queer can be a more inclusive word than simply an acronym and the potential ambiguity of what is queer means it can include not just sexuality and gender but also the questioning and unknown without too ridged a label.

Queer can be percieved as either retro, political or aggressive and after working for a theatre production recently commemorating the Peterloo Massacre it seems appropriate to consider the values that this word has as important in the context of a festival based in Manchester, which has a significant history of fighting for social reform such as the Suffragettes and the Section 28 protests in the 1990s.

To view the Storify story of the journey of our hashtag #QMFUK from our first tweet through to the social media generated during and after the festival click here.

A big thank you to all the film makers and here is a list of all the films we screened:

Last Session and Pretty Policeman by VADA theatre group

Polaroid Girl by April Maxey

Journey To The Centre Of Uranus by Gerard Gudgion

Animated showreel from LGYM

Vinegar to Jam by Ben Walters

The Break by Alexis Mitchell

#LoveAlwaysWins and Homecoming by Mike Buonaiuto

Children 404 by Anonymous

Acceptance by Belford Films

Kit by Bruno Collins and Craig Daniel Adams

Silence by Neil Ely

One Shot by Dietrich Brüggemann

What I Love About Being Queer by Vivek Shraya

(A) Typical Couple by Masa Zia Lenardic

10 Men by Graham Clayton-Chance

Recently In The Woods by Daniel van Westen

I’m Yours by Chase Joynt

Sisyfuss by Navid Sinaki

Cake Tin by Clementine Doll