Queer Media Festival 2017 – Full speaker schedule – Sat 18th Nov – HOME, Manchester

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After last year’s sell-out event, Queer Media Festival returns for the festival’s fourth year, to commemorate fifty years since homosexuality was partially decriminalised, by celebrating the amazing range of LGBTQ stories in all forms of media. During the day hear from inspiring guest speakers who are creating LGBTQ stories using the new digital platforms of virtual reality, gaming or mobile filmmaking. Meet storytellers in legacy media like theatre making, performance, playwriting, and poetry. Enjoy a creative mix of engaging talks, performances, and workshops aiming to refresh the way that LGBTQ voices are heard.

Explore the queer rainbow of diverse stories and discover how to tell your story!

Queer Media Festival is a one day event on Saturday 18th November at HOME, Manchester’s £25 million combined arts centre with tickets starting from £10. Click here to buy tickets.

We are proud to announce our full schedule of guest speakers for 2017:

John McGrath, our keynote speaker, is the Artistic Director of Manchester International Festival.  Appointed to the role in 2015, John was previously Artistic Director of National Theatre Wales which he launched in 2009 achieving an international reputation for large-scale site-specific work, digital innovation, international collaboration and extraordinary community involvement. John has worked as a theatre director in New York, London and was Artistic Director of Contact Theatre in Manchester from 1999 to 2008. Awards include the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) Cultural Leadership Award (2005) and an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University (2015).

Erinma Ochu is Creative Director of Squirrel Nation, which she co-founded and runs with Designer and partner, Caroline Ward. They design immersive concepts, often blurring fact and fiction to speculate on how we might live in the future: from a pop up urban farm, farmlab, to The Purring Chamber, which encourages folk to explore our relationship with cats and other species we’ve loved, lived with and lost. Recently Erinma was a Jerwood Fellow with Manchester International Festival, attached to Yael Bartana’s What If Women Ruled the World.

Her foray into queer mediamaking began with an interest in amateur photography, saving up £1 a week to buy a £13 camera only to accidentally take pictures of her left ear. Expelled from sixth form, Erinma has been breaking rules and pushing boundaries ever since. Originally she trained as a neuroscientist before turning to broadcast and digital media as development executive for London based creative agency, B3 Media. Erinma is a Lecturer in Science Communication and Future Media at Salford University. She is indy curator for Sheffield Doc/Fest and volunteers for The Proud Trust.

Deirdre Mulcahy

After a successful career as a BBC Camerawoman, Deirdre has spent the last 11 years training BBC journalists. She has trained on a variety of cameras and edit systems and has recently developed a training programme to deliver these craft skills using a mobile phone. Her workshop will enable Queer Media Festival delegates to shoot professional looking interviews with quality sound and give the foundations of how to build up your story visually


James Kavanagh

Dublin native, James Kavanagh, is Ireland’s Snapchat King. Not only is James a social media aficionado, he also runs Currabinny, a food brand and catering service, with his partner William. James uses his social media platforms to spread awareness on LGBTQ issues and erase the stigma surrounding it from society in his distinctive witty style.



Lucy Dusgate produces and leads the digital art programme for The Lowry and the outdoor Quays Culture public realm art programme at Salford Quays. This includes new commissions and presentations across the galleries, theatres and public spaces in the building and outdoors. Local, national and international artists are invited to perform, exhibit and respond within the spaces of The Lowry. Artists have always used technology in their practice, and we see the inclusion of digital as an acknowledgement of some of the best quality art being integrated into the artistic vision at The Lowry.

Ella Otomewo is a queer performance poet from Birmingham, living in the North West. Most recently, Ella was part of a small team of poets who wrote and performed in Young Identity’s sold out performances of Hatch at Contact Theatre. Ella was also a member of the Manchester International Festival’s Creative50 team, and was commissioned to create poetry in response to pieces at the festival. She facilitates creative writing workshops and has performed at numerous spoken word events up and down the country. Ella’s work is feminist, personal, and candid.

Click here to buy tickets.

Adam Zane, Artistic Director of Hope Theatre Company

For the past two years Adam was dramaturg and director of Gypsy Queen, working with writer/performer Rob Ward on his new play. Gypsy Queen has since toured to Leeds, Sheffield, Doncaster, Liverpool, Brighton Fringe, Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival, Kings Head Theatre, London, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester and received 5 Star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe. Adam’s new play Jock Night premiered as a short play (the first of a trilogy of Jock Nights). The play deals with a number of LGBT+ issues including PrEP, chem-sex and the search for love and friendship in a world of sex and drugs. Jock Nights Part 2 and 3 will be performed as ‘a theatrical soap opera’ before touring as a full-length play in 2018.

Tim Brunsden is a film and video maker creating films with a focus on community and outsider culture.  He is an Associate Artist with Duckie and lead on digital output for Homotopia Festival in Liverpool.  He is also Co-Director of Re-Dock, working alongside artists and film-makers Sam Meech, Hwa Young Jung and Neil Winterburn.  Re-Dock is a Community Interest Company that combines our interest in digital media, participatory mapping and storytelling in research-led arts practice that engages with communities.


Richard Franke is founder and director of Magic Notion, developers of ‘Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker’ the YouTube sensation arcade dating simulator. Richard worked in the games industry for over 20 years on award winning titles such as The Burnout franchise, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, and Tearaway before creating independent studio Magic Notion. He stars as his drag alter-ego Kitty Powers in Magic Notion’s first title, as well as its upcoming follow up ‘Kitty Powers’ Love Life’ as well as doing live appearances at events around the world. Kitty Powers spreads a message of love, acceptance, diversity and gender fluidity.

The Nightbus is a drag terrorist; Europe’s Premier Bearded Muslim Drag Queen with a busload (geddit lol!) to say on oppression, hatred and marginalisation that will shake your core beliefs. After touring Europe and the US, a successful run in Edinburgh and Arts Council commissions for Manchester International Festival, this vehicular beacon of awfulness knows no limits. More sensitive passengers are requested to take several seats, strap the fuck in and enjoy the ride.


Jacob Engelberg is a Film Programmer based in Brighton, England where he runs the queer film strand Eyes Wide Open Cinema. Jacob has an academic background in Film Studies and Queer Theory; his masters degree in Sexual Dissidence looked at the representation of bisexuality in the films of Gregg Araki. Taking a ride with Jacob through his talk on cinema’s invocations of bisexuality, from well-known Hollywood neo-noir thrillers to underground queer filmmaking to the extremities of European art cinema, let’s take a moment to consider representations of bisexual desire on screen.

Kate O’Donnell is a transgender performer, activist, theatre and cabaret maker. She is the Artistic Director of Trans Creative a newly formed trans theatre company who aim to be trans led and trans positive.  Kate’s work is autobiographical, entertaining and political showing pride and strength in being transgender and includes; the award-winning Big Girl’s Blouse and several well received cabaret performances; Hayley and Me, A Short History of My Tits and No Pride. Kate is currently touring her critically acclaimed one woman show You’ve Changed following its preview at the Edinburgh festival. This year Trans Creative initiated and curated Manchester’s first trans arts festival and was part of the Manchester lnternational Festival opening event ‘What is The City but the People?’. Currently working on a project to trans up Manchester, working to make the city, its buildings and its people more trans friendly.

Queer Media Festival – Saturday 18th November 2017
HOME, Manchester – 11am to 5.30pm
The festival will have gender neutral toilets and be BSL interpreted
BOOK NOW: Click here to buy tickets!


Young People’s LGBT film programming workshop

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Q1Young People’s LGBT film programming workshop

Friday 1st July 2016, Digital Performance Lab,

University of Salford, MediaCityUK, Salford, M50 2HE

10am to 6pm



Guest speakers includeQ2

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.

BFI_FAN_LOGO_LOT_RGBThis project is funded by BFI Film Audience funds (supported by National Lottery), via BFI Film Hub NWC.



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


REVIEW – Queer Story Showcase – ‘Let’s Talk About Sex’

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DSC_0068Manchester 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.

Adam Lowe premiered his latest writing 'Slam Poem'

Adam Lowe performed his latest writing ‘Slam Poem’

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.”

David Stuart from 56 Dean Street

Q&A with David Stuart from 56 Dean Street

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.”

Jamie Starboisky introduced the films.

Jamie Starboisky introduced the films.

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: reach@cmft.nhs.uk

Queer Story Showcase – We Are Family

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Reel In The ClosetQueer 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

REVIEW – Queer Story Showcase – ‘I Love the Nightlife’

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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 brainchild of Queer Media Festival organiser, Jamie Starboisky, the evening showcased eight short films then broke for networking before showing the wonderful Dressed As A Girl feature.

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.

Documentary film Black Lesbian Handbook

Documentary film Black Lesbian Handbook

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.


Elena Browne and Neil Ely in-conversation with Adam Lowe

Elena Browne and Neil Ely in-conversation with Adam Lowe

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.

Q&A with drag artist Cheddar Gorgeous, writer Dave Haslam, film producer Chris Amos and host Adam Lowe.

Q&A with drag artist Cheddar Gorgeous, writer Dave Haslam, film producer Chris Amos and host Adam Lowe.

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.

Queer Story Showcase – I Love the Nightlife

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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

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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..


Queer Media Festival Goes to BFI Flare

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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

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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