Ahead of the 2019 Gaze International LGBT Film Festival programmer Roisin Geraghty shares this year’s highlights and lets us in on her top three LGBT+ films of all time.
“The wealth of Irish LGBT stories on screen continues to astound me every year, and the opportunity to curate and showcase local work brings me a lot of joy.”
Can you explain what being a programmer for Gaze entails?
There are many different facets to programming Gaze, but directing the curation of the festival programme is the most important and significant aspect. I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to programme Gaze since 2015 – curating the film choices (from film festivals and submissions), cinematic strands, retrospective films, regional LGBT film focuses, shorts programmes, as well as crafting the thematic content, discussions, panels, exhibitions and ancillary events which are a part of the festival. A huge part of programming a festival like Gaze is being mindful of your community and audience, and their wants and needs, and striking that delicate balance of programming entertaining and engaging content for the spectrum of the LGBT community in Ireland. I do hope I have achieved this in my time with the festival.
What are some of the highlights of the 2019 programme?
This year’s festival programme is intergenerational and intersectional and, as always, shines a spotlight on both Irish and international LGBT film work. We are delighted to be presenting some of the most exciting and dynamic new LGBT films at the festival, like our opening night film Deep in Vogue, or feature films Consequences, Jules of Light and Dark or Knife + Heart, whilst also shining a spotlight on queer film trailblazers like Barbara Hammer, Marlon Riggs and Derek Jarman, with retrospective screenings of their work. We are also presenting a Queer Latin Cinema Focus at this year’s festival, which will showcase some of the passionate, provocative and incredibly progressive cinema being produced in Latin America.
This year Gaze was lucky enough to introduce an assistant programmer, Seán McGovern, to our team. His input has been invaluable and we do hope that this is reflective in the programme we have curated for 2019.
You had preview screenings and fundraisers of Papi Chulo, Vita & Virginia and Booksmart in the run up to Gaze. How significant is that one of these has an Irish director, another an Irish producer and the third an Irish-American director?
It is hugely significant that so much work queer film work is finally receiving such a grand platform, and this really speaks to the recent democratisation and diversification of cinema. It is so heartening that we are finally in an era where fresh, bold stories with new perspectives are finally being produced and given the platform they deserve, and the fact that this includes work from so many Irish and Irish-American creatives is a huge bonus!
Most cherished encounter and screening during your time for as programmer?
Each and every year, the Irish Shorts programme at Gaze stands as highlight of the festival for me. The wealth of Irish LGBT stories on screen continues to astound me every year, and the opportunity to curate and showcase local work brings me a lot of joy. I have also been lucky enough to present Irish LGBT film internationally in my time working with Gaze, and seeing and hearing the audience reactions to Irish film outside of Ireland stand as some of my most cherished moments as programmer of the festival.
Top three LGBT+ films of all time?
Different From the Others
2019 marks the centenary of the seminal LGBT film Different From the Others. A seminal work of the Weimar era of German cinema, it is the first known representation of gay characters on film.
Gaze will be hosting a special screening of this silent film as part of the festival this year, in partnership with the Irish Film Institute.
Paris is Burning
Not only an incredibly important work for the queer film canon, but also the documentary film canon, Paris is Burning marked a milestone moment for queer representation on screen upon it’s release in 1991.
Chronicling the drag ball scene in New York in the mid to late 1980’s, it’s influence has been reverberating through popular culture ever since, and its diversity and inclusiveness on screen is way ahead of its time!
The Watermelon Woman
A landmark film of the new queer cinema movement, The Watermelon Woman stands proud and holds firm in its important position alongside the early films of Todd Haynes, Gregg Araki and the other important figures of the movement.
Not only is director Cheryl Dunye a queer woman, but she is a queer woman of colour, and the fact that she has found her way into the annals of queer film history in a world that until recently all but ignored minority female filmmakers, speaks volumes about the quality and legacy of this film.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
I will be continuing my curatorial work in the coming year, with more of a focus on documentary film – through my work with Cork Film Festival and Docs Ireland in Belfast. I will also be producing my first feature film in the next 12 months, with Screen Ireland, which is a very exciting, and slightly terrifying, prospect!
Gaze runs in the Lighthouse Cinema from August 1 to August 5