Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest Celebrating its Fifth Anniversary

Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest is returning to East London to celebrate its fifth anniversary. The festival will host a range of events including films, workshops, panel discussions, and parties. Many of the events are free to attend while some of the film screenings are ticketed. The festival takes place 24th – 29th of November 2015.

All the sessions are LGBTQ themed which makes the festival unique in London’s festival scene. The festival director Alex Karotsch says: “Programming is in parts informed by certain aspects we like to explore in a particular year, like the focus on QTPOC [Queer and Trans Persons Of Colour] this year. Other themes that run through the programme materialise during the programming process, such as the literary and sports themes that have emerged for this year’s fest.”

Feature, short, and documentary films are being screened throughout the festival. They tackle questions like what happens to queer culture in changing societies, such as Gustavo Novagre’s Nova Dubai (2014), which shows the reaction of a Brazilian gay community when their communal places are destroyed from the way of the developing neighbourhood. The issue of gay culture’s connection with drugs will be explored in Will Fairman and Max Gogarty’s Chemsex (2015) – like many films in Fringe!, the screening will be followed by a Q&A with the production team.

Various forms of art is being exhibited during the festival. The aesthetics of queer sexuality in online communities is being explored in the multimedia exhibition by the American artist Ryan Coit. Queer: Post-Sexual – The Box Re-Examined -exhibition features art made with different media from over 30 artists.

Workshops form an integral part of Fringe! offering the visitors a chance to develop their artistic skills. For example, a Shibari workshop exploring the art of Japanese rope bondage is arranged Wednesday the 25th of November. During the session, the visitors will learn the basic ropecraft involved in the discipline.

Friends and members of London’s LGBTQ community are also invited to attend the panel discussions during the festival. The topics include, for example, the recent closure of some the of London’s most treasured gay bars and the opening of the new ones, and how this has affected to London’s “gayborhoods.”

In the evenings the festival-goers are offered a chance to experience London’s vibrant nightlife. Friday and Saturday nights are focusing on clubbing, featuring house, disco, R&B, and hip hop music. On Sunday evening, there will be a launch party for Little Joe magazine’s fifth issue focusing on queer culture and cinema.

The events are hosted in venues across East London. Alex Karotsch says: “Our festival hub Rose Lipman Building again functions as the focal point of the festival with two screening rooms, an exhibition space and a cafe for people to come hang out and socialise in.” Other venues include bars, such as the Glory and Dalston Superstore; cinemas, such as Genesis cinema and Hackney Picturehouse; and creative centres and galleries, such as the Bernie Grant Arts Centre and Angus Hughes Gallery.

Events like Fringe! are important for the LGBTQ community in London in offering a chance to see and experience art relevant to their interests. Alex Karotsch continues: “We like to give something back to the community by putting on a big number of free events, a third of the programme is free to attend this year, or make them as affordable as possible. Not everyone has lots of money to spend on cultural activities but it’s a great way to meet new and interesting people, so we try and facilitate a social space for our audience to meet each other and see and discuss work that often wouldn’t get seen otherwise.”

The event is non-profit and supported by both individual contributors and various organisations.

For tickets and full programme, visit the event website at www.fringefilmfest.com.

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