Posted on Wed 16 Nov by AlexK /

At Fringe! there is truly something for everyone and that's because every known facet of queer existence is catered for, whether you're looking to experience beardy-boy hearthache (Lazy Eye) or to taste that transcendental rainbow (Random Programme Title Generator). If you want narratives that are rarely told, powerful affirmations of gender identity, anarchic faggotry or even just ascerbic undead divas – this is the festival for you.




Claudia Fortes, Audience Development Assistant

The Watermelon Woman - Sunday 20 November, Barbican Cinema

Charming and ironic Cheryl will steal your heart too!

You’ll Never Be Alone - Sunday 20th November, Rio Cinema

For a sensitive exploration of father-son bond when unexpected revelations change their lives.

Guru, a Hijra Family - Saturday 19th November, Hackney Showroom

For an insightful and intimate portrayal of India's 'third gender'.

PANEL: GLOCAL: THE GEO-POLITICS OF LGBTI+ ADVOCACY - Sunday 20th November, Hackney Showroom

Take part in a most important discussion! 

SHORTS: QUEER, FAR, WHEREVER YOU ARE - Sunday 20th November, Hackney Showroom

Not just a pretty title. A stunning selection of touching shorts.


James Johnson, Audience Development Assistant

Check it - Thursday 17th November, Institute of light

A must-see: this documentary charts the growth of Check It, the first LGBT gang ever documented. Formed in response to violent attacks on LGBT youth, the gang endeavours to leave poverty, broken homes and violence behind in a bid to find their true callings.

The Nest - Friday 18th November, Hackney Showroom

Told episodically, this beautifully atmospheric 'feature' explores what it is to find family beyond the constraints of the biological families we are raised in. A rewarding watch for anyone interested in South American cinema.

Guru, a Hijra Family - Saturday 19th November, Hackney Showroom

A tender portrait of a group of hijras in India told through the experience of this 'found' family as they navigate life as both spiritually revered and outcasts. Intimately shot, the film finds the balance between respect and examination, giving each of the hijras the opportunity to be seen with feeling and with heart.

STRIKE A POSE – Sunday 20th November, Rio Cinema

If you ever wondered for a moment what happened to the seven male dancers who signed up for Madonna's Blonde Ambition Tour then look no further than this. An authentic and generous telling of what is is to ride high on the wave of a superstar, what happens when it comes to an ends, and what had lain hidden all along.

Let's Have A Kiki - Sunday 20th November, Hackney Showroom

Fringe! and English Breakfast London host what's set to be an entertaining and invigorating discussion on the history of the ballroom and vogue circuit. For anyone with an interest in queer history, cultural appropriation, RuPaul's Drag Race and all the spaces in between: this looks set to be a conversation not to be missed!


Martha Kate Margetson, Marketing Co-ordinator / Programme Assistant

The Watermelon Woman - Sunday 20 November, Barbican Cinema

One of my favourite films forEVER, I remember finding out about this in the last year of sixth form (i’d already eaten up Go Fish and the films of Spike Lee, like all 16 year old lesbians), and my tutor claiming it was impossible to find a copy. Darling, at Fringe! anything is possible. I’ve sent him an invite. The Watermelon Woman engages with the distinctly queer project of active self-recognition, re-writing history in celluloid; something very exciting for cinephiles of an oppositional perspective / critical gaze.

SHORTS: We Recruit! An Elegy to First Fires - Friday 18th November, Hackney Showroom

I wrote the programme notes for this and being a younger team member, was somewhat embarrassed about this. In the end I sold myself on this selection of shorts about first loves, desires, heartbreaks, and so on. Emotions run higher when things are happening for the first time: you are either young or just discovering yourself, and there is a distinct and fraught relation between your romantic / sexual experiences and your burgeoning queer identity, which is what makes these films so touching and cathartic. I also love the queer temerity of the programme title we chose. ;)

You’ll Never Be Alone - Sunday 20th November, Rio Cinema

This film is SO stunning, and sad, and true. But mostly it's gloriously beautiful. Director Alex Anwandter has created such a gorgeous elegy to the beautiful soul the film focuses on; fitting tribute to a real life angel. His evocative music rings so powerfully that this story will stay with you for days. Some of the most heart-wrenching and perfect shots i’ve ever seen in cinema, on a topic that is worthy of our time and consideration.

AWOL  - Saturday 19th November, Rio Cinema

This consummate and swooning lesbian romance set in middle America between mechanic Joey and married Rayna is the sort of film queer girl viewers grow up dreaming about. It’s a lovely, realistic, engaging drama, and with a pinch of 'hygge' thrown in this is perfect for a wintry evening cinema trip. It really reminded me of the earnest and boyish Americana of The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love, and made the childhood-me very happy. And, miraculously for lesbian cinema - no one dies. <3

Check it - Thursday 17th November, Institute of light

Part of our OVERCOME strand sponsored by SCRUFF, this chronicles the world’s only queer gang, whose response to violence and homophobia was appropriately violence and protection of one another. The familial love displayed between their tight-knit group is the essence of survival, and is better shown here than anywhere else on screen. This film confronts an audience with our inaction, and tests the strength of our community, simultaneously providing an inspiring blueprint of the notion of having one another’s backs. Let the Check It teach you how to love, and how to live.


Seán McGovern, Programme Advisor and Guest Services Coordinator

VIVA - Tuesday 15th November, Rio Cinema

We were so close to having our first Irish Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film last year and it just so happens that to achieve it we needed it to be filmed in Cuba, in Spanish and about drag queens. Written and directed by Hiberno-legends Mark O'Halloran and Paddy Breathnach respectively, this coming of age and identity story is uplifting, heartwarming and intoxicatingly sweet. It's a perfect crowd pleasing opener and we're delighted to have it.

NÉ GIULIETTA, NÉ ROMEO (A LITTLE LUST) - Wednesday 16 November, Genesis Cinema

I am so over “coming-out films”. Or rather, I am so over the constant narrative of the trauma of realising you're a homo, when really it's hitting the sexual jackpot (that sounds disgusting). Of course, even though it's not without its pain, finding the person you are and the people you belong with is a journey we all need to take. A Little Lust is a reminder that even though you were always you, it's the people around you that had to change. Fun, fabulous and fanatic, and just to make it more raucous, it's coming-out: Italian style.

STRIKE A POSE – Sunday 20th November, Rio Cinema

A follow up to Truth or Dare, one of the greatest documentaries ever made – I'm not joking by the way – this is a heartbreaking and inspiring reflection, not just at how Madonna changed the lives of seven young dancers, but at how one opportunity in our past can shape our futures in ways we can't even imagine. Madonna chose these seven men of different backgrounds, sexualities and ethnicities to embark on the concert tour that redefined what a pop star can do. Our society has changed so much in that seemingly short time, and the lives that these men have lived since are astonishing. It's so much more than just Madonna. Bring your tissues for this one.

Death Becomes Her - Friday 18th November, Rio Cinema

This is one of those films so many of us young queers saw on Sky 1 or late night on BBC 2 or, these days, several times on ITV 2 when you're home for Christmas (I don't get it either). You have to ask yourself, did the heterosexual men who made this film really know what they were unleashing upon the world, the stuff of gay-boy Hallowe'en costumes, FB memes for every birthday and just everyday occasions to say “Now a warning?!”?? This is what queer cinema is all about: taking something made for the masses, and spinning it on its head, reclaiming it, owning it, reading it. And what's better than gathering with a bunch of misfits to watch this at a practically-midnight-screening at the Rio? Bottoms up.

UTOPIANS - Saturday 19th November, Rio Cinema

Utopians is Fringe! It's everything we are about. From acclaimed enfant terrible, Scud, Utopians is a visually stunning, pansexual, super-charged erotic film. It challenged censors in Hong Kong, and it challenges our perceptions of East Asian culture and identity. Fringe! often features stories of bodies and identities that don't get enough screen time in the West, and with Utopians, those stories burst onto the screen. It's Queer-Confucius with a little Eyes Wide Shut for good measure. It also features, to quote Fringe! Programmer Charlie Cox – the best jerk off scene in years. What more do you want?


Serden Salih, Audience Development Assistant

Death Drive + After Party - Friday 18th November, Hackney Showroom

The ultimate event experience at this years Fringe! Fest. Join us as we explore the themes of death and self-destruction within queer culture that should lead into an interesting discussion. Various shorts, a live performance and a club night with DJs Ben Burgis and Zoe Williams awaiting you. That’s your Friday night sorted!

AWOL Saturday 19th November, Rio Cinema

The lesbian film of the year. Don’t be put off by the films title, Deb Shoval’s directorial debut brings you a passionate love story of two women that portrays a genuine hopefulness of true love that will resonate across all audiences.

UTOPIANS - Saturday 19th November, Rio Cinema

My festival favourite! A controversial look at homosexuality in contemporary Chinese culture. Desire never looked so hot on the big screen until now. Don’t miss what I believe is one of the boldest gay films to come from Asia…oh and there’s loads of full frontal nudity!

VIVA - Tuesday 15th November, Rio Cinema

Beautifully shot in the streets of Havana, Cuba, this Irish production brings you an inspiring and powerful story of a young boy fighting for a chance to become a drag star amidst the stigma of drag performance. The importance of queer culture and family is ever more apparent as Jesus tries to connect with his estranged father who suddenly enters his life, have your tissues ready for this one.

SHORTS: A QUEER FAMILY PORTRAIT - Sunday 20th November, Hackney Showroom

How would you define family? Come join us on Sunday for a queer brunch with the Fringe! Team followed by a screening of 9 emotional and provocative shorts…and it’s FREE!