Festival Team Top Fives - Round Three

Posted on Sat 21 Nov by AlexK / Documentary, Film, Trans, Performance, QTIPOC, Brazil, JT Leroy, transgender, sport, Peter Greenaway, Sergei Eisenstein

In Round number three our audience development team give you their fringey highlights. martha, harry and anna tell you about their picks for the fest.

Martha - Audience development assistant

The Cult of JT Leroy
Just one of the most fascinating and fantastical stories ever told. And it’s recent history. 

Kumu Hina
Incredibly uplifting and brave documentary about a Hawaiian ‘mahu’, or third gender person, inspiring children to be good citizens. Lovely and sweet.

Naz & Maalik
Tender and agreeable coming-of-age story about two young Muslims in post 9/11 New York City, experiencing the first flushes of love.

Shorts: Brazil
All of the short film programmes are pretty enticing, but this one especially promises a lot of diversity, strong voices, colour and life.

Eisenstein in Guanajuato
Peter Greenaway’s newest masterpiece imagines the father of montage editing, Sergei Eisenstein on a queer jaunt to Mexico. Catch it at Fringe! first!


Mamoru Iriguchi: 4D Cinema
This brings to life so much of what excites me about film! Personality and performance and that blurred line between cold tech and warm feeling.

Game Face
Fallon Fox rocks my world.

Shorts: Seven Wonders
Exploring, performing, finding and reclaiming that queer space. 

The Turkish Boat
I remember following this happy story back when it first happened in 2012!

There is something so compelling about seeing these huge, physical guys having soft, intimate moments.

Anna - Audience Development Assistant

Kumu Hina
Hawai'i's powerful and outspoken cultural icon Hina shares her story.  

Women and the Word: The Revival Movie
Fearless and revolutionary, with a rallying cry that reverberates across the Atlantic. A film to celebrate.

Naz & Maalik
Reminiscent of those youthful afternoons which contain a lifetime, this rhapsody for Bed-Stuy captures the many pleasures and pains of growing up. 

Shinjuku Boys
A classic from the feminist archive, the 80s synth and dapper looks do it for me.

Lasana Shabazz presents Fierce!
Enter-taint-ment of the highest (dis)order: performance art, drag and dancing bliss. 

Festival Team Top Fives - Round Two

Posted on Wed 18 Nov by AlexK / Documentary, Film, Trans, Performance, literature, QTIPOC, BDSM, Brazil, porn, Sister Act

Here's the second round of top fives with faves from Muffin, Pierre and Charlie.

Muffin - Head Programmer

When We Are Together We Can Be Everywhere
Everything DIY and dirty combines with all that shimmers to make our lusty hearts sing in this behind-the-scenes of a queer feminist porn in Berlin.

Women and the Word
As inspiring and engaging a road movie as ever was made - touching on every queer feminist topic that needs our attention.

Prison System 4614
Who doesn't go to a holiday camp to be bound, flogged, humiliated and incarcerated. Brutal, tender, and best served up with a nice cup of tea.

Shorts: Flesh + Bone (Free)
A smashing programme of shorts of genderfuckery and embodiedness approached with riotous humour and touching frankness.

Spanking Workshop (Free)
The masterful Alison England joins us for a third year for this intimate intro to sensual spanking. Bring a friend or find one there (I'll be there looking for a partner!) - for an absolutely cracking time.

Pierre - Production Manager

Lasana Shabazz presents Fierce
One night of crazy performance art and drag. Don't miss!

Prison System 4614
Jan Soldat is a rarity showing the vices of our kind like no-one else.

Meanwhile in Beirut
How trans* people live and thrive in Lebanon.

Pushing for PrEP
A film and event every modern queer should attend and discuss.

Nova Dubai
Experimental porn and reflections on gentrification in one unmissable film.

Charlie - Programmer

Reigning from my homeland this Aussie rugby film of (hot) gays playing ball really tugs at the heartstrings.

The Turkish Boat
Set in and on the canals of Amsterdam Pride, Turkish Boat truly puts the spotlight on the rising migrant communities and the realities of sexuality within those communities. Smart, intriguing and inspiring.

Sister Act
I CANNOT WAIT for this. Growing up watching this as a kid was so much camp fun!! Doing it wth friends at 11:30pm on a Friday is going to make it even better.

Shorts: Brazil
Anyone who knows me knows I love a good Brazilian.... erm... film. And this shorts programme is full of them.

Shorts: Sublime InQUEERy
I had such fun with these shorts! The collection ranges from thought-provoking to down right hilarious! Who wouldn't want to see an Italian rock music nun scrubbing floors while the lead singer showers in the confessional booth?

Literary ladies (and gentlemen)

Posted on Fri 20 Nov by AlexK / Performance, Documentary, Event, Film, gender, literature, JT Leroy

by MK Margetson

Sekiya Dorsett’s Women and the Word: The Revival (2015) has its European premiere alongside a second screening over the weekend of Fringe! 15. This documentary captures a resurgence in the visibility of the black feminist voice on the spoken word scene in the United States, by following the community making an effort to produce the events, which prove to be an invaluable platform for both art and community. Spoken word fans will be overjoyed to see the US scene blooming alongside our concurrent scene in London’s spoken word nights: Jawdance and Queer’say by Apples and Snakes, and Lyrically Challenged at Passing Clouds, amongst many others.

The American writers and artists that feature, however, seem to experience a more difficult climate, both financially and societally, than their Brit counterparts. The women are shown to overcome overt homophobia and racism with more regularity than black women in London’s (DIY) poetry scene, and their experience of this is shown powerfully in Women and the Word. In keeping this light-hearted road-movie style documentary light, director Dorsett lets us journey with them as they craft their personal experiences into the written, and then spoken, word, whilst their friendships become evident. The director and many stars of this dynamic document will be present for a Q&A session on Sunday’s screening at the Rose Lipman building. Featuring some of the United States’ rawest poets, this is a show that’s not to be missed!

Marjorie Sturm’s The Cult of JT Leroy (2014) is sure to captivate Fringe! attendees on our busy Saturday in the Fringe! HQ. It explores the curious case of the most popular writer that never really was, and the biggest, most intriguing hoax in literary history. The story of JT/Laura Albert/Savanna Knoop, and the decade-long evasion of their reality from public knowledge is a curiosity impossible by today’s demands, and allows us to view the height of the craze of celebrity during the 1990s. The film simultaneously provokes questions of narrative honesty, deceit, and what it is that an artist really owes to society. With this story one can’t help but consider the different ways in which art is received from different authors, and the ad hominem judgement different authors can receive, which inform criticism of their work.

Situated within the literary pop intelligensia of 1990s USA into 2005/6 when JT’s ‘reality’ was discovered, this fascinating story illuminates the conditions of the era of celebrity at the brink of the age of information. Respected notables such as Joel Rose and Dennis Cooper feature prominently, demonstrating the scale of the intricate reality and character created by Laura Albert, in this almost mystical tale of identity and reality.

Dr Sharon Husband and The Duchess of Pork’s Naked Boys Reading combines two favoured queer themes: literature and the nude form, in a regular night that offers a unique activity in the queer scene. Describing themselves as, ‘Live, nude, and personable’, Naked Boys Reading is a high and low culture mash up. Before the weekend is even underway, Ace Hotel sees a special NBR from the boys curated by performer La JohnJoseph (who also brings his new work-in-progress The Last Night in the Life of Alexander Geist to this year’s Fringe!) on the theme of ‘personality’. Deconstructing the notion, to be precise, as they ask, ‘Who would Norma Jean be without Marilyn?’ Attend and see these boys, and their bodies, reveal the answer.

Women and the Word: The Revival screen on Sat 28th November at the Bernie Grants Arts Centre and on Sun 29th November at the Rose Lipman Building. 
The Cult of JT Leroy screens on Sat 28th November at the Rose Lipman Building. 
Naked Boys Reading: Character Studies takes place on the 26th November at the ACE Hotel. 



A Strangely Glorious Opportunity

Posted on Tue 17 Nov by AlexK / gender, Trans, Video art, Artists Moving Image, transgender

Fringe! guest curator Panos Fourtoulakis writes about the curatorial process of choosing artist's and works for one of his projects this year.

by Panos Fourtoulakis

A Strangely Glorious Opportunity. The title of the project came out of a conversation with AA Bronson on Scruff regarding queer identity and sums up perfectly my thinking towards it. The idea of queer as something that goes beyond sexual politics and enables one to question the system at large and enquire power structures that otherwise probably would have been taken for granted. How one’s gender and sexuality can become an opportunity in order to challenge terms of normativity that are considered neutral within society, but they’re actually not.

What has always drawn me to the idea of transgender, is the sense of becoming. The ascendancy of one’s choosing what they can be instead of being fixed to something they do not identify with. And in doing so, the political aspect of their action as one of subverting neo- liberal heteronormative limitations. Going beyond binary oppositions and willing to defy dominant systems of oppression by living the life they want. 

The aim of this project is to be as multisided as possible, offering an array of different narratives and perspectives- exploring gender as something not fixed and always fluid- while at the same time create a coherent story. A Strangely Glorious Opportunity showcases work by Oreet Ashery, Pauline Boudry/ Renate Lorenz, Ursula Mayer, Carlos Motta and Wu Tsang.

From apocalyptical dreamlike experiences, to real accounts of challenges faced around the world, to transgressive performances and accounts of fictional lives, to exploring notions of mimicy and appropriation. One of the main themes that run through these films is how the boundaries between performance, appropriation and the ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ become ever more blurred. Something that makes one question what is considered authentic/real in the first place and how we define such notions. Another theme that runs through some of the videos is how the struggles faced by certain minorities are shared by others and how all these issues are interlinked. How until they are all free none of them will be.

I feel really grateful to showcase work by artists who I genuinely admire and who’s practice has expanded and in some cases formed my understanding towards the aforementioned issues. 

A Strangely Curious Opportunity screens Friday 27 November at Rose Lipman Building
General Idea: Video Works, 1977-1984, also curated by Panos and followed by a Q&A with AA Bronson, screens on Sunday 29 November at Barbican Cinema

Trans* films at Fringe!

Posted on Sat 14 Nov by AlexK / transgender, Brazil, QTIPOC, Trans, Film, Documentary, JT Leroy

by Bamboo Hermann

It’s been an absolute pleasure to help select films with trans related content for this year’s Fringe! Film Fest. It hasn’t been an easy task to choose from the great range of films submitted, each with their distinct voices. We’ve made sure the films shown this year reflect the growing diversity of trans experiences shown on film around the globe. Here is our top five:

Game Face

Fallon Fox, a transgender lesbian MMA fighter, stands out as an awe-inspiring leading figure in the struggle for the acceptance of both transgender and gay athletes in the sports world. A true hero in an out of the ring.
Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Saturday 28 Nov, 8pm

The Cult of JT Leroy

Ethically charged, controversial, and confusing, JT’s life and death springs open a Pandora’s box of powerful questions about literature, celebrity, and the exploitation of queer identities in contemporary culture. Mind-boggling.
Rose Lipman Building, Saturday 28 Nov, 3pm

Meanwhile in Beirut

An intimate documentary shows domestic scenes of love, friendship, and sex work in the life of a transgender escort in contemporary Beirut. An honest insight into the hardships (and joys!...) a human being behind the shemale fantasy.
Rose Lipman Building, Sunday 29 Nov, 4pm

Kumu Hina

This heart-warming story of a transgender Hawai’ian native spiritual leader, a Mahu “people of the middle”, offers an inspiring non-binary take on gender from a non-western perspective.
Grant Arts Centre, Friday 27 Nov, 8pm and Rose Lipman Building, Sunday 29 Nov, 2pm

Favela Gay

A joyful glimpse into what it is like to be queer in contemporary Rio’s poorest neighborhoods. A great diversity of trans people portrayed, university students, street prostitutes, born-again evangelist christians… with their respective struggles for acceptance in the daily grind of the favelas.
Genesis Cinema, Thursday 26 Nov, 9pm

Also don't miss the many trans* short films in our shorts programmes, they're all free to attend.


Festival Team Top Fives - Round One

Posted on Wed 11 Nov by AlexK / Documentary, Film, Trans, Artists Moving Image, Video art, Performance, JT Leroy, literature, QTIPOC, Brazil, BDSM

As every year we bring you the festival team's personal Top 5 films and events. It's never an easy choice to pick five favourites with so many great films and events in the programme but we Make those very difficult decisions for you. Obvs. We're starting off proceedings with the faves of Festival Director Alex, Programmer Josefeen and Fundraising Manager Martin.

Alex - Festival Director

Alex & Ali
Not chosen because of my namesake in the title but because this is an absolute tearjerker on so many levels

General Idea: Video Works, 1977-1984
I first came across General Idea at an exhibition in Berlin over ten years ago. Very excited to be showing the work by this influential collective at this year's fest.

The Last Night in the Life of Alexander Geist
We like to support home-grown talent and I can't wait to present this new work-in-progress by the brilliant La JohnJoseph.

Shorts: Brazil
One of my standout shorts for this year is part of this programme, the hilarious, over the top Floozy Suzy from returning filmmaker Otavio Chamorro (some may remember his last film at Fringe!, the equally brilliant The Bitchhiker)

Naz & Maalik
This lingering first feature by Jay Dockendorf perfectly captures the irrestible chemistry between its lead actors spending a summer afternoon hustling the streets of Brooklyn while cicumnavigating their secret romantic entanglement.

Josefeen - Programmer

Because I love myself some incredibly hot lesbian erotica (=porn)

Liz Rosenfeld's Surface Tension Trilogy
Liz has been part of the Fringe! family since the very first year when she curated a programme of queer porn for us and we're super happy to have her back this year with the world premiere of her trilogy queering the stories of famous women during Weimar Berlin.

Kumu Hina
An absolute feel-good film providing a much needed perspective on the way non-Western cultures deal with gender.

Pushing for PrEP
A timely discussion and screening on one of the top health issues concerning gay men today.

The Cult of JT Leroy
I fucking love this film. There's not much more to say.

Martin - Fundraising Manager

Kumu Hina
An important and sensitive exploration of being trans* in different cultures.

The Lady's Not For Walking Like An Egyptian
All the joys and horrors of the 80s in one show.

Prison System 4614
Chained flogging and a nice cup of tea. Ahhhhh/Ouch!

Panel Discussion: Sexile
Explore queer identity in a world of displacement and hostility

Queer: post-sexual - the box re-examined
Revel in the profusion of our diversity as celebrated in this group session.

Third gender practices around the world

Posted on Tue 10 Nov by AlexK / Documentary, Film, Interview, Trans

by Anna Wates

Not all genders are everywhere the same. This is true not only for the categories male and female, but also for transgender. This year Fringe! presents two remarkable documentaries which explore transgender positions unique to their cultural contexts: Shinjuku Boys, a classic from the feminist archive which takes place in 1990s Tokyo, Japan; and Kumu Hina, a heart-warming doc filmed in present day Honolulu.

In a Western context, non-binary gender positions tend to revolve around the prefix (or standalone identifier) trans-, trans, or trans*. Yet we cannot incautiously attribute these terms to third gender practices everywhere, not least because they emerged from the era of post-Stonewall gay/lesbian politics in the US.

In Kumu Hina we meet the powerful and outspoken, tattoo-covered Hinaleimoana. She is a Hawai’ian Mahu, the local name used by those who embody both male and female spirits. In pre-colonial Hawai’i, as in other places throughout the Pacific and Southeast Asia, Mahu once had an important place in society as healers, or gifted and special persons. The film explores Hina’s experience of being Mahu in contemporary Hawai’i, where the culture of Pacific Islanders and their values suffered 200 years of imperialism, violence and colonial religious oppression.

As a teacher at a public charter school dedicated to native Hawaiian culture, language and history, Hina is a cultural icon and guardian of traditions once under threat. We are immediately captivated by her presence when, in an early scene, she chants with such a deep and melodious voice it immediately overpowers a class of self-conscious pubescent boys. “Listen to my voice”, she says, “there’s nothing ‘Wahine’ (feminine) about my voice”. Though Hina uses female pronouns, she is here able to harness ‘Ku’ (energy associated with masculinity) in her position as Mahu – a ‘place in the middle’.  

On the other side of the world, Shinjuku Boys is an intimate portrayal of a cohort of ‘Onnabe’ – persons identified as female at birth who now live and work as men. They are employees at The New Marilyn Club in Tokyo, a ‘host bar’ for (mostly) heterosexual women clients. The roles they assume at work call to mind depictions of masculinity found in Japanese popular culture. For example, Kazuki displays a romantic boy-next-door persona whilst Gaish is dismissive of his customers’ feelings, emulating a tsundere boyfriend who is initially cold before gradually showing a warm side. Beyond this, the film explores a more nuanced reality, with each host adopting a range of different ideas about their gender and sexuality, which can change depending on the context. When a client asks Gaish “What do you think you are?” Gaish responds elegantly: “I don’t think anything. I’m just me”. Later Gaish tells the same client: “There are all kinds of Onnabe”.

Kumu Hina and Shinjuku Boys are both fascinating studies in cultural variety, illustrating how gender practices the world over are as diverse as people are themselves.

Kumu Hina screens on Fri 27th November at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre and on Sun 29th November at the Rose Lipman Building.
Shinjuku Boys screens on Sun 29th November at the Rose Lipman Building.


Exploring the stories of queer Muslims

Posted on Thu 05 Nov by AlexK / Documentary, Film, Event, Open Discussion

by MK Margetson

This month, Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest brings three powerful films to East London that explore the obstacles and prejudices overcome by LGBTQI Muslims, both on European shores and across the pond. These titles – one fiction feature, and two documentaries - show the strength of their queer Muslim protagonists, and their ability to thrive in challenging communities, whilst navigating the complexities of identity and persecution.

The subject of homosexuality and Islam in television shows recently, such as BBC3’s How Gay is Pakistan? and Channel 4’s Muslim Drag Queens, has galvanised mainstream discourse on the subject. The films selected for screening at Fringe! offer a more contemplative look at the diverse stories and lives of queer Muslims.

Acclaimed director of I Am Gay and Muslim (2012), Chris Belloni, will deliver The Turkish Boat, which tells the story of Dutch-Turkish LGBT+ activists who sailed around the Dutch Canal Parade representing the queer communities of Turkey. The spirited Done and her cautious friend Serdar share their hopes and concerns whilst navigating their image to the press, the public, and themselves. They are questioned in each sphere: for their racial and cultural identities, and for their homosexuality.  

Malachi Leopold’s Alex & Ali is a heartbreaking documentary about American Peace Corps worker Alex’s journey to find his great love, Ali, who remained in Iran after the two were separated in 1977 due to the Islamic Revolution, having lived together for a decade. Detailing the restrictions placed on their correspondence throughout 35 years, the film displays the incredible effort of a love crafted through communicated segments of hope; all of which could neither mention the situation dividing them, nor homosexuality.

The tragic events that unfold illuminate the space between individuals, as well as the effect that political conflict can have on the quality of human lives. It displays the harrowing effects of societal beliefs about homosexuality, and the wounds of human rights abuses, on the human spirit. The circumstances of their story are told best in this moving film.

Finally, Naz and Maalik, the first feature from Jay Dockendorf, portrays its main characters’ secret affection against the claustrophobic backdrop of post-9/11 New York City. This sweet coming-of-age story, notably the first to present queer love between practicing Muslims, will resonate with those who grew up, and sought to find connection, in an unforgiving environment.

The film’s sweeter, more subtle moments, however, defy stereotypes of Muslim life in America. For those currently embarking on an exploration of themselves, Naz and Maalik provides a hopeful, tender portrait of the beauty that can be attained away from public view. It deftly illuminates the ‘double jeopardy’ position occupied by queer African-American males in America, situating the state - represented by two dodgy white CIA agents - as the villains.

Its understated shots produce beauty and light, illuminating the connection between the two young leads. Reminiscent of Andrew Haigh’s BFI Flare hit, Weekend, yet told from an under-represented perspective, Naz and Maalik is a rare gem.

Alex & Ali screens on Sat 28th November in Genesis Cinema.
The Turkish Boat screens on Sat 28th November in Rio Cinema, followed by a Q&A. 
Naz & Maalik screens on Sun 29th November in Rio Cinema.


Volunteer Arts Coordinator

Posted on Wed 08 Apr by AlexK /


About Fringe!

Fringe! Queer Film and Arts Fest is a film and arts festival rooted in London's queer creative scene and welcoming everyone. We're not-for-profit and run by a team of passionate volunteers. From feature films to experimental art, workshops, performances panel discussions and wild parties, the festival hosts a multitude of diverse events, representing queer artists and film-makers from all over the world, as well as supporting local talent.

Fringe! was launched in 2011, by a group of queer creatives as a community response to arts cuts carnage. Our mission was to offer a dynamic, representative and unmistakably fresh alternative to other film and arts festivals. The festival, now heading into its 5th year, aims to provoke debate and discussion, whilst remaining accessible and open to all. We are proud that the majority of our events and screenings affordable or even free.

About the Role

Fringe! is looking for a new arts coordinator to oversee our visual and performing arts programme. We are looking for an individual with existing contacts and knowledge of visual and performing arts (we would also consider appointing two people, one with knowledge/experience of each) who can curate a programme for the festival and co-ordinate its production and realisation. The programme is likely to include two or more exhibitions and a number of performances and workshops across our week long festival period in November. We are looking for someone who can start soon as we will need to work up a funding proposal for this strand of the festival (in collaboration with other team members).

Take a look at last year’s programme for inspiration

We work collectively at Fringe! so all members of the team contribute to programming (across art forms) as well as everything that goes into making the festival happen.

Responsibilities will include:

- Preparing a programme proposal (across visual arts and performing arts)
- Preparing a budget for the programme
- Building relationships with artists
- Reviewing and selecting artists who contact us through our open submissions page
- Managing the development and delivery of the programme before and during the festival
- Working with other team members on delivering the overall festival programme (marketing, venue scouting...etc)
- Collaborate with Fringe! team on funding applications related to the programme

Person Specification:

- Previous experience in a similar role in either visual arts or performing arts or both
- Experience of applying for funding
- Existing networks within the queer arts/creative scene
- Ability to communicate effectively
- Ability to work cooperatively with colleagues and artists
- Strong organisational skills
- Interest in issues faced by the queer community
- Interest in Fringe! festival values and programme

How to apply:

Please send a CV and covering letter  outlining why you are suitable for the role to alex@fringefilmfest.com, please address all points in the Person Specification.

Deadline: 5th May 2015


Submissions for Fringe! 2015 are now open

Posted on Tue 31 Mar by AlexK /

Fringe! will return in November 2015 and we are looking for the best queer films (features and shorts, fiction and documentary), exhibition proposals, workshop and talk ideas and more.

film submissions

Terms & Conditions:

1. Fringe! is a not-for-profit festival run entirely by volunteers. We do not charge any submissions fees, and in turn do not pay screening fees.

2. We are most interested in your film itself, and so request that no additional publicity materials be sent during the submission period.

3. We do not have any restrictions on runtime, year of production, type or genre of film, but Fringe! is primarily interested in films created by, for, about, or of interest to gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans* or intersex people.

4. Please only complete this form if you have the authority or permission to submit this film, and if you have the intention to have your film screen in Fringe! 2015 if it is selected.

5. All submissions must be made by providing an online screener. No DVDs or hard drives please.

To submit your film please use the film submissions form here.

other submissions


We Also accept submissions for art exhibitions, workshops, talks and other events.

To submit a proposal for an art exhibition click here.

To submit any other type of idea or event please please use the event submissions form here.


Film submissions will close on Monday 31st August 2015.

All other submissions will close on Monday 29th June 2015. ExTENDED deadline: wednesday 15th july

If you have any questions with regards to the submissions process please email us on hi@fringefilmfest.com