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VIVA, Paddy Breathnach

London’s queer film and arts festival, Fringe!, returns November 15 to 20, for its sixth year with screenings, talks, panels, workshops, performance and parties, taking over nine venues in East London.

Queer Family is the main theme of this year’s festival with a large part of the program looking at the families we make for ourselves and those we are born into. Voguing also takes centre stage illuminating the continued interest in this popular artform through films, panels and workshops. The festival also pays tribute to one of the year’s major tragedies, June’s fatal attack on an Orlando LGBT nightclub, by shining a light on gay rights, bullying and homophobia around the world from Chile to China and the US to Italy.

Opening the festival will be Academy Award-shortlisted Viva by Irish director Paddy Breathnach which tells the story of young Cuban Jesus whose life is transformed through the power of drag.


Closing the festival will be Lena Dunham-produced documentary Suited, which explores the world of Bindle & Keep tailors in NYC who make so much more than custom suits – they provide a welcoming space and armor of confidence for a diverse queer community living beyond the gender binary.

Other Highlights include:

Festival circuit hit and Teddy Award 2016 best documentary winner Kiki by Sara Jordenö shines a light on the contemporary New York ballroom and voguing scene and offers a riveting and complex insight into a safe space created and governed by queer youth of color;

Strike a Pose is an emotional rollercoaster which catches up with six dancers from Madonna’s controversial Blond Ambition tour and its accompanying documentary In Bed With Madonna aka Madonna: Truth Or Dare;

In Brazilian film The Nest (directed by Marcio Reolon & Filipe Matzembacher) a young soldier in search of his brother falls in with a group of genderqueer bohemians and finds a new family;

Nneka Onuorah’s documentary The Same Difference takes a powerful look at the internal homophobia and gender policing that quietly rives the black lesbian community in the U.S.;

In Deb Shoval’s debut feature AWOL, starring Mistress America’s Lola Kirke and Unreal’s Breeda Wool, a deeply affecting lesbian love story collides with the trappings of class and circumstance in an economically depressed coal town in rural America;

Lazy Eye, directed by Tim Kirkman, follows a handsome bearded graphic designer as he reconnects with a great lost love, examining the roads not taken, second chances and one’s life choices in the process with emotional depth and the blistering chemistry between its two leads;

Homophobia, bullying and gay rights are examined in the Steve Buscemi-produced documentary Check It chronicling the life of the only documented queer street gang in the US; Alex Anwandter’s debut feature and Teddy Award winner You’ll Never Be Alone which follows a father seeking justice for his gay son in Chile; Veronica Pivetti’s Ne Giulietta, Ne Romeo (A Little Lust) gives the topic the rare comedy treatment; and controversial Hong Kong director Scud’s latest outing, Utopians, which looks at the discussion and criminalization of gay sex in China through a pansexual and distinctly seductive lens.

The UK premiere of the wonderful 20th anniversary restoration of Cheryl Dunye’s New Queer Cinema classic The Watermelon Woman.

The festival also offers a range of workshops, panels, and performance events including Queer Gestures presented by performance collective I’m With You, a Spanking workshop with Allison England, a BDSM workshop with Holestar, a live soundtracked screening of Sorry, Wrong Number with Helen Noir and spoken word night Queer’Say hosted by Rosie Wilby.

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