Out On Film @ Galway Film Fleadh

Fleadh to screen nine LGBT films and documentaries

A scene from Derek Jarman's The Angelic Conversation.

A scene from Derek Jarman's The Angelic Conversation.

MISMATCHED LESBIAN hookers, trailblazing senior citizens, courageous African gay rights activists, and gay rom-coms, all films to make you laugh, cry, think, and act. This is Out On Film.

Out On Film, the Galway Film Fleadh’s strand for LGBT films and documentaries, features nine films this year, opening with  I Am Divine and closing with Derek Jarman’s The Angelic Conversation, the late director’s own favourite of his film catalogue.

The films

Opening film I Am Divine, directed by Jeffrey Schwart, is a documentary on Divine (aka Harris Glenn Milstead ), and how she became director John Waters’ cinematic muse and an international drag icon.

In 2008, 15-year-old Larry King asked another boy to be his Valentine in a suburban school yard in California. The next day Larry was shot dead - by his 14-year-old crush Brandon McInerney.

The documentary Valentine Road examines this murder and its aftermath, in turn exploring homophobia, sexism, racism, and class-struggle in American life. It futher argues that the US justice system is unprepared to deal with the realities of teenage crime and punishment.

In 52 Tuesdays (2013 ) a teenage girl has the difficult task of dealing with her mother’s gender transition. Sixteen-year-old Billie’s time with her mother becomes limited to Tuesday afternoons once her mother reveals she is going to have a sex change. The film was shot in real time every Tuesday for a year.

Lilting (2014 ), set in contemporary London, a Cambodian Chinese mother mourns the untimely death of her son. Her world is further disrupted by the presence of a stranger. They struggle to connect, not sharing a common language, but as time goes on, a bond develops and they piece together memories of a man they both loved. The film stars Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas, I’m Not There ).

Two mismatched lesbian hookers must navigating the bizarre fetishes and sexual needs of their clients in The Foxy Merkins, an ironic homage to male hustler films.

Margaret (Lisa Haas ), a down-on-her-luck hooker, comes to New York to ply her trade. She meets wealthy Jo (Jackie Monaghan ), an expert on picking up women. The duo hit the streets where they encounter bargain-hunting housewives, double-dealing conservative women, husky-voiced seductresses, mumbling erotic accessory salesmen, and shopaholic swingers.

Star and co-writer Jackie Monahan will be in attendance at the film’s Galway screening.

South Africa’s constitution was the first in the world to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but homophobia continues to find violent expression in assaults, rapes and murders. In response mourners, comrades, friends and survivors are taking to the streets for memorial marches, protests and township Prides. African Pride looks at those taking a public stance against homophobia and the challenges they face.

Growing old disgracefully or having a blast in their golden years? The three elderly people profiled in Before You Know It (2013 ) are go-go booted bar-hoppers, love struck activists, troublemaking baton twirlers, late night internet cruisers, seasoned renegades, and bold adventurers. The documentary celebrates these generational trailblazers who have surmounted prejudice and defied expectation to form communities of strength, renewal and camaraderie, and showing also that you’re never too old to be true to yourself and have a hell of a good time.

Cult director Bruce LaBruce returns with a refreshingly light-hearted film about love conquering the age barrier in Gerontophilia (2013 ). Lake, who is 18, and works in a nursing home, has an unusual attraction to the elderly. It is there he forms a relationship with Mr Peabody, who he helps escape from home, leading to a humorous road trip for the pair - an alternative rom-com.

Dame Judi Dench reads Shakespeare’s sonnets, backed by the music of industrial band Coil, set to images of the English landscape and gay love in The Angelic Conversation (1987 ) in this Derek Jarman classic.

The Galway Film Fleadh runs from Tuesday July 8 to Sunday 13. See www.galwayfilmfleadh.com

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