For the past 24 years GAZE International LGBT Film Festival has been providing a platform for Irish and International LGBT cinema in Dublin.  Taking place annually over the August Bank Holiday weekend in Light House Cinema Dublin, the festival offers an exciting array of a selection of films to suit a wide variety of audiences, with a choice of international titles and homegrown Irish films also being screened.  A number of special guests attending the festival have been announced, offering audiences an exciting opportunity to engage with filmmakers and contributors in person.

Kevin Stea, a former dancer with Madonna on her Blond Ambition tour, is one of the contributors involved in the opening night film, Strike A Pose and the festival is delighted to announce that he will introduce this Irish premiere of the film on Thursday 28th July.  The film features the male dancers from the iconic Blond Ambition tour, who reunite after 25 years to share stories and memories.  The film provides a fascinating insight to the intensity of relationships that develop throughout a major world concert tour.  Kevin will also introduce a special screening of Madonna: Truth or Dare, on Saturday 30th July.

Irish content stands proudly to the fore, and GAZE is a platform to provide visibility for Irish LGBT films and filmmakers. The 2016 Irish shorts programme builds on the very high standard of last year.  The festival will welcome filmmaker Edmund Lynch to the festival to introduce the world premiere of his film, A Different Country, on Friday July 29th.  The film tells of the dramatic difference in the lives of Irish LGBT people over the past few decades, with dozens of people speaking openly and movingly about their personal circumstances.  The film includes a special contribution from former president Mary Robinson.

Viva, one of the biggest Irish films internationally in 2016, will have a special screening at the festival with writer Mark O’Halloran in attendance to introduce the film and discuss the work.   Presented through the lens of an authentic Cuba, Viva explores the complex relationship dynamics between father and son as they clash over opposing expectations of each other.  Documenting the struggle to understand one another and reconcile as a family, the film is an emotion filled drama.

The festival this year will also mark the historical significance of the 1916 centenary with the historical thread YesterGAZE focusing on Roger Casement, whose sexuality often makes him an unsung hero of the rebellion.  A panel discussion will take place following a screening of Alan Gilsenan’s documentary The Ghost of Roger Casement, with participants including producer Bill Hughes and Professor Patrick Geoghegan.

The Irish premiere of Real Boy, a powerful documentary about a 19 year old trans man in the US, will be attended by the director of the film, Shaleece Haas.  A raw and breathtakingly honest account of Bennett Wallace’s resilience throughout his transition, and his acceptance, courage and maturity in the face of adversity, the film results in a huge sense of awe and admiration for this character by the closing credits of this wonderfully honest and refreshing documentary.

GAZE Film Festival takes place with the assistance of Dublin City Council, The Arts Council, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and the Communities Foundation for Ireland.

The GAZE film festival runs from July 28th – August 1st at Light House Cinema, Dublin.

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