Break boundaries and binaries at Fringe! Queer Film and Arts Fest

195 Lewis - Fringe! festival

195 Lewis - Fringe! festival - Credit: Archant

With over 40 events across six days, London’s queer film and arts festival Fringe! returns to east London

Dream Boat - Fringe! festival

Dream Boat - Fringe! festival - Credit: Archant

With over 40 events across six days, London’s queer film and arts festival Fringe! returns to east London with an eclectic run of screenings, panels, workshops, performances and parties.

Fringe! will run from November 14-19, hosting seven UK premieres in a programme of 33 features and 72 shorts celebrating queer cinema from around the globe.

This year’s festival kicks off at Dalston’s Rio Cinema, with a documentary about the life of football’s first openly gay player, Justin Fashanu, followed by a Q&A with directors John Carey and Adam Darke.

Also at the Rio is An Invitation to Jacqui D, presenting three experimental dramas by pioneering filmmaker, Jacqui Duckworth, and a late-night quote-along of 90s cult classic, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, hosted by drag queen Holestar; guests are invited to “dress to impress”.

Day Dream - Fringe! festival

Day Dream - Fringe! festival - Credit: Archant

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Fringe! 2017 shines a spotlight on the work of award-winning documentarian, Catherine Gund, founder of DIVA TV, the AIDS activist video collective. Two of Gund’s best-known works, Chavela and Lez Be Honest, will be screened at the Rio and Hackney Showroom, each followed by a Q&A.

The festival will host the European premiere of same-sex ballroom dancing documentary, Hot to Trot, which follows a sequined cast of international dancers both on and off the dance floor, and abounds in emotional tumult and glitter.

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UK premieres at Fringe! include Upon the Shadow by Tunisian film director Nada Mezni Hafaiedh, presenting a queer perspective of the Arab Spring, and Jochen Hick’s film, My Wonderful West Berlin. Hick’s film is replete with drag performances, gay communes, and leather bars, and treats the 1980s AIDS crisis, the beginnings of techno, and the reunification of Berlin.

Archival and short films, LGBT Britain and Back to the Future, explore the historical resilience and survival techniques of LGBTQIA+ people, and will screen for free at the festival hub in Hackney Showroom.

Upon the Shadow - Fringe! festival

Upon the Shadow - Fringe! festival - Credit: Archant

Original lesbian web series 195 Lewis shows in full at the Barbican, as well as shorts about or by queer people of colour.

Other not-to-be-missed screenings include Shu Lea Cheang’s Fluidø, Tristan Ferland Milewski’s Dream Boat, elegiac Italian documentary, My Nature, Berlin-based post-porn sci-fi film, Neurosex 3, Goodyn Green’s The Toilet Line, and Nontawat Numbenchapol’s #BKKY.

Panel discussions curated by writer Amelia Abraham will discuss topics such as gay shame and self-representation, and acclaimed actor Anna Martine Freeman is running a workshop on the stereotypes and challenges surrounding gender roles in theatre and film.

Supplementing this programme of films, Q&As, and workshops is a schedule of drag shows and parties at The Glory and Hackney Showroom.

Fringe! runs November 14-19 at various Hackney locations. For the full programme and tickets visit

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