LGBT films come out fighting for their rightful place in mainstream cinema at London art fest GFEST 2016.

gfest2016pic9LGBT Feature and short films line up to showcase at Rich Mix Cinema in Shoreditch on 12, 14 and 15 November. GFEST 2016 film screenings continue on 14 and 17 November at Arthouse Crouch End. An ‘African LGBTQ Community Cinema’ event with 2 screenings will take place at Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham on Sunday 13 November.

An annual platform for LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex) artists and organisations, the 9th GFEST – Gaywise FESTival ® runs Monday 7 – Saturday 19 November 2016 at venues across London. The films deal with GFEST 2016 theme, highlighting the contrast between ‘out and marginal’ identities.

The GFEST 2016 full film programme (from Saturday 12 to Thursday 17 November) details are live on the GFEST website: 

FILMS: ‘Crossing the Marginal’
GFEST 2016 films explore themes of fighting back from margins, with a line-up that includes recently completed LGBTQI works and some UK and London premieres of feature-length and short films.

A Still from GFEST 2016 feature film JONATHAN

The film programme opens on Saturday 12 November at Rich Mix with moving film Jonathan, a feature drama (Germany 2015, English subtitles) about a complicated father-son relationship and a long-kept family secret: a visually striking debut by director Piotr J. Lewandowski.

A Still from GFEST 2016 feature lenghth documentary Gender Troubles
A Still from GFEST 2016 feature film The Pearl

On 14 November GFEST 2016 shows feature length documentary Gender Troubles: The Butches (USA 2016) by director Lisa Plourde, which gives a voice to women who may look and or act in ways that society has decided is appropriate only for men; followed on 15 November by Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca’s The Pearl (USA 2016), a fascinating portrayal of the experiences of four middle-aged transgender women.

A Still from GFEST 2016 feature film Brothers of the Night
A Still from GFEST 2016 short film If I met a Magician

14 November will see the London premiere of Patric Chiha’s docudrama style feature film Brothers of the Night (Austria 2016, English subtitles), based on the lives of a group of young Roma men from Bulgaria who sell their bodies at gay venues in Vienna, will be unveiled at Arthouse Crouch End, along with Shaked Goren’s short film If I met a Magician (Israel 2015).

The 17 November screening of LGBTQ short films include a number of UK films: Denise by director Kenneth O’TooleOpen Plan directed by Daniel MurthaJake Graf’s film DawnMasterful Hermit directed by Reg Noyes and Oliver Mason’s Away with Me – showcasing the best and most vibrant of UK LGBT film talent in recent time.

A Still from GFEST 2016 short film Dawn
A Still from GFEST 2016 short film Denise
A Still from GFEST 2016 short film No Matter Who
A Still from GFEST 2016 short film The Mermaid and the Whale

A special event focusing on African LGBTIQ communities will take place at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham on 13 November.

A Still from African LGBTQ film Umunthu
A still from African LGBTQ feature drama OUTED: The Painful Reality

Under the themes of Pain and Resilience and Hope, a double bill will include feature length Outed: The Painful Reality (Uganda 2015) together with the latest short documentary film Police Raid on Pride Uganda 2016 at 5.30 pm, followed at 8.00 pm by documentaries And Still We Rise (Uganda 2015), a story of courage and resilience, Umunthu (Malawi 2013) which explores complexities of tolerance, acceptance, Being Unbound (UK/Tanzania 2015) which looks at rarely discussed African trans identities and music video Same Love – Remix (Kenya) which was banned in Kenya. Doors open at 4.00 pm to give ample time for intros and Q/A with filmmakers as well as discussions with community groups.

“A number of GFEST 2016 films deal with ‘Out, Proud and loud’ messages and narratives in a unique way from the margins of social identities,” says GFEST artistic director Niranjan Kamatkar. “We are proud to be promoting cinematic excellence being at the heart of LGBTQI future.”

Arthouse LGBT films and Cabaret at Rich Mix Cinema in Shoreditch from Tomorrow (15 to 18 November)

A number of LGBT and gay feature and short films will be screened from Saturday the 15 November to Tuesday the 18 November as part of London cross-arts fest  GFEST – Gaywise FESTival. All the film events will take place at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, London.

Andrey Kruganov, one of the main leads of the feature film STAND at Rich Mix on 15 November will attend the Q&A session with audience, after the film screening at 12 noon.


Filmmaker and actor Jake Graf will also attend the Q & A sessions on 16 after the screening of film ‘Brace’ and LGBT documentary ‘Fagbug Nation’ by Erin Davies at 12 noon at the same venue.

Richard Mansfield, the director of British feature film ‘The Secret Path’ will attend the Q&A after the screening on his film at Rich Mix Cinema on Tuesday the 18 Nov at 8.15 pm.

STAND film star Andrey Kruganov being interviewed


On Saturday the 15 November, at 8pm, GFEST 2014 Cabaret events will also take place at Rich Mix. The star-studded line up includes Bird La Bird, Mzz Kimberley and the Sh!t Theatre.

More details and booking information of all GFEST 2014 events at Rich Mix:


A short film with a deep drama at GFEST 2014

Helton Vilar

In 12 minutes, The Last Farewell (2013) features a delicate story of a gay man who decides to review his own life, reflecting about his successes and failures, unveiling a path to comprehension and forgiveness. In this quick interview, Swedish director Casper Andreas tells us more in detail about this award-winner production.



How do you describe “The Last Farewell”?

The short answer is that it’s an alternative family drama about life and death! Sounds dramatic and it is in a way, but it’s also a sweet love story dealing with acceptance and forgiveness.

We see “new” topics related to LGBT people, not usually explored in cinema, such as maturity, death…

There are a few films out there about LGBT characters dealing with those things. It certainly was something new for me to explore though (I’m mostly known for my romantic comedies) but its been amazing to see how audiences of all ages are able to relate to the characters and what they are going through.

How was filming it?

Like always the challenges when filming an independent film was time and money. We had an amazing two-day shoot though. My actors were just wonderful and the film team was so supportive making sure we got everything we needed finished in those two days.

Would you like to highlight any part in specific?

Well there is a moment in the second part of the film when the main character does a quick turn that I’m super happy with. I think that sequence is very powerful and I hope everyone is paying attention at that moment. But it’s a 12 min film so hopefully they will be paying attention throughout.

The screening happens as part of GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014 film screening programme on Monday, 17/11 at 12 pm at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA


GFEST 2014 Films list and dates

GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014 Sensational films line-up. Enjoy the diverse films on big screen.


Check for more and please help spread the word.

GFEST 2014 Films at Rich Mix, 15 to 18 November 2014

35 – 47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA

Sat 15 Nov / 12 noon / To Russia with love (short) + STAND feature drama: Booking info

Sun 16 Nov / 12 noon / Brace (short) + Fagbug Nation, feature documentary : Booking info

Mon 17 Nov / 6 pm / A Last Farewell (short) + The Way He Looks, feature drama : Booking info

Tues 18 Nov / 8.15 pm / June (short) + Secret Path, feature drama : Booking info

Box Office : 020 7613 7498 / /  concs and incl. promotional prices

@GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014 Brochure

GFEST – Gaywise FESTival from 10 to 22 November venues : films & cabaret at Rich Mix (15 to 18 Nov), Dance at RADA Studio (20 Nov), Art exhibition at Menier Gallery (10 to 22 Nov), Bar Titania (a new event: Authors book reading ‘L is for..’ free entry – turn up on 13 Nov at 6 pm ) & debate at Roehampton University (19 Nov)

Download : GFEST2014Ebrochure  & See full event list (10 to 22 Nov)

STAND – Film shot in Ukraine portrays a homophobic Russia

Helton Vilar

Based on real events, Stand (2013) tells the story of a couple in search of evidences to unravel a homophobic crime in Russia. This production is directed by French Jonathan Taieb, and starred by Renat Shuteev (Anton) and Andrey Kurganov (Vlad). In an interview, Taieb has spoken about the challenges of making a movie about gays, particularly filming it in Ukraine; a country then emerged into a political crisis. The director agrees about the lack of feature films approaching the situation of gay rights in Russia, mostly seen only in documentaries. Here we have, according to his words, “a drama, thriller and cinema verité, a debate about love and hate, between the epic and the intimate”.

Helton Vilar: To which extent the narrative is connected with the current situation of LGBT rights in Russia?

Jonathan Taieb: The film is partly inspired by true events. Some neo-Nazis groups hunt the Homosexuals in Eastern Europe due, in part, to the new law, which forbids any “sexual-propaganda”. Some videos of these humiliations and violent moments are still online and have been seen by over 500,000 users. There are a lot of Antons, the main characters of the film, all over the world, fighting for Human Rights.

HV: Did you face any challenge when filming “Stand”?

JT: It was really tough to shot the film, in Ukraine, during the crisis. As a French-European, we have to face with the wave of anti-European sentiment. We were really lucky to find some people who really help us on site. And in Kharkov, the city where we shoot and the second largest Ukraine city, just 50 km from Russia, a homophobic group attacked a gay man just few days before we arrived to shoot.

A still from movie Stand
A Still from movie Stand

stand_4wHV: Is there any specific part to which the audience should pay more attention?

JT: I think Stand is (just) a film and the reality is worse. The audience and media may have to stay tuned in with Human Rights topics, and not just during big international meetings like Olympic games. It’s not sporadically that people are deprived of their rights and we have to get the power, thanks to social media and Internet, or culture, arts and films, to change things.

Stand is a part of the GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014, and it will be screened on Saturday, 15/11 at 12 noon at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA – A Q&A session with actor Andrey Kurganov will happen just after the session.


Gay Films Can Also Be Romantic

By Helton Vilar

In the middle of the night, a piano music is the background for the meeting of two lovers. They do not need to say anything, but a message becomes very clear. June is a silent short film directed by Canadian Aaron Chan. The beautiful photography is a highlight for this production at the last evening of GFEST – Gaywise FESTival 2014 film screenings.

The Secret Path 73
a Still from feature drama The Secret Path
A Still from short film June

The same environment of lyric and sweet romance gives the tone for The Secret Path, a historical drama. In the year 1810, Frank and Theo are two British navy soldiers in love, planning to escape an unbearable journey in a ship. An unexpected development happens when they both realise that escaping away is just the beginning of another struggle.

Both movies are interesting productions and show how the GLBT stories also may produce romantic, sensitive dramas focused on relationship, different of the stereotype of the sex-related productions.

In the last evening of the film sessions, the audience will have the chance to join a Q&A session with The Secret Path director Richard Mansfield. The screening of both movies happens on Tuesday, 18/11 at 8.15 pm at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA