One of London’s most loved independent movie theatres, Genesis Cinema is about to celebrate its 20th birthday with the inclusive Fragments Festival.
The week-long event will kick off on 7 June, giving audiences a chance to see lesser-known films by non-white, non-straight, non-male directors.
An institution in East London, the Genesis team have remained aware of the inherent lack of inclusivity in the industry, both onscreen and behind the camera. Which is why they’ve decided to focus on showcasing works of underrepresented communities.
In this first edition of Fragments Festival, almost 80% of filmmakers identify as women, people of colour, disabled and/or LGBTI, limiting straight white male directors to 20%.
This documentary by Denis Parrot is an uplifting and heartbreaking look into the experiences of young queer people as they come out to their loved ones.
The French filmmaker stitched together videos posted online by the individuals themselves. The result is a beautiful tapestry of queerness, both life-affirming and disturbing at once.
On one level these snapshots serve as a comforting reminder of the collective experience we all share as members of the LGBTI community. Perhaps more importantly, however, this film explains how hard coming out might be to those who will never have to.
Sunday 9 June 16:00. The director will take part in a post-screening Q&A.
2 Knife + Heart
The raw sex appeal of gay club culture takes centre stage in this bizarre queer horror from Yann Gonzalez.
Vanessa Paradis stars as the ferocious Anne, a producer of gay porn who uses her films to work through her own issues of heartbreak and self-identity.
When her male stars start turning up brutally murdered, her work takes a bizarre turn and the lines between reality and erotic fantasy begin to blur.
The movie boasts a killer soundtrack from French electropop giants M83. The music only adds to the colourful, neon dreamscapes of every queer kid’s imagination, creating an aesthetic that we are desperate to live in.
Wednesday 12 June 21:00.
3 Red Cow
Set against the backdrop of a religiously tense Jerusalem, this movie by Tsivia Barkai focuses on the sexual awakening of 16-year-old Benny, exploring her attraction to another girl.
But this is an orthodox Jewish community and homosexuality is unquestionably forbidden. As Benny and her lover hide their relationship from the protagonist’s father, they also deal with belonging and identity.
Monday 10 June 21:00.
4 Carmen & Lola
Carmen lives in a gipsy community in the suburbs of Madrid. Like every other woman she has ever met, she is destined to getting married and raising as many children as possible.
That’s until she meets Lola, an aspiring teacher and graffiti artist who likes girls. Thanks to her relationship to Lola, Carmen begins to realise there may be more possibilities in life than just caring for a man.
Moreover, this film by Arantxa Echevarria unravels the complex relationships between the home, the church and the community and its ritualistic gender imbalances.
Tuesday 11 June 18:30.
5 A Dog Barking at the Moon
Returning with her Western husband to Beijing, pregnant writer Huang Xiaoyu is about to discover her family’s deepest secrets. She finds herself trapped between her cult brainwashed mother and her closeted gay father, as other untold truths slowly come to light.
A painfully honest family drama, this radical directorial debut partly fictionalizes director Xiang Zi’s own story.
Thursday 13 June 21:00.
6 Vision Portraits
Exploring art through the perspective of four visually impaired artists, Vision Portraits examines the worth placed on sight in an art scene which revolves so entirely around the seeing audience.
Visually striking and emotionally enrapturing, queer filmmaker Rodney Evans delicately balances archive footage, interview and experimental imagery. The viewer steps into a world where the clear-cut binaries of visibility and blindness are continually deconstructed.
Saturday 8 June 16:40.
LGBTI shorts at the festival
There are also several LGBTI films across the shorts programmes.
Unsent Letter portrays the real-life relationship between a WW2 veteran and his male lover. Moreover, Re:production explores the fetish known as milking and imagines a nightmare vision of male sexuality in a dystopian future.
Furthermore, F**k The Boxes is an unconventional queer love story set in urban London.
Finally, Have We Met Before? is a short docudrama exploring the history of sex in the gay community from the 1970s to the present day. The short also tackles how the internet affecting the way gay men meet.
The festival will screen 19 movies, opening with Teen Spirit, starring Elle Fanning.
Awards include Best Feature and Best Short, as well as Young Filmmaker Award and Best Film Shot On A Phone. They will be handed out during the closing gala on 15 June with the UK Premiere of She Who Must Be Loved.
The jury comprising Oscar-winning and twice BAFTA nominated film producer and Birds Eye View Director-at-Large Mia Bays. Furthermore, Kinky Boots screenwriter and producer Geoff Deane, actor Clint Dyer and The Expanse actress Dominique Tipper will join.
For more information, visit Fragments Festival website.