Fringe! Queer Film and Arts Fest Opens a New Chapter

Fringe! Queer Film and Arts Fest runs from the 9th to 14th November 2021


  • Fantasy gender, gore glamour on opening night featuring Alexis Langolis’s Les Dèmons De Dorothy.
  • No Straight Lines: The Rise Of Queer Comics documentary closes the Festival.
  • Celebration of filmmaker Monika Truet and queer chosen families in Japanese   cinema.
  • Launch of a new erotic sci-fi anthology, Unreal Sex, highlights series of literary talks and workshops.                                                               
  • The Love Hub offers weekend of health of well-being for the LGBTQ+ community.

This November, Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest returns for its eleventh edition with a diverse, provocative and political programme of in-person film screenings and events taking place in the festival’s pop up hubs and East London’s independent cinemas, alongside a number of online screenings available across the UK. The festival which celebrates the best in queer filmmaking runs from the 9th to 14th November.

Fringe! 2021 opens with Les Démons de Dorothy + 2 other dirty cinematic trips from emerging French auteur Alexis Langlois. These 3 short films exemplify the camp, gore, eroticism, fantasy, gender glamour, and lesbian longing present throughout our 2021 programme, with the titular film taking a struggling filmmaker for a neon prosthetic-enhanced joyride on a pink motorbike through writer’s block. 

Closing the festival will be No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics, a documentary that joyfully profiles five pioneers of the queer comics scene from the 1970s onwards – Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse, Jennifer Camper, Rupert Kinnard, and Mary Wings, and the way they took representation into their own hands. This film encapsulates the power of community and is the perfect festival finale.

Making a welcome return to the Fringe! calendar is our infamous camp classic midnight movie at the Rio Cinema! This year we celebrate the messy, queerbaiting fun that was 2000’s Coyote Ugly, with drag accompaniment and an afterparty with bar dancers from Harpies at Dalston Superstore.

As well as the opening night films, which feature a trans-led cast, we are excited to present a double bill of Monika Treut’s films Gendernaughts: A Journey of Shifting Identities over Time (1999), and Genderation(2020). Gendernaughts documents the pioneers of self-determination in late 90s San Francisco, as academic and artist Sandy Stone introduces this ‘new world’ to Treut’s fascinated and seductive camera. Last year’s Genderation traces these conversations, and new queer ideas about later life, resulting in a film that is a guide for the rest of our lives. Additionally, the long-awaited narrative feature Lola by the Sea is a restorative story that sees Lola reconnect with her estranged father amidst the dusky streets of Belgium, Lola goes on a journey of self-discovery in this vital trans coming-of-age story. We are thrilled to be inviting star Mya Boallers to discuss their accomplished debut.

Lola by the Sea 

Fringe! are proud to be screening Gemmel & Tim, a vital and urgent documentary about Gemmel “Juelz” Moore and Timothy “Tim” Dean, 2 beautiful, brilliant Black gay men with full lives, loving communities, and future plans. Both of them lost to drug overdoses at the house of Ed Buck, a Democratic donor and a powerful white gay man. An unflinching call to arms from the community, for the community. A contrastingly vital documentary is AILEY, which uses beautiful archive footage, to not only capture the unique impact and imagination of choreographer Alvin Ailey’s work but the social context that inspired his thinking and growth.

Radical art often finds a vehicle in queer cinema, notably in the new documentary Wojnarowicz: F*ck You F*ggot Fucker! A stirring portrait of the ultimate outsider artist enlists other radical art world voices, and the huge archive of journals, cassettes, photographs & super 8 films left behind after Wojnarowicz’s 1992 death, to tell the story of an artist working against the government in an era when ‘fags and dykes and junkies’ were expendable. 

The queer political and personal are explored in Southern Sorceresses, when marginalised communities of Black trans women, indigenous groups and non-binary people co-create an open square in Sao Paulo, to perform confronting interventions and actions with the help of superstar academic Judith Butler. A selection of short live artists’ work and moving images called Live Action Spells for Queer Bodies screens in our hub, and we present a new work (and post-screening discussion) from April Lin (林森),  (Tending) (to) (Ta), a mesmerising narrative-led speculative fiction rooted in ‘tā’, the monosyllabic sound which in Mandarin Chinese encompasses all third-person pronouns.

(Tending) (to) (Ta)

Fringe! have two events exploring queer chosen families in Japanese cinema. Paired with a queer knitting workshop, Close-Knit (Karera ga Honki de Amu Toki wa) follows Tomo after her flighty mother leaves her for the umpteenth time and she’s taken in by her Uncle Mario and his trans partner Rinko. We also join the incredible pan-Asian cabaret collective The Bitten Peach to celebrate Tokyo Godfathers for a performance-filled screening with discussions about queerness and family. These films are part of Japan 2020: Over 100 years of Japanese Cinema, a UK-wide film season supported by the National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network.

Fetish + Des!re is an intimate conversation between filmmakers Topher Campbell and Campbell X about Black queer masculine sexuality, led by photographer Ajamu X, with films from the artists present. Black gay perspectives from creatives including Paul Mendez (Rainbow Milk) will be shared in a chat on mental health, queerness, and writing, at our screening of literary adaptation All Boys Aren’t Blue.

In lesbian cinema, a trend of ironically employed romantic-comedy tropes is traced in the short film programme 10 Things I Hate About Dykes. For the real thing, get some sunshine in Ma Belle, My Beauty, a narrative following a former bisexual throuple’s sunkissed reunion, as they try and re-try their relationships with still-healing hearts and fearful hopes for the future. Authentic, enduring, and stirring, the narrative feature Bliss (UK premiere) depicts complexities in romance and a powerful depiction of sex work onscreen.

Fringe! is also blessed by the return of The Love Hub, a weekend full of health and well-being events in the festival, produced by The Love Tank. Free and affordable sessions range from sex and desire workshops to political panels, to peer-led healthcare talks. Additionally, we host 5 live literature events: from the launch of a new erotic sci-fi anthology with Cipher Press to a talk with Niven Govinden, to a trans writers’ salon, and a writers’ workshop with Olumide Popoola (supported by a grant from Arts Council England).

Ten of our festival events will be streamed on the Fringe! digital festival hub from Tuesday 9th November to Sunday 14th November. The online offering will have access provisions such as Closed Captioning and BSL interpreted Q&As.



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