Initially launched in 2011, Fringe!, east London’s celebration of queer film and arts, has expanded exponentially to become one of the most innovative and exciting festivals on the circuit, especially considering the fact that it is entirely run by volunteers.
Among this year’s line-up, legendary director Bruce LaBruce (Hustler White) chooses 34 of his favourite YouTube videos as part of ‘Fringe! Fest Finger Fuck!’ Also playing will be the world premiere of Travis Matthews’ new film, In Their Room, which looks at gay men as they prepare for dates and hook-ups. Shot in London during last year’s Fringe!, expect a frank examination of male intimacy and a dissection of the blurry line between pornography and art. Another world premiere, The Year I Broke My Voice, plays out a series of vignettes as a group of gender-ambiguous teenagers share coming-of-age experiences that deviate from the problems of early adulthood that we’re used to seeing on screen.
Fringe! isn’t just a film festival, however, with lesbian website The Most Cake hosting a night of fun and confessions labelled ‘Cringe!’ Taking place at an old Catholic school in Hackney, it’s a night that allows participants to experience school as it should have been, complete with ‘jeerleading’ gym session, genitalia art lesson and diary readings. Following last year’s successful film program, Little Joe magazine will be returning with Little Joe Classroom, a free space dedicated to discussion of sexuality and gender within film, which will include talks, workshops and screenings.
Hosted by East End drag artist Holestar, there will also be a quote-along screening of Tina Fey’s teen classic Mean Girls, followed by an after party at Dalston Superstore. For a festival only three years old, it’s an impressive roster of events that takes in world premieres, camp classics and serious discussion of queer identities.
Fringe! runs from 11-14 April at a number of participating venues across east London, including Aubin Cinema, Hackney Picturehouse, Rio Cinema and Dalston Superstore. Tickets can be bought from the festival website.