Category Archives: Pride

Pride and Protest

ARE YOU PROUD? by Ashley Joiner

Are You Proud? celebrates Pride, it explores the joys and division of the LGBTQ+ protest movement of then and now

Statement by Ashley Joiner:

A few years ago, when a partner’s mother, a LGBTQ+ activist, asked whether I would be attending Pride, I answered with a resounding “No”. I felt a total disconnect to what I perceived Pride to be. Her response was: “You don’t know your history!”. She was right – I didn’t. I had no knowledge of Section 28 and knew only of rumours and lies regarding the AIDS crisis. Exploring our history has helped me to understand why I grew up as an isolated young gay man filled with shame and fear. I knew I had to make this film in the effort to prevent anyone else feeling that way.  

Are You Proud? is an exploration of a community that has tirelessly campaigned for my existence; the lives and battles fought that aren’t discussed or taught in schools, of a community that I am a part of, and is a part of me. 

This is the film I needed to see when I was a child, and as a young gay man coming out. Making this film has emboldened me to continue the fight that so many have fought before me, and I hope that it encourages others to do the same.


Screenings

There will be Q&A screenings with Ashley Joiner and contributors around the UK from July. The first event is on 2nd July Genesis Cinema Mile End (in association with Fringe Film Fest) follow by 3rd July at Picturehouse Central.

Details https://www.peccapics.com/areyouproud (click on screening tab)

https://www.peccapics.com/product/areyouproud/
With Lady Phyll, Peter Tatchell , George Montague, Ted Brown, Lisa Power, Michael Cashman and more

MARIO a revealing look at homosexuality in The Beautiful Game.

No matter who I talk to, hardly anyone understands why it should be a problem to be an openly gay professional football player in 2018. As early as 2013, many German politicians as well as high-ranking club functionaries and representatives of professional associations took a stand and signed the “Berlin Declaration” – a position paper against homophobia in sport. We know that there are gay football players, and club-internally they receive professional guidance and management, but towards the outside, the silence is maintained.

Coming out in professional football is still a taboo. The blame for this is passed back and forth. Some say reactionary fan groups are the problem. Others point to the sponsors, who could bail out. Or individual players from chauvinistic cultures who would not be able to deal with the situation. Corny Littmann, former President of the St. Pauli football club in Hamburg, Germany, and gay himself, gave an interview on the topic in 2012. Asked why not a single player had come out as gay yet, he answered that this would be stupid. “Only a fool would do that.” Littmann regards the world of football as a professional field lacking the social competencies to deal with a coming-out.

Homophobic clichés and small-mindedness are still widespread, according to him. On average, a football player can pursue his career for 16 years and changes clubs every two to three years. He is a commodity, bought and sold again as lucratively as possible. An openly gay player would, however, encounter problems when trying to find a new club. He would be seen as “difficult”, even if his athletic performance were high. Coming out would therefore destroy his market value – and with it his entire career. So is everything, as so often in our society, a question of money?

In 2018 the FIFA World Cup will be carried out in Russia, a country that discriminates against and ostracises homosexuals. 2022 will see the World Cup in Qatar, a country that punishes homosexuality with five years’ imprisonment or 90 whiplashes. As we know, football is big business, and FIFA will make sure that nothing comes in the way of that – least of all the gay question. And we will follow both cups with excitement, and we will pay to see the games. In the end, the current status quo regarding homosexuality in professional football is a contract we have all entered into. But the weight of self-denial is a weight that the gay players carry alone.

When screenwriter Thomas Hess approached me in 2010 with his idea to make a feature film on the topic of gay love in professional football, my first question was: Hasn’t that film already been made? The topic was already present in the media, but our research showed that, apart from numerous news features, there was only a comedy dating from 2004.

The great football love story, however, had not yet been made for cinema. This is why I committed to the project. Apart from the topical relevancy, I felt very much like making another love story twenty years after “F.est un salaud”. Since classical literature, love stories that are framed by any kind of forbidden love have moved us the most. I saw the opportunity to tell a truly moving story in the given social context of a modern forbidden love. It was important to me to illustrate this context as realisticallyand contemporarily as possible. The football club BSC YB from Berne, Switzerland, generously supported me during the research and script development phases. During shooting BSC YB and the St. Pauli football club provided us with infrastructure, materials, and their names, for which I am very grateful.

Marcel Gisler

Director and co-writer of MARIO – Marcel Gisler

POUTfest 2016 Is Here!

Next week is going to be an exciting and busy time for the Peccadillo team. We will be celebrating the launch of POUT Fest 2016 with Holding the Man at Picturehouse Central on May 18th so come on down and join us for some excitement.

Following on from the fantastic success of POUT 2015, we are bringing you all an opportunity to experience another POUT with all new titles and events ready to take up your calendar.  POUT Fest 2016 aims to promote LGBT cinema with a variety of short films and feature length films that can inspire, move and emancipate the audience. To know more, read on at your leisure.

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Holding the Man perfectly encapsulates what POUT Fest 2016 aims to achieve; it’s daring, entertaining, touching and makes one proud to be who they are. POUT Fest 2016 will also see the launch of The Girl King, a historical film that covers the reign of the first native, female sovereign of Sweden as she is thrust into an all-male court that has no tolerance for her awakening sexuality. Enchanting visuals and intrigue map the film throughout. Girls Lost is another fantastic addition to the line-up. The hypnotic film follows three girls who discover a curious plant that has a rare magical ability; transforming the three girls into boys. As their genders change, so does the world around them leaving their responses to this change profound. We are also honoured to be showing the classic film, My Beautiful Laundrette, starring Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis and Gordon Warnecke. The film is a classic example of identity and inexorable love. For some laughter and fun we also have the cult film Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same gracing the POUT screens with its witty and humorous tale of romantic emotions. For all you documentary lovers we have the privilege of showing Limited Partnership, which tells the inspiring story of the first same-sex couple in the world to be legally married; taking on the US government in court to prove the legitimacy of their affection for one another.

GIRLS CLOSET

On May 20th Peccadillo will also be celebrating the release of Departure, a British drama starring the talents of Juliet Stevenson (Bend it like Beckham and Truly, Madly, Deeply) and Alex Lawther (The Imitation Game). The stunning debut from Andrew Steggall confronts the issues of family, first love and the dawning of one’s sexuality. With impressive visuals and an incredible cast, this is one film that will arouse the senses of the audience and anyone who has dealt with the issues presented. Get on down to the cinema to show your support for this years’ most incredible debut!

For more on POUT visit poutfest.co.uk

The Godmother of Sydney Mardi Gras

Interview with Filmmaker Fiona Cunningham-Reid. 

We sat down with documentary filmmaker Fiona Cunningham-Reid and discussed the legend of Dawn O’Donnell – Gangster, Goddess or Godmother?

 

Why did you feel it was important to tell the story of Dawn O’Donnell?

From the first time I met Dawn when filming the Mardi Gras for Channel 4 and ABC back in 1991, I was intrigued and appalled in equal measure. She was a controversial woman full of contradictions, loved and hated in equal measure. She was first and foremost a businesswoman and if there was a dollar to be turned she’d do it, and always on her own terms. But was she a gangster? Certainly, rumours swirled around her and some people wouldn’t talk on camera claiming they might be found at the bottom of Sydney Harbour with cement boots.

She was living her own legend. Equally, as so often happens with women, she was being marginalised and even left out of Sydney’s LGBT historical narratives (mostly written by men). Every bar, club, drag-show, sauna, sex-shop and even car-park – she ran them. Dawn started her empire when women were third class citizens and couldn’t even have their own bank account, yet there she was, wheeling and dealing with police, criminals and drag-queens. There was no way I wasn’t going to tell her story – and as for her astonishing physical transformation, she was irresistible – from koala-hugging baby, a rebellious convent girl, then a femme ice-skater to finally morphing into Uncle Jack, a silver-cropped butch dyke.

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The way Sydney’s Mardi-Gras is presented in the film makes it look amazing. How integral was Dawn to the festival, and is it still like this?

Initially, Dawn had zero interest in gay law reform or politics; legal or not she wasn’t bothered, everyone still wanted somewhere to drink and her pubs made money, a lot of money. On the night of the first ever Mardi Gras, which was Sydney’s response to the Stonewall riots in New York, it was pouring with rain and the police were very violent breaking up the peaceful demo and many were arrested.  Dawn, sitting in the safety of one of her pubs, said “that’ll never work, that won’t catch on…” I don’t like sounding like an oldie, but I am and I think Mardi Gras, even though it’s now huge with hundreds of thousands of people involved, is far too corporate and silly, but undoubtedly it has the best parties in the world!

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And finally, did Dawn ever come to Soho? What do you think she’d make of it, then and now?

Dawn’s first trip to London was when she was a professional ice-skater in the early 1950’s. The only place she discovered and was interested in on that trip was the Gateways Club, Kings road in Chelsea. It’s where she came out. Soho wasn’t on her radar – not then. She and Aniek traveled extensively and always checked out the gay life – and imported ideas back to Sydney – she and Aniek installed the fist ever disco lit floor in Sydney, John Travolta style! One of her biggest scams was buying a porn movie abroad and then getting a bloke back in Sydney to copy it and then sell them in her sex shops, so I’m sure she did visit Soho again to buy a few titles! What would she make of Soho now?  Dawn would say “That was a bombed out plot when I was here, knew I should have bought it, put a car-park on it – no overheads with them, and then just let it run itself and I could sell that now for how many million? – never mind”.

 

 

 

Andrew Steggall chats UK Premiere of DEPARTURE

Friday marked the UK Premiere of Andrew Steggall’s DEPARTURE at the BFI London Film Festival, our first film of the festival. Featuring two incredible central performances from Juliet Stevenson (The Village, The Hour, Bend It Like Beckham) and Alex Lawther (The Imitation Game), DEPARTURE is Andrew’s elegantly crafted debut feature film. We caught up with Andrew this week for an exclusive interview for our blog.

Elliot (Lawther) is a dreamer who, with his mother Beatrice (Stevenson), is packing up their French country house in preparation to sell it. Elliot takes breaks to wander into the local village bar, where he writes romantic poetry, wearing a vintage French army coat and eyeing up the rough beauty of local boy Clément, who works on his motorbike.

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1. Where did DEPARTURE come from – what was the genesis for the film?

Friends of mine have a house in France and I was lucky enough to spend some time there one autumn. I was walking up the lane with two friends when the idea for the film emerged very strongly in my head. The narrative revolves around a kind condensing of a number of my own adolescent memories and around the atmosphere of the house and the landscape. Needless to say the story moved on and evolved from this starting point in all sorts of ways – through the invaluable script development work of both my producer, Pietro Greppi, and brilliant BFI script development executive, Jamie Wolpert; through the necessities of budget and logistics and through the powerful presence of the actors. One of the friends I was walking up the lane that day with was the cinematographer of my short films, Brian Fawcett. He went on to shoot Departure – beautifully I think. And the house of my friends turned out to be the house we shot in and around.

2. How did you cast the film and how did you get Juliet Stevenson and Alex Lawther involved?

Alex Lawther was the first actor on board the film. I had seen him in South Downs by David Hare at the Comedy Theatre (now the Harold Pinter) in 2012 when he was just sixteen and had spoken to him and his mother at stage door after the performance. We then went on to see many young actors but in the end I came back to Alex, thank goodness. He was about to go to Thailand to film X+Y and we thought we might film rather sooner than we did, so in 2013 I dashed down to Petersfield and we met at the train station where I found him reading Camus on a bench. We then walked to a nearby park and read some scenes there. It was obvious that he was Elliot. When casting Beatrice we had explored a number of options and it wasn’t until quite late in the day that someone suggested Juliet Stevenson. It’s funny, in hindsight I can’t imagine anyone else playing the part so it was odd that I took a little while to come to her. She received the screenplay and it was difficult to find a time to meet as she is so busy. Eventually we met at her house late on a Sunday night as she unloaded her family from their car after a weekend in the country. We chatted for just over an hour and at about midnight I left her house knowing that so long as her family agreed to her going away for a month to shoot, she was onboard. The next morning I flew to France to start the design work for the 2014 shoot.

The cast and crew of DEPARTURE speak at its Mayfair premiere.

The cast and crew of DEPARTURE speak at its Mayfair premiere.

3. Where did you film DEPARTURE and how did you find the house?

We shot the film almost entirely on location in the South West of France. The house belongs to the friends I mentioned above and who were unbelievably generous in lending it to me. It sits in the forest by a river in the Montagne Noire, which runs parallel to, and north of, Carcassonne and Castelnaudary. The mayor of the village and all the locals were incredibly supportive so we were able to house the entire crew in the very small village (Cenne Monesties). A few of them even make an appearance in the film.

4. DEPARTURE touches on some incredibly powerful themes including sexuality, aging and the bond between mother and son – did you actively want to explore these during the film?

Very much so. The initial idea of the film and the dominant theme in my head was the idea of knowing something before you know it, as it were. The sense of imminent change, or electricity in the air, of inevitability. It has always struck me that the transition from a kind of almost non-existent Blakean innocence to an all-to-real experience is one that we crave for during our adolescence. But it is a one-way journey and one we rush towards with a strange mixture of dread and excitement. This is the change in the film that Elliot has a sense of knowing will occur. For the character of Beatrice, played by Juliet, the change is one that she also intuits long before it happens but it is one that she fights agains whilst inadvertently hastening. Her marriage to Philip is full of unhappiness and she causes its demise as much as he does. The film conjectures that she chose a marriage that was destined to be unhappy out of a kind of punitive guilt and then drives it to its end by resenting Philip for not loving her. His reasons for marrying are equally perverse. Which is not to say that there wasn’t love there but that it was flawed from the beginning and that it is hard to uncover where the fault lies. Probably with neither of them. Throughout the film there is a feeling that all the characters are longing, if not for sex, then for tenderness and physical contact. Elliot is just beginning his physical and sexual life and Beatrice is discovering that it is perhaps not too late to have one.

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5. What inspires you?

I guess you don’t want as long an answer as this could be? All sorts of things really: silence, forests, water, film, theatre, art, the people around me. I listen to music when I write and so it has to be non-intrusive (essentially not sung in English or not sung at all) so I listen to Bach and Dvorak and Schubert amongst others. Dvorak plays a dominant theme in the film through his opera Rusalka and particularly the Song to the Moon aria. I have just checked and I have played one of the versions I have 120 times, beaten only by Bach’s Cantatas sung by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and at the top apparently Do What You Do by Noah in the Whale which was the song I used in The Red Bike, a short film I made in 2010. At other times I am just as likely to be singing (in the wrong key) pretty much anything by Sondheim. A few years ago, I shared my diary with my partner, and he was particularly amused by an entry I had made when I was about fourteen which read something like: “I am listening to Andrew Lloyd Webber and feeling inspired.” So perhaps that is the answer to your question. Or it would have been that day! I think I was feeling heart broken and was listening to Aspects of Love. The first film I remember seeing was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and I was taken out of the cinema in Swindon about twenty minutes in, weeping with fear and terror. I’ve always loved Spielberg! And recently I really loved Amour by Haneke and Under the Skin by Jonathan Glazier But the stand out film of the last twelve months has to be Mad Max, Fury Road by George Miller, which just completely blew me away. Oh and I have watched The Hours by Stephen Daldry more times than is decent. The first gay themed film I saw was Maurice which I watched at the age of about thirteen when it was on television. It was on late enough for my parents to have gone to bed but I was terrified I would wake them so I crouched next to the television with the volume down to almost nothing.

Keep an eye out for more news on DEPARTURE as it comes. We are due to release early 2016.

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Pictured above – lead actor in the film Alex Lawther, director Andrew Steggall and lead actress Juliet Stevenson.

Don’t you want me baby? Soap’s best gay and lesbian couples.

Soft Lad brings together two of soapland’s primetime gay characters, EastEnders’ charmer Jonny Labey and Corrie’s conflicted vicar Daniel Brocklebank. With a hot new boyfriend and having just been accepted into the dance school of his dreams, David’s life is going pretty great. However, when his sister invites the couple over for dinner, David’s brother in law, Jules (Brocklebank), has a secret that could shatter this illusion. To commemorate the theatrical release of Soft Lad on October 1st we thought we’d take a look at our standout gay and lesbian soap couples.

From Brookside to Emmerdale, to EastEnders and Coronation Street, has your favourite made an appearance below? Let us know on our Twitter and Facebook.

John Paul McQueen and Craig Dean

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Probably the most shipped and well-known couple on the list, John Paul and Craig’s love was based on a foundation of unrequited feelings, longing looks and secrecy, i.e. the best kind. When Craig arrived in Chester, the pair quickly became best friends, with Jean Paul, having already come to the realisation that he was gay, soon developing feelings for his new companion. After drunkenly kissing Jean Paul at the school dance, Craig set the wheels in motion for what would be a turbulent, yet steamy, relationship, filled with buckets of denial and jealousy.

Sophie Webster and Sian Powers

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Like all great LGBT relationships that came in soaps before, Sophie and Sian started out as school friends but soon came to be more. Joining the church choir to see more of one another, the pair really did go through their fair share of drama, from a wild night at a lesbian bar with ‘friend’ Amber, pre-watershed kissing, near death experiences (remember when Sophie fell off that roof – yeah, that happened), countless cheating accusations and a runaway bride, we welcomed the drama of it all. Since the disaster of her wedding to Sian, we’re holding our breaths for Sophie and her new beau Maddie.

Christian Clarke and Syed Masood

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Within soap land, EastEnders has had one of the largest gay casts. Some may argue that Colin and Barry, the original ‘Enders gay couple, is the definitive relationship, being one of the pioneers in representing gay issues on primetime TV. However, this is the 21st century and with it new relationships that brought to light new struggles that the LGBT community are experiencing today. No other couple has had as much of an impact in recent years as the gripping, engaging and, at times, infuriating love story of Syed and Christian. The undeniable attraction between the two, seen in their heated conversations and longing glances from the start, had us jumping for joy when they finally (F-I-N-A-L-L-Y) kissed. As we watched Syed come to terms with his sexuality and what it meant for him as a Muslim, our love and compassion, like Christian’s, grew and grew, making them one of our favourite couples on the show. Having left Albert Square back in 2012, we’re expecting to see their faces back in the Queen Vic soon; it is a soap opera after all!

Ali Spencer and Ruby Haswell

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Looking back on Ali and Ruby’s relationship, the one thing that stands out is how normal they seemed, not that they were two women but how relatable a couple they were, considering the fates handed to other soap couples. Having had two kids, Ali was surprised to fall in love with Ruby but not afraid. Ruby took on two children and an ex-husband but didn’t seem to be over-whelmed by it all. Granted they had their ups and downs, Ali’s pregnancy scare after a one-night stand, Ruby’s infertility and financial troubles, but they always came back together. The couple moved away earlier this year to support Ali’s son Sean recover from an accident in Liverpool, but Ruby returned soon after to support her family financially. The biggest shocker of the year came when Ruby was injured in the helicopter crash during Pete Barton and Debbie Dingle’s wedding and later died. With Ali’s return to Emmerdale, it’ll be intriguing, and no doubt heart-breaking, to see how this devastating loss will affect her.

Special Mention: Ben Mitchell and Paul Coker

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We’re excited to see where this couple will go, having already caused a hurricane of drama with their secret affair, and that’s not to mention that funeral parlour scene. This isn’t Ben first secret relationship, having struggled with accepting his sexuality over the past two years. But tensions will come to a head next week when resident tough-man Phil Mitchell catches Ben and Paul in the act. What will Ben do? How will his father react? Where do Ben and Paul go from here? We can’t wait to find out.

Soft Lad is currently playing around the country as part of our POUTFest tour. You can see your nearest screening and book tickets here.

Riot in a donut shop? It must be PRIDE season!

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DRAG IT OUT IN THE OPEN!

Most of us know the story of June 27, 1969 – when police raided The Stonewall Inn and New York’s gay community rioted in the streets for three long, game-changing nights: events now widely accepted as the birth of the modern Gay Rights Movement.

Ten years before that, however, in the arid, utopic city of Los Angeles the queer community was already fighting worthy, rowdy battles: namely in a late-night eatery called Cooper’s Donuts.

Perched between two gay bars – Harold’s and the Waldorf – the donut shop sounds like the 1950s LA equivalent of one of the Chicken Cottages in 2015 Soho, London: a late night hang-out for gays, hustlers, queers, lesbians and trans folk.

But it wasn’t always as much fun as that sounds: one hot night in May 1959 two cops turned up and started harassing the clientele, checking IDs, randomly arresting some drag queens and younger men. This time, the crowd had had enough, and soon a full blown booze-and-baked-goods fueled riot ensued.

So – to kick off Pride season – have a donut today (and a drink, and maybe a quick cruise in a Krispy Kreme if you fancy it). But don’t forget those down-n-outs, queens, queers and prostitutes that were the original voices for the emancipation of the entire LGBTI community today.