The Craic Fest is the long running film and music festival for everyone (and they do mean everyone) Irish or interested in Irish film and music. At the end of this month the fest will unveil its fourth annual Irish Gay and Lesbian Film Festival on Friday, June 27 at the Irish Arts Center.
Presented by Tullamore Dew and Stella (yes, there will complimentary glasses at the after party), this year the one night only festival of exciting new films by Irish LGBT filmmakers will include A Different Novena by Anna Rodgers, Mums & Dad by Dara deFaoite, Barry’s Bespoke Bakery by Denis McArdle, Our Love Is History by Caroline Campbell and Waiting for You by Lisa Fingleton.
As always the format (which is co-curated by the GAZE International LGBT Film Festival based in Dublin) will include a combination of keenly observed documentaries and live action comedy shorts.
It may be hard to believe now, but when the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival was set up in Dublin (it would later become GAZE) homosexuality was still a criminal act.
An awareness of the historic struggles of the Irish LGBT community and the opportunities that lie ahead is all over the programming for the New York City festival. After all, no one knows the challenges that young gay Irish people face better than the directors making the most interesting new films about growing up gay in the country.
Take St. Joseph's Redemptorist church in Dundalk, for example. Each year it hosts a novena that makes it the biggest festival of faith in Ireland.
But during one particular novena the director of the event, Father Michael Cusack, decided to make the theme, “The courage to be yourself,” inspired by learning of a mother in his church whose gay son felt rejected by the Catholic community.
Cusack also reached out to members of the local LGBT community, inviting them to address the congregation about their own experiences of being gay and lesbian in Ireland and how feeling excluded by Catholic doctrine has impacted on their lives.
A Different Novena documents the powerful speeches that were made that day, and they underline the aspirations of one courageous priest for a more inclusive church. What could be more timely than that?
Barry’s Bespoke Bakery is a multiple award winning short film by Denis McArdle that follows two chefs as they work though the night to create the perfect wedding cake.
But being perfectionist chefs, their differing approaches and temperaments seem to spell disaster, and the question of who they’re actually creating this masterpiece for will keep you riveted right till the end. You’ll want your cake and you’ll want to eat it (and get married yourself) by the end of this.
Meanwhile, LGBT people are increasingly parents these days, with notably successful results. In Mums & Dad director Dara deFaoite follows a lesbian couple and gay man as they become the proud parents of a baby boy.
DeFaoite’s short documentary carefully explores the roles and relationships that exist between the mothers, the father and their six-year old son Stephen, reflecting on the increasing diversity of family types in Ireland today.
But Mums & Dad also explores the challenges faced by LGBT parents in Ireland, including the right of every individual to make responsible family decisions regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation.
If you were gay in the 1980’s in Ireland you’ll remember two things, oppression and the Hirschfeld Center. That oppression saw the place almost burned to the ground by 1987. In Caroline Campbell’s Our Love Is History, she tells the stories of some of the people who lived, loved and laughed on and off the center’s dance floor.
A new generation of young LGBT people can easily take for granted now the freedoms that the once underground movement of the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s won for them. Campbell reminds us to acknowledge the struggles that led to the relative freedoms of those growing up in Ireland today.
You can be gay in the country too, by the way. No one knows this better than Waiting for You director Lisa Fingleton.
Her film is an intimate five-year video diary of her and her partner’s journey towards motherhood on a small farm in Ireland. Unable to adopt under Irish law, finding a way toward parenthood is the journey of this film.
There will be an open bar reception from 8:30-10:30 p.m. The films run from 7-8:30 p.m. Special guests are scheduled to attend including City Council members Corey Johnson, Jimmy Van Bramer and Daniel Dromm.
Tickets are $15 in advance on Ovationtix.com or $20 donation at the door. Ticket includes films and after party.