GFEST - Gaywise FESTival is the LGBTQI artists celebration you don’t want to miss

Award-winning films, performances and artworks from local and international talent



We’re very excited in the DIVA office because GFEST - Gaywise FESTival is back for its tenth year. The anniversary edition of the popular LGBTQI arts fest will showcase an eclectic mix of art, films and performances, providing an amazing platform to local and international LGBTQI artists.


Taking place across multiple venues in the capital from Monday 13 to Saturday 25 November, this brilliant programme of events is presented by pioneering LGBT and BAME arts charity Wise Thoughts.



The artistic director of GFEST, Niranjan Kamatkar, spoke to us about how the festival has developed over the years.


“When we started GFEST in 2007, it was a different time, stories were told in a slightly different way. Today we are telling stories with advantage of social media and technologies. We have stepped forward in winning legal battles and recognition. But the battle continues for gaining full and equal social acceptance. It is about who we are and who we love. We are still telling these diverse LGBTQI ‘protest’ stories in many new ways. The narratives have moved on but what has been constant is people are excited by these stories which stretch imaginations and help shape the creative lives of future generations.


“Despite many changes on the political and social scene and huge fundraising challenges, we are still determined to excel once again, telling stories of protests that are part of LGBTQI equality struggle. This year’s GFEST is there to celebrate the heart-warming, moving, quirky and unique tales by LGBTQI artists and audiences. And we are so looking forward to GFEST 2017 launch event on Tuesday 14 November at Menier Gallery.”



Highlights from the packed line-up include:



Fire Song, an award winning, coming-of-age story of a Canadian First Nation gay Anishinaabe teenager

If You Dare Desire, a drama about two Bengali lesbians

I'm Not Sick! I'm Gay telling a story of LGBTQI struggles in Kazakhstan

+ some brilliant short film screenings and filmmaker Q&As, all taking place at Shoreditch’s Rich Mix cinema and Arthouse Crouse End cinema



Also not to be missed is the Singing Loud & Proud performance evening filled with music and fun:

Radio DIVA host, stand-up comedian and author Rosie Wilby will be waxing lyrical about relationships

Short & Girly Show present all-female troupe performing improvised comedy sketches and songs

The Symphonic Winds perform some awesome music

The Gay Men’s Dance Company share their latest numbers

- The GFEST 2017 performances evening will be at St Pancras (new) Parish Church in Euston on Saturday 25 November.


Visual arts

The visual arts section of the programme promises a series of challenging and insightful works, all exhibited at Menier Gallery from 13 November to 18 November. Artists this year include Alice Boland-Rhodes, Gökhan Tanrıöver, Heather Carol, Mike Bliss, Jason Carr, Marta Kochanek, Peter A Leigh, Reggie Blennerhassett, Sarah Jane Moon and Simon Croft.

Also look out for the Wall Of Protest, displaying selfies and portraits of some of the artists, performers and filmmakers who have taken part in GFEST since it began in 2017.


Discussion and debate

Reggie Blennerhassett will lead a discussion about when LGBT activists joined the miners’ 1984-5 strike, the real story behind the film Pride and the impact of Arts Protest to deliver social change. This debate on Saturday 18 November at the Menier Gallery will also explore how the artwork the exhibition challenges preconceived notions.


GFEST 2017 takes place Monday 13 November – Saturday 25 November 2017

Please see the GFEST Website for full programme details:



Only reading DIVA online? You're missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves. //


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