Check It, a documentary about a queer street gang in Washington D.C. screens at Fringe! in November

The travails of the world’s only documented gay street gang, the daily life of a ‘third gender’ family in India and some sexy and shocking short films are set to hit East London’s screens at the Fringe! Film and Arts Fest next month.

The annual queer arts festival was launched in 2011 and has become a mainstay of East London’s cultural calendar.

Cinemas, art galleries, pop-up venues and basement clubs are to host a raft of film screenings during November alongside a programme of experimental art, workshops, interactive walks and parties.

The grand opening of this year’s programme is on 15 November at the Rio with Viva, the story of a hairdresser in Havana who works at a drag cabaret club to make ends meet but has dreams of stardom.

Check It, at the Institute of Light, is a documentary about the Washington D.C street gang of the same name (apparently the only documented queer gang in the world) and their struggles to claw their way out of gang life through the unlikely avenue of fashion.

Shorts supply: Natural Instincts is a series of short films designed to shock and arouse in equal measure

Other film highlights include Guru: A Hijra Family, a moving portrait of the daily life of a family of transgender women in India known as hijras, commonly referred to as ‘the third gender’.

A series of shorts tackling the theme of being young and in love and will, according to the programme “resonate like the first time”. Whilst another, Natural Instincts, veers towards the explicit, featuring depictions of spanking and light bondage.

Away from the films, spoken word night Queer’Say will see broadcaster and comedian Rose Wilby host performances by three acclaimed LGBT poets and the drag performer and dominatrix Holestar will be hosting a BDSM workshop and fetish party.

Fringe! Queer Film and Arts Fest
15–29 November
various East London venues

For more information and the full programme, see here.

Still from Viva, which opens the festival at the Rio Cinema next month

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