Duke of York’s Assistant Manager Jonathan Hyde discusses Eyes Wide Open, a fortnight of films celebrating queer icons, trailblazers, activists and heroes.
For almost a year we’ve been programming monthly queer film nights at the Duke of York’s and Duke’s @ Komedia Picturehouses. They’ve ranged from rep screenings such as ROPE, to double bills of rare films from the likes of Jack Smith and Rosa von Praunheim, to the UK premieres of OWLS and UNITED IN ANGER: A HISTORY OF ACT UP. We have endeavoured to vary the tone of each event, at times having academic discussions of trans* representation in cinema, at others having raucous late shows like HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH. Ultimately our aim has been to exhibit films that have previously had either a limited release or none at all, works of art that can be discussed and reimagined, catering for communities that often feel under-represented in cinema.
This summer, for the first time ever, we’ve teamed up with Brighton and Hove Pride to launch an LGBT film festival, with six events and more than a dozen films. The theme is Gay Icons, and we’ve programmed films that feature activists, trailblazers and heroes – Divine, Harvey Milk, Bette Bourne and Judy Garland, to name but a few.
Our launch night on Friday 19 July was a red-carpet event, with a Divine double bill – the new doc I AM DIVINE from Jeffrey Schwarz, followed by the John Waters cult classic FEMALE TROUBLE – plus local band PrissyLips as intermission entertainment, and amazing merch from Riots Not Diets.
The festival continues until 4 August, and on 1 August we are especially excited to be screening a programme of shorts by local filmmakers at Duke’s @ Komedia. We’ll be showing ten films that were submitted by loyal supporters of Eyes Wide Open, and it makes us proud to be able to make their voices heard. These are amateur filmmakers and students who are usually unable to show their work in the cinema.
Eyes Wide Open continues throughout the year, and we have grand plans for our first birthday in November!