Fragments Festival at Genesis Cinema (07 to 15 JUN 2019) celebrates “inclusivity through film” & features a high proportion of directors who identify as women, people of colour, disabled & LGBTQ+. We’ve taken a look at the programme to produce this handy guide (& make a few cheeky recommends).
By RADIANT CIRCUS
We spend our days at RADIANT CIRCUS browsing indie exhibitor websites. No matter how many pixels we imbibe, it’s often only when we get a piece of print in our hands that a film programme comes fully into focus. For all our preternatural love of Genesis Cinema, the same was true of their new Fragments Festival. London is full of diverse film programming – particularly so with festivals – and we wondered why Fragments was different.
In the printed intro to the festival programme, director and Genesis Cinema owner Tyrone Walker-Hebron explains that the new festival is designed to unite often disparate voices whilst also shoving some of the industry’s more dominant influences (politely…) to the back of the screening room. Says Walker-Hebron “In an era of Trump, Brexit and the ever-present rise of populism across the world, Fragments Festival is committed to supporting under-represented artists within the film industry, as well as showcasing their work to an audience who might not otherwise get a chance to see it” (emphasis our own).
And that’s the real exciting part: Genesis Cinema is using its position amidst the communities of the Mile End Road to bring them something a little different. This is a venue that couldn’t programme enough midnight screenings for the recent Avengers climax. The genius of Fragments – but its greatest challenge too – will be encouraging that same audience to take a risk. Appealing to their love of genre cinema – if not their fondness for spandex wrapped around sweaty muscle… – would appear to be a good way to start. Key films in the programme flirt with this dynamic from KNIFE + HEART (link below) – described as a “queer horror thriller” – to THE SOCIAL MODEL (15 JUN 15:30) – which looks at the casting of disabled actors as cinema and TV’s “victims, villains & martyrs”. Elsewhere, experimental film essay NORMAL (14 JUN 18:30) – which provokes with its genre-indebted score in a final sequence – sits alongside other films that question social constraints, whether that’s the perennial challenge of coming out (see OUT, 09 JUN 16:00) or the increasingly prominent issue of life coming to an end (see TIME TO DIE, 09 JUN 18:15).
Pulling this programme together has been a challenge, highlighting for Walker-Hebron “that there is still a long way to go regarding access to truly inclusive stories within the industry.” A further challenge awaits in building a crossover audience for the kind of brave, brilliant and yes, diverse work featured so prominently in the programme.
Our job at RADIANT CIRCUS is to help build bigger, bolder and more diverse audiences for independent film. That’s why we labour day and night to create a more coherent picture of what’s on London’s alternative screens. Settling on their use of the word ‘fragments’, it seems Genesis and their partners are grappling with the same idea: “it mirrors our current society and although each fragment has value and beauty in its own right, when brought together… they are greater than the sum of their parts.”
At a time of challenging social division, we encourage you to buy a ticket for Fragments, particularly if you wouldn’t normally adventure into such deliberately diverse fare. Take a rest from Marvel’s multiverse and enjoy one that’s populated by more meagre mortals. In attempting to span several cinematic worlds, Fragments is harnessing a simple energy that has always united audiences: when the lights go down, we’re all in it together.
Fragments Festival screens at Genesis Cinema (93 – 95 Mile End Road, E1) from 07 to 15 JUN 2019. Prices range from £5.50 senior/family tickets, to £8 students and £9 adults. Gala screenings cost £15. If you’re a Genesis monthly member, you’ll fit right in. Check the venue for accessibility requirements.
Events we (really) like the look of include:
Opening Gala: TEEN SPIRIT d. Max Minghella, 2019 + AFTERPARTY (07 JUN 20:00).
SEARCHING EVA d. Pia Hellenthal, 2019 + Q&A with Eva Collè (11 JUN 21:00).
KNIFE + HEART d. Yann Gonzalez, 2019 (12 JUN 21:00 – main featured image).
A DOG BARKING AT THE MOON d. Xiang Zi, 2019 (13 JUN 21:00).
EDGE OF THE KNIFE d. Gwaii Edenshaw, 2019 (15 JUN 13:15).
Closing Gala: SHE WHO MUST BE LOVED d. Erica Glynn, 2018 (15 JUN 18:45).
Find the full programme at Fragments Festival.
In addition to the film programme, there will be ample bar events and workshops.
Genesis Cinema is a family-owned venue on Mile End Road that offers incredible variety and value-for money (the blankets provided in their epic – and therefore hard to heat – main screen are also a welcome part of their charm). Not content with offering home to such varied exhibitors as Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest, Filikino, Birds’ Eye View, Rochester Kino/Cult Classic Collective, CineSisters and many others, they also screen regular free events in their Bar Paragon which make this a great venue for lovers of screen-culture in all its forms.
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*THE SMALL PRINT: As accurate as we could make it. Apologies for any errors. Updates & corrections will be made to the online version. Event dates/times are subject to change by the venue/organiser. We try to only list events you can book for at the time of posting: however, some events may still be sold out. Please click quickly! We don’t filter by age/certification: all readers & subscribers should be 18+.