For the past five years Hammersmith’s Riverside Studios has hosted Deep Desires & Broken Dreams, a week-long season of gay film, including premieres, previews, Q&A’s and all-round quality LGBT cinema. I’ve been a few times and seen this mini festival go from strength to strength, offering a truly diverse choice of events – there’s something for everyone here.
This year’s season begins with the UK premiere of Chris Birkmeier’s In Bloom, a debut feature from a young director with an equally young cast. The film tells the story of two partners whose relationship is threatened by the arrival of an enticing stranger. Birkmeier is being touted as a talent to watch and Riverside are offering their audience the chance to be among the first to see for themselves what the hype is all about.
There are two further U.K premieres: a dark German thriller Lose Your Head, about a Spanish tourist dancing with danger in Berlin’s gay club scene; and U.S filmmaker Mike Skiff’s documentary about the history of San Francisco’s annual leather street party, the Folsom Street Fair (Folsom Forever).
Deep Desires & Broken Dreams will be hosting some of the creative team behind Codebreaker, a drama-documentary examining the pressures, including homophobic laws pursued by the UK government, which may have contributed to wartime hero Alan Turing’s suicide.
Other possible highlights include previews of Nanouk Leopold’s It’s All So Quiet, in which an isolated farmer’s repressed sexuality is shaken by the arrival of a young farmhand (can you spot a recurring theme here?) and UK director Simon Savory’s American road movie Bruno and Earlene Go to Vegas followed by a Q&A with Savory.
San Francisco-based director Travis Mathew’s will join the festival via Skype following a screening of his and James Franco’s co-directed experimental docu-drama Interior. Leather Bar. I’ve written about this project extensively for Polari Magazine in the past.
New releases also feature, including Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning performances from Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club. Xavier Dolan’s Tom at the Farm screens as a preview, and Stranger by the Lake, Floating Skyscrapers and Free Fall are three examples of contemporary European gay cinema well worth making the effort to see.
Above all, ventures like Deep Desires & Broken Dreams should be supported by as many people as possible, especially if they’re to continue. It provides a real sense of community, offers great opportunities for meeting people and showcases high-quality queer cinema that so often gets overlooked.