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In response to CHROMA, Paul Rowley award-winning film maker and activist based in NYC, presents a screening and discussion of his ongoing film collaboration with Gays Against Guns (GAG). GAG is a NYC based activist group, formed in the aftermath of the Pulse Orlando nightclub massacre in June 2016. The GAG group brings together LGBTQ+ activist veterans of the AIDS crisis who devise strategies for direct-action and civil disobedience, to end the epidemic gun violence in the United States.
Discussion – Flare Tactics
In association with the screening of Paul Rowley’s film work with Gays Against Guns, this discussion looks at the use of art in LGBTQ+ activism, focusing on contemporary queer protest in the USA, from the AIDS crisis up to present day. Highlighting the work of Gays Against Guns, special guests address how surviving the AIDS crisis informs queer activist work today. Invited guest speakers include discussion chair Una Mullally, writer, activist and contributor to the Irish Times, Paul Rowley film maker with Still Films-NYC; Kevin Hertzog queer activist and co-founder of Gays Against Guns, NYC.
GAYS AGAINST GUNS discussion and screening is presented in collaboration with Niall Sweeney and the installation Club Chroma commissioned for the Project Spaces, showing until 29 March 2020.
The loop screening of Gays Against Guns, is available for viewing on a free – drop in basis, from 10 – 29 March 2020 in the Project Spaces. See more details here.
Una Mullally is a writer from Dublin. She is a journalist with The Irish Times, contributes opinion columns to The Guardian, and her writing has also appeared in the New York Times and Granta. She is the author of In The Name Of Love (The History Press, 2014), an oral history of the movement for marriage equality in Ireland, and editor of the best-selling anthology Repeal The 8th (Unbound, 2018). She is the co-founder Lucid Lucid, a film and TV development project with her screenwriting partner Sarah Francis. She has performed her poetry at various festivals including Dublin Fringe Festival, Electric Picnic, Body & Soul, First Fortnight, Kilkenny Arts Festival and elsewhere. She co-founded the touring spoken word event Come Rhyme With Me with Vickey Curtis, co-created and co-presented the pro-choice podcast Don’t Stop Repealin’, co-founded the Irish Times Women’s Podcast, and co-founded the music documentary film festival OneTwoOneTwo. She was the presenter and music producer for six series of the alternative music show Ceol ar an Imeall on TG4, and also authored the RTÉ documentary I Am Irish. She was the Independent Chair of Ireland’s National LGBTI+ Youth Strategy – a world first – which launched in 2018. On Anniversary Of Repeal, Una Mullally & Andrea Horan, have a produced a New Activist Podcast ‘United Ireland, See here
Paul Rowley is a visual artist and filmmaker. He first began making films in 1995. Since then he has completed over 40 shorts, features, documentaries, video installations, and experimental films. He works as a director, editor, cinematographer, writer and producer. His most recent film, The Red Tree, is a doc/hybrid that tells the little-known history of Italian gay men being arrested and exiled to a remote island during Mussolini’s Fascist regime. The film is narrated by renowned Italian actor Leo Gullotta, and premiered at BFI Flare and will become part of the prestigious Criterion Collection this summer. The film has played at over 100 festivals in the past year and won multiple awards, including the audience award at New Fest – the New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival, and best doc awards from St. Petersburg , Verona, Padua and others.
Rowley’s work has received many awards over the past years including the Glen Dimplex award from IMMA, the Irish American Art Award (both the under 35 and overall prize), the New Langton Arts Award, and nominations at the Irish Film and Television Awards. His work has been funded by the Irish Arts Council, the Irish Film Board, Culture Ireland, and the New York Foundation for the Arts among others. He has received fellowships from the MacDowell artist colony, the Bogliasco Foundation in Genoa, and the Atlantic Centre for the Arts in the US. He was the winner of the Irish Film New York Rising Star award and this summer will be artist in residence at the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris.
In 2007 Rowley along with Nicky Gogan and Maya Derrington founded the production collective Still Films. Based in Dublin and Brooklyn, the company produces documentaries, features, artist films and experimental films. Still Films have received slate funding from the Irish Film Board, have been nominated for two Irish Film and Television awards, and were awarded the Michael Dwyer Discovery Award by the Dublin Films Critics Circle for their work. Feature documentaries include Seaview, Pyjama Girls, The Participants, The Rooms, and Build Something Modern.
Collaborative partnerships are a central part of his work. Many of his projects have been created with other artists and filmmakers such as Nicky Gogan, David Phillips, Tim Blue and Emily Manzo. Rowley and Phillips first short film Suspension was completed in 1998 and won a Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. In 2000 they won the Glen Dimplex Artists’ Award, the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s annual contemporary art prize.
Rowley is a member of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective. He serves on the overview committee for the Bogliasco Foundation, has been a juror at the Sheffield doc/fest and was Director of Programming for GAZE, the Dublin International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. He is the video director for Gays Against Guns in New York City, a direct action group working to end bigotry and gun violence. See more details here.
Kevin Hertzog has committed himself – and his life – to a practice of radical empathy for others. He also has committed his life to community advocacy. He did this initially during the AIDS crisis with ACT UP from the 1980’s-1990’s. Kevin’s advocacy work continues to mature and has become more refined over the years; in 2016, days after the Pulse massacre, Hertzog co-founded Gays Against Guns (GAG) a volunteer group fighting to save lives through better gun laws. His contribution to this inclusive, grassroots activist group has been integral to its success and has earned him the moniker of “Mother GAG”. Hertzog began to challenge the status quo in school, when, encouraged by his teacher to organized protests. By his 20s, Hertzog was attending early ACT UP meetings in New York City, but wasn’t quite ready for the fight. “The ACT UP guys were all serious and I’d show up in my make-up and a skirt,” he quips. “They were angry and I was in the ‘80s ‘me’ generation — I was mostly trying to have fun.”
Two decades after being diagnosed HIV-positive, and losing a friend to AIDS complications, the Pulse nightclub massacre, reignited Hertzog’s activism and he co-founded Gays Against Guns and a a protest for the New York City Pride parade was organized the following week. The activist performance protest—conceived by performance artist James (Tigger!) Ferguson immediately received national media attention. Hertzog says. As far as what other activists can learn from GAG, Hertzog reflects on “the lesson Larry Kramer taught us: in a crisis the regular rules don’t apply. If the status quo is causing carnage, you have the responsibility to challenge it. LGBTQ people challenge the status quo — just by existing.”
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