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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.
Rowley’s screening sheds light on the agency of queer activism today, a legacy that finds solidarity with the civil rights of other marginalised communities who now are finding themselves targeted anew in a present-day America, rife with alt-right groups and assertions of racist, transphobic and homophobic politics.
GAYS AGAINST GUNS is presented in collaboration with Niall Sweeney and the installation Club Chroma commissioned for the Project Spaces, showing until 29 March 2020.
Tuesday 10 March – Sunday 29 March, Project Spaces
This screening loop includes an excerpt from Rowley’s GAG documentary that gives insight into the social, political and personal motivations of individual GAG members, who reflect on how their experiences of the AIDS crisis and ACT UP inform their present day activist work in combatting gun violence.
A second video introduces GAG’s peaceful protest series of the Human Beings. Central to GAG’s practice, these performances comprise of powerful collective gatherings by GAG members in public situations from streets to government offices. GAG members dress in white and remain silent and veiled while they carry photos of victims of gun violence, holding space for lives lost while confronting passers-by with these profound reminders of the human cost of the epidemic. The group target the financial institutions, gun manufactures and politicians that benefit from supporting the National Rifle Association (NRA), while drawing connections between the communities most impacted; women, people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, and those suffering from mental illness.
Gays Against Guns (Excerpt from feature documentary) 5 mins, colour, sound.
A Still Films production in association with Screen Ireland.
Human Beings (GAG protest, performance) 7 mins, colour, sound.
Featuring interviews with selected GAG members and Human Beings silent protest performances by the GAG group. Sound composition by Oberman Knocks.
Club Chroma, 25mins, colour, silent.
Featuring imagery sourced from Alternative Miss Ireland (1987–2012) and Powderbubble (1996–1997) collective studio archives. AMI was instrumental in developing a variety of HIV/AIDS related programmes across Ireland.
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.
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