Eyes Wide Open Cinema is teaming up with the University of Sussex's Centre for the Study of Sexual Dissidence and Centre for American Studies, to bring you a season of pioneering American queer cinema at Fabrica Gallery. 

The film will have closed captions (English subtitles especially for D/deaf or hard of hearing attendees) and the event will have British Sign Language interpretation. 

 Image reproduced courtesy of Signifyin' Works

Image reproduced courtesy of Signifyin' Works


Director: Marlon Riggs. 1989. USA. 55 mins. 

"Black men loving Black men is the revolutionary act"

Marlon Riggs's landmark essay film Tongues Untied is a bold vindication of black gay men in 1980s America. This semi-documentary explores the perspectives at the intersection of black gay life as its subjects confront racism, homophobia and social marginalisation. Mixing autobiography with music, performance and poetry (by Essex Hemphill and others), Riggs forged new artistic ground in the articulation of identity, culture and self-expression. Praised by black queer audiences for its authentic representation of style, and culture, as well its fierce response to oppression, Tongues Untied remains as powerful today as ever. 

"My struggle has allowed me to transcend that sense of shame and stigma identified with my being a black gay man. Having come through that fire, they can't touch me." - Marlon T. Riggs

+ short film 'day dream'

Director: Stephen Isaac-Wilson (2017, UK, 5 mins)

Kareem Reid, artist and founder of club night Body Party, discusses the difficulties of navigating the world as a queer black body. The short poetically explores issues of queer loneliness, male vulnerability, and platonic intimacy.


This will be followed by a panel discussion featuring:


Dennis Carney  hosted Marlon Riggs during his first trip to London, after being introduced by Essex Hemphill whom he met during his first UK tour in the late '80s. Inspired by their work, Dennis went onto create safe spaces where Black Gay men could meet and talk about concerns affecting their lives. Dennis was a spokesperson for the Stop Murder Music Campaign that eventually put an end to homophobic lyrics in dancehall music. Dennis has received two Black LGBT Community Awards recognising his contributions in raising the profile of Black LGBTQ communities in the UK. 


Stephen Isaac-Wilson is an emerging director who has directed films for i-d magazine, the Tate and Victoria Miro Galleries, and music artists including Klein and Jay Boogie. Stephen combines a journalistic background with his visual art sensibilities, to tell beautifully emotive and thought-provoking stories. The films he makes explore the topics of race, sexuality and youth culture. As part of the Tate’s Queer British Art 1861-1967 Exhibition, Stephen was recently commissioned as a queer director of colour to produce an intimate film portrait of a subject he is close to.



Hakeem Kazeem is a filmmaker and the Film Programmer and Cinema Coordinator at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, Assistant Film Programmer at Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Fest, contributor to BlkOutUK and co-founder of The Batty Mama, a quarterly queer, trans and intersex people of colour mixed arts club night. Hakeem is currently working on film projects to archive, showcase, promote and celebrate the Queer Black British experience.


Find out more about accessibility at Fabrica. As well as online, bookings can be made during gallery opening hours by speaking to a member of the gallery team or at the Fabrica office during office hours.

This project is supported by Film Hub South East with National Lottery funds distributed by the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN).

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