Straight to the Front Row: Investigating Contemporary Western Gay Male Cinema
University of Northampton (UK)
16/02/2019 – 17/02/2019
From Weekend (dir. Andrew Haigh, 2011) to Call me By Your Name (dir. Luca Guadagnino, 2017), from God’s Own Country (dir. Francis Lee, 2017) to Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins, 2016) and Love, Simon (dir. Greg Berlanti, 2018), contemporary Western gay male cinema has endured a shift in both representational strategies and a boom in popularity within both mainstream and independent spheres, since 2010. ‘Western gay male cinema’, more specifically, refers to cinema that features a gay male protagonist, has narrative themes that relate to gay male identities and films that are primarily produced for gay male audiences. Prior to 2010, there have been Western gay male films that have been significant in either their representations or their popularity (ranging from the films that centred on gay men in New Queer Cinema to films such as Brokeback Mountain [dir. Ang Lee, 2005]), however, Western gay male films since 2010 have: gained (mass) attention within hegemonic spheres of success such as the Academy Awards and the BAFTAs, infiltrated a plethora of genres from the Teen (Young Adult) Film to the Erotic Thriller and Romantic Drama, and some have begun to (further) investigate intersectionalities of age, gender, class, race and sexuality.
This two-day conference aims to investigate both independent and mainstream contemporary Western gay male cinema, and its many facets and iterations. We welcome contributions from postgraduate researchers, early career academics and established scholars, from Film, Media, and Cultural Studies more broadly, and we of course welcome papers from a queer, feminist or intersectional lens too. For the purpose of this conference, ‘contemporary’ connotes new and modern gay films, and therefore discussion and analysis should focus on films released since 2010. Lastly, while what constitutes ‘Western cinema’ or the ‘Western world’ is a much-debated topic, by ‘Western’ we mean films that are produced and released in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.