The Queen of Ireland

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Ireland | 2015 | 82 minutes | Conor Horgan

June 22, 2016

SIFF Cinema Uptown | Best of SIFF 2016
Outrageously entertaining drag queen Panti Bliss became an accidental activist after her comments about homophobia, dubbed "Pantigate", lead to international attention that helped pave the way for Ireland's historic referendum on gay marriage.
Screening followed by a special panel discussion with leaders in the LGBTQ community: 
Joe McDermott, Chair of the King County Council
Gary Gates, the Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar at UCLA
Marsha Botzer, founder of the Ingersoll Gender Center

Meet Pandora "Panti" Bliss: part glamorous aunt, part Jessica Rabbit; a court jester whose role is to say the unsayable; a figurehead for LGBT rights in her home country of Ireland; and one of the world's great drag queens. The Queen of Ireland follows Panti's epic journey from growing up gay as Rory O'Neill in the small town of Ballinrobe to the birth of her drag persona in the clubs of Japan. Upon returning to Ireland in the '90s, Panti was instrumental in setting up several notorious fetish clubs as well as the outrageously entertaining "Alternative Miss Ireland"—a vitally important fundraiser for HIV and AIDS causes. In reaction to her home country's endemic homophobia, Panti became—in her own words—an accidental activist, penning the "No More Mr. Nice Gay" blog while also publicly stating on Irish national television that members of Ireland's journalism establishment were unashamedly homophobic. The furor over this last incident became known as "Pantigate," which garnered her the support of hundreds of thousands—including Stephen Fry, RuPaul, Dan Savage, and Madonna—and would subsequently set the tone of the campaign for Ireland's historic referendum on gay marriage. Throughout this amazing cinematic portrait, Panti Bliss narrates her life and times with flamboyant humor and tender poignancy.

Director Biography
Irish director Conor Horgan started his career as a photographer before breaking into the world of motion pictures. After directing over 70 commercials, his first short film The Last Times (2002) was screened and took home multiple awards at the Cork International Festival. The Queen of Ireland is Horgan's first feature documentary.

  • Director: Conor Horgan
  • Country: Ireland
  • Year: 2015
  • Running Time: 82 minutes
  • Language: English