SHOUT Selects: Rico Johnson-Sinclair

Rico Johnson-Sinclair shares his festival picks with you.

Hey all,

I’m Rico Johnson-Sinclair, SHOUT Festival Manager, and I’m going to do a little rundown of programmer picks.  We’re learning as we go in these strange times and artists are having to adapt to digital approaches to performance is an emotionally traumatic time. That said, I’m so impressed by the way the artists have responded to this challenge. It’s going to be a really special festival

But first, the most important thing to highlight is that there are two ways to engage with this year’s festival. If you want a front row seat to the action, then book your free tickets via our eventbrite, ticket links to all the events can be found on our website. These will give you access to the zoom’s for artist talks and live performances, and notifications of when the events go live for the first time. I’d recommend this approach if you want to get that festival feeling. 

The other way is simply to subscribe to our YouTube and click the bell to be alerted as and when things become available. Not everything in the festival will be added to our YouTube channel, so there will be things you’ll miss. But if you’re a busy bee, or like to watch at your own convenience, then this is the option to you

There will be an announcement a week before the festival detailing the events that we’ve been able to make more accessible. Adding subtitles – whether automatically generated, or manually made by the volunteers and our Digital Content Coordinator Max Harding, with a little help from the team at Scottish Queer International Film Festival. 

So let’s get stuck in, shall we?

First up, we have our opening night, which really exists to help viewers understand the festival this year, Starting with a Q&A with myself, this is one you’ll want to book tickets for, so you can ask me questions on all things SHOUT, this is especially aimed towards queer artists making work in the midlands. I want to get to know all your faces, and i want you to squeeze me for information on how you can get involved.

Nightingale50 is a project that’s been a year in the making. Having launched with the mural at the Nightingale Club last year by Freddelanka, this film could not be more timely, especially as over the last year, the Nightingale has weather the storms to adapt the current pandemic. We’ll be joined by DJ Corey Hadley and DJ Dolly, two pioneering DJ’s at the Nightingale over the last 50 years for a selection of tracks that will get you dancing, and performances from Miss Marty, Cocoa Kink and Black Peppa.
There will even be a Q&A with participants of the documentary that is sure to be unmissable. 

As a lover of Queer film, which is evident from my work with CineQ, i’ve got three queer films to recommend as part of our film programme. These films are £4 to access (with 9 different titles and 5 short film programmes) free tickets are available for those with low income, Just email me at ricojohnsonsinclair@blgbt.org or shoutfestival@blgbt.org.

Song Lang is a wonderful story set in Vietnam that shows the tender love between two unlikely companions. This soft-touch story will leave you yearning for the nuanced love and chemistry the two main characters have on screen.

States of Play is the film programme with punch, spanning many stories from international queer perspectives, this programme offers fresh takes on what queer stories actually are.


And last but not least, Portrait of Jason is one of the earliest depictions of a queer black male on screen, this sometimes enjoyable but often uncomfortable documentary focuses on the extended monologue of Jason’s life, experiences and his duality. After the screening, we’ll be joined by Josh Rivers from Busy Being Black, And Kenneth Norwood, to contextualise the film.

It must be said that the quality of our micro-commissions is outstanding. These small interventions throughout the festival are impossible to choose from, but a must-watch.

Our final Friday night is something really special. This was created with those of us still shielding and unable to access bars and performances. Or for those that fancy a household afterparty. The idea is that we start with the amazing Kenneth Morris who will be teaching is how to refresh our wardrobes using only the humble safety pin, then Effy Raine will be showing us all the tips and tricks necessary to pull together a glam make-up look before finally heading in to a very special SHOUT Edition of Queer House Party, the fully digital, accessible party from your living room. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect pandemic night in.

My final pick for the festival is Barry Fitzgerald’s A New Order, Based on his experiences and his fated meeting with Bernard, this is the perfect way to round out the festival.

Whichever way you choose to watch and whatever your picks for the festival are, just know that this festival was designed with you in mind and the culmination of hard work and passion. We really believe that queer art and film has the power to start conversations. 

We’ll see you there.