Mezipatra Queer Film Festival will welcome several distinguished personalities: successful documentarists from India as well as from Croatia, an American director, French actor, Burmese human rights activist, British trans* activist youtuber, and two short-film directors.
The Indian journalist and filmmaker living in New York has been cooperating with esteemed printed and online media, such as The Huffington Post, he worked in the radio and TV (e.g. Indian BBC, American Discovery Channel). Lately, he has been focusing on documentary filmmaking and his pictures focus especially the attitude of Islam to homosexuality. He addresses the controversial topic in A Jihad for Love (2007) and in his latest A Sinner in Mecca.
He is coming to this year's Mezipatra with the second mentioned film. It is a brave and personal documentary on the director's journey to Mecca – a holy place where it is officially prohibited to shoot. Sharma undertakes the journey as a man who lives openly as a gay in the United States, presented his previous film in the media and was publicly marked an infidel.
Born in France, he started in Italy as a model and a star of B-rated erotic thrillers (e.g. Black Angel, 1989). In 1988, Dario Argento cast him in The Phantom of the Opera, and he played side by side with Asia Argento in her drama, Scarlet Diva. His more interesting activities include his role in Diapason (2001) – the very first Italian film made in accordance with the Dogma 95 rules – and his directorial debut which were two stories from the horror project of P.O.E. - Project Of Evil 2 (2012).
His chance to fully show his acting abilities came only this year thanks to the leading role in drama Where There Is Shade (De l'ombre il y ya), which follows the life of trans* prostitute Mirinda in the exotic environment of the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. Her life transforms upon meeting a little girl who has obviously become the victim of a vast child prostitution ring. Mirinda decides to help her and they set off on a journey to the fishing village where the girl's family lives.
The American director brings 54: The Director's Cut to Prague – a newly edited version of his seventeen-year-old drama 54, starring Ryan Phillippe, Salma Hayek, and Mike Myers. The new cut of the film about the rise and fall of the iconic New York club, Studio 54, is more daring, darker, and more interesting viewer-wise than the original, which was heavily edited by the studio. After this year's premiere at Berlinale, critics even labelled it as a "newly-found gay classics".
The festival will also welcome a special musical guest – the electronic singer, musician, producer and DJ, Ram Rostron, who performs as Planningtorock. The British native lives in Berlin and is well-known for her activism and references to gender non-conformity ("all love's legal", "gender's just a lie", "the personal is so political"), but also for her musical collaborations with other famous artists, especially the Swedish duo of The Knife.
She will introduce her DJ set as a part of the main festival party Something Must Shake, which will take place on Saturday 7th November, in NEONE club in Prague. The admission fee is 180 CZK.
The Croatian documentarist presents his chilling documentary, Sick (Bolesno), focusing on Ana, who spent five years trapped at a psychiatric ward. Under the guise of treating a drug addiction, they tried to "cure" her homosexuality. Mabić follows Ana after the traumatic experience, her fight for justice, the struggle to forgive her own parents, as well as more positive moments – the engagement to her girlfriend and their plans for a wedding in Amsterdam.
Aung Myo Min
“I am not afraid, because I believe in human rights,” says the Burmese activist who will speak at this year's Mezipatra as a part of the discussion for This Kind of Love documentary. In the film, he returns after more than twenty years of exile with the intention to spread enlightenment amongst young people, educate them in human rights, and especially support local queer community. At the same time, he fights for the abolition of the old bill, Section 377, which criminalizes sex between two men in 42 former British colonies.
Fox Fisher, a British youtuber, activist and filmmaker, is a former participant in a TV reality show, My Transsexual Summer, the co-founder of Trans* Pride in Brighton, and one of the creators of the My Genderation documentary project. As a part of the Talking About My Genderation discussion in Prague, he will speak for example about trans* representation in film and media, about his own work, and about the power hidden in viral campaigns.
Short films directors
The festival will also be visited by two directors of short films which will be screened as a part of thematic sections. The German director Barbara Kronenberg created a quirky comedy, The Ballad of Ella Plummhoff (Die Ballade von Ella Plummhoff), while Canadian Matthew Anderson will accompany Las Gitanas about a bunch of friends who go party all night in the clubs of Los Angeles.
Juries and awards
The award for the best feature film will be traditionally bestowed by an international jury. This year, the jury consists of Skadi Loist, a queer researcher and teacher at the Institute of Media Studies at Rostock University, Czech writer and scriptwriter Petra Soukupova, and Sasa Michailidis, a film publicist and Radio 1 host. The prize for the best short live-action film will be awarded by the student jury, composed of Azadeh Mohammadi (DAMU-Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts), and Lucie Palkoskova and Simon Holy from the Film Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts.
The complete program is available here.
This year's visual identity and photos available at https://mezimedia.capsa.cz
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