International Feature Film Competition
The selection of ten feature films presents a colorful kaleidoscope of contemporary world queer cinema.
Three representatives of American independent film share a star casting (Lily Tomlin in Grandma, Robin Williams in Boulevard a Patrick Stewart in Match) and the focus on character studies of queer seniors and their family relations, both in a dramatic and comedic tone.
This year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film candidates from Chile and Thailand offer an insight into momentous local issues regarding the army and the church. Young European directors guide us into the traditional Albanian society, to Cambodia along with the trans* prostitute Mirinda and to the Lithuanian seashore, where young Sangailé is experiencing her first romance.
The life stories of historical queer figures are examined in Véronique Aubouy’s playful experiment about a life-altering casting call (My Name Is Annemarie Schwarzenbach) and Peter Greenaway’s opus Eisenstein in Guanajuato, the protagonist of which inspired the festival’s theme - “The Days That Shook the World.”
Each of the last four decades of the past century is represented by a film that both holds a crucial place in queer cinema’s history and reflects the festival’s theme in a unique fashion.
The 1960’s: The Children’s Hour (1961) is one of the first Hollywood films that cracked the taboo surrounding homosexuality in a story of two women (portrayed by Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine) whose lives are shattered by the scandalous rumor of their alleged romantic romantic relationship.
1975: In the cult musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the fabulously decadent ‘transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania’ shakes the world of a young engaged couple as well as the whole planet.
1985: The Brazilian-American prison drama Kiss of the Spider Woman follows the evolving relationship of two man against the backdrop of political turmoils. William Hurt was the first actor to win an Academy Award for portraying a homosexual character in this very film.
1995: The Dutch feminist saga Antonia is the ultimate film about women unbound by conventions who change the world around them.
International Short Film Competition
Fresh works produced in 2014 and 2015 are presented in the selection of shorts: student as well as professional films, narrative live-action dramas and comedies, music videos, animations and documentaries, stemming from four different continents. The multifarious collection brings on playful visions of childhood fantasies (Carina and Drag Mama) and open explorations of sexuality (Hole or Nineteen), looking into history (in the biopic of Czech playwright Ladislav Stroupežnický Peacock) and beyond present day (sci-fi The Future Perfect).
The forty-four short films form seven thematic programmes. The parallels Desires Left Unsaid and I Wish I Told Her focus on the complexities of relationships between men and women, respectively. Girls and ladies meet in the Ladies’ Company and men confront their shadow side In the Darkest Hour. A palette of trans* lives opens in Mirror, Mirror. A key motif binds the stories of heroes and heroines in Family Circles and A Brief History of Violence.
The sextet of documentary films resonates with the theme of “days that shook the world” as well as topical queries and turmoils of our present.
A Sinner in Mecca confronts from within the conflict of faith and sexuality, condemned by that faith. It brings a unique and complex insight into the facets of islam in the 21st century from a gay muslim’s perspective. The world of professional sports has been changing with sportlers’ coming outs, from Martina Navrátilová to Michael Sam, as Out to Win documents. In Spain, Carla Antonelli has been the pioneer of trans* rights in the public sphere, as an activist and politician, and her life story is told in Carla’s Journey. On the other side of the positive developments, there are stories happening in Europe like the one in Sick, following a young Croation girl forced to undergo ‘treatment’ for her homosexuality at a psychiatric clinic.
Crucial on a different level are elements of the queer world presented in a trip back to the origins of gay porn (Peter de Rome Grandfather of Gay Porn) and in the exploration of the ‘gay voice’ phenomenon (Do I Sound Gay?).