INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM COMPETITION
Nine feature films in the competition, this year complemented by the documentary genre, tell important stories about the young queer generation, the dynamics of family relationships and the inner struggles of the characters.
The captivating gay Odyssey of Dry Wind depicts the rigidity of monogamy as a limitation that prevents one from experiencing true pleasure. Succumbing to a fetish benefits some, but for the fifteen-year-old boy in Young Hunter, it means being sucked into a dark vortex.
The documentary Always Amber and the feature films No Hard Feelings and One in a Thousand illustrate the kaleidoscopic world of the young queer generation. Although they come from different environments, all the protagonists are connected through the motive of confrontation with the colossus of predefined procedures within modern society.
On the other hand, the core of the road-movie Lola and the documentary Little Girl is cis-identity, which is captured in its fragility through intimate stories of trans girls.
Self-acceptance is not an easy process, and our fumbling towards it is often overwhelmed by the notions of those around us, who constantly keep asking who we are. And a similar question is asked both by the protagonist of Make Up and by David from Minyan.
Our distribution label Queer Cinema was established two years ago. Since then, we’ve managed to bring contemporary queer cinema to cinemas in cities as well as in towns with barely a few thousand inhabitants. This year alone we have presented three new films: And Then We Danced, Lola, and Cocoon.
The Belgian-French road movie Lola will be presented in the main competition, whereas the Queer Kino Presents section will offer the audience hit And Then We Danced and the latest contribution, Cocoon.
Levan Akin’s And Then We Danced, which beats in the rhythm of Georgian music and burgeoning love, will be shown at a special screening, as it won the Audience Award at last year’s festival.
Cocoon, a film by young German director Leonie Kippendorff, tells the story of fourteen-year-old Nora, who starts to peek out of her child’s world and experiences first love that is, however, so easy to get addicted to.
INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM COMPETITION
Understanding, empathy, finding one’s own voice, but also the painful process of healing one’s scars. That is a selection of the themes of the seven blocks of this year’s short film competition. Whether the world is pink, colourful or too real, there is no guarantee that everybody will be equally accepted anyway. Such stories are told in the I Wake up Colorful block, as well as in the You Look as if I Am Not There trans block.
The protagonists of the On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown lesbian block are trying to balance on the thin line of mental health. Sometimes just a few words calm one down; sometimes it’s necessary to vent in a rather unusual way. A well-chosen therapy may save you, but what do you do when you can’t take the outside pressure anymore? This is what the heroes of the Torn from the Chain gay block will try to deal with.
The importance of a safe space, whether between four walls or in the embrace of our loved ones, is discussed in the Tiny Safe Spaces documentary block. Although a home should be exactly such a space, it is not always so. A family leaving scars on one’s soul is the source of struggle for the protagonists of the It Will Pass block.
And the Forbidden Joys allow us a peek into the most secret fantasies as they gradually surface.
Understanding the past is a prerequisite to successful recovery. Three documentaries therefore explore, macroscopically or through intimate testimonies, milestones of queer history and their influence on solving problems. Many of these problems are still present, including discrimination, lack of equality and stigmatisation of members of the LGBTQ+ community. Let’s look to the past to set the rules for the future.
Before Stonewall brings a picture of the gay and lesbian community of the last century and depicts a unique culture that had to fight hard for its position against the rigid rules of the majority society.
How to Survive a Plague returns to the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic erupted in the Western world. The documentary depicts protest activities of groups that, through provocative methods, raised awareness of the risks of the disease and pointed out the discrimination of sexual minorities.
And leaving historical milestones, The Invisibles brings us to an intimate portrait of relationships of the older general of gays and lesbians. Because due to societal changes, many of them have finally been able to experience a peaceful relationship in their old age.
The retrospective will recall four iconic films of queer cinema and explore what happens when people let themselves be constrained by rigid rules or social rituals.
Girls in Uniform is a story about growing up and first love. It carries self-destructive disappointment as well as hope for love that won’t be determined by dependence or the requirement to answer to others.
The documentary It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives confronts the audience with all the imaginable stereotypes they might have about the gay minority. Because the best defence is not to ignore the stereotypes, but to playfully subvert them and show them in all their absurdity.
Contrastingly, the sensual Beau Travail, set in the French Foreign Legion, exposes the rigid patterns deeply rooted in the army as well as in our society. Because recovery is impossible without first admitting we are ill.
And Zero Patience is an eccentric musical whose musical numbers point out the bad habit of stigmatizing those who are ill. Because labelling a part of the society “the bad ones” is easier than lending a helping hand.
Healing the society – not the individual. But how? An indirect answer is provided by Trans*, a Czech docu-series that introduces the stories of five trans and non-binary people to the general public. The programming team of LGBT Film Festival, which has selected Polish short films for us, has also hidden the answers between the lines.
Two more short film blocks will take you to places that you might even not know about. Director and a maestro of raw intimacy, Jan Soldat, will introduce a selection of his work. And the guest curator and sex educator Anna Wim will show how the forms of intimacy are changing in the times of OnlyFans.
Lesbian pop culture archetypes and the related controversial phenomena will be examined in film Queering the Script. And Code of the Freaks documentary will reveal the schematic approaches traditionally applied by filmmakers to handicapped characters.