Sebastiane Latino: a new prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival

A new prize given by Gehitu, the Basque Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Bisexual Association, joins its partner prize the Sebastian, awarded to the best LGBT film shown at the San Sebastian Film Festival. The jury is made up of members of Gehitu, who work closely with the festival.

The Sebastian Award (Premio Sebastiane) has been being handed out for an astonishing 14 years now, and last year’s winner was JOVEN Y ALOCADA (YOUNG AND WILD). Read more about it here.

The new award — the Sebastiane Latino — acknowledges the festival’s commitment to Latin American film, including the Horizontes Latinos section and the Europe-Latin America co-production forum. However, (from the press release) it will “overshoot these borders to applaud the best Latin American film, whether or not it has been screened at the Festival.”

The 2013 San Sebastian Film Festival takes place from the 20th to the 28th of September. More information about the new award (scroll for English) is at the Sebastian website.

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Queer Lion 2013 – nominations

Queer Lion Award LogoUPDATE: I hunted around for some descriptions for these titles from other festival screenings (thank you, tiff, especially) and places on the web, so we’d all have a bit more info. So please ignore the whining at the end of this post.

Once again, the hunt is on for information about the Queer Lion. Puzzling over two press articles in Italian, which I cannot speak, I came up with these:

Via Castellana Bandiera (A Street in Palermo) by Emma Dante

Tom à la ferme (Tom at the Farm) from Xavier Dolon

Gerontophilia by Bruce LaBruce

Kill Your Darlings from John Krokidas

May in the Summer by Cherien Dabis

L’Armée du salut (Salvation Army) by Abdellah Taïa


Julia by J. Jackie Baier

so far.

Still no official information on the Queer Lion’s website at They do, however, have a very funky trailer on YouTube. At this stage the inscrutable main festival website has no film descriptions, so no link love, I’m afraid. We’ll have to revisit this closer to the festival, clearly.

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Queer Palm nominations 2013

This just in. Finally got a list of titles from the Queer Palm folks. The films in competition are:


Abdellatif Kechiche: La vie d’Adèle: Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue is the Warmest Color)
Festival website link.
Variety review.

Steven Soderbergh: Behind the Candelabra
Festival website link.
Indiewire review.


Chloé Robichaud: Sarah préfère la course (Sarah Prefers to Run)
Festival website link.
Hollywood Reporter review.

Alain Guiraudie: L’inconnu du lac (Stranger by the Lake)
Festival website link.
Variety review.


Guillaume Gallienne: Les Garcons et Guillaume, a Table! (Me, Myself and Mum)
Festival website link.
Hollywood Reporter review.


Yann Gonzalez: You and the Night (Les Rencontres d’après minuit)
Festival website link.
Variety review.


Arielle Dombasle: Opium
Festival website link.
Review: can’t find one yet.


Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee: Bombay Talkies (Ajeeb Dastaan Hain Yeh by Karan Johar is the queer bit of this episode film.)
Festival website link.
Hollywood Reporter review.

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Awards Catchup

Apologies to the festivals involved, we’re hopefully better late than never. While we’re waiting to see what our colleagues in Cannes might get around to shortlisting for the Queer Palm, here’s what’s been winning prizes around Europe. CALL ME KUCHU continues to collect prizes after winning the Teddy Award last year, and the new frontrunner in the fiction stakes seems to be Michael Mayer’s Israeli film ALATA (OUT IN THE DARK).


Prix du public 2013
Meilleur long métrage : CLOUDBURST de Thom Fitzgerald
Meilleur documentaire : THE INVISIBLE MEN de Yariv Mozer
Meilleur court-métrage : EU LAO QUERO VOLTAR SOZINHO de Daniel Ribeiro.


Jury Awards:
Best Feature : PARADA regie: Srdjan Dragojevic
Best Short : CE N’EST PAS UN FILM DE COW-BOYS regie: Benjamin Parent
Best Documentary : CALL ME KUCHU regie: Katherine Fairfax Wright & Malika Zouhali-Worrall

Audience Awards:
Best Feature (Male) : ALATA (regie: Michael Mayer)
Best Feature (Female) : FACING MIRRORS (regie: Negar Azerbayjani)
Best Short (Male) : DIK (regie: Christopher Stollery)
Best Short (Female) : NEXT DOOR LETTERS (regie: Sascha Fülscher)
Best Documentary : CALL ME KUCHU regie: Katherine Fairfax Wright & Malika Zouhali-Worrall.


Prix du Public:
Meilleurs longs métrages : ex aequo ALATA de Michael Mayer and FACING MIRRORS de Negar Azerbayjani
Meilleur documentaire : CALL ME KUCHU de Katherine Fairfax Wright et Malika Zouhali-Worrall
Meilleur court métrage : STRAIGHT WITH YOU de Daan Bol.


Jury Award:
THEY GLOW IN THE DARK, Panagiotis Evangelides.
Special Mention: HORS LES MURS by David Lambert and THE INVISIBLE MEN by Yariv Mozer.


Jury Prizes:
Best Feature : BOVEN IS HET STIL by Nanouk Leopold
Best Documentary : THE LOVE PART OF THIS by Lya Guerra
Best Short : BUNNY by Seth Poulin and Nickolaos Stagias
Queer Award (Youth Prize) : JOVEN & ALOCADA by Marialy Rivas

Audience Awards:
Feature films : ALATA by Michael Mayer
Documentaries : PAUL BOWLES: THE CAGE DOOR IS ALWAYS OPEN by Daniel Young
Short films : HOLDEN by Juan Arcones and Roque Madrid.

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What’s in a name?

The legacy name. The one with ‘lesbian and gay’. Not ‘queer’, not ‘LGBT’. The old-fashioned name. The stuck-in-the-past name. Non-inclusive. And so on.

When you’re a 27-year-old festival your name means a lot. It was provocative in the early days to have a festival poster or flyers with those words out and about in the public sphere. Folks might’ve met their boyfriends/girlfriends in your cinemas and be all settled down now, or lost them through the Dark Days. 1986 is a long while ago. Audience and festival organisers alike might have a very protective and defensive reaction to a change in that name.

Others might not feel welcome because they don’t identify with either of those two words. Not represented. Not included. In a community space that should be open and inviting, and keeps telling everyone that it is.

It’s important to listen to the audience. Without them, you might as well not book that cinema. But in a community as diverse as the audience of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, how do you respond?

Maybe you make a festival trailer like this:

BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival Trailer – ‘What’s in a Name?’ from Aleem Khan on Vimeo.

Maybe you do this, too.

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2013 Teddy Award Winners

The 27th Teddy Awards were given out last night at Station in Berlin, at a glam evening featuring Rufus Wainwright.

Best Feature was awarded to Polish film W IMIE… (IN THE NAME OF…).

Sebastien Lifshitz won Best Documentary with his film BAMBI. Lifshitz is a Panorama regular, and took home a Teddy in 2004 for the feature WILD SIDE.

Best Short went to the Swedish film TA AV MIG (UNDRESS ME) from Victor Lindgren.

CONCUSSION, Stacie Passon’s lesbian feature, which received a lot of press at Sundance (and reportedly sold for a fairly hefty figure), took home a Special Jury Award.

The Else, an extra prize from the readers of Berlin’s gay magazine, Siegersäule is also awarded at the same ceremony, and went to W IMIE… (IN THE NAME OF…).

More info and jury statements here.

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I Am Divine to open LLGFF

I am Divine poster image
The London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival opens on March 14 this year with a European premiere: I AM DIVINE from Jeffrey Schwarz (VITO). The film will have its world premiere only days beforehand at SXSW, so I’d think the festival would be pretty happy with such a coup.

The festival will run until March 24 and be divided into three sections this year: Hearts, Bodies, and Minds, and will include highlights such as HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, BEYOND THE WALLS, INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR., MR. ANGEL, and much more.

Having a rich store of treasure at one’s fingertips must make head programmer Brian Robinson very excited each year — screenings from the BFI’s archive this festival include a 50th anniversary screening of THE SERVANT, and a re-scored SALOME.

There is much more information about what’s in store here. The program launch is on Feb 19, so check the website for full listings.

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Teddy Award 2013

Teddy Award Poster 2013
Well, it’s Teddy Time again. The most prestigious, the oldest, the … insert adjective here … queer film award in the world. Growing organically from a get-together where the queer programmers and filmmakers who were at the festival met up and chose their favourite queer film to what it is today, an internationally-recognised major award, the Teddy is 27 years old this year. It’s associated with the Berlinale, but it’s administered by a separate non-profit organisation, which holds its own events, exhibitions, and parties during the festival in February.

For a long time it was the only queer award at an ‘A’ Festival. Venice’s Queer Lion appeared in 2007 at the 64th festival, and Cannes caught up in 2010 with the Queer Palm.

Teddy’s got a major advantage with its ‘guy on the inside’, Wieland Speck, who programs a major section of the Berlinale, ‘Panorama’. I can’t say he’s programming for the Teddy Award, and in fact you can read his thoughts about this year’s Panorama here, but because he’s there the Teddy’s list of films in competition is longer than the Lion’s or the Palm’s. He’s the ‘direct line’ between the festival itself and the award. The other award organisations mentioned above have to scour the program for ‘the queer stuff’, as far as I can gather. That’s where the Teddy started, too, so no disrespect intended. It will be interesting to follow the progression of the other awards (and to see if any others pop up, too).

In keeping with its roots, the jury comprises festival programmers from around the world (and their allies, I guess you could say). This year’s jurors are listed on this page, and they’ve definitely had a ‘who’s who’ of programmers over the years.

One would have to bet that winning a Teddy must be good for the film’s resonance throughout the world. Programmers come from near and far to work their way through the catalog in the search for the latest and greatest content for their own festivals. Connections are formed, fun is had, films are at times hotly disputed. The ‘programmer’s meeting’, once a small affair where almost everyone knew everyone, has grown and grown as more festivals attend with each succeeding year.

So here’s to you, Teddy. You’ve gone from a small stuffed toy to a real golden statuette, and definitely made a difference in so many folks’ lives. The Berlinale would be an icier and less colourful place without you, so we’re glad you’re still going strong.

Flick through the Teddy Award catalog online (these days it’s even in English) to see what’s in competition this year here.

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What’s the big deal about awards?

With the Berlinale kicking off, which for many of us in the European Queer Film Festival scene is the unofficial start of our programming year, I know I’ll soon be back at my keyboard writing posts entitled “Winners at [Festival Name].” It’s become a compulsory element of many festivals: the award.

Somewhere back in the distant past, someone decided that bestowing awards was The Thing To Do. I know why there are festivals, but I’m really not sure why there are awards. Since they’re a part of the landscape, what do they mean for a festival?

1. Work. Allocating films to an award category. Dealing with the audience award voting slips (‘tree-friendly’ electronic SMS voting, coming soon to a festival near you!): distributing, collecting, tallying those little slips. Wrangling a jury, if you have one.

2. Expense. Whether it’s a modest cash prize or not, offering an award costs something. Someone has to get it sponsored (more work), or it comes out of the main budget.

3. Profile. This one is a positive one. At the very least, the local queer media should be paying attention and getting the word about about your festival. If you’re lucky, it’s better than that.

4. Submissions. I think this might have been one of the reasons behind the original concept of having awards. More films = more choice, better program. Better program = builds audience. (Or something like that.)

5. Investment in the future. Hopefully, even if it’s only a modest windfall, a cash award comes in handy for covering outstanding costs or helping an artist get on with their next project.

Some festivals like to crow about the size of their prize purse. Some filmmakers seem to especially love awards and proudly display the laurels on their film’s website (and on the DVD cover!). Sometimes there’s a groovy award designed by a local artist that sits on the table at that never-easy-to-make-entertaining awards ceremony on the festival’s closing night. Sometimes a filmmaker will get up and thank a jury for an award they didn’t even know they were in the running for (I remember being at the Teddy Awards when Duncan Tucker picked up his Siegessäule Reader’s Jury Award for TRANSAMERICA, where he seemed bemused but happy to win).

Are they worth the effort? Probably, if you have an engaged audience who will actually vote in the case of audience awards, since they give the programming team a very direct (and sometimes blunt!) indication of their response to the film. Certainly, if your festival’s getting good press out of it. And absolutely, if you’re a filmmaker who could really use those extra euros!

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A most amazing map

A monumental effort, and almost a Doctoral Thesis on its own: Queer Film Festival scholar Skadi Loist has crafted the Google map to end all Google maps, documenting the comings and goings of Queer Film Festivals of all sizes and flavours all over the world.

Starting with our Granddaddy, Frameline, it covers 250-odd festivals. Some are still with us, others aren’t. It’s actually split over two maps — Google’s obviously got some limit on the number of possible ‘pins’ one can drop per map — so make sure you follow the story further by scrolling down the list on the left to get to the second Google ‘O’.

Obviously The Big Queer Film Festival List provided a lot of names and locations, but Skadi did the heavy lifting with research into dates and of course the dropping of all those pins.

Check it out in all its fullscreen glory here.

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