Jan. 14-21 – Ankara
Jan. 22-24 – Istanbul
Organized by Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association, Pink Life QueerFest is celebrating its 5th year in 2016. This year’s venues for QueerFest are Büyülü Fener Cinema, Contemporary Arts Center of Çankaya Municipality, and Torun in Ankara and French Institut, Pera Museum, and Goethe Institute hosted by Başka Sinema in Istanbul. Embracing various genres including documentary, video, and animation as well as feature-length fiction films in its program, the festival also features a short film competition in its 5th year. The winner of the competition whose jury includes director and screenwriter Ümit Ünal, Oslo/Fusion International Film Festival director Bard Ydén, and cinema writer Gözde Onaran will be awarded with cash prize. The festival will also give the director of the winning film the opportunity to participate in Cannes or Berlinale.
5th Pink Life QueerFest is commemorating Chantal Akerman who has recently passed away with her first feature-length film I, You, He, She (Je, tu, il, elle, 1975) which she directed and starred in at the same time. The film is a rather bold production with its provocative aesthetics as well as its real-time lesbian lovemaking scene that has been etched in our memories.
This year the festival will greet its audience with Different From The Others (Anders Als Die Andern,1919), one of the first examples of LGBTI-themed silent films brought by the collaboration of Istanbul Silent Film Days and Goethe Institute; Coming Out (1989), the first openly gay film of East Germany; and American director Tom Kalin’s Swoon (1992) which is considered to be one of the most important films of New Queer Cinema. The program will include the screenings of documentaries Prince Charming, Don’t Come In Vain (2009) and We Are Marching (2006) in memory of LGBTI activists Boysan Yakar and Zeliş Deniz who lost their lives in a traffic accident this year and who produced the two films together with Aykut Atasay in the section ‘Queer Comradeship’. There will also be a commemoration event after the screenings in which activists Mahmut Şefik Nil and Doğa Asi Çevik, who also passed away this year, will be paid homage.
In the section ‘Under the Rainbow’ the festival, which will be inaugurated with the screening of Esen Işık’s Köpek (2015), will host Seashore (Beira-Mar, 2015), a Brazilian production that concerns a coming-of-age story which is at the same time a story of coming-out; The Blue Hour (Onthakan, 2015), a scary and mysterious Thai production which drew a great deal of attention in Berlinale; Broken Gardenias (2014), a US production that conveys serious issues such as abandonment and discrimination with a tone of humor; While You Weren’t Looking (2015), a film that unfolds the experiences of gay identities in South Africa with respect to race and class as well; Everlasting Love (Amor Eterno, 2014), a Catalan production that does not miss a beat thanks to its tense atmosphere; Summer of Sangaile, (Sangailes Vasara, 2015), a film which, remarkable for its cinematography, is Lithuania’s candidate for the Academy Awards; and Lonely Stars (Estrellas Solitarias, 2015) a trans story from Mexico that is highly reminiscent of Yeşilçam melodramas.
This year the section ‘Queer Documentaries’ will host Welcome To This House (2015), the latest film by Barbara Hammer, one of the most prominent figures of experimental cinema, which is a masterpiece adorned with interesting anecdotes from the sensational life of Pulitzer Prize winning lesbian poet Elizabeth Bishop. The section will also host biographical films such as Tab Hunter Confidential (2015) which deals with the problems that Tab Hunter, one of the idols of 50s’ Hollywood, faces within the studio system as his gay identity is revealed as well as his efforts to reconstruct his career with his open identity in the face of great hardships and The New Man (El Hombre Nuevo, 2015), a Teddy Award winning documentary that follows the traces of the convoluted past of Stefania, a trans woman in today’s Uruguay who used to be a Sandinista guerilla in Nicaragua as a child as well as productions such as Misfits (2015), award-winning documentary maker Jannik Splidsboel’s latest film that tells the story of the members of an LGBT youth center in Oklahoma, and Madame Phung’s Last Journey (Chuyen di cuoi cùng cua chi Phung, 2014).
The festival continues to host programmers from festivals abroad this year. The history of black queer movement will be discussed together with director Topher Campbell and programmer Jay Bernard upon the screenings of films from the British black queer cinema in the section ‘Qara Queer’ programmed with the collaboration of BFI Flare. The festival program will also include a queer animation section prepared by DOK Leipzig programmer Annegret Richter and containing award-winning films.
See the Queer Fest Flyer!