Pink Life

Pink Life goes to Hamburg!

Pink Life QueerFest selection to be screened at International Queer Film Festival in Hamburg. The 28th Hamburg International Queer Film Festival (aka LSF/ Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage) will take place between October 17-22, 2017. Germany’s largest and longest-running LGBT film festival celebrates its 28th year as a volunteer-based and independent organization, with its principles of “autonomy, equality, and self determination”.  Here is the invitation to the selection of films from Ankara-based Pink Life QueerFest to be featured:

“A selection of Turkish short films from Ankara’s Pink Life QueerFest: TRANSVESTITES is a pioneering mockumentary on the highly problematic representation of trans* sex workers in the media. PRINCE CHARMING, DON’T COME IN VAIN, a collective audiovisual claim to the existence of lesbians in Turkey. Experimental and fascinating, OVER TIME tells the stories of four workers. In CHILD’S PLAY Derin hides an adult secret in the toy-box filled with her childhood memories. The documentary LGBTI IN THE HOOD reflects the LGBTI community’s perspective on their neighbourhoods. MOIRA is a tribute to three LGBTI* activists who lost their lives in a traffic accident in September 2015. And in fragments of a roundtable: pink life discusses archiving the Pink Life team gathers around a not-so-round-table and discusses the archives of the QueerFest.”

For more info please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/315944492205182

# BeşiKuirBirYerde 5th Pink Life QueerFest

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!

Pink Life QueerFest Celebrates 5th Edition With A Queer Short Films Competition

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Pink Life QueerFest celebrates their 5th edition with additions to its wide program. The Festival includes a short films competition for the first time, this year. Within the competition, short queer movies from Sweden to Thailand will be screened during the Festival. QueerFest will award a prize money for the winner besides an opportunity of participation for the director of the movie to Cannes Film Festival or Berlin Film Festival.

The selection jury for the queer shorts competition is composed of screenwriter and director Umit Unal, Director of Oslo/Fusion International Film Festival Brad Ydén, and board member of Altyazi publication, film critique Gozde Onaran.

12 Movies in The Queer Shorts Competition are:

09:55 – 11:05, Ingrid Ekman, Bergsgatan 4b (2015), Director: Cristine Berglund & Sophie Vukovic

Wannan Kong Duen (2014), Director: Jirassaya Wongsutin

San Cristóbal (2015), Director: Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo

En Eftermiddag (2014), Director: Søren Green

Hole (2014), Director: Martin Edralin

phoria (2015), Director: Forrest Lotterhos

Det bor inga bögar i Bollebygd (2015), Director: Mikael Bundsen

A Qui La Faute (2015), Director: Anne-Claire Jaulin

Code Academy (2014), Director: Nisha Ganatra

The Future Perfect (2015), Director: Nick Citton

La Meteos des Plages (2014), Director: Aude Léa Rapin

Vintage Porn – Part I (2014), Director: Emre Busse & Burak Erkil

Knife Attack on Trans Woman in Afyon

A trans woman in Afyon was attacked in her home by an assailant wielding a knife. The assailant also attempted to rob the woman. Buse Kılıçkaya from Pink Life Association commented on the attack: “Aggressors get encouraged when hate crimes go unpunished. We are treated like abandoned children.”

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Afyon’da trans kadına bıçaklı saldırı”, (“Knife Attack on Trans Woman in Afyon”), kaosgl.org, 5 August 2015, http://www.kaosgl.com/sayfa.php?id=19965

Trans woman Buse was attacked in her home by an assailant wielding a knife yesterday (4 August). After the hate crime, Buse was treated at the hospital and the assailant was caught and arrested by the police.

He attacked with a knife, attempted to rob

The assailant called and visited Buse, a sex worker, disguised as a customer. Immediately upon gaining access to her apartment, he stabbed her on the right side of the stomach. The assailant attempted to rob the trans woman, as she lay injured on the floor. When Buse told him that she had no money, the assailant fled.

Buse called her friend Derin, who came to her rescue on time. Buse was taken to the hospital and spent a day in intensive care. Her treatment continues.

Her friend saved her life

The assailant, a phone vendor allegedly named Süleyman, was caught thanks to Derin’s assistance to the police. Derin spoke to KaosGl.org:

“I immediately came to the scene when my friend called me. She told me about the incident before she lost consciousness. I found the number of the assailant in my friend’s phone and reported it to the police. That was how the police were able to find him.”

“We have been receiving threats on the phone”

Derin, also a trans woman, noted that she remains nervous because of the incident:

“I’m nervous and scared. I don’t want to communicate with anyone. I live alone just like Buse. I don’t have anybody. We have been threatened on the phone before but this is the first time a physical attack happened.”

“Aggressors get encouraged as crimes go unpunished”

We solicited the opinion of Buse Kılıçkaya, president of Pink Life LGBTI Solidarity Association and trans activist, on the attack: “Aggressors get encouraged as the attacks on trans people go unpunished.”

Kılıçkaya noted that this was a hate crime:

“This attack is called robbery and wounding in law. But in a country where trans people are not secured the right to live and treated like abandoned children, these attacks are beyond just robbery and wounding. If you don’t punish aggressors, trans sex workers will get treated as if they are objects.”

“The state’s and the aggressor’s mentalities are the same”

Recalling the posters about the “Tribe of Lot” in the streets of Ankara and the calls to massacre, Kılıçkaya remarked: “This is the country of trans people who are stabbed in the middle of the street, who can’t get anyone’s attention when screaming for help, and whose demonstrations get pepper sprayed.”

Noting that the state’s and the aggressor’s mentalities are the same, Kılıçkaya highlighted the discrimination that trans women experience in the legal process:

“Courts call trans victims “terrorists:” they nurture the attitude that “perverts” deserve their lot. As long as this climate of discrimination and hate is in place, the hate crimes go unpunished, and constitutional protection is unavailable, these attacks will sadly increase.”

Balkans and Turkey Regional LGBTI Network Association Founded

LGBTI associations from seven countries in the West Balkans and Turkey came together between 18-26 July in Belgrade to form a regional network association.

Source: “Balkanlar ve Türkiye Bölgesel LGBTİ Ağı Derneği Kuruldu”, (“The Balkans and Turkey Regional LGBTI Network Association Is Founded”), Pembe Hayat, 27 July 2015, http://pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=827

After a year of planning coordinated by Labris, a twenty-year old lesbian association based in Belgrade, the regional network initiative is becoming an association in September.

Formed by 27 organizations from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey, the new regional network association was accorded the name  [the] Equal Rights Association (ERA).

The participant organizations debated issues relating to strategic planning, analysis, bylaws, membership procedures, leadership procedures, and activity plans during a week-long meeting in Serbia’s capital city, Belgrade. The representatives of the 27 participant organizations also debated the name of the association, its logo, the location of its headquarters, and related procedures.

The Balkans and Turkey Equal Rights Association, or ERA as it will be known in short, will be registered as an association by 15 September 2015. Based in Belgrade, the association is expected to start activities in October.

Joined by Pembe Hayat, Kaos GL, Listag, and SPoD from Turkey, the association will dedicate its first year to capacity building and recruiting more LGBTI organizations to its ranks.

Focusing on the countries currently integrating to the European Union, ERA will work to bring LGBTI and human rights records to the negotiation table and highlight the countries’ records on discrimination based on sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics. The ERA will also conduct advocacy work in collaboration with international organizations such as the European Council, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency. ILGA Europe and Transgender Europe have supported the founding of the ERA and its prospective work in bringing visibility to LGBTI issues in the Balkans and Turkey.

From August onwards, the ERA will issue a call for applications for candidates for the executive board from member organizations. The members of the executive board will be elected in the first general assembly of the association, scheduled to take place on 15 September 2015.

Syrian Trans Refugee Mişa: Trans Guesthouse has become a home for me

Discussions on trans refugees were held as part of the trans pride week. Mişa, a Syrian trans refugee woman, lamented “I imagined that I would be happy in Istanbul. Apparently, I was wrong.”

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Suriyeli Trans Mülteci Mişa: Trans Misafirhanesi evim gibi oldu” (“Syrian Trans Refugee Mişa: Trans Guesthouse has become a home for me”). Kaos GL, 20 June 2015, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=19661

Organized by the Istanbul LGBTI Solidarity Association, 6th Trans Pride Week continues. As part of the various panels and workshops taking place during the week, a discussion on trans refugees was held. Problems of trans refugees seeking shelter and various solutions to their problems including the trans guesthouse were presented.

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The panel, held at the İsmail Beşikçi Foundation, was moderated by Deniz Tunç. The speakers were Mişa, a trans refugee woman and occupant of the trans guesthouse; Zeynep Kıvılcım of the Istanbul University Political Sciences Faculty, Cansu Alözkan of the Refugees and Immigrants Solidarity Association and Selin Berghan of the Pink Life Association.

Trans Guesthouse provided shelter for 50 people

In her opening speech, Deniz Tunç provided updates on the Trans Guesthouse.  According to Tunç, the trans guesthouse provided shelter to almost 50 people. “We have hosted as many as 20 LGBTI refugees from war and we will continue to accommodate them as long as our resources allow us. It is, however, time to stand in solidarity with the guesthouse.” Tunç continued.

“I imagined that I would be happy in Istanbul, Apparently I was wrong”

First panelist Mişa, a Syrian trans refugee woman, talked about the hardships of being an asylum seeker and what she went through in Istanbul.

“When I first got here, I imagined that I would be very happy here and that I would have a good future. I thought people would be open-minded and respectful but apparently I was wrong. I escaped Syria because it is a homophobic country and I was not respected there. In Istanbul though, every day is a different adventure. I do not have a job. Istanbul is an expensive city. I do not have an ID card. I have no income to speak of. The only place I can live in is the Taksim area and it is very expensive here. I have thought about returning to Syria after going through all of these problems. I risked going back, even though my life was in danger there. That is when some people told me about the Trans guesthouse and that I could stay there. I met the people in the organization and they told me that I could stay with them until I get my life in order. Later, I registered with the United Nations as a refugee. If it were not for the Trans Guesthouse, I would be on the streets now.”

(more…)

Turkey’s first and only queer film festival to kick off for the 4th time

Pink Life QueerFest will kick off tomorrow in Ankara for the 4th time. Having started its journey in 2011, the first and only queer film festival in Turkey will also have a 3-day-long screening in Istanbul this year in collaboration with Baska Sinema.

Source: Ömer Akpınar, “Turkey’s first and only queer film festival to kick off for the 4th time”, kaosGL.org, 14 January 2015, http://kaosgl.org/page.php?id=18497

Pink Life Queer Film Festival poster

Festival director Bilge Tas has a lot of experience organizing film festivals but she says organizing a queer film festival is much more difficult: “Because you cannot make use of state or local funds.”

However, Tas feels glad not to feel “the shadow of state” over the festival:

“The more support you get from the state, the more suitable it will be for your manners to speak from the mouth of state and to reflect what it says.”

Queer films will be shown in Ankara and Istanbul

Tas underlines the importance of international support for the festival:

“Our biggest supporters are the Embassy of United States and the Norwegian Embassy. They keep supporting the festival from the very beginning faithfully.”

The festival also enjoys a great deal of voluntary support, the most visible ones being  Hacettepe University’s Department of Translation and Interpreting with its film translation and Bilkent University students taking Media and Gender course with their “unofficial trailer”.

The official teaser of the festival which features famous actors Ayta Sozeri, Serra Yilmaz and Gonca Vuslateri increased the visibility for the 4th Pink Life Queer Fest on social media. The festival will also host some panels, theatre plays and workshops.

The 4th Pink Life Queer Fest will be held in Ankara between 15-22 January and in Istanbul between 23-25 January.

You can find the full program here.