When former South African beauty queen and amateur craftsperson Sharon Rose Khumalo learns that she is intersex, she begins to explore her own identity. Together with intersex activist Dimakatso Sebidi, she wants to overcome the barriers intersex people face. The two question why society places such a high value on distinct sex characteristics and realize that both of their lives ran parallel and yet are quite unique.
Tünde Skovrán has worked with Sharon and Dimakatso for over four years to give the film a shared form, to give the intersex community a public voice, which is rarely achieved as respectfully and poignantly as it is here.
Content warning: mention of interphobia, discussion of surgeries; depiction of animal killing, religious hate speech
RO/ZA/CDN/D/US 2023 | Documentary | R: Tünde Skovrán | 103 min. | English, Sotho with German subtitles
Marvin, a trans man, lives with Ivan and their two children in Sweden. The unexpected separation from their home country, as well as the slowing down of the whole process of physical and legal transition during the COVID-19 pandemic, intensifies the interaction in their relationship, with their children, relatives and closest colleagues. During this time of subdued timelessness, the two find space for mutual support, acceptance of Marvin’s gender identity, and a redefinition of roles within the family.
Soňa G. Lutherová has a background in social anthropology, and provides an intimate glimpse into the life of a family in this impressive long-term observation, which shows the power of honesty and solidarity in processes of change.
Content warning: Misgendering
SK/CZ 2023 | Documentary| R: Soňa G. Lutherová | 81 min. | Czech, Slovak, Swedish with German subtitles
Joe is about to be released from a juvenile detention center and longs for self-determination. In fact, all that’s missing is the court’s verdict. But when Joe falls in love with William from the neighboring cell, it becomes clear that it’s not all that simple after all. The question soon arises as to what freedom actually means: to leave or to stay?
This sensitively narrated debut film paints a picture of two young people who love without compromise despite all obstacles, and find ways towards one another through rap, dance and creativity.
The Lost Boys | B/F 2023 | Feature film| R: Zeno Graton | 83 min. | French with German subtitles
Silvia and Beba know that the long summer nights of their youth won’t last forever. In 2019, at the ages of 18 and 21, they linger in places long familiar because immigration proceedings are stalled, and deportation is always looming. Between bars, drive-ins, acquaintances’ couches and the borderlands, they fight against the impositions of everyday life, for their community and their future. The dusty twilight offers them space for poetry and dreams, humor and creativity.
For the Berlinale Generation jury, the film is “a touching and subtle insight into the intimate moments of unforgettable characters whose self-determination and playfulness, in front of and behind the camera, are inspiring. Their actions, jokes, songs, laughs and bodies are political and so very necessary as a form of resistance.”
Content warning: mention of termination of pregnancy
USA 2023 | Documentary | R: Silvia Del Carmen Castaños, Estefanía Contreras | 78 min. | English, Spanish with German subtitles
“Someone once asked me, ‘Why don’t you write your biography?’ I replied, ‘Because fucking Virginia Woolf already wrote it back in 1928.'” That’s how Paul B. Preciado’s much-anticipated, Teddy Award-winning film debut opens, in which 25 trans and non-binary people take on the roles of Woolf’s novel character Orlando. The lines between personal narrative and adaptation quickly blur as the Orlandos choreograph exuberant dance routines in waiting rooms, intimately make out with trees, and engage pathologizing psychiatrists in games of chess. Sometimes serious, sometimes funny, but always full of poetry and resilience, they settle scores with the compulsory binary system and set off into a queer utopia.
Nominated for the QueerScope Debut Film Award!
Orlando, My Political Biography | F 2023 | Documentary | R: Paul B. Preciado | 98 min. | French with German subtitles
On the border between reality and fiction, Laura, Tómas and Christian, who want to explore their intimacy and (a)sexuality, embark on an emotional journey. How can the balance between desire and the fear of losing control be achieved?
Radically, Adina Pintilie exposes the psychological and physical taboos of our supposedly sexually liberated times and does not shy away from accompanying people with anxiety disorders and physical disabilities on their way to a fulfilled intimacy.
We are screening the winner of the Golden Bear at the request of the debut film winner in order to present WHO I AM NOT in dialogue. Both films have in common that they develop their very own formal language to portray their protagonists in their intimacy and strength.
Content warning: explicit sex depiction, stroboscopic effects
RO/D/CZ/BG/F 2018 | Experimental | R: Adina Pintilie | 125 min. | German, English with German subtitles
Vicky lives in a small town in the French Alps with the very special ability to smell unusually well. When her aunt comes to visit for the first time, Vicky finds a strange vial in her handbag and discovers not only a family secret, but also an old but not forgotten queer romance.
This mix of sci-fi and horror, starring Adèle Exarchopoulos (BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR) as well as Bonnie Tyler’s strongest karaoke interpretation to date, was nominated for the Queer Palm at Cannes in 2022.
Iman is forced to flee Iran with Maryam and their two daughters after a devastating rumor makes the rounds. Living in constantly changing refugee shelters in Sweden, Iman looks for ways to secure the family’s stay and resumes a career as a wrestler to do so. Life away from the family is not without consequences: Maryam no longer sees a reason to stay in Sweden, communication between the two diminishes and Iman is confronted with the deeper reasons for fleeing.
Milad Alami’s second feature film is a thought-provoking drama that highlights the social pressures on individuals and the contradictory simultaneity of freedom and the lack thereof. With an excellent cast, led by Payman Maadi.
Content warning: depiction of physical violence, blood, suicide Opponent | S/NOR 2023 | Feature film | R: Milad Alami | 119 min. | Swedish, Farsi with German subtitles
An artistic composition in three acts that shows BDSM as a means of empowerment and overcoming personal conflicts and challenges. Maja Borg leads the viewers into an intimate world filled with longing for affectionate pain that carries healing powers, always accompanied by spiritual and Christian contexts that leave enough room for own interpretations.
Content warning: depiction of BDSM, violence
S/E 2021 | Documentary | R: Maja Borg | 92 min. | Swedish, Spanish, English with German subtitles
It is 1987 in the Canadian province of Alberta. Robin is the “new kid” at school. “Are you a boy or a girl?” – Robin leaves the question hanging in the air. There are other challenges: arriving in the new environment, forming alliances, coming to grips with the complex relationship with school bully Carter, all while navigating the adolescent emotional world.
The film is Trevor Anderson’s feature debut, inspired by his own youth. In doing so, Anderson succeeds in making a coming-of-age film that refreshingly subverts the clichés of the genre. Robin doesn’t meet the classic requirements of a queer main character, making them particularly interesting. Including queer adult characters and a school musical with a Cyndi Lauper aesthetic.
Content warning: depiction of bullying CDN 2022 | Feature film | R: Trevor Anderson | 89 min. | English with German subtitles
Delivery driver Bambino leads a regular life in Lagos, even though he is stalled on his promised promotion. When he meets photographer Bawa, he begins driving him around the city for a photo contest. Their explorations grow longer and more intimate. In a society that taboos and criminalizes same-sex love, their dance around each other slowly unfolds.
Tope Tedela and Riyo David were some of the few who were willing to step in front of the camera for the roles of Bambino and Bawa. Thanks to them, Babatunde Apalowo (director and screenplay) has created a tribute to his own hometown in this very sensitive love story with an unconventional happy ending, which won this year’s Teddy Award for Best Feature Film.
Content warning: depiction of homophobic violence, burning
NGR 2023 | Feature film | R: Babatunde Apalowo | 93 min. | English, Igbo, Yoruba with German subtitles
If history is written by the winners, where does that leave those who were never allowed to be part of the game? Julia Fuhr Mann’s genre-bending documentary follows a collective of queer athletes as they set out to honor those who were excluded from a place on the winner’s podium. They meet, among others, Amanda Reiter, a trans marathon runner who struggles with the prejudices of sports organizers, and Annet Negesa, an 800m runner who was pressured by international sports federations to undergo hormone-altering surgery. Together they create a radical poetic utopia far from the rigid gender rules of competitive sports.
D 2023 | Documentary | R: Julia Fuhr Mann | 69 min. | English, German with German subtitles
Are you in the mood for a hot start into Saturday night, darlings? It’s going to be hot hot hot again at the queerfilm festival! Touching, kinky, vulnerable, wild and sometimes with humor you are lead through the queer-erotic short films. We wish you a lustful night, sweethearts.
In order to prepare you according to your needs, we will give short speeches between the films to inform you about the content of the respective short films. We will distribute handouts beforehand. There will also be a longer break.
Jamal Phoenix’s ass on the big screen? There you go! But ASS is clearly more complex, as Jamal and director Emre Busse confront us in GODASSES with the relationship of pornographic images and their audience, attempting a redefinition of desirable bodies in the process.
Desire and fantasy blur the boundaries in PELO DE GATE. Each explores the body of the other and themselves. In MELTING POINT, we literally experience how hot this can get between lovers through the thermal imaging camera.
Meanwhile, Bob the plumber is hired to fix a broken pipe in PIPES and, to his surprise, ends up in a gay fetish club. The performers of W/HOLE also lure us into a glittery pink club dream with dirty gestures and filthy looks. They explore each other with their hands, their faces and their tongues. Elsewhere, (a) FIST, dressed in latex, indulges with pleasure.
WANT is hot! Sexually explicit images interwoven with everyday moments give a revealing, complex, honest and sexy picture of disability. Likewise, Kitty rediscovers their sexuality after trauma through rope bondage and finds a home in their own fat, disabled and Brown body in WHAT YOU DIDN’T STEAL FROM ME. Black, Indigenous and People of Color from the porn industry come together for a KITCHEN TALK. Crying, laughing and hugging each other.
Content warning: (mentioned during the speeches)
Estimated 80 min., incl. intermission and speeches | Original languages with subtitles
Daniella Carter and Dominique Silver from New York City as well as Liyah Mitchell and Koko Da Doll (†) from Atlanta are trans, Black and sex workers. Like a sleepover, they tell D. Smith – responsible for directing, writing, producing, cinematography, editing, and (an exceedingly nice) soundtrack – about their lives, their work, the violence they experience along the way, and their place in the Black community. Despite a successful career as a producer for Lil Wayne, Billy Porter and Katy Perry, among others, D. Smith was forced out of the music industry when she began her own transition. Middle-aged and homeless, the idea for the film was born out of the thought: What would happen if I myself were also dependent on sex work? Panorama Audience Award at the Berlinale.
Nominated for the QueerScope Debut Film Award!
Content warning: mention of child abuse, trans murders, police brutality, sexual assault, and anti-Black racism.
USA 2023 | Documentary | R: D. Smith | 73 min. | English with German subtitles
Justina and her daughter Alexia live in a mysterious, half-ruined castle somewhere in the Argentine countryside. While Justina takes care of the ever-present animals and sells beef to maintain the house she inherited from its original owner, Alexia wants to go to Buenos Aires and become a professional Formula One racing driver. In addition, the family of the former owner visits regularly and continues to treat the two indigenous women like servants. A film between fiction and documentary, which sometimes stages fairy tale, sometimes horror atmosphere.
The Castle | ARG/F 2023 | Feature film | R: Martín Benchimol | 78 min. | Spanish with German subtitles
It’s 2018: Esther Newton is presented with the award of the Association for Queer Anthropology. A room full of people clap enthusiastically, one person proudly presenting a t-shirt that reads “Esther Newton Made Me Gay.” But who is Esther Newton? Back in the 1960s, she wrote her dissertation on the U.S. drag scene – a year before Stonewall, at a time when it could easily mean career-ending – and her decades of work laid a foundation for today’s gender and queer studies.
This documentary is about Esther Newton’s lifelong love of anthropology, her time in the lesbian feminist movement, and her second great passion: training dogs for skill competitions.
USA 2022 | Documentary | R: Jean Carlomusto | 92 min. | English with German subtitles
In EGÚNGÚN, a funeral makes two people relive their shared past. A pregnancy test raises questions about the future in GRINDR BABY. ARIBADA experimentally combines the everyday life of the indigenous Traviesas with the performative and fantastical in the Colombian rainforest. LES LIAISONS FOIREUSES tells of youthful advances at a house party. In ARE WE THERE YET, two people in a relationship negotiate whether they want to give the family insight into their relationship. Based on true events, AYOR sheds light on a courageous protest in the Netherlands in the 1970s. The underwater film THE BEAUTY OF BEING DEAF breaks with societal notions of being disabled. Poetic and quiet, PRAYERS FOR SWEET WATERS portrays the lives of three trans sex workers from South Africa. The queer fever dream TANK FAIRY sends us off into the night with drag, glitter and a catchy tune.
Egúngún: depiction of blood, domestic violence Grindr Baby: deals with termination of pregnancy Les liaisons foireuses: queerphobic statements; depiction of bullying, alcohol consumption AYOR: depiction of police brutality, interrogation situation; queerphobic statements Prayers for Sweet Waters: depiction of suicide, death; mention of violence Tank Fairy: depiction of bullying