Festival: Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival
How do you like Berlin? What is special about the city for you?
I absolutely love this city and I hope to one day get back in summer (not during a festival) to really further explore all Berlin has to offer! My first international festival travel was to the Berlinale back in 2002. Hard to believe 14 years have past! I have developed many life long friendships and professional relationships here in Berlin. For those reasons alone, this city is very special to me. Not to mention the delightful thrift shops near Alexanderplatz…
How would you describe the Berlinale in one sentence?
A city that insists you pay attention to it, yet fronts it doesn’t care what you do.
What was your first encounter with the TEDDY AWARD?
I reckon I’ve been attending the TEDDY party for as many years as I’ve been coming to Berlinale and so the TEDDY AWARD, the party, its significance to Berlinale and to LGBT cinema worldwide, have all lent itself to my growth and development as a gay man.
To talk film specifically, I’m not sure if I’ve been more affected in a long time after seeing the Polish film last year, In the Name Of… It went on to win a TEDDY and my colleague Scott Ferguson, Executive Director at Inside Out and I knew after drying our eyes in cinema, this had to open our festival last year. And it did. It was a bold choice for Toronto, but I feel as one who grew up Catholic and gay, this film would both provide powerful story telling alongside key learnings and challenging our audience in relation to Queer cinema growing up.
In your eyes, what does the TEDDY AWARD symbolize? What does it stand for? What makes it unique?
Wieland [Speck] has done the LGBT arts community worldwide a great service by creating the TEDDY. No other A-list ‘mainstream festival’ has something so unique and representative of LGBTQ issues and stories. Yes, the cinematic world’s attention is on Berlin every February, but the TEDDY ensures that our stories about our community – our struggles, our celebrations, our varied realities – are all represented. Everyone gets screen time at Berlinale in context of the TEDDY and for that I can only be grateful for being exposed, and to have an opportunity to be entertained and educated every February – to take with me the rest of the year.
Tell us about a movie you’ve recently seen.
Finally caught The Broken Circle Breakdown. Combines my love for music and strong storytelling. This film is devastating in so many ways, but the way the songs were chosen to forward the narrative and with an extraordinary lead, it’s no wonder it’s on the road to Oscar!