During the celebration of the 90th Academy Award last Sunday, ‘Una Mujer Fantástica’ (‘A Fantastic Woman’), was awarded the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The film, which won the 31st TEDDY AWARD for best feature in 2017, is the work of Chilean director Sebastián Lelio. The Academy Award for a non-English speaking film has been given away since 1956 and ‘A Fantastic Woman’ is a landmark recipient in a number of respects; it’s the first first Chilean film to win the foreign-language Oscar, the first film with a trans themed plot to take home the prize, and lead actor Daniela Vega is the first openly transgender person to present an award on stage at the ceremony. Sebastián Lelio praised Daniela Vega as “the inspiration for this movie”. The story follows Marina (Daniela Vega), a transgender woman working as a waitress, who has a loving relationship with Orlando (Francisco Reyes), a divorced man 30 years her senior. Their affectionate love is brought to an abrupt end on the day of Orlando’s sudden death. In the aftermath of this tragedy, Marina is faced with the hatred of Orlando’s ex-wife and children. She fights simultaneously for her right to mourn her beloved one and against the prejudices and harassment from her late lover’s family. The film not only gives a sensitive portrayal of the universal right to grieve but also tells the intimate story of a trans women in today’s conservative Chile. On a broader level, the film highlights the transphobia and ignorance constituting every-day life for many transgender people around the world. Few would be able to leave the cinema unmoved by this touching story of love and loss. To learn more about the film, have a look at our interview with director Sebastián Lelio and lead actors Daniela Vega and FranciscoReyes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9VQLBKaP9Q
YESS! Another good reason to look forward to the TEDDY 2018 edition.
Three TEDDY AWARD 2017 films are nominated for the Oscars: “Call Me By Your Name“ by Luca Guadagnino for Best Actor, Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Original Song, “Strong Island“ by Yance Ford for Best Documentary Feature as well as last year’s TEDDY AWARD winner Una mujer fantástica by Sebastián Lelio for Best Foreign Language Film.
Congrats and fingers crossed!
Interview with Yance Ford about Strong Island
Interview with Sebastián Lelio, Daniela Vega and Francisco Reyes
And the TEDDY goes to…
Here, you will find all the winners of the 31. TEDDY AWARD as well as informations about the movies and interviews with the directors and actresses/actors.
Best Feature Film
UNA MUJER FANTASTICA (A FANTASTIC WOMAN)
by Sebastián Lelio, Chile
Best Documentary-/Essay Film
Ri Chang Dui Hua (Small Talk)
by Huang Hui-chen, Taiwan
Anu is a tomboy. Although she was married off at a young age – as was customary in Taiwan in the 1970s – and had two children, she quickly divorced her violent husband and brought up her daughters alone. Since then her only relationships have been with women who, like her, earn a living as professional mourners at funerals. One of her daughters is filmmaker Hui-chen Huang. It’s considered taboo in Chinese culture to question a mother’s unconditional love, and yet this taboo is exactly the topic of Huang’s intimate portrait. Mother and daughter set off on a journey together into the past during which Anu is confronted by questions that have tormented her daughter for years. In a series of long shots the two women discuss such topics as trust, abuse and cognisance, and yet most of these discussions end in painful silence. Shifting focus in order to plumb the depths of the topic, the director attempts to understand her mother by also talking to her mother’s siblings and ex-lovers. In doing so she paints a picture of changing living conditions for three generations of women in Taiwan.
Begründung der Jury:
“Small Talk” is the director’s courageous portrayal of her family story, which gives the audience an inside look at a culture we might not be familiar with. This powerful documentary manages to be of universal significance and extremely intimate at the same time.
Best Short Film
Min Homosyster (My Gay Sister)
by Lia Hietala, Sweden/Norway
Ten-year-old Cleo has a head full of questions: How can I tell if I’m in love with somebody? How do I know if I prefer boys or girls? Since her older sister began dating another girl, there are new, strange feelings stirring inside Cleo. During a trip to the Norwegian fjords, she broaches the subject with the young couple and is given some helpful advice.
Statement of the Jury:
Min homosyster (My Gay Sister) by director Lia Hietala is a sweet story of a young girl who is starting to learn about love with the help of her big sister and her sister’s girlfriend. The film makes visible the complex emotions even us adults sometimes have while navigating our relationships and crushes. In the role of the little sister Cleo, Juliette Safavi is exceptionally natural and a delight to watch.
Special Jury Award
Karera ga Honki de Amu toki wa (Close-Knit)
by Naoko Ogigami, Japan
Eleven-year-old Tomo is pretty much left to her own devices. Unwashed dishes are piling up in the sink and supermarket onigiri are all there is to eat again. Tomo’s single mother usually comes home late, and drunk. When she leaves her daughter for good one day the girl has to rely on help from her uncle, who takes in Tomo to live with him and his girlfriend Rinko. At their first meeting Tomo is flabbergasted to discover that Rinko is a transsexual. Rinko immediately sets about taking care of Tomo; not only does she lovingly prepare meals but she also succeeds in creating a new home for the girl. But before long cracks appear in their perfect nest. As in her last film Rentaneko (Panorama 2012) Japanese director Naoko Ogigami offers another story about finding a way out of one’s loneliness; in the case of Tomo and her new family the solution is a mixture of human warmth, good food and the symbolic act of knitting. In quietly concentrated images the film portrays non-normative sexuality as a natural way of life and describes the value of families that are defined not by convention but by a loving, caring environment.
Statement of the Jury:
The jury gives the special award to the film „Close-Knit“, a film which gives audiences a look into Japanese culture and the love of rainbow families through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl. Both the performances of the adults and the child actress are convincing and enjoyable. Filmmaker Naoko Ogigami’s natural dialogues and her sense of humour make for a very special movie experience. Ogigami puts emphasis on unique details such as the knitted objects, beautiful cinematography and the universal appeal of an uplifting, yet realistic story.
SPECIAL TEDDY AWARD
The Special TEDDY Award goes to a filmmaker who contributed extraordinary merits for the characterization of queer film making over the years. Last year the US American producer Cristine Vachon received this award.
The SPECIAL TEDDY WARD 2017 goes to Monika Treut
Monika Treut coined as an director, producer and writer not only the feminist and lesbian cinema since the 80´s, but also the german-speaking independent film scene and inspired as an pioneer the New Queer Cinema to the US American Indie film. The courageousness and the critical approach of her topics and asthetics are closely related to the liberating energies of the Mao-Spontex movement of the 70´s. Her documentary Gendernauts won the TEDDY-Award in 1999 as Best Documentary and audience awards all over the world.
Since her feature film debut with Elfi Mikesch, Verführung: Die grausame Frau, more then 12 of her movies have been presented at the Berlinale. On the occasion of the award ceremony within the 31st TEDDY Awards, Panorama shows her second feature film, the classic die Jungfrauenmaschine from 1989.
MÄNNER Reader´s Award
God’s Own Country
by Francis Lee, Great Britain
Young Johnny is running his ailing father’s farm in Yorkshire, England. The communication between father and son reflects their adverse living and working conditions, the father’s utterances mostly being restricted to terse criticism of his son. Johnny’s grandmother plays her part stoically. A frustrated Johnny endures his strenuous daily routine. In a bid to escape the harsh daily grind, he has nostrings sex with men, or gets drunk at the local pub. In the spring, a farm hand is taken on for the season. Romanian Gheorghe is the same age as Johnny, who at first eyes him with suspicion. The initial tension between the two men soon gives way to an intense relationship. This opens up completely new prospects but also presents new challenges for Johnny. In his feature-length debut, Francis Lee finds authentic images to depict farm life as one of privation. His film concentrates on the looks and gestures of his characters and their physical proximity. The archaic landscape of ‘God’s own country’ as the locals call their county, perfectly reflects the turmoil going on inside the protagonists.
As you all know, there is never enough place for fantastic women on this planet! I mean, there is plenty, but unfortunately, these women are not always met with the best circumstances!
That is also the case in the new feature film by director Sebastián Lelio, whose film “Gloria” was screening at the Berlinale in 2013 and which won a Silver Bear for the performance of the wonderful actress Paulina García.
The film “Una mujer fantastica” is about a trans*gender woman Marina, who doesn´t want to do anything else but mourn, after her boyfriend suddenly dies. But the family of the dead man and the society doesn’t let her do that. It is an outstanding film about the fight of a trans*gender woman for her right to mourn, but also a film about a woman who just lost her man, and tries to get her feets back on the ground. Just a fantastic and a strong woman! But see for yourself!