Even as the world seems to be paused until further notice, the Teddy Award keeps on thriving! No stubborn pandemic can stop the 35th edition of the Teddy Award from spreading the same joyful energy with our LGBTQ+ community and beyond.
The festival will be split into two parts this year: In the first phase of the 71st Berlinale – March 01-05 2021 – daily live studio talks, discussions, panels and interviews on current films as well as hot topics and developments in the queer media industry are being streamed via the TEDDY AWARD online platforms. The TEDDY AWARD film market events Queer Academy Summit, Programmers Meeting andQueer Connection will be taking place online as well, connecting queer filmmakers everywhere as well as we can.
All this will be accessible for the general public as well as industry professionals, parallel to the European Film Market.
THE TEDDY AWARD GALA
The second phase will take place from June 9-20 – live on location in Berlin, in cinemas and open air, together with our beloved audience. The TEDDY AWARD will be present with news coverage and interviews on the queer films of the Berlinale. As a highlight, we will celebrate queer cinema with you during the 35th TEDDY AWARD GALA, of course keeping to the necessary hygienic measures. Our summer activities will be streamed live as well and designed in such a way that would also be feasible as online events.
No matter what the world may look like: With the 35th TEDDY AWARD, we want to share a ray of queer joy, visibility and community with you in these chaotic times.
>> As always, all information updates can be found here in the TEDDY blog.
Just a few days after the exhilarating climax of the Berlinale – the TEDDY GALA 2020 – the lights went out everywhere, not just in our halls.
As you all know too well, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit cultural venues as well as professionals particularly hard, literally thinning the air they could breathe. Cinemas around the world have been closed indefinitely, film festivals have had to be cancelled or moved to a digital setting. At the same time, the private cinema – the movie experience at home – is becoming a popular evening activity thanks to the numerous streaming services.
But what about the movies? Weren’t these made for the cinema, and not to be used as an evening sideline to folding laundry?
We checked in with the TEDDY Filmmakers 2020 to find out what happened to their just-released films and how they’re coping under the seemingly never-ending restrictions.
Berlinale 2020 – One of the last festivals to take place before lockdown
Many filmmakers report that the Berlinale was in part the only “analog” festival they were able to attend.
Last year has been a very strange one but we have to say that we have been lucky in many ways. We managed to have our premiere in Berlin with you and also our national premiere at a film festival here in Stockholm before everything closed down. We are really thankful for that and still think about our time in Berlin and […] the amazing response we got from the audience <3
The Berlinale was the first and last festival we had the luck to be live at! Days after that we went back home and locked ourselves down… And we are still there. I feel grateful though; I can’t think of a better place to have our only in-person live projection, being able to share with colleagues and audiences. […] It was beautiful to remember this strange year it has passed. Of course, our most beloved memories of it are from Berlin.
Berlinale was a great breakthrough for the film around the globe, during weird times… The movie is still traveling, this is so important for our LGBTQ+ community. It means a lot!!! […] Also the movie was presented on many special screenings involving the Transgender Community in Brazil, and for Educational propose.
From live to online – what changes does that bring to the movies?
Despite Covid-19, many of the 2020 TEDDY films were screened at numerous film festivals around the world, albeit mostly online.
We are quite happy with ‘The Twentieth Century’, though the pandemic has been hard for the movie industry, and especially arthouse films. Festivals tried to adapt as quickly as possible by switching online, which is a good thing because it keeps the circuit open, though the collective experience of screenings is not the same.
During this last year, we have been virtually traveling with our short film all around the world: Argentina, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, US, UK, Albania, the Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, Estonia, Chile… And we plan on continuing the trip! It was amazing being able to share our piece with such diverse audiences. We are thrilled by all this!
Extractions seemed to do well at festivals […]. I found even virtually attending festivals to be difficult during times the programs were geolocked to certain regions. At the same time I got a lot of positive feedback about the film, and was able to participate in panels and discussions through zoom, which was really lovely. I think that film was a uniquely suited medium for switching to online presentations. However it can quickly get overwhelming to be watching films on a little computer screen all year.
While some films can be transferred relatively well from the cinema to the computer screen, other filmmakers do not see virtual film presentation as an adequate alternative that does justice to the film. Nicolaas Schmidt reports resignedly on his film Inflorescence:
Knowing that Inflorescence, like most of my works, was produced for cinema and lives from its special experiences, I had a hard time with the decision to make the film available online. (It felt like a betrayal of my work and my own person).
Heinz Emigholz is also struggling with the screening of his film ‘Die letzte Stadt’. He is waiting for cinemas to re-open.
The theatrical release was planned for December 2020, then postponed to February and is now further standby. The online release is not an alternative for us now, we wait until the cinemas open again. Even if some festivals took place online, the visibility of the film through Covid-19 is much lower, festivals are otherwise the multiplier for the films of Heinz Emigholz.
How does filmmaking work under Covid-19? These filmmakers report on both current and upcoming projects.
Thirza Cuthand about the shooting and the unusual editing via Zoom:
The last film I made last year was a short drama featuring special effects, stunts, and driving. And VFX. We were lucky to be able to shoot in a small window when the case numbers of COVID were very low, before the September second wave began. I was not sure how editing would go, but we made it work remotely through a lot of zoom sessions with screen sharing between the editor, myself, and the producer. […] It was a very strange way to make a film but the fact we were able to shoot it still was pretty awesome. This year the films I am working on are either still in the script stage, or are very experimental and I will be the only crew person filming things around my neighbourhood.
Heinz Emigholz works simultaneously on several films and an exhibition:
Last week we started shooting his latest film ‘Schlachthäuser der Moderne’ in Berlin, which we want to continue in Bolivia and Argentina from April. Due to the pandemic, this probably won’t work out, so we are preparing for a postponement.
So there is an ideal and an economic loss, but so far this has not been able to stop us from continuing to develop and produce projects.
Martina Matzkin also uses the lockdown period effectively:
As for our future plans, we had to stop the shooting of our first feature-length documentary. But we expect to start again soon. In the meantime, we have had the time to revisit the shot material and to develop new projects. We have even had the luck to be at online development labs and workshops… We have no plans to stop making films!
No idea what film to watch as you are patiently counting down the minutes until our TEDDY Films 2021 will be screened in summer? That’s where our Writers’ Challenge 2021 winner comes in!
Krzysztof Dubicki writes about his favourite queer film AND THEN WE DANCED (2019), directed by Levan Akin.
“Cinema knows a lot of love stories with the art of dance as a beautiful background to the core of the human connection, passion and excitement. Where there are devotion and dedication there are emotions and feelings. Some of them – like love – can take us to the sky and some of them – like a heartache – can make us melancholic and full of grief.
Levan Akin tells a moving story of Merab and Irakli, two Georgian male dancers from the Georgian dance school and their passionate way to discover their feelings for each other. As a background to the love elation, the director shows us amazing images of Tbilisi, the country’s culture and family’s connection and respect for the country and the traditional Georgian dance, that makes this film so unique and graceful, but also really masculine and strong. Scenes, where this dance is being performed, are just a delight. Especially that they are spiced with the amazing sound of Georgian music, that takes a spectator to the journey inside the tradition and folklore.
Merab (played by amazingly good Levan Gelbakhiani) is intensively training with his girlfriend wannabe, Mary to get into the National Georgian Ensemble, being focused on his future and achieving perfection. His steady mindset is being interrupted by the arrival of Irakli (in this role a very charismatic and handsome Bachi Valishvili), who becomes not only his rival during the dance classes but also an object of Merab’s affection and distraction. The mix of sensuality and masculine energy of the dance brings boys together as they are both starting to discover the lust towards each other. Conservative climate of the country and approach towards LGBT communities in Georgia creates a lot of hate towards gay people. It pushes them, to hide their true identities and live their life the way they are expected to. Merab’s love for Irakli (which feels like his first-ever true love) helps him realize who he truly is. The intensity of feelings towards someone, who has become his secret lover brings a lot of excitement but also confusion and drama, that affect this young boy’s broken heart.
This film is a great and successful (24 awards and 21 nominations worldwide) representation of Queer cinema. Yes, it does have a bittersweet ending and for some, it might be a cliché of another dramatic and sad gay story, but these kinds of stories actually happen. Especially for the younger generation of people trying to find their true self in the world that is not accepting them. Akin’s world is full of cheerful and ‘Coming of Age’ moments, that works perfectly in this movie. With the mix of folk and pop soundtrack vibes and great acting full of chemistry and honesty, this piece is an extraordinary work from the hands of a true artist. Just like the dance, which is so easy to lose yourself, it is equally easy to get lost in the charm and magic of this irresistible story.”
Congratulations to our winner Krzysztof for his wonderful film review!
Now you know which film to watch next. Check out the trailer below and see for yourselves…