People who can receive the Arte channel in The Netherlands were in luck. They could watch the twenty-sixth Teddy Award Ceremony. It has become a tradition that this gay-friendly channel extensively covers this cinematographic spectacle. The Teddy Award is part of the Berlinale and specifically focuses on the visibility of LGBT (lesbian/gay/bi/transgender) in cinema. This year, the emphasis was on “transgender”. Over forty-seven films were nominated.
The prize awarded by the public went to “Parada” (Serbia). The story is about a butch pitbull owner and his gay vet. The gay parade of 2010 in Belgrade plays an important part. The goal of the movie was to change people’s opinion. “Almost half a million people in Serbia and its neighboring countries saw the movie, and we can clearly see how homophobes are changing. This is not an easy task, but that is the way the movie ‘Parada’ works.
The movie is capable of breaking the hearts of people who are homophobic” says the director of the film, Srdan Dragojevic. He is a former psychotherapist and applied traditional psychological techniques in his film. During the award ceremony he said: “They say this movie is the biggest Pride in history of mankind in the most homophobic area in Europe.” Director: Srdan Dragojevic.
Picture on the left from the movie "Parada" and on the right "Loxoro"
The Award for Short Movie went to “Loxoro” from Peru. In Lima, a mother is looking for her daughter, who is working as a prostitute. Both mother and daughter are transsexual and speak “loxoro,” a language developed by transsexuals and used amongst each other. Director: Claudio Llosa.
“Call Me Kuchu” was selected for Best Documentary. A movie set in extremely gay-unfriendly Uganda, where homosexuality is still illegal. A new bill is ready to sentence homosexuals who are HIV-positive to death, and send those who neglect to report a homosexual to prison. The documentary shows the battle of the Kuchus (slang for gay/lesbian/bi/transgender) in Uganda.
The film makers wanted to make a portrait of Uganda’s first openly gay person, David Katos, and his fight against oppression and homophobia. Without knowing this, they were actually filming the last year of his life.
David Katos was killed in January 2011. More than anyone else, David himself believed in this documentary. He spoke the words: “If we keep hiding, they will say we are not here!” “Call me Kuchu” shows the bravery and determination of the Kuchus in their fight against suppression. Will this small but determined group be able to change the political and religious landscape? The movie was partly made thanks to worldwide private donations. Director: Katherine Fairfax Wright & Malika Zouhali-Worrall. http://callmekuchu.com.
This year, the Teddy Award for Best Film went to “Keep the Lights On” from the USA. A one night stand becomes a long term relationship. After the euphoria and butterflies, the first dark clouds appear on the horizon. The relationship is under threat because of drug usage and the desire for sex and excitement with others.
The message of “Keep the Lights On”: stay open with each other. The director wanted to show what it is like and how it feels to be in a long term relationship. Director: Ira Sachs.
(Purchased by Dutch film distributor Cinemien during the Berlinale.)
The Special Jury Award was for “Jaurès.” In a conversation with Eva Truffaut, the director discusses his broken relationship with Simon. The director photographed the outside world for a long period of time from Simon’s apartment. The images show the daily struggle of Afghani refugees taking shelter under the Lafayette bridge, near tube station Jaurès in Paris. Director: Vincent Dieutre.
The Special Teddy Award went to Ulrike Ottinger (director & artist), who is known from the films “Madam X” and “Freak Orlando.” Besides striking costumes and settings, Ottinger likes to play with sexuality and gender in her work.
The Honorary Award went to Mario Montez. The now 76-year-old actor/transvestite was a superstar of Andy Warhol (1928-1987). In the sixties, he/she played in thirteen of his underground movies.
Picture on the left "Mario Montez" and on the right "Ulrike Ottinger"
The Teddy Award was designed by Ralf König. Ralf König is an internationally renowned cartoonist. His comics “The Killer Condom” and “Der Bewegte Mann” were successfully adapted for the screen.