The 66th Annual Berlin International Film Festival

Finally it’s here: the 66th Annual Berlin International Film Festival, our beloved „Berlinale“ from February, the 11th till 22nd. And this year will be special, because the president of the jury is Meryl Streep! Oh my Goddess, this is a sensation!

It lifts this event on a higher level. Other members of the jury will be the British actor Clive Owen and the German Lars Eidinger (yes, the most famous penis of Berlin), Italian actress Alba Rohrwacher (one of the best performances last year as the Albanian „Sworn Virgin“), Polish director Małgorzata Szumowska (of last years greatest movie „Body“), French photographer Brigitte Lacombe and on top the British critic Nick James. This mixture is perfect for me, each one  an expert in their field (not sure about the penis, but some say, he’s one of our best).

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The Berlinale Camera will go to Ben Barenholtz, one of the biggest Film distributor of our times, actor, writer ans director Tim Robbins and Marlies Kirchner, German cinema operator for 40 years.

This years achiever of the Honorary Golden Bear will be Michael Ballhaus, the great German cinematographer who invented a new point of view in Hollywood. You can watch his work with Martin Scorsese „Gangs of New York“ in an Hommage screening.

Talking about Hommages: on February, 12th will be a screening of „The Man Who Fell To Earth“ at the Friedrichstadtpalast to remember David Bowie and a Berlinale Lounge night at the Audi Lounge with the cinematically work of our lost genius.

And yes, we also lost Alan Rickman, so there will be a tribute screening of Ang Lees „Sense and Sensibility“ on February the 16th at the Kino International.

Yeah, you’re right! These are very sad reasons for a Hommage, but there’s still something to celebrate: the Teddy Award turns 30 years old! This queer Award is a main part of the Festival and it’s unique in the world!

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Wieland Speck, the founder of the Teddy section and curator of the Panorama section, did a fucking good job and so we’re able to watch the Teddy-highlights of the last 30 years. This section is called „Teddy 30“. Watch „Hedwig an the angry Inch“ on February 18th at the Kino International. This Kult movie and now super famous Broadway musical never made it into German theaters, so that’s a special possibility.

The movies of the most important section „Competition“ are a mixture of love, war and escaping them. Dieter Kosslick, the Master of the Berlinale, captures this years Festival with „Everybody got the right to happiness“. And yes, this may be THE significant device in these days. Escaping, Refugees and the (European) borders are a big subject in every section.

Unfortunately this years quote of women in the competition is only 24%, in 2015 it’s been 25%. Kosslick doesn’t see a big problem in it, „there’s no remarkable trend against women in the film industry“. Well, we’ll see. Last years spotlight on women in the industry been so inspiring and an increase would have been great.

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But let’s talk about the Teddy section in particular. Like every year young and maybe not-that-young-anymore artists around the world express their experiences as queers and the pressure of their surrounding. Motion pictures like „Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?“, „Inside the Chinese Closet“, „Reluctantly queer“ and „Time was Endliss“ are modern films about coming out, suffering from HIV and AIDS and the predictable conflict with the family or/and the culture of the childhood. „Toro“ and „Brothers of the Night“ talk about prostitution, friendship and isolation.

There also will be documentaries about the New Yorker LGBTI-scene in the last century, that I am interested in the most. „Uncle Howard“ is about the filming maniac and director of „Burroughs“ Howard Brookner who died of AIDS aged 34 and portrayed the New Yorker Beat- and Gayscene.
„Mapplethorpe: Look at the pictures“ is about the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, THE photographer of the 70’s, partner in crime of Patti Smith.

„Before Stonewall“ is about the time after the Second World War and the New Yorker Riots in 1969, a documentary that shows old archive material of these rough times.

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Madonna is an icon and in 1990 she casted seven vogueing dancer for her „Blond Ambition Tour“. This experience changed their lives and careers, Madonna outed them accidentally in her „In bed with Madonna“ movie and they sued her. 25 years later they meet again and talk about these days in „Strike a pose“.

„Kiki“ portrays the young black LGBT-community and their Vogueing-balls and how they think about gender borders. Also a very special screening will be „Different than the others“: a motion picture from 1919, a short period in Germany without censorship! The long missing 35mm copy got restaurated and so it became another Must-See of the Berlinale.

This is just a tiny overview, you should check out the list at www.teddyaward.tv! The big Teddy Award Ceremony will be on February the 19th at the STATION Berlin. Buy some tickets and support this great event.

Icon Christine Vachon will get a Teddy Award for her lifetime achievement and don’t miss the Talents Teddy Talk „The Finally New Queer Cinema?“ with Christine Vachon about the present and future of queer cinema and it’s stereotypes and definitions.

And yes: this Februarys celebrities on the red carpet will be awesome!
Tilda Swinton, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Jentsch, Julianne Moore, The Coen Brothers, Emma Thompson, Jude Law, Colin Firth, Bruce LaBruce, Laura Linney, Susanne Bier, Doris Dörrie and soon much more!
I’m gonna be there and watch the movies and maybe we’ll meet there. It’s gonna be awesome.

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