Unfortunately, or fortunately, there’s nothing to complain about in my report about the world’s premiere queer film award, the Teddys, I was hoping this could be more entertaining. Maybe I was seated too well.
Although I’m struggling to find any kind of thread to tie together the LGBT films this year – underlying issues, problems, causes – on the whole, the films (and the winners) seem to be a notch above last year’s. Of course, there were some heavy topics covered (Veronika Lišková’s Czech documentary, Daniel’s World, on pedophilia comes to mind) but in general this year felt like a programme with agenda. That’s a tiny bit of a lie… last year’s absence of lesbian films at the Berlinale prompted a large effort this year get them visibly into the festival. But rectifying such an egregious mistake can hardly be called an agenda. That said, there were still no lesbian winners at this year’s Teddys.
I have to be honest and say that I caught none of the films beforehand, so my congratulations on them are real, but reserved. I hopefully won’t be disappointed by any of them once I get a chance to see them.
Best short film went to Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo’s “San Cristobal”, a bit of a Chilean Brokeback Mountain tale. El hombre Nuevo, by Aldo Garay, took home the best documentary – a film about a transwoman, despite the confusing title, in Uruguay and her struggles. And the best feature, starring the endlessly lovable Kristin Wiig, is Sebastián Silva’s Nasty Baby, a film about a woman who tries to conceive a child with her gay best friends.
Special awards were granted to Jim Chuchu’s Stories of our lives in the form of the special jury prize and Zimbabwe’s HIV activist Martha Tholanah, taking home The David Kato Vision & Voice Award. The former goes to a documentary highlighting the plight of LGBTI people in Kenya, a topic that unfortunately at the moment, still desperately needs attention.
All well and neatly packaged. The night did serve up a bit of fun, unsurprisingly so in the form of the honorary Teddy’s for Udo Kier and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Udo’s presence would have been enough, but his self-curated montage of film clips delightfully begun with his birth – his very graphic onscreen birth as depicted in Lars von Trier’s Kingdom TV series. The clips proceeded to get even better from there and ended with a clip of him winkingly asking, “What would have the Führer thought?” I for one want that on DVD. Fassbinder’s award was accompanied by a splendidly belligerent performance by his actress, singer and one-time wife, Ingrid Caven. I’m not sure if the first fabulous song was intentionally unintelligible (German? English? Huh?), but that’s how I want my chansons served up and surviving. Her kind of beauty can’t be learned.