Photo by Alexa Vachon
So popular at the 10th Pornfilmfestival last October that extra screenings had to be organised just to meet audience demand, When We Are Together We Can Be Everywhere is much more than just a queer porno, though it certainly is that as well. It’s a very personal, almost autobiographical look by director Marit Östberg at a time when, having just arrived in Berlin, she was able to become part of a small community that felt safe, sexy and welcoming. Join us, in cooperation with realeyz.tv, at Lichtblick Kino for our EXBlicks screening of the film at 8:30pm on December 26, with drinks and a Q&A with the film’s star, Liz Rosenfeld, to follow. Östberg herself can’t make it, so we asked her a few questions in advance.
The film got a great reception at the Pornfilmfestival – how did that make you feel?
It was so amazing! I’ve been sitting with this film for four years and it was so personal, you know, it’s about me and a small community, a small queer bubble here in Berlin, and I had no idea how people would relate to what we had to say. I was overwhelmed! I don’t know if I would have continued to make my films without the Pornfilmfestival. Before, there weren’t many places to screen porn, but now this is changing all over the world. I screened the film in London and Vienna, and I got the same reception there. I’ve been to places where porn had never been screened before, but now they want to show feminist queer porn because it’s becoming more interesting for people. It’s a way to empower queer bodies. It’s really cool actually!
The film’s footage was shot in 2011… what took so long? Have you been working on it all along?
It was different things. This wasn’t even a low-budget film, more like a no-budget film! I didn’t have any money, so I often had to put it aside to work. Also, this is my first full-length film, and it was the first time that I had to edit many hours of material, and I guess I didn’t know how to do it in an effective way. It needed time to process.
But I’m happy it took a long time. Maybe it was meant to be, because I felt ready to release it this year. My voiceovers in the film have a lot of nostalgia and sentimentality. I have the distance now to see what was happening that summer when we were shooting the film. I think it needs this extra layer of being a memory to actually work – or be as strong as it is.
In the time that has passed since shooting, how have things changed for you? How has your view of Berlin, queer or otherwise, changed since then?
I would never be able to make this film today. It’s a very naïve view of the city and feels like the me of four years ago still needed to dive into the shit of Berlin, so to speak. I feel more a part of the city than before, and can see it more from inside than through a foreigner’s gaze. I don’t need to project as much on this city as I did when I came here. As I say in the film, we can project anything on Berlin. We can project our longing for freedom on Berlin and we can project our experience of fears, of traumas on Berlin.
Would you say the film is really about Berlin?
The film is about our dreams, about a place where we can project our longing. So, no, it’s not about Berlin itself; it is about our dreams about Berlin. But it’s also about a longing to create free spaces for queer bodies.
In Berlin, but also anywhere, right?
Anywhere – but Berlin is very special for the sex-positive queer movement. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I moved to Berlin and started to make porn, because in the 1980s, for example, the first lesbian porn in Germany was made here in Berlin. There were these BDSM clubs, the first sex clubs starting in Berlin. Here, I’m not a pioneer, because they already started in the 1980s. They paved the way for me.
So what are your plans after this? Are you going to make more full-length films?
I have many plans! But I can’t talk about them right now. It’s hard for me to talk about things that I haven’t started with yet, I feel so vulnerable. But I will totally make more films.
One last thing: since the film is so nostalgic, do you wish you could go back to that time, or do you feel like where you are right now is just as exciting?
I like to be nostalgic in films, and film is a good medium to be nostalgic in, but I don’t think I am that nostalgic in my private life. What I do long for, and will always long for, is to not be alone, be part of something and have the feeling of community. But I know that communities always change. I think nostalgia is part of us, but I don’t long for it as a real thing. I long for it more as an idea, as a dream.
EXBLICKS: WHEN WE ARE TOGETHER WE CAN BE EVERYWHERE, Dec 26, 20:30 | Lichtblick Kino, Kastenienallee 77, Prenzlauer Berg, U-Bhf Senefelderplatz