Slovak Queer Film Festival draws nearly 3000 viewers
Almost 3000 visitors turned out for the films about LGBTI people, discussion, theatre performance, party and talks featured at the Slovak Queer Film Festival. The Pink Balloon, the award for audiences’ favourite film, went to the US picture “Albert Nobbs”, directed by Rodrigo García and starring a brilliant Glenn Close. Altogether FFi screened 27 feature-length films and 6 shorts from 19 countries, including Slovakia: two from director Róbert Šveda and one from Juraj Krasnohorský, both of whom personally introduced their films.
The festival was opened by Christian Fotsch, Swiss ambassador to the Slovak Republic, accompanied by his partner of many years. In his speech, his Excellency praised the Slovak government for establishing a committee on LGBTI rights. “Both I personally and Switzerland welcome this initiative on the part of the Slovak government. I’m equally aware of the ongoing debates concerning registered partnership in Slovakia. Having ourselves made such partnerships a reality in 2007, we in Switzerland can report very positive experiences with them,” added Fotsch.
FFi’s patrons this year were actress Zuzana Kronerová and actor Richard Stanke, who pointed out that the festival exposes viewers to authentic images of non-heterosexual people. “It is a major problem that we don't see positive examples of healthy relationships or lives of LGBTI people. The examples we do see are often borderline cases from the social periphery,” remarked Stanke. The showcase of queer cinematography was also sponsored by Miroslav Lajčák, Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, and it was held under the auspices of Bratislava’s mayor, Milan Ftáčnik. Lajčák stressed that “established traditions or stereotypes, no matter how deeply rooted, cannot obstruct the exercise of the human rights we are all entitled to.”
Along similar lines, the festival programme itself aimed to dispel gay clichés. One of the key sections of FFi's sixth edition was dedicated to films about LGBTI seniors. “We wanted to illustrate that non-heterosexual relationships are no mere youthful fad; they are loving bonds that often last a lifetime,” explained festival director Zita Hosszúová. The Queer Age section included a road movie about two lesbians who decide to get married as they approach the end of their lives, and a documentary on people who underwent sex reassignment surgery in the 1960s. The festival’s other sections were New Century, Queer Slovakia, Another View and Classics.
FFi 2012 was joined by Czech historian Jan Seidl, who presented his book “From Prison to Altar” and described the persecution of homosexuals during the First Czechoslovak Republic, World War II and the socialist era. Dr Seidl also shed light on the lives and activities of the first Czech and Slovak homosexual rights activists.
Having successfully brought the sixth edition of the Slovak Queer Film Festival to a close, the next item on the organizers’ agenda is FFi Afterglow, a springtime series of LGBTI-themed film screenings held in several Slovak cities: Žilina, Banská Bystrica and Košice.
Slovak Queer Film Festival
Press Release (31. 10. 2012)